Understanding Appraisals

Their home's purchase can be the most significant investment most of us will ever consider. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, a second vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the lender provides the money necessary to fund the transaction. The title company ensures that all requirements of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to pass from the seller to the purchaser.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, who's responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? In comes 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 Integrated Assets will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the home inspection

Our first duty at Integrated Assets is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - 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 we gather information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to figure out how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. 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 at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional 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 are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • If, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract 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.

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 Integrated Assets, we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of particular items in Memphis and Shelby County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically given the most consideration 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 case, the amount of revenue the real estate produces is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Reconciliation

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. Regardless, the appraised value is typically employed 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 Integrated Assets will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.