A Description of the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase can be the biggest investment many of us might ever make. Whether it's a main residence, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

You're probably familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most familiar person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the money required to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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So, who makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Laredo Appraisal Group, LLC. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a reasonable 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 identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

After the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, we analyze information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property 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.
  • However, 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Laredo and Webb, Laredo Appraisal Group, LLC. can't be beat. This approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by nearby properties to derive the current value.

Putting It All Together

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in the event they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Laredo Appraisal Group, LLC. will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.