An Overview of the Appraisal Process

Getting a house is the biggest financial decision most of us will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most familiar person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money needed to fund the transaction. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller 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, who makes sure the value of the property is consistent 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 parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Nancy J. Shilling Real Estate Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the inspection

Our first responsibility at Nancy J. Shilling Real Estate Appraisals is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must physically view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Following the inspection, 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.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to figure out how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately match the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. At Nancy J. Shilling Real Estate Appraisals, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the value of particular items in Ardmore and Marshall County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this case, the amount of income the property produces is factored in with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Reconciliation

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 what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Prices 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 typically 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 put the property on the market again. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Nancy J. Shilling Real Estate Appraisals will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.