Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

A home purchase can be the biggest transaction many might ever consider. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital required to finance the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the buyer 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 value of the property is in line with the purchase price? In comes 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 Appraisal Services of Brandon, Inc . will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal starts

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, 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 buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on 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 the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate at hand. 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 property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system 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.

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 Appraisal Services of Brandon, Inc ., we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Valrico and Hillsborough County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing real estate is sometimes employed when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. 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 Appraisal Services of Brandon, Inc . will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.