What goes into an appraisal?

Purchasing a house can be the most important financial decision some people may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to pull it all off.

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 having a role in the transaction. The most recognizable person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money needed to bankroll the exchange. Ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

So what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the purchase price?   This is where the appraiser comes in.   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 professional Florida licensed appraiser from Reeves Appraisal Company will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

Our first duty at Reeves Appraisal Company is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see features first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they really exist and are in the shape a typical buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Next, after the inspection, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Replacement Cost

This is where we use information on local construction costs, labor rates and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This figure 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 work. We innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if 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.
  • But, in the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.
When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Lakeland and Polk, Reeves Appraisal Company can't be beat. This approach to value is most often awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

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 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 stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most accurate indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the specific situations 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. But the appraised value is typically employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to sell the property again. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Reeves Appraisal Company will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.