Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

A home purchase can be the most serious financial decision some of us may ever encounter. It doesn't matter if a main residence, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

You're likely to be familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar entity in the exchange. Then, the bank provides the financial capital required to bankroll the transaction. And ensuring all details of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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 property is worth the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could 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 Maider Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first duty at Maider Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and describe the layout of the property, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

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

Replacement Cost

This is where we use information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • 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.

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 Tampa and Hillsborough, Maider Appraisals is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes applied when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this case, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. 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.Regardless, the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is, an appraiser from Maider Appraisals will help you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.