profile picture

What is an appraisal?

A home purchase is the most important investment many people will ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties 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.


The majority of the people involved are very familiar. The most familiar entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money required to bankroll the exchange. The title company sees to it that all requirements of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

So what party is responsible for making sure the real estate is consistent with the purchase price?   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 Georgia licensed appraiser from Dearing & Associates Appraisal Services will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Dearing & Associates Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, 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.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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.
When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Fayetteville and Fayette, Dearing & Associates Appraisal Services is your local authority. This approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of 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. Depending on the individual situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Dearing & Associates Appraisal Services will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.