Understanding the Appraisal Process

One's home purchase is the most serious transaction most of us will ever make. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple parties 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.


It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known person in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. The title company sees to it that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer.

So who's 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 might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Virginia licensed appraiser from Premier Appraisal Group, Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first duty at Premier Appraisal Group, Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. 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 shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, 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 house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.
When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Chesapeake and Chesapeake City, Premier Appraisal Group, Inc. can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property could sell for in an open market. 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 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 Premier Appraisal Group, Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.