Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of frequently asked questions about our services or the appraisal process in general. We'd be happy to answer any of your specific questions . . . just contact us if you your question or concern isn't addressed below
Why should I hire an appraiser?
The simple answer is to find out how much your property is worth. But a certified appraisal also can help with other matters, including taxes and eliminating private mortgage insurance. A licensed appraiser can also help you with estate planning, analyzing the feasibility of proposed improvements, determining the best use for a property, and with insurance valuations.
How does an appraiser come up with a value?
By viewing your property in detail and then analyzing market data, including both historic and current comparable sales, current offers, pending sales, and proposed improvements. Then the appraiser compares your property to the broader market.
Where does an appraiser get this information?
From a wide variety of sources, including a local Multiple Listing Service, local real estate professionals, county courthouse records, private data vendors, interviews with owners, and his or her own personal knowledge of the local market. The quality and reliability of each piece of information is weighed by the appraiser.
How long is an appraisal good for?
Although there is no fixed expiration date on an appraisal, most lenders consider them outdated after six months.
How long does it take to receive the appraisal?
Depending on our schedule, you can typically make an appointment just one or two days after submitting your request. You will normally receive the completed appraisal report one business day after the visit.
Does the homeowner need to be home during the process?
Not necessarily, but we do require access to all internal and external areas of the property. The homeowner is welcome to meet with the appraiser and should plan on 15-45 minutes inside the residence depending on size and complexity of the property. The outside portion of the assessment can be done without your assistance if you are on a tight schedule.
Can the appraiser talk to other people about my home and the reasons for my appraisal?
No. The relationship between an appraiser and client is bound by confidentiality.
Does the appraisal serve as a home inspection also?
An appraisal is generally not the same as a home inspection. Although the appraiser documents condition and construction, the appraiser is typically not performing the function of a home inspector.
What does the appraiser look for inside my home?
Typically, an appraiser needs to document the condition of the interior, from the layout and features to any updates and construction. This information assists the appraiser in the valuation and comparison process.
How does the appraiser determine the square footage of my home's living area?
Generally, by measuring the exterior of the home. Non-living areas, such as garages or covered porches, aren't included.
Does the appraiser include my finished basement in the appraisal?
Finished basements are generally calculated separately from the above-ground living area. The local market will dictate the contributory value of the finished basement, which can be influenced by government regulations, the quality of the finish, and other factors.
I have the biggest house in the neighborhood. If the appraiser users other home sales in my neighborhood for comparison, will that make my appraised value less?
Not necessarily. The appraiser will consider all relevant real estate data in the area. But when analyzing other recent sales, the appraiser generally will look for the homes most comparable to yours in terms of physical characteristics and the appeal of the location. In other words, the sales in your neighborhood might not make for the best comparisons if those homes are significantly less appealing. The appraiser may determine that the best for comparison home sales are in another neighborhood in the area.
How do I get ready for an appraiser?
During the appraisal process the appraiser 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. The best thing you can do to help is make sure the appraiser has 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 interior, make sure that the appraiser can easily access all areas of the property.
The following Items, although not required, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
- A survey of the house and property.
- A deed or title report showing the legal description.
- A recent tax bill.
- A copy of the original plans.