Home Appraisals: A Primer

A home purchase is the most serious investment most people might ever consider. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to finance the deal. The title company makes sure that all areas of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer 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 real estate is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Jordan Services will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

Our first duty at Jordan Services 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, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are there and are in the condition a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - 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 the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to build a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers are intimately familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly 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 home being appraised. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

Once all necessary adjustments have been made, 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 associating a value with features of homes in Lufkin and Angelina, Jordan Services can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third way of valuing real estate. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with income produced by similar properties to derive the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property in question. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueIt's not uncommon for prices to 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Jordan Services will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.