Understanding Appraisals

A home purchase is the most important investment most people might ever consider. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved 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 real estate agent is the most familiar face in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the money needed to bankroll the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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 value of the property is in line with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. 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 Appraisal Services of Brandon, Inc . will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the home, 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.

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

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

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject does not, 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 an 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 Appraisal Services of Brandon, Inc ., we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Valrico and Hillsborough County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price 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 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 accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.