Understanding the Appraisal Process

Their home's purchase can be the largest financial decision some people will ever encounter. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money needed to finance the deal. And ensuring all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the purchaser 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, what party makes sure the value of the real estate is consistent with the purchase price? This is where the appraiser comes in. 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

Our first duty at Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. 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, living areas, etc, to ensure they really exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look 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 to determining the value of the property: a paired sales analysis, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Replacement Cost

Here, we use information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property similar 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 method.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the subdivisions in which they work. They innately understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent transactions in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate being appraised. 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 does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system 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 might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to associating a value with features of homes in Tuscaloosa and Tuscaloosa, Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is typically given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this case, the amount of income the real estate produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to determine the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Examining the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: 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. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. Regardless, 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. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Shamrock Appraisals, Inc. will guarantee you discover the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.