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What Goes Into an Appraisal?

Buying a house is the most important financial decision some people will ever encounter. Whether it's a main residence, an additional vacation property or a rental fixer upper, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to see it through.

You're probably familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The most known entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money required to fund the transaction. And ensuring all aspects of the exchange are completed and that a clear title passes 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 real estate is worth 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 licensed, certified, professional appraiser from The August Group Inc. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals start with the property inspection

Our first responsibility at The August Group Inc. is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated size of the property is accurate and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floorplan. Most importantly, we look for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Back at the office, we use two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

This is where the appraiser gathers information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other elements to derive 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 get to know the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of specific features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the subject 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 add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject.

  • For example, if the comparable has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable.
  • But, 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.

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 The August Group Inc., we are experts in knowing the value of real estate features in St Louis and Saint Louis County neighborhoods. This approach to value is typically awarded the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property yields is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to document an estimated market value for the subject property. The estimate of value on the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price 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.Regardless, the appraised value is often employed 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 The August Group Inc. will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.