American Dream Realty & Appraisals has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Define the term "Appraisal"
Define the term "Appraisal"(Return to top) The appraisal process is an estimation that leads to an opinion of value. The appraiser will use a few "approaches," typically three, to arrive at the estimation of market value. The Cost Approach is one of the methods that real estate appraisers use to find the value of a home; it involves finding what the improvements would cost minus physical depreciation, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves finding comparable properties in the vicinity and discerning value based on making a comparison of those homes to the house in question. Generally speaking, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most accurate indicator of market value of a house. The Income Approach is generally used for determining the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of income a property would bring in.
Describe what an appraiser does(Return to top) An appraiser produces a professional, unbiased determination of market value, in the support of real estate exchanges. Appraisers demonstrate their expert findings in appraisal reports.
What are the reasons I would need services from American Dream Realty & Appraisals?(Return to top) There are a lot of reasons to order an appraisal from American Dream Realty & Appraisals with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for ordering an report include:
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection? (Return to top)Home inspectors do not produce an opinion of value and do not do appraisal reports. An inspection is a third-party investigation of the available structure and appliances of a house, from the roof to the bottom. Usually, a home inspection report will discuss the amenities and the requirements of the home: 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, exposed insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(Return to top) Frankly, they share nothing in common. The CMA uses market trends to conduct most of their business. The appraisal is based on specific definite comparable sales. Also, the appraisal looks at other factors like condition, area and building prices. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.
Who's behind the report is hands down the most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents write CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or bear specific competence when it comes to home valuation. The appraisal is produce 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 whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a flat sum for assignments, regardless of their outcome.
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report? (Return to top)Every appraisal must demonstrate a credible value opinion and must document the following:
After completing the report, how can I have assurance that the value indicated is accurate?(Return to top) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
Who hires an appraiser?(Return to top) Most of the time, appraisers are hired by mortgage lenders to estimate the value of a house involved in a loan transaction. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does American Dream Realty & Appraisals get the information used to estimate values in Montgomery County or other areas?(Return to top) Gathering information is one of the main things an appraiser does. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.
General data is gathered from a numerous sources. To find out about recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we often use the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other courthouse documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is gathered from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.
And last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other houses in the same market.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?(Return 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 figure out 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 getting an independent appraisal. For those settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from American Dream Realty & Appraisals 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.
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?(Return to top) PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI guards the lender in case a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the home is less than what the borrower still owes on the loan. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.
Do you need anything from me in advance?(Return 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 status 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 bushes and move any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. Indoors, make sure the appraiser can easily access items like furnaces and water heaters.
You can make our visit go faster and improve the quality of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?(Return to top) In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?(Return to 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 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 define how the appraisal can be used; 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.
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?(Return to top) It really depends on the market. For example, if you're in a neigborhood of small to medium priced homes, a media room may not be something people in that price range want
No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe move. 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, returning 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 an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.