An Overview of the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the most significant transaction most of us might ever encounter. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

The majority of the people involved are quite familiar. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to fund the deal. The title company sees to it that all details of the transaction 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, who's responsible for making sure the value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. 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 Allen Appraisal Service will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Allen Appraisal Service is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the 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 determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject being appraised. 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 a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Allen Appraisal Service, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in St. George and Washington County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes applied when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not always the final sales price 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. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Allen Appraisal Service will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.