What Is an Appraisal?

A home purchase is the biggest investment many people may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. And the title company ensures that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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 amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 C L Harper & Associates will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first duty at C L Harper & Associates is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must actually view features, 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 buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Next, after the inspection, 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

This is where we use information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. By assigning a dollar value to 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 match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

In the end, 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 putting a value on features of homes in Corpus Christi and Nueces, C L Harper & Associates is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes used when an area has a reasonable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. 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 a property's valueThere are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. 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 recover in case they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from C L Harper & Associates will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.