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What goes into an appraisal?

One's home purchase is the most important transaction many of us might ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a second vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is an involved transaction that requires multiple parties to see it through.

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


Most people are familiar with the parties taking part in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most familiar person in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. The title company sees to it that all details of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers to the buyer from the seller.

So what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price?   In comes the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a property, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Louisiana licensed appraiser from M B Realty & Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first duty at M B Realty & Appraisals is to inspect the property to ascertain its true status. We must see aspects of the property hands on, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a typical person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated square footage is accurate and convey the layout of the house, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious amenities - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the house.

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

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 usually sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used method.

Paired Sales Analysis

Appraisers become very familiar with the neighborhoods in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent transactions in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, extra bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable has an extra half bath that the subject doesn't, the appraiser may subtract the value of that half bath from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, 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.
A valid estimate of what the subject could sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. This approach to value is most often given the most consideration when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing a house is sometimes employed when a neighborhood has a measurable number of renter occupied properties. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property at hand. The estimate of value at the bottom of the appraisal report is not necessarily the final sales price even though it is likely the best indication of a property's value 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 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 M B Realty & Appraisals will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.