Understanding Appraisals

Buying a house can be the most important transaction most will ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money required to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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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 Floyd Appraisal Works will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To determine the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - 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 sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we analyze information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific 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 subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional 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 property.

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

In the end, 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 Hohenwald and Lewis, Floyd Appraisal Works can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded 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 an additional approach to value. 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 applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Depending on the specific situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven 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 they could get back in the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Floyd Appraisal Works will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.