Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

Purchasing real estate can be the largest investment most could ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is an involved financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most known face in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. And ensuring all areas of the exchange are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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 value of the real estate is in line with the amount being paid? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Personal Service Realty's Residential Valuation Group will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they indeed are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where we gather information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject 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 property.

  • For example, if the comparable property has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain 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 associating a value with features of homes in Jacksonville and Duval, Personal Service Realty's Residential Valuation Group can't be beat. This approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a property is sometimes used when an area has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the strongest indication of what a house is worth, it may not be the price at which the property closes. Depending on the individual 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.Regardless, the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could recover in case they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Personal Service Realty's Residential Valuation Group will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.