Ross Appraisal Firm, LLC. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
What is an appraisal?
What is an appraisal?(See list of FAQ's) An appraiser performs an estimation that leads to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is figured by a formal method that commonly utilizes three "common approaches to value". The Cost Approach is one of the methods that real estate appraisers use to find the value of a house; it involves concluding what the improvements would cost minus physical depreciation, adding the land value. Easily the most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which involves figuring a comparison to comparable houses close by. Generally speaking, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most definite indicator of market value of a residential property. One of the least common approaches in appraising residential properties 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 capital produced by the building.
Describe what an appraiser does(See list of FAQ's) An appraiser generates a fair and credible determination of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers exhibit their expert conclusions in appraisal reports.
What would cause me to need your services?(See list of FAQ's) There are a lot of reasons to order an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for obtaining an report include:
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector? (See list of FAQ's)The appraiser is not a home inspector and does not do a full home inspection. An inspection is a third-party investigation of the livable structure and appliances of a home, from the top to the foundation. The standard home inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the integrity of the home's heating systems, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and accessible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?(See list of FAQ's) Simply put, it's like comparing Shakespeare to reality TV. The CMA utilizes market trends to create most of their business. The appraisal relies on specific proven comparable sales. The appraisal report will also include area and building values. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.
But the most significant factor is who's behind 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 produce by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Further, the appraiser is an unbiased party, with no conditional interest in the property's value, unlike the agent, whose income is tied to the value of the home.
What's in an appraisal report? (See list of FAQ's)The main point of an appraisal document is to provide a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
After completing the appraisal, what guarantee is there that the final number is valid?(See list of FAQ's) In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
Who are an appraiser's customers?(See list of FAQ's) Most of the time, appraisers are called upon by mortgage lenders to render a value opinion on property involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the subject is indeed adequate collateral for the loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.
Where does Ross Appraisal Firm, LLC. get the data used to estimate values in Greenville County or other areas?(See list of FAQ's) One of the most important things an appraiser does is to gather data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser while on site.
General data is gathered from a variety of places. To research recently sold homes to be used as "comps", an appraiser will typically use the local Multiple Listing Service. To verify actual sales prices, we use tax records and other public documents. Flood zone data is gathered from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood servers.
And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other houses in the same market.
Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?(See list of FAQ's) If you're making any kind of financial decision and the value of your home matters, you'll want to hire a licensed appraiser. When selling your house, an appraisal helps you set the most appropriate price. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Ross Appraisal Firm, LLC. is the best documentation to ensure assets are split up evenly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?(See list of FAQ's) PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects the lender in the event a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the home is less than the loan balance. 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.
Do you need anything from me in advance?(See list of FAQ's) We start 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. Inside, make sure it is clutter free and that we can access things like furnaces and water heaters. In the yard, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of exterior walls.
To help expedite our work plus ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
What is "Market Value?"(See list of FAQ's) In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:
Once complete, who actually owns 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 certainly entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed 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 situations, the appraiser may state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?(See list of FAQ's) Like all things real estate, this is dependent on a home's location. 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. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms are right up there with kitchens, yielding 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 overbuilt for your neighborhood in terms of size.