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Understanding the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the most serious transaction most of us will ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Practically all the parties involved are quite familiar. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to bankroll the deal. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer.

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 real estate is worth the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 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 ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we pull information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

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

An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Elite Appraisal Services, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Pearland and Brazoria County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. 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 determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value on 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 recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, 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.