Baldwin Appraisals, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Define the term "Appraisal"
Define the term "Appraisal"(Go to list of questions) An appraisal is an evaluation that concludes with an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is arrived at using a formal method that usually utilizes the three main "common approaches to value". One of the processes in use is the Cost Approach, which finds what it would cost to restore the improvements to the home, minus depreciation and physical dilapidation, adding the land value. The most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a home is the Sales Comparison Approach which involves making a comparison to comparable houses close by. Usually, 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 mainly used to figure the value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the property.
What does an appraiser do?(Go to list of questions) An appraiser generates a professional, unbiased determination of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers demonstrate their professional conclusions in appraisal reports.
What are the reasons someone would require a real estate appraisal?(Go to list of questions) There are many reasons to get an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for obtaining an report include:
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection? (Go to list of questions)Home inspectors do not generate an opinion of value and are not appraisers. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the livable structure and appliances of a property, from the roof to the bottom. Generally, a home inspection report will discuss the amenities and the necessities 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, accessible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and other visible structures.
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?(Go to list of questions) Honestly, they have nothing in common. What the CMA depends on are vague trends. Appraisals use comparable sales which are valid resources. Area and construction costs are also a priority in an appraisal. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.
But the biggest difference is who's creating the report. Real estate agents write CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or have specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, state licensed professional who has formed their livelihood on valuing real estate in and around Broome County creates the appraisal. Further, the appraiser is an independent party, with no conditional interest in the property's value, unlike the agent, whose income is tied to the value of the home.
What are the contents of an appraisal report? (Go to list of questions)The main point of an appraisal report is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
Once the report has been completed, how can I have confidence that the final number is trustworthy?(Go to list of questions) In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
Who hires an appraiser?(Go to list of questions) Commonly, appraisers are employed by lenders to estimate the value of real estate involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the property is truly adequate collateral for the loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Broome County or other areas?(Go to list of questions) One of the main tasks an appraiser performs is to gather data. Data can be divided into Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the property 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 sources. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", an appraiser will typically use the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other courthouse documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is available from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood product.
And last but not least, 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?(Go to list of questions) Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. When selling your home, an appraisal helps you set a price that maximizes profit and reduces time on the market. 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. Simply put, a house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?(Go to list of questions) PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. It protects the lender in the event a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the property is lower than what is owed on 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(Go to list of questions) We begin with an inspection of the property. 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 the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house (gates aren't locked, etc). Trim any landscaping and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can easily access items like furnaces and water heaters.
To help speed things along plus ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
What is "Market Value?"(Go to list of questions) In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:
Who actually owns the appraisal report?(Go to list of questions) 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 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 state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stipulated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?(Go to list of questions) The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. For example, putting in an inline humidifier could be nice in arid regions, but completely useless near the coast!
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, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also increase the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.