Real Estate Appraisals: A Primer

A home purchase is the most important transaction many of us may ever make. Whether it's a main residence, a second vacation home or one of many rentals, the purchase of real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

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


Practically all the people involved are very familiar. The most familiar entity in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money necessary to bankroll the transaction. The title company makes sure that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

So who's responsible for making sure the property is consistent with the purchase price?   This is where you meet 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 Florida licensed appraiser from The Hohman Appraisal Company will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals start with the inspection

To ascertain an accurate status of the property, it's our responsibility to first complete a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, amenities, etc., to ensure they truly exist and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser employs two or three approaches when determining the value of real property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser gathers information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to calculate how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This value often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. We innately understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the area and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has a storm shelter and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter 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.
After all differences have been accounted for, the appraiser reconciles the adjusted sales prices of all the comps and then derives an opinion of what the subject could sell for. This approach to value is usually awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use an additional way of valuing a property. In this scenario, the amount of income the property generates is factored in with income produced by similar 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 state an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house would sell for in an open market, it probably will not be the final sales price. It's not uncommon for prices to be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often employed 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. Here's what it all boils down to: An appraiser from The Hohman Appraisal Company will guarantee you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.