Making Sense of the Appraisal Process

Purchasing a house is the most significant transaction some people could ever encounter. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Practically all the people participating are quite familiar. The most recognizable entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to bankroll the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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, what party makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Conley Real Estate Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Conley Real Estate Appraisals, Inc. 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, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

A valid 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 Conley Real Estate Appraisals, Inc., we are experts in knowing the value of particular items in Terre Haute and Vigo County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional way of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by nearby properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Examining the data from all applicable 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 necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueThere 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. Regardless, 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. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Conley Real Estate Appraisals, Inc. will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.