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Understanding the Appraisal Process

Purchasing real estate can be the largest investment most people might ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

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

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money needed to fund the transaction. Ensuring all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to transfer to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So who's responsible for making sure the real estate is consistent with the amount being paid?   In comes 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 professional Texas licensed appraiser from Central Appraisal Services will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at Central Appraisal Services is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage has not been misrepresented and illustrate the layout of the property, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This estimate usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.
An opinion of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. This approach to value is commonly given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to determine the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's market value Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But 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 sell the property again. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from Central Appraisal Services will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.