Decoding the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the biggest financial decision most could ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Practically all the participants are very familiar. The most familiar face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the financial capital needed to finance the deal. And the title company ensures that all aspects of the sale are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser.

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So, what party makes sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, 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.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to derive how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

An opinion 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 knowing the true worth of features of homes in Amarillo and Randall, Anderson Appraisal, LLC can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

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 taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will 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. 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 get back in the event they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Anderson Appraisal, LLC will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.