Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Their home's purchase can be the most significant transaction many might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most of the people participating are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the money needed to fund the transaction. The title company sees to it that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers 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, what party makes sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? In comes 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.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Following the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where we analyze information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to build a property similar to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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 Laredo Appraisal Group, LLC., we are an authority in knowing the value of real estate features in Laredo and Webb County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

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 the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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'. But 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 put the property on the market again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Laredo Appraisal Group, LLC. will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.