What Is an Appraisal?

Getting a home is the biggest transaction many could ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the deal. The title company makes sure that all details of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller.

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

So, who makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. 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 Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

Our first task at Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is proper and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we use information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to derive 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 get to know the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of 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 more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, 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.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC, we are experts in knowing the worth of real estate features in Lakeway and Travis County neighborhoods. This approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. 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 is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price 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 is actually worth. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.