What goes into an appraisal?

A home purchase can be the most serious financial decision some people will ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's a primary residence, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

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


You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the exchange. The title company makes sure that all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.

So who's responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price?   This is where you meet the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Washington licensed appraiser from Allen Appraisal & Consulting, Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

After the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.
At Allen Appraisal & Consulting, Inc., we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Vancouver and Clark County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional method of valuing a property. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's market value It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. 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. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from Allen Appraisal & Consulting, Inc. will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.

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