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Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Getting real estate can be the biggest transaction many could ever make. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, 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.


You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll 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 purchaser.

So what party is responsible for making sure the property is consistent with the amount being paid?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Florida licensed appraiser from Maryann Ostolaza Appraisal Services, Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first duty at Maryann Ostolaza Appraisal Services, Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floor plan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we analyze information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine 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. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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 Maryann Ostolaza Appraisal Services, Inc., we are experts in knowing the value of real estate features in Naples and Collier County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given 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 - we may use an additional method of valuing a house. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But 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 Maryann Ostolaza Appraisal Services, Inc. will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.