Buying real estate can be the most serious investment most will ever make. It doesn't matter if a primary residence, an additional vacation property or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.
You're likely to be familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the transaction. Next, the bank provides the money required to fund the deal. And ensuring all aspects of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller is the title company.
So, what party makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? 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 Jamie Shertzer Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.
Inspecting the subject property
To determine an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must actually view features, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.
Following the inspection, an appraiser uses 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.
Here, the appraiser pulls information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one 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.
Paired Sales Analysis
Appraisers become very familiar with the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject in question. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or extra storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.
An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Jamie Shertzer Appraisals, we are experts when it comes to knowing the value of real estate features in Dothan and Houston County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.
Valuation Using the Income Approach
In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third way of valuing real estate. In this situation, the amount of income the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.
The Bottom Line
Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. 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 they could get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. At the end of the day, an appraiser from Jamie Shertzer Appraisals will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.