What is an appraisal?

Buying a house can be the most serious financial decision most people might ever encounter. It doesn't matter if it's where you raise your family, a second vacation home or an investment, purchasing 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.

It's likely you are familiar with the parties having a role in the transaction. The real estate agent is the most recognizable entity in the exchange. Then, the mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to bankroll the exchange. The title company ensures that all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the purchaser.

So what party is responsible for making sure the property is worth the purchase price?   This is where the appraiser comes in.   We provide an unbiased opinion 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 Louisiana licensed appraiser from LeBourgeois Appraisals, LLC will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

The inspection is where an appraisal begins

To ascertain the true status of the property, it's our responsibility to first perform a thorough inspection. We must see aspects of the property first hand, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, living areas, etc., to ensure they really are present and are in the condition a reasonable person would expect them to be. To ensure the stated size of the property has not been misrepresented and convey the layout of the home, the inspection often includes creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, we identify any obvious features - or defects - that would have an impact on the value of the property.

Back at the office, we use 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

This is where the appraiser uses information on local construction costs, labor rates and other factors to derive how much it would cost to replace the property being appraised. This figure commonly sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. The cost approach is also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers get to know the communities in which they work. They thoroughly understand the value of particular features to the homeowners of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in close proximity to the subject and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the property being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), we adjust the comparable properties so that they more accurately portray the features of subject.

  • Say, for example, the comparable has an irrigation system and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of an irrigation system from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • 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.

A true estimate of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. When it comes to putting a value on features of homes in Ponchatoula and Tangipahoa, LeBourgeois Appraisals, LLC can't be beat. This approach to value is commonly awarded the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to value. In this situation, the amount of revenue the property produces is taken into consideration along with income produced by neighboring properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Analyzing the data from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to put down an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While this amount is probably the most accurate indication of what a house is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust the final price 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. It all comes down to this: An appraiser from LeBourgeois Appraisals, LLC will help you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.