What Is an Appraisal?

Buying real estate is the most serious transaction some people may ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable face in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. And the title company makes sure that all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

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 property is worth the amount being paid? This is where the appraiser comes in. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might 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 At Your Service Appraisals LLC will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first task at At Your Service Appraisals LLC 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 indeed are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, we analyze information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, extra bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match 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.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an 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. When it comes to valuing features of homes in Valrico and Hillsborough, At Your Service Appraisals LLC is second to none. This approach to value is usually given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional method of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from At Your Service Appraisals LLC will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.