Appraisers are analysts, problem solvers, and decision makers who need to make a professional and informed opinion of the value of a property as well be able to communicate their decision-making process. One of the most important aspects of an appraisal is the integrity of the data and decision-making used. Appraisals must explain clearly why adjustments are being made and clearly state the reasoning for how the adjustments are being made.
Here’s a look at the process FRG requires to validate adjustments when comparing properties in a residential appraisal:
An adjustment is needed when there is a difference between the property being appraised and a comparable property that would impact the sale or rent price
- Differences that require adjustments to value include building size, number of rooms, condition, parking, or amenities like pools or fireplaces
An adjustment provides an estimated dollar value of the difference
- Appraisers must explain the reasoning behind that specific dollar value; what makes an adjustment worth a specific amount in that market?
Simply stating that an appraiser is experienced and therefore knows how much things would sell for is not an accepted justification for adjustments in sale price. Every appraiser has their own unique perspective and bias, and it is the responsibility of that appraiser to create as objective and informed an opinion as possible.
How can appraisers remove themselves from the process and create a reasoned explanation for differences in sale prices? Here is an example:
A single-family home with 1 bathroom in a suburb is being appraised, and a sale comparable has 1.5 bathrooms. The appraiser believes buyers in this market recognize the value of an additional half-bathroom. An adjustment will need to be made, but for how much?