Getting an appraisal done on your home or property is one of the first things you want to take care of when you decide to sell. Just because you think you have some idea of what your home or property is worth, the dollar amount that you come up with is most likely drastically different from the dollar amount that a professional appraiser would come up with.
An appraisal on your home is basically a professional opinion of the worth of your home or property from someone who is trained to analyze such things. Small factors such as a sun room, porch or deck, number of bathrooms and whether they are whole or half bathrooms are all factors that play into the net worth of your home. Good appraisals also take neighborhood characteristics into consideration, such as proximity to local schools, hospitals, and grocery stores. Especially when families are concerned, convenience is something that people are willing to pay for, and the closer a property is to these things, and the better quality of the schools, markets, etc, the more value added to your home in that respect.
An appraisal is a professional opinion and is to be respected, but keep in mind that it is just that–an opinion. Opinions are not set in stone, no matter who they come from whether it be your disapproving mother, a circuit court judge, or a professional appraiser. If an appraisal is too high or low, a bank or mortgage company may reject the estimate, there by causing problems and delays for your prospective home buyers, yourself, and any body else that is involved in your real estate transaction.
Depending on the nature of the property, a professional appraiser may take one of several approaches to determining the value of your home. The cost or replacement approach is, in essence, a determination of what the home would cost to rebuild should it burn to the ground. This includes everything; your windows, porch, pool, and even any money you have invested into your landscaping, yard or garden are all taken into consideration. The comparison approach to the appraisal takes into consideration all of the houses that are similar to yours that have sold in your particular area in a given set of time, usually the last six months.
From there, the appraiser adds value and takes away value in accordance with the specifics to your home. If you have a basement and most of the other homes similar to yours that sold in the past few months didn’t have basements, the appraiser would be able to estimate the value that having the basement adds to the property. If everyone on the block with homes similar to yours had basements, but theirs are finished and yours is not finished, or partially finished, then the appraiser should have some approximation of how much value to take away from the house in accordance with that. The last approach is the income appraisal approach, and it is used more commonly when commercial properties are in question.