What is an appraisal?

One's home purchase is the most serious transaction some might ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.


Most of the people involved are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the money needed to fund the exchange. Ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So who makes sure the real estate is consistent with the purchase price?   This is where you meet 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 Nevada licensed appraiser from dda will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - 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 real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. We innately understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • But, 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 dda, we are an authority in knowing the value of real estate features in Las Vegas and Clark County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third way of valuing real estate. In this case, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. 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. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. But the appraised value is often employed 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 dda will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.