Harmon Appraisal & Consulting, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Define the term "Appraisal"
Define the term "Appraisal"(Go to list of questions) The method of performing an appraisal consists of an estimation which leads to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will use a several "approaches," typically three, to come to the estimation of market value. The Cost Approach is one of the processes that appraisers use to find the value of a house; it involves concluding what the improvements would cost minus physical degradation, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach deals with finding similar houses in close proximity and discovering the value based on making a comparison of those prior sales to the property in question. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a residence. The Income Approach is primarily 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.
Describe what an appraiser does(Go to list of questions) An appraiser generates a fair and credible assessment of market value, in the support of real property exchanges. Appraisers document their expert analysis in appraisal reports.
Why would I require your services?(Go to list of questions) There are many reasons to order an appraisal from Harmon Appraisal & Consulting, LLC with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for purchasing an report include:
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection? (Go to list of questions)Home inspectors do not generate an opinion of value and are not appraisers. A third-party home inspector will evaluate the structure of the home, from the top to the bottom. Generally, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the requirements of the property: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical systems, 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 other visible structures.
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?(Go to list of questions) To be blunt, it's night and day. The CMA relies on indistinct local market trends. An appraisal relies on comparable sales that can be verified by public record. Location and architectural values are also a priority in an appraisal. A CMA delivers 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 hands down the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents, who may not have a true grasp of valuation methods or the entire market, create CMA's. A certified, state licensed professional who made their livelihood on valuing real estate in and around Logan County creates the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a previously agreed upon fee for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.
What does the appraisal report contain? (Go to list of questions)Every appraisal should indicate a credible value opinion and should identify the following:
Once the report has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the final number is trustworthy?(Go to list of questions) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
Who employs appraisers?(Go to list of questions) 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. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Logan County or other areas?(Go to list of questions) Gathering data is one of the primary tasks an appraiser does. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are noted by the appraiser while on site.
General data is collected from a numerous sources. To find out about recently sold homes to be used as "comps", an appraiser will often use the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood system.
And most importantly, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other houses in the same market.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?(Go to list of questions) Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. For those selling a home, you'll want to figure out the 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. 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 home 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?(Go to list of questions) PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. This added plan guards the lender if a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the house is lower than the loan balance. 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.
Does the appraiser need anything from the homeowner in advance?(Go to list of questions) We begin with an inspection of the home. During this process, we 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. 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 bushes and move any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can easily access items like furnaces and water heaters.
To help speed things along plus ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
What does "Market Value" mean?(Go to list of questions) In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?(Go to list of questions) For mortgage transactions, the lender requests the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. 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 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.
This rule doesn't apply when a home owner hires an appraiser directly. In these cases, the appraiser may state 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.
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?(Go to list of questions) The added value of a particular amenity truly depends on the local market. 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.
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%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also boost the value of your home (when done well) as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.