D.A. Appraisals has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Define the term "Appraisal"
Define the term "Appraisal"(Go to list of questions) An appraisal is a thought process allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a several "approaches," typically three, to arrive at the estimation of market value. The Cost Approach is one of the processes that appraisers use to find value; it involves finding what the improvements would cost minus physical deterioration, adding the land value. Easily the most common approach in figuring the value of a home is the Sales Comparison Approach which involves concluding a comparison to comparable homes close by. Being the most popular approach, the Sales Comparison Approach is generally the most accurate and best indicator of market value for a home. The Income Approach is mainly used for finding 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(Go to list of questions) An appraiser generates a professional, unbiased determination of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers show their professional analysis in appraisal reports.
What are the reasons a person would require your services?(Go to list of questions) There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal from D.A. Appraisals with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for getting an report include:
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector? (Go to list of questions)Home inspectors do not figure out an opinion of value and are not appraisers. An inspection is a third-party investigation of the livable structure and systems of a house, from the top to the foundation. The standard property inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?(Go to list of questions) To be blunt, it's like comparing broadband and dial-up. The CMA depends on indefinite local market trends. An appraisal utilizes comparable sales that can be validated by public record. Location and construction costs are also precedent in an appraisal. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.
But the largest differentiator is who's doing the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, write CMA's. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Further, the appraiser is an unbiased party, with no conditional interest in the value of a home, unlike the real estate agent, whose income is tied to the value of the home.
What does the appraisal report contain? (Go to list of questions)The main objective of an appraisal document 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 delivered, how can I have confidence that the value indicated is trustworthy?(Go to list of questions) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
Who employs appraisers?(Go to list of questions) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, requiring their services to ensure a home involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.
Where does D.A. Appraisals get the information used to estimate values in Allegheny County or other areas?(Go to list of questions) Gathering data is one of the primary things an appraiser performs. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken 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 many places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide data on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. To verify actual sales prices, we look at items in the assessor's office and other public documents. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.
And most importantly, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from creating appraisals for other houses in the same market.
Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?(Go to list of questions) If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want an appraisal. When selling your house, an appraisal assists you in setting a price that maximizes profit and reduces time on the market. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. For those settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from D.A. Appraisals is the best documentation to ensure assets are split up evenly. Simply put, 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?(Go to list of questions) PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This added plan protects 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.
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection(Go to list of questions) The first step in most appraisals is the property 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 the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any bushes and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can easily access appliances like furnaces and water heaters.
The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
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 requests 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 bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.
The exception to this rule is when a home owner hires an appraiser directly. In these cases, the appraiser may define the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?(Go to list of questions) The added value of a particular amenity truly depends on the local 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. 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 weren't far behind, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also help the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become overbuilt for your neighborhood in terms of size.