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Home Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase can be the biggest financial decision some may ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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, what party makes sure the real estate is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could 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 Elite Appraisal Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Elite Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property 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.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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. At Elite Appraisal Services, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Pearland and Brazoria County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the property produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. 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.Regardless, the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Elite Appraisal Services will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.