An Overview of the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the biggest transaction most people could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the financial capital needed to bankroll the deal. And the title company ensures that all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the purchaser.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and describe the layout of the house, 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.

Back at the office, 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

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents 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 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 portray 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.
  • 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.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Floyd Appraisal Works, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Hohenwald and Lewis County neighborhoods. This approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the property generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down 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 what a property is worth. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final 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. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Floyd Appraisal Works will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.