An appraisal is a licensed appraiser's opinion of a home's market value based on comparable recent sales of homes in the neighborhood. Appraisals are usually ordered on behalf of a buyer's lender to protect the interests of the lender. The lender's underwriter will compare the appraisal price to the final purchase price of the home to ensure the buyer is not borrowing more than the house is worth. If the home appraises lower than the final sale price, the buyer may be able to renegotiate a lower price with the seller. If the seller won't lower the price, the buyer's lender may ask that the buyer put more money toward the down payment in order to make up the difference. Get an instant estimate of your home's value or learn how to increase your home's appraisal value.
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The cost approach was once called the summation approach. The theory is that the value of a property can be estimated by summing the land value and the depreciated value of any improvements. The value of the improvements is often referred to by the abbreviation RCNLD (for "reproduction/replacement cost new less depreciation"). Reproduction refers to reproducing an exact replica; replacement cost refers to the cost of building a house or other improvement which has the same utility, but using modern design, workmanship and materials. In practice, appraisers almost always use replacement cost and then deduct a factor for any functional dis-utility associated with the age of the subject property. An exception to the general rule of using the replacement cost is for some insurance value appraisals. In those cases, reproduction of the exact asset after a destructive event like a fire is the goal.
The seller can lower the price.If the home was overpriced or the value was inflated, often this is the best solution. It makes the buyer happy and the lender is satisfied. There is no guarantee that if the buyer walks away, the seller won't receive a low appraisal from the second buyer's lender, not to mention the time and trouble it takes to sell the property again. Sometimes a bird in the hand is best.
Appraisals can be assigned to nearly any item, including real estate. Appraisals are conducted by individuals called appraisers. Appraisers are educated in a variety of market valuation methods and are recognized by a regulatory authority as being capable of issuing an accurate valuation. For instance, an appraisal on an antique will take into account such variables as age, condition, origin, and availability of authenticating documentation.
These appraisers also perform valuations on commercial property ranging from single to multiple tenant office buildings, shopping centers, retail, industrial, malls, hospitals, health care facilities, warehouses, and hotels to multi-family apartment buildings, co-ops, senior housing, condominium developments, and even vacant land, agricultural, and golf courses.  Regardless of the property type or local zoning, they'll determine the highest and best use of the project and assess the value using the actual or projected cash flow from the property's rent roll and financial statements, using both cap rates for capitalizing year one net operating income (NOI) and discounted cash flow (DCF) of multiple future income streams.  If you're a commercial lender, investor, builder, contractor, architect, or agent, you'll want to use these appraisers to conduct a feasibility analysis of any income producing real estate project you may be considering.  They can also help consult on construction costs and projected absorption rates.  They generally produce a commercial narrative appraisal when engaged for any commercial assignment.
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