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Real Property Appraisals: A Primer

A home purchase can be the most significant financial decision most may ever consider. It doesn't matter if it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing real property is an involved financial 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.


The majority of the participants are quite familiar. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the transaction. Next, the mortgage company provides the money required to fund the transaction. The title company sees to it that all requirements of the sale are completed and that the title is clear to pass to the buyer from the seller.

So who makes sure the value of the property is consistent with the purchase price?   This is where you meet the appraiser.   We provide an unbiased opinion of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional Kentucky licensed appraiser from Woodlee Appraisal Service will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see features first hand, 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 person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is accurate and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a sales comparison, a replacement cost calculation, and an income approach when rental properties are prevalent.

Cost Approach

Here, the appraiser pulls information on local building costs, the cost of labor and other elements to determine how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This figure often sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used method.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as upgraded appliances, additional bathrooms, an additional living area, quality of construction, lot size, we add or subtract from each comparable's sales price so that they more accurately match the features of subject property.

  • For example, if the comparable property 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, if the subject property 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 could 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 Russellville and Logan, Woodlee Appraisal Service is your local authority. The sales comparison approach to value is most often awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third way of valuing approach to value is sometimes applied when an area has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with other rents in the area for comparable properties to determine the current value.

Putting It All Together

Analyzing the data from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to state an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. 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 employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from Woodlee Appraisal Service will help you discover the most accurate property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.