What are the parts of an appraisal?

A home purchase is the biggest transaction some people will ever make. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

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 having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known face in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to fund the transaction. The title company ensures that all requirements of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

So who makes sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price?   This is where the appraiser comes in.   We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Alabama Certified Real Property Appraiser from Denton & Kennamer Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Next, after the inspection, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract 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.
At Denton & Kennamer Appraisals, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in North Alabama market area. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given 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 a house. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price 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 used 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. The bottom line is: An appraiser from Denton & Kennamer Appraisals will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.