An Overview of Appraisals

Acquiring real estate is the most significant financial decision most might ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, an additional vacation property or an investment, the purchase of real property is a detailed transaction that requires multiple people working in concert 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 most familiar person in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the financial capital required to bankroll the transaction. Ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes to the buyer from the seller is the title company.

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 could expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A professional South Carolina licensed appraiser from CSRA Residential Appraisals will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Appraisals begin with the home inspection

Our first task at CSRA Residential Appraisals is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must actually see aspects of the property, 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 reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the house, ensuring the square footage is proper and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Next, after the inspection, we use 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, we gather information on local construction costs, the cost of labor and other factors to calculate how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This estimate 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 are intimately familiar with the subdivisions in which they appraise. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home at hand. Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), 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 property 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.
  • 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.
Once all necessary adjustments have been made, 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 typically awarded the most weight when an appraisal is for a home purchase.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional approach to value. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the real estate yields is factored in with other rents in the area for comparable properties to derive the current value.

Arriving at a Value Conclusion

Analyzing the data from all 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 always what's being paid for the property even though it is likely the best indication of a property's value There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, urgency or 'bidding wars' that may adjust an offer or listing price up or down. Regardless, 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. The bottom line is: An appraiser from CSRA Residential Appraisals will help you get the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.