Home Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase is the biggest investment some of us will ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the transaction. Then, the bank provides the money needed to finance the exchange. And ensuring all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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 real estate is worth 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Floyd Appraisal Works will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Floyd Appraisal Works is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document 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 property.

Following the inspection, we use 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 analyze information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, 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.

A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Hohenwald and Lewis, Floyd Appraisal Works can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueThere 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 typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Floyd Appraisal Works will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.