What Is an Appraisal?

Purchasing a house is the biggest investment most of us will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

The majority of the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most known entity in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. The title company makes sure that all details of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

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So, who's responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from TEXAS REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility 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, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, 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.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

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

In the end, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At TEXAS REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS, we are experts in knowing the worth of real estate features in Keene and Johnson County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

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 necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Depending on the specific 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 they could get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from TEXAS REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.