What Is an Appraisal?

Purchasing a house is the biggest transaction most of us will ever make. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the money needed to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer 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, who's responsible for making sure the real estate is worth the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 Vestal Appraisal Solution will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for 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: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we analyze information on local building 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 commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, in the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Vestal Appraisal Solution, we are an authority in knowing the value of real estate features in Houston and Brazoria County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

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 revenue the property generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Depending on the individual situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down.Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Vestal Appraisal Solution will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.