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Frequently Asked Questions



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What is an appraisal?


Real estate appraisals involve the developing of an opinion of market value of real property, not personal property. No two properties are the same and all properties can differ from each other in a variety of ways, including their location, which is one of the most important determinants of value. Value is determined by using recent sales (usually withing six months) which are most similar location, style, GLA (Gross Living area), physical characteristics, condition and quality as the subject.

The information is gathered by the appraiser, analyzed and a detailed report is created with an opinion of value.

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Who might need an appraisal?


There are many different types of appraisals. Several reasons might be to purchase a home or remove PMI (private mortgage insurance.). Maybe the need is for a divorce, separation or possibly for an estate or bankruptcy. Still another reason might be to lower your property taxes through an abatement.

An appraisal could be required or desired if market value for real property is needed.

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How long does an appraisal take?


The physical inspection can take between 15 minute and over an hour depending upon the size complexity involved.

After the initial inspection the appraiser spends time researching the neighborhood then return to the office for further research, looking for similar sale to the property being appraised.

The final report is normally complete withing 2 to 4 days after the inspection, again depending on the complexity involved.

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What does the appraiser look for?


Typically, an appraiser needs to document the properties condition both inside and out, including updates and improvements as well as overall quality and functionality of construction.

The appraiser estimates the square footage (GLA-gross living area) through measurements and public information. Non-living areas such as garages, sheds or rooms below grade such as finished basements are not included in GLA however are considered in the value separately.

The appraiser with normally consider only permanent fixtures. Items such as above ground pools, small movable sheds are not permanent structures, they are not considered in value.Back to Top

What improvments add the most value?


Just how much any particular individual improvement might add to your home's market value can vary from market to market. Typically updated kitchens and bathrooms add the most value, however be careful: you may not necessarily see a return on investment, meaning if you spend $10,000 remodeling your kitchen and bath it does not necessarily mean you value will increase by $10,000.

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What is the difference between an appraisal and a broker's price opinion?


A certified appraisal is a formal, impartial estimate or opinion of value, as of a specific date, and supported by the research and analysis of relevant data. It is prepared for reliance by identified parties, and for which the appraiser accepts responsibility.

A market analysis or broker price opinion is an informal estimate of market value., based on comparable properties sold in the neighborhood preformed by a real estate agent or broker.

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What is market Value?


Market Value or fair market value is the most probable price that a property should bring (will sell for) in a competitive and open market.

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What rules do appraisers have to follow?


The ABS (Appraisal Standards Board) set the rules for developing an appraisal and reporting it's results. It promotes the use, understanding and enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices. (USPAP).

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How long is an appraisal good for?


It depends of the use for the appraisal. Usually an lending only allows and appraisal to be several months at best. A private use for an appraisal can be for a longer time, possibly six month.

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Do different types of appraisals recieve different values?


Regardless of the reason for having a appraisal done, the value does not change. Time can be a variable such as a date of death appraisal. An example would be if this type of appraisal is being done and the date of death was 9 months ago the value could be different then if the appraisal was done today.

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What can my appraisal be used for?


Depending on your needs. An appraisal can be used when not only selling but buying a home as well. Tax abatements to reduce property taxes. Sometimes a homeowner wants to know what to put their home on the market for. Appraisals can be used for divorce or separation, Estate sales, highest and best use, bankruptcy, or maybe someone just wants to know what there property is worth.

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Should I deal with a local appraiser?


A local appraiser will be much more familiar with your neighborhood as compared to someone out of the area. They do not necessarily need to be based in you town, but a good competent appraiser needs to be familiar with your area as well as the surrounding communities to complete an accurate appraisal.

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