What is an Appraisal? - An appraisal is a professional opinion of value, determined by a licensed or certified real estate appraiser, and usually transmitted via a written appraisal report.
When do I need an appraisal? - An appraisal is generally needed anytime you are trying to obtain financing on your home. An appraisal could also be needed to remove PMI, to determine a sale price, or for a number of other reasons.
How does an appraiser get licensed? - Before an appraiser is licensed, a rigorous apprenticeship must be completed. Depending on the state, this apprenticeship involves many hours of assistance work, years of experience, and a series of classes. And after all that, a final licensing exam must be passed before the state will issue an appraisal license.
How is my fee determined? - An appraisal fee is generally based on a simple fee grid. If additional forms or addendums are needed, or is the appraisal is complex, difficult, or on an extremely high dollar home, then the fee is raised to compensate the appraiser for the additional work involved.
How does the appraiser figure out how much my house is worth? - The majority of residential appraisals use only one of the three main appraisal methods, the sales comparison, or market approach. This method takes homes that have recently sold in the marketing area (comps), and, after accounting for differences, determines your homes market value. The other 2 approaches are used only if the property requires. They are the Cost approach and the Income approach. In our market area, however, these methods are not typically used to determine market value.
What if I don't agree with the value? - You are free to call our office and discuss your appraisal. However, keep in mind, an appraisal has a specific "intended use." Most often, this use is to secure mortgage financing. In other words, if your loan goes through, then the appraisal has served its purpose. The value on that appraisal will never be reported to the municipality or put on any permanent record. In reality, it would be a violation of federal law if that appraisal were ever used again.
Do I need to be home for the inspection? - No. You are welcome to be a part of the appraisal inspection, but if for some reason you are not able to be there, as long as our appraiser has access to the interior of your house, we can complete our inspection. This could be a neighbor, and family member, or even a hidden key. This is entirely your decision.
Will my value be affected if my house is dirty? - Not at all. Personal property is not included in a real estate appraisal, whether its scattered about or organized nicely in closets.
How long will it take? - The inspection can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the size and complexity of the home. But the inspection is the quickest part of the appraisal process. The full appraisal, however, can take anywhere from 2 days to over a week, depending on the research and reporting involved in developing an accurate appraisal
Will I get a copy of the appraisal? - If you are getting an appraisal as part of a loan, then your lender will provide you with an appraisal at closing. If you ordered the appraisal for personal reasons, such as PMI removal or to determine a sale price, then you will certainly receive a copy of the appraisal. Who the appraisal is directly sent to is identified as the "intended user." If your appraisal is associated with a loan, then the lender or bank is the intended user even if you paid the appraiser directly. This is mandated by USPAP, the federal appraisal guidelines.