Home Appraisals: A Primer

Purchasing a home is the most significant investment some of us will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

The majority of the parties participating are very familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to finance the deal. The title company makes sure that all details of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass 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, what party makes sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. 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 T.H.E. Appraisers will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first duty at T.H.E. Appraisers is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, 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

Here, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate 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 portray the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

A true estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At T.H.E. Appraisers, we are an authority in knowing the value of real estate features in Eldora and Hardin County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, 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 put down an estimated market value for the property at hand. Note: While this amount is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the specific situations of the buyer or seller, their level of urgency or a buyer's desire for that exact property, the closing price of a home can always be driven up or down.But 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 T.H.E. Appraisers will guarantee you get the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.