Comprehending Appraisals

A home purchase can be the biggest financial decision most people might ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

Most people are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the exchange. Next, the lender provides the money needed to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser is the title company.

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 property is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet 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 Joseph Mier & Associates will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, we use 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

This is where the appraiser gathers 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 figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as fireplaces, room layout, appliance upgrades, additional bathrooms or bedrooms, or quality of construction, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable 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.
  • 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.

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 Hammond and Tangipahoa, Joseph Mier & Associates can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a property is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the real estate 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

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, the appraised value is typically used 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 Joseph Mier & Associates will guarantee you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.