Data is collected on recent sales of properties similar to the subject being valued, called "comparables". Only SOLD properties may be used in an appraisal and determination of a property's value, as they represent amounts actually paid or agreed upon for properties. Sources of comparable data include real estate publications, public records, buyers, sellers, real estate brokers and/or agents, appraisers, and so on. Important details of each comparable sale are described in the appraisal report. Since comparable sales are not identical to the subject property, adjustments may be made for date of sale, location, style, amenities, square footage, site size, etc. The main idea is to simulate the price that would have been paid if each comparable sale were identical to the subject property. If the comparable is superior to the subject in a factor or aspect, then a downward adjustment is needed for that factor.[clarification needed] Likewise, if the comparable is inferior to the subject in an aspect, then an upward adjustment for that aspect is needed.[clarification needed] The adjustment is somewhat subjective and relies on the appraiser's training and experience. From the analysis of the group of adjusted sales prices of the comparable sales, the appraiser selects an indicator of value that is representative of the subject property. It is possible for various appraisers to choose a different indicator of value which ultimately will provide different property value.
Remember this: appraisers are looking at the condition of what’s permanently part of or attached to the house. They’re not evaluating the décor or furniture or anything that’s not affixed to the property; what’s most important are your home’s physical characteristics (age, square footage, the number of bedrooms and baths, lot size, location, view) as well as their observable condition.
If a home inspection is performed prior to the appraisal and that report is provided to the appraiser, a more useful appraisal can result. This is because the appraiser, who is not an expert home inspector, will be told if there are substantial construction defects or major repairs required. This information can cause the appraiser to arrive at a different, probably lower, opinion of value. This information may be particularly helpful if one or both of the parties requesting the appraisal may end up in possession of the property. This is sometimes the case with property in a divorce settlement or a legal judgment.
Are you worried about receiving a low appraisal or has your appraisal already been completed at a value less than you expected? We're sorry this has happened to you. In seller's markets, multiple offer situations often drive up the purchase price higher than any comparable sales in the area; which is why in those instances many sellers worry the appraisals will come in low. In buyer's markets, when prices are soft or falling, sellers are also concerned that the appraisal will be a low appraisal.
The various U.S. appraisal groups and international professional appraisal organizations have started collaborating in recent years towards the development of International Valuation Standards. This will facilitate global real estate appraisal standards, a much-needed adjunct to real estate investment portfolios which cross national boundaries. Some appraisal groups are already international organizations and thus, to some extent, already incorporate some level of global standards.
These appraisers also perform valuations on commercial property ranging from single to multiple tenant office buildings, shopping centers, retail, industrial, malls, hospitals, health care facilities, warehouses, and hotels to multi-family apartment buildings, co-ops, senior housing, condominium developments, and even vacant land, agricultural, and golf courses. Regardless of the property type or local zoning, they'll determine the highest and best use of the project and assess the value using the actual or projected cash flow from the property's rent roll and financial statements, using both cap rates for capitalizing year one net operating income (NOI) and discounted cash flow (DCF) of multiple future income streams. If you're a commercial lender, investor, builder, contractor, architect, or agent, you'll want to use these appraisers to conduct a feasibility analysis of any income producing real estate project you may be considering. They can also help consult on construction costs and projected absorption rates. They generally produce a commercial narrative appraisal when engaged for any commercial assignment.