What Is (and Is Not) Included in a Real Estate Appraisal

April 13, 2020 10:00 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When you’re looking into buying or selling a piece of property, whether residential or commercial, one of the most important factors is your real estate appraisal. If you’ve never had one conducted or you’re unfamiliar with the process, you’re probably wondering what is looked over in real estate appraisals in Napa County, CA.

A real estate appraisal is conducted by a licensed appraiser, who examines your property for a variety of characteristics that determine the property’s or home’s value, which is not necessarily the same as its listing price. Some lenders require appraisals before they will put up the money for a mortgage.

What’s included in a real estate appraisal

The job of the appraiser is to examine the property from every possible angle to decide what its value might be. For agricultural and commercial properties like vineyards, this not only includes inspecting any buildings on the property and determining their worth, but also inspecting the land itself. This can include its terrain, geographic and topographic features, soil type, water and irrigation systems, access to the property and other important characteristics.

A full examination of the property helps the appraiser determine what makes the property special (or what might reduce its value) and allows them to compare it to nearby properties to assess its true worth. Location is always a major factor in these appraisals; a property in Napa County will naturally be much more expensive than a similar one in, say, Iowa.

In addition to the physical inspection, an appraiser also looks at the legal documents associated with the property, such as easements, zoning restrictions and city regulations that may limit the use of the property.

Once these factors are determined, the appraiser can then determine what the “highest and best use” of the property is, allowable by law. Then the appraiser can compare the property to similar ones in the area and come to a valuation. All of these findings are collected within the appraisal report and delivered to the buyer or lender or both. (Findings are delivered to the person who pays for it, and that person alone has access to the information.)

What’s not included in a real estate appraisal

Typically, your appraiser is not there to tell you whether you’ve made (or are about to make) a worthwhile investment—that’s up to you and your realtor to decide. They also won’t make predictions about whether the property will increase in value; appraisals are typically good for six months after the date of the appraisal. However, they will be able to tell you whether the market has been declining, stable or on the rise recently.

Real estate appraisals explained in Napa County, CA

Still not sure what you should expect from a real estate appraisal? The team at County Appraisals, Inc. has been conducting appraisals since 2008, taking the time and effort to produce detailed, reliable appraisals for agricultural-related properties, including wineries, vineyards and rural estates. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.

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