What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Acquiring a home is the most important investment some people may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most of the people involved are very familiar. The most familiar face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital required to fund the transaction. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.

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So, what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? 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 property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Anderson Appraisal, LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. 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 really are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we identify 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 real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where we analyze information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract 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 a certain amount to the comparable property.

A valid 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 putting a value on features of homes in Amarillo and Randall, Anderson Appraisal, LLC can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third way of valuing a property. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Anderson Appraisal, LLC will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.