A Description of the Appraisal Process

Getting a house is the largest transaction some people may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known entity in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the money needed to finance the deal. The title company makes sure that all details of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller.

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 value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 House Texas will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first responsibility at Appraisal House Texas is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and document the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

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

Replacement Cost

Here, we analyze information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system 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 an amount to the comparable property.

A true estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Appraisal House Texas, we are experts in knowing the value of particular items in Austin and Travis County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the final sales price. It's not uncommon for prices to 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 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 put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Appraisal House Texas will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.