Appraisal Quest, Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Define the term "Appraisal"
Define the term "Appraisal"(See list of FAQ's) The procedure of writing an appraisal report consists of an investigation which leads to an opinion of value. The appraiser will typically use a number of "approaches," typically three, to come to the estimation of market value. The Cost Approach is one of the processes that real estate appraisers use to find value; it involves finding what the improvements would cost without physical degradation, plus the land value. The most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with making a comparison to similar homes close by. Being the most popular approach, the Sales Comparison Approach tends to be the most precise and best indicator of market value for a residential property. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the most important method in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the money generated by the property.
What does an appraiser do?(See list of FAQ's) An appraiser provides a professional, unbiased assessment of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers exhibit their professional conclusions in appraisal reports.
What are the reasons someone would request a real estate appraisal?(See list of FAQ's) There are many reasons to purchase an appraisal from Appraisal Quest, Inc. with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection? (See list of FAQ's)Appraisers do not do complete residential property inspections and are not home inspectors. The purpose of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the house from foundation to rooftop. For the most part, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the requirements of the property: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical functions, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, accessible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?(See list of FAQ's) Frankly, they have nothing in common. What the CMA depends on are superficial trends. An appraisal relies on comparable sales that can be validated by records. Area and building prices are also precedent in an appraisal. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.
Who's creating the report is actually the most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents produce CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or bear specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, state licensed professional who made a career on valuing real estate in and around Montgomery County is behind the appraisal. Moreover, the appraiser is an unbiased voice, with no conditional interest in the value conclusion, unlike the agent, whose income is tied to the price of the home.
What are the contents of an appraisal report? (See list of FAQ's)Each appraisal must demonstrate a credible estimate of value and should clearly state the following:
Once the appraisal has been completed, what assurance is there that the value conclusion is legitimate?(See list of FAQ's) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
Who engages the services of appraisers?(See list of FAQ's) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely customer, requiring their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Montgomery County or other areas?(See list of FAQ's) One of the main activities of an appraiser is to compile data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are documented by the appraiser while on site.
General data is gathered from a number of places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. To verify actual sales prices, we look at tax records and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Appraisers often have to report when a property is in a flood zone, so that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood product.
And last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other properties in the same market.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?(See list of FAQ's) An appraisal is a valuable tool anytime the value of your home is pertinent to some financial decision. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine the price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. Simply put, a house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?(See list of FAQ's) PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects the lender in case a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the value of the home is less than what the borrower still owes on the loan. Once you reach the point where your home's equity plus the amount you've paid is at least 20% of your loan balance, you can have your PMI dropped.
How do I get ready for the appraiser?(See list of FAQ's) We start with an inspection of the property. What this entails is the appraiser, after setting up an appointment, personally going through the home - recording the layout of the rooms, taking photos and documenting the general status of its amenities. Is there anything you can do to help? Yes there is! First, be sure we have easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any shrubs and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. Indoors, make sure the appraiser can easily access items like furnaces and water heaters.
The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
What is "Market Value?"(See list of FAQ's) In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:
Who has rights to the appraisal report?(See list of FAQ's) In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.
It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these situations, the appraiser may stipulate the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.
I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?(See list of FAQ's) It really depends on the market. For example, if you're in a neigborhood of small to medium priced homes, a media room may not be something people in that price range want
No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. One recent study revealed that putting $20,000 into a kitchen remodel would add about $17,500 to the value of the home - or about an 88% return on investment. Bathrooms are right up there with kitchens, yielding 85%. On the contrary, work that may not add value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.