Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Buying a house is the most serious transaction many of us may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital required to finance the deal. And the title company ensures that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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, who makes sure the property is worth the amount being paid? 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 Realty Valuators, Inc will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first task at Realty Valuators, Inc is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser analyzes information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to determine how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually 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 neighborhoods in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount 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 Realty Valuators, Inc, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Sun City Center and Hillsborough County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional method of valuing a property. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valuePrices can always 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 the event they had to sell the property again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Realty Valuators, Inc will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.