A Description of the Appraisal Process

Buying a home is the biggest transaction many may ever consider. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, an additional vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. The title company sees to it that all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers 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, who's responsible for making sure the property is worth the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate 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 LHC Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first duty at LHC Appraisals is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they truly are present and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and document the layout of the home, the inspection often includes 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, we use 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

Here, the appraiser analyzes information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At LHC Appraisals, we are experts when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Denton and Denton County neighborhoods. This approach to value is most often given the most weight when an appraisal is for a home 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 revenue the property generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. 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 the property is actually worth. At the end of the day, an appraiser from LHC Appraisals will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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