Harris Appraisal Services, Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Describe an appraisal
Describe an appraisal(Top) The procedure of writing an appraisal consists of an estimation which forms an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is arrived at using a formal method that generally utilizes three "common approaches to value". One of the processes is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves searching for comparable houses nearby and discerning value based on making a comparison of those prior sales to the home being investigated. Being the most popular approach, the Sales Comparison Approach tends to be the most precise and best indicator of market value for a residence. One of the least common approaches in appraising homes is the Income Approach, which is commonly used to determine the market value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the building.
What does an appraiser do?(Top) An appraiser produces an objective and well justified assessment of market value, in the support of real property exchanges. Appraisers demonstrate their expert findings in appraisal reports.
Why would someone request a real estate appraisal?(Top) There are a lot of reasons to purchase an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for obtaining an report include:
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(Top) Simply, they share nothing in common. The CMA depends on indistinct market trends. The appraisal is based on similar verifiable comparable sales. The appraisal report will also contain area and building costs. 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 biggest difference is who's creating the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, write CMA's. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a flat fee for assignments, regardless of their outcome.
Once the report has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is legitimate?(Top) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
Who are an appraiser's customers?(Top) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's typical client, requiring their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisers also provide opinions for legal settlements, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Jackson County or other areas?(Top) One of the main tasks an appraiser must accomplish is to collect property data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.
General data is gathered from a many places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have information on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. Tax records and other courthouse documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Appraisers routinely have to report when a property is in a flood zone, and that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood product.
And last but not least, the appraiser assimilates general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other properties in the same market.
Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?(Top) Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. If you're selling your house, an appraisal helps you set the most appropriate price. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. A home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?(Top) PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI covers the lender in case a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the house is less than what is owed on the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.
How do I get ready for the appraiser?(Top) The first step in most appraisals is the home inspection. 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 condition of its amenities. On the home's interior, make sure it is clutter free and that we can get to things like furnaces and water heaters. In the yard, trim any bushes so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.
You can make things go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
What is "Market Value?"(Top) In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:
Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?(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 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 hiring the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stipulated otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.
Which home renovations add the most to the price?(Top) The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. For example, if you live in a cold region, insulated windows can be a real plus. But they aren't as attractive in a warm-weather climate.
As a rule, the most value returned from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. 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%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also help the value of your home (when done well) as long as your home doesn't then become overbuilt for your neighborhood in terms of size.