What are the parts of an appraisal?

One's home purchase can be the largest investment most of us may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

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


Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money required to fund the deal. The title company sees to it that all details of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer.

So who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price?   This is where you meet the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Virginia licensed appraiser from Pemberley Appraisal will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first duty at Pemberley Appraisal is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floor plan, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of 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.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • But, in the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.
An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. This approach to value is most often awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. 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 value Depending on the specific circumstances 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. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day: An appraiser from Pemberley Appraisal will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.