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Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Purchasing a house can be the most important investment most of us could ever make. It doesn't matter if it's a main residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.


You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money needed to finance the transaction. Ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

So what party makes sure the property is consistent with the amount being paid?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Illinois licensed appraiser from JM Real Estate Service will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where we pull information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. We innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.
When it comes to valuing features of homes in Palatine and Cook, JM Real Estate Service is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's market value Depending on the individual situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from JM Real Estate Service will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.