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What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Getting real estate is the most serious investment many will ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, an additional vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most of the parties involved are quite familiar. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the mortgage company provides the money necessary to fund the transaction. And the title company makes sure that all areas of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer.

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 property is worth the amount being paid? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. 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, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and document the layout of the property, the inspection often requires creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

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

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • However, if the subject 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 putting a value on features of homes in Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa, Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. can't be beat. The sales comparison approach to value is usually awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of what a property is worth. Depending on the individual circumstances 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 the event they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.