Appalachian Valuation Services Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
What is an appraisal?
What is an appraisal?(Back to top) An appraisal is a thought process leading to an opinion of value. The appraiser must use a few "approaches," typically three, to conclude the estimation of market value. One of them is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves searching for similar homes in the vicinity and discerning value based on making a comparison of those homes to the property in question. Generally speaking, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most accurate indicator of market value of a residential property. The Income Approach is mainly used for figuring out the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of capital a property produce.
What does an appraiser do?(Back to top) An appraiser provides a fair and credible opinion of market value, in the support of real property transactions. Appraisers summarize their expert investigation in appraisal reports.
Why would a person request a real estate appraisal?(Back to top) There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for obtaining an appraisal include:
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection? (Back to top)Home inspectors do not generate an opinion of value and do not do appraisal reports. The point of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the home from foundation to top. For the most part, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the requirements of the house: 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, exposed insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(Back to top) Frankly, they have nothing in common. What the CMA relies upon are vague trends. An appraisal is based on comparable sales that can be proven by records. Location and construction prices are also important in an appraisal. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.
But the largest differentiator is who's behind the report. A CMA is created by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat fee for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report? (Back to top)Each report should demonstrate a believable estimate of value and should clearly state the following:
Upon completion of the appraisal, how can I have assurance that the value indicated is valid?(Back to top) In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
Who hires an appraiser?(Back to top) Typically, appraisers are hired by mortgage lenders to estimate the value of a home involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the property is truly adequate collateral for the loan. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does Appalachian Valuation Services Inc. get the information used to estimate values in Cherokee County or other areas?(Back to top) One of the most important activities of an appraiser is to gather property data. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.
General data is received from a many sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide data on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. To verify actual sales prices, we look at tax records and other public documents. Appraisers routinely have to report when a property lies in a flood zone, so that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood service.
And most importantly, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other properties in the same market.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?(Back to top) If you're making any kind of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want to hire a licensed appraiser. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine a price that gets you the most profit but also ensures you don't have to wait too long for a buyer to show up; an appraisal can help with that. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. For those settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Appalachian Valuation Services Inc. is the best way to ensure assets are split up properly. Simply put, a house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value means you can make informed financial decisions.
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?(Back to top) PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplemental plan takes care of the lender if a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the home is lower than what is owed 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.
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection(Back to top) We start with an inspection of the property. During this process, the appraiser will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. The best thing you can do to help is make sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any shrubs and move 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.
To help expedite our work plus ensure a more accurate report, try if possible to have the following items:
What is "Market Value?"(Back to top) In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:
Who has rights to the appraisal report?(Back to top) For mortgage transactions, the lender orders the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. While the buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within. The buyer is certainly entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually included 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 hiring the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, the appraiser may state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stipulated 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?(Back to top) The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. 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 move. 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 weren't far behind, returning 85%. On the contrary, something that may not add value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.