Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase can be the biggest investment most of us may ever consider. Whether it's a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

The majority of the people participating are very familiar. The most known face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to finance the deal. The title company ensures that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers 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, what party makes sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might 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.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first task at Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject might 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 an authority when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Lakeway and Travis County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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 employed 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 guarantee you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.