profile picture

A Description of the Appraisal Process

A home purchase is the most significant transaction most of us may ever make. Whether it's where you raise your family, a seasonal vacation home or a rental fixer upper, purchasing real property is a detailed financial transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

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 parties participating are quite familiar. The most known person in the transaction is the real estate agent. Next, the bank provides the money needed to bankroll the deal. 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 what party is responsible for making sure the value of the property is in line with 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 August Schultz & Associates Inc. will ensure you as an interested party are informed.

Inspecting the subject property

To determine the true status of the property, it's our duty to first perform a thorough inspection. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they really are there and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. To make sure the stated square footage is accurate and illustrate the layout of the home, the inspection often entails creating a sketch of the floor plan. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

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 analyze information on local building costs, labor rates and other elements to derive how much it would cost to construct a property nearly identical to the one being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Sales Comparison

Appraisers can tell you a lot about the neighborhoods in which they work. We thoroughly understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. Then, the appraiser looks up recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the home being appraised. By assigning a dollar value to 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.

  • If, for example, the comparable property has a storm shelter and the subject does not, the appraiser may subtract the value of a storm shelter from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • If the subject has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add an 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. The sales comparison approach to value is commonly given the most importance when an appraisal is for a home exchange.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

A third method of valuing real estate is sometimes used when a neighborhood has a reasonable number of renter occupied properties. In this scenario, the amount of revenue the property generates is factored in with income produced by comparable properties to give an indicator of the current value.

The Bottom Line

Combining information from all applicable approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. Note: While the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as the seller's desire to get out of the property, 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 they could recover in the event they had to put the property on the market again. The bottom line is: An appraiser from August Schultz & Associates Inc. will help you attain the most fair and balanced property value, so you can make wise real estate decisions.