Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Acquiring real estate can be the most significant transaction many people might ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

The majority of the participants are very familiar. The most known face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the financial capital required to finance the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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

So, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Priority Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where we use information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to knowing the true worth of features of homes in Trinity and Morgan, Priority Appraisals is your local authority. This approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

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

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Priority Appraisals will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.