Uptown Appraisal, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
What is an appraisal?
What is an appraisal?(Back to top) The appraisal process is an evaluation that generates an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is concluded using a formal process that usually utilizes three "common approaches to value". One of the three is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. The most common approach in figuring the value of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with figuring a comparison to comparable properties close by. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most definitive and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a house. One of the least common approaches in appraising houses is the Income Approach, which is commonly used to find 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(Back to top) An appraiser offers a professional, unbiased opinion of market value, in the support of real estate transactions. Appraisers present their expert findings in appraisal reports.
What would cause me to request your services?(Back to top) There are many reasons to get an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for getting an appraisal report include:
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection? (Back to top)The appraiser is not a home inspector and he or she does not do a full home inspection. A third-party home inspector will judge the structure of the property, from the top to the bottom. For the most part, a home inspection report will explain the amenities and the requirements of the house: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical systems, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural capacity of the home such as the attic, visible 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?(Back to top) Simply, they share nothing in common. The CMA uses market trends to conduct most of their business. An appraisal utilizes comparable sales that can be verified by records. The appraisal report will also contain location and construction prices. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.
But the largest differentiator is the person doing the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, generate CMA's. A certified, Minnesota licensed professional who has formed their livelihood on valuing homes in and around Ramsey County is behind the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a previously agreed upon fee for assignments, regardless of their value conclusion.
What are the contents of an appraisal report? (Back to top)Each appraisal should indicate a supported estimate of value and must document the following:
Once the appraisal is done, how can I have a guarantee that the value conclusion is accurate?(Back to top) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
Who are an appraiser's customers?(Back to top) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, requesting 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 hire appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Ramsey County or other areas?(Back to top) Gathering information is one of the primary tasks an appraiser performs. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are gathered by the appraiser during an inspection.
General data is received from a many sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. Tax records and other public documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is gathered from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.
And most importantly, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other properties in the same market.
What can a full appraisal do for me?(Back to top) 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 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. When buying, you can avoid overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. A house 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?(Back to top) PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplementary policy covers the lender if a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the house is less than the balance of 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) 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. Is there anything you can do to help? Yes there is! First, be sure we have easy access to the exterior of the house (gates aren't locked, etc). Trim any shrubs and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can get to items like furnaces and water heaters.
You can make our visit go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?(Back to top) In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:
Who actually owns the appraisal report?(Back to top) In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. 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 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 scenarios, the appraiser may define 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.
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?(Back to top) Like all things real estate, this is dependent on a home's location. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes
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 were second, 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 atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.