Decoding the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the most significant investment some people may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money required to finance the deal. The title company sees to it that all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller.

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So, what party makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, 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 begins

Our first responsibility at Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are there and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate 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 house.

Following the inspection, we use 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 we use information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Lakeway and Travis, Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC can't be beat. This approach to value is usually awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate produces is factored in with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate 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 house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Price Appraisals & Realty, LLC will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.