Understanding the Appraisal Process

A home purchase can be the most important transaction some people might ever make. It doesn't matter if where you raise your family, an additional vacation home or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

Most of the people involved are quite familiar. The most recognizable entity in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the lender provides the money necessary to fund the exchange. And the title company sees to it that all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

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

So, what party makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price? In comes the appraiser. We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Crowe Appraisals will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first conduct a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc, to ensure they indeed are present and are in the shape a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Next, after the inspection, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

This is where the appraiser uses information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to build a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This figure usually 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 are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of particular features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, additional bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), 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 property has an irrigation system and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, if the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an amount to the comparable property.

A valid 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 Crowe Appraisals, we are an authority in knowing the worth of real estate features in Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County neighborhoods. The sales comparison approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use a third method of valuing a property. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's valueDepending 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.But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this, an appraiser from Crowe Appraisals will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.