Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer
Their home's purchase is the most significant financial decision many could ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.
It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to fund the transaction. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.
So, who makes sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Greater Houston Area Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
Inspecting the subject property
To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are present and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for 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: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.
This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.
Paired Sales Analysis
Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.
A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Greater Houston Area Appraisals, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Cypress and Harris County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
A third way of valuing a property is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.
The Bottom Line
Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valuePrices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, 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 case they had to sell the property again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Greater Houston Area Appraisals will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.