VantagePoint Appraisal has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Describe an appraisal
Describe an appraisal(Return to top) An appraisal is a thought process that concludes with an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is found through the use of a formal process that commonly utilizes three "common approaches to value". The Cost Approach is one of the processes that appraisers use to find value; it involves figuring what the improvements would cost minus physical depreciation, adding the land value. Another of the methods is the Sales Comparison Approach - which involves finding a comparable analysis to other similar properties within a close vicinity which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most accurate and clearest indicator of value for a residence. One of the least common approaches in appraising residential properties is the Income Approach, which is generally 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?(Return to top) An appraiser generates an objective and well justified determination of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers demonstrate their expert conclusions in appraisal reports.
What would cause me to request services from VantagePoint Appraisal?(Return to top) There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal from VantagePoint Appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for ordering an report include:
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection? (Return to top)Appraisers do not do complete house inspections and are not home inspectors. The purpose of a home inspection is to evaluate the structure of the property from basement to rooftop. The usual house inspector's report will include an evaluation of the integrity of the property's heating systems, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and accessible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(Return to top) Simply put, it's like comparing opera to country. What the CMA depends on are superficial trends. Appraisals use comparable sales which are verifiable resources. In addition, the appraisal checks other factors like condition, location and construction prices. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.
The credentials of the person creating the report is actually the most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents, who may not have a true grasp of valuation methods or the entire market, write CMA's. A certified, Washington licensed professional who bases a career on valuing properties in and around King County creates the appraisal. 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 fee for assignments, regardless of their outcome.
What does the appraisal report contain? (Return to top)Every report must indicate a credible estimate of value and must document the following:
After completing the report, what guarantee is there that the final number is accurate?(Return to top) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
Who do appraisers work for?(Return to top) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's typical customer, using their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does VantagePoint Appraisal get the data used to estimate values in King County or other areas?(Return to top) Collecting information is one of the main things an appraiser performs. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser while on site.
General data is received from a number of sources. To find out about recently sold homes to be used as "comps", an appraiser will often use the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.
And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other houses in the same market.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?(Return to top) An appraisal is a valuable tool anytime your home's value is relevant to a financial decision. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine the price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. When buying, you can avoid overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from VantagePoint Appraisal is the best way to ensure assets are divided fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?(Return to top) PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI guards the lender if a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the home is less than what the borrower still owes 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.
Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?(Return to top) 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. On the home's interior, pick up any clutter and make sure we can get to things like furnaces and water heaters. In the yard, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.
The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
What does "Market Value" mean?(Return to top) In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?(Return to top) In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. 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 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 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?(Return to top) A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, if you live in a cold region, insulated windows can be a real plus. But they aren't as attractive in a warm-weather climate.
No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. 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%. On the contrary, something that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.