What is an appraisal?

Getting real estate can be the largest investment many could ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

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


Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known entity in the transaction. Then, the lender provides the financial capital required to finance the transaction. Ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So who makes sure the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate 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 New York licensed appraiser from Brickhouse Appraisals, LLC, will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, 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

This is where we analyze information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.
After all differences have been accounted for, 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 typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the final sales price. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But 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 case they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day: An appraiser from Brickhouse Appraisals, LLC, will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.