What is an appraisal?

A home purchase can be the biggest investment some could ever make. Whether it's a main residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex 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.


Practically all the participants are very familiar. The most familiar face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to fund the transaction. Ensuring all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

So what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional North Carolina licensed appraiser from All State Appraisal Partners, Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, we use 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.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.
In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. This approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional method of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of 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. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is: An appraiser from All State Appraisal Partners, Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

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