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Understanding the Appraisal Process

One's home purchase can be the largest transaction most will ever make. It doesn't matter if it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple parties to make it all happen.

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

Most of the people involved are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most known face in the transaction. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital needed to fund the deal. The title company sees to it that all areas of the exchange are completed and that the title is clear to transfer from the seller to the buyer.

So what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Texas licensed appraiser from Tradewinds Appraisals, LLC will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

Our first responsibility at Tradewinds Appraisals, LLC is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly are present and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floor plan, ensuring the square footage is accurate and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Following the inspection, we use two or three approaches when determining the value of the property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, we use information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to ascertain how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure usually sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the communities in which they work. We innately understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • If, for example, the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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 associating a value with features of homes in Galveston and Galveston, Tradewinds Appraisals, LLC is second to none. The sales comparison approach to value is typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing approach to value is sometimes employed when an area has a measurable number of rental properties. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property produces is factored in with income produced by nearby 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 document an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the best indication of what a property would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is typically used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property would likely sell for in an open marketplace. The bottom line is: An appraiser from Tradewinds Appraisals, LLC will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.