Lowman Appraisals, Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Describe an appraisal
Describe an appraisal(List of questions) An appraisal is a thought process leading to an opinion of value. There are three "common approaches to value" which helps the real estate appraiser conclude this opinion or estimate. The Cost Approach is one of the approaches that real estate appraisers use to find the value of a house; it involves figuring what the improvements would cost less physical deterioration, adding the land value. The most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with making a comparison to similar houses close by. Usually, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most definite indicator of market value of a home. One of the least common approaches in appraising homes 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 income produced by the building.
What does an appraiser do?(List of questions) An appraiser produces a fair and credible determination of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers summarize their investigation in appraisal reports.
What are the reasons a person would need services from Lowman Appraisals, Inc.?(List of questions) There are a lot of reasons to get an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for purchasing an appraisal include:
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection? (List of questions)Appraisers do not do provide home inspections and are not home inspectors. The purpose of a home inspection is to evaluate the structure of the house from bottom to rooftop. Generally, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the requirements of the property: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical services, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural capacity of the home such as the attic, exposed insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(List of questions) To be blunt, it's like comparing sugar and saccharin. The CMA utilizes market trends to create most of their business. The appraisal is based on specific proven comparable sales. The appraisal report will also contain location and construction costs. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.
The person creating the report is actually the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, create CMA's. A certified, Pennsylvania licensed professional who bases their livelihood on valuing real estate in and around Lancaster County is behind the appraisal. Further, the appraiser is an independent voice, with no vested interest in the property's value, unlike the agent, who gets a commission based upon the price of the home.
What does the appraisal report contain? (List of questions)The main purpose of an appraisal document is to give a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
Once the report is done, how can I have assurance that the final number is veritable?(List of questions) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
Who engages the services of appraisers?(List of questions) Commonly, appraisers are called upon by mortgage lenders to estimate the value of real estate involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the house is truly adequate collateral for the loan. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does Lowman Appraisals, Inc. get the information used to estimate values in Lancaster County or other areas?(List of questions) Compiling information is one of the main tasks an appraiser performs. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser while on site.
General data is gathered from a number of sources. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", an appraiser will often use the local Multiple Listing Service. To double-check actual sales prices, we research tax records and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Appraisers routinely need to report when a property lies in a flood zone, and that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood service.
And last but not least, the appraiser assimilates general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other properties in the same market.
How can a licensed appraiser help me?(List of questions) An appraisal is a valuable tool anytime the value of your home is relevant to some 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. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. A home 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?(List of questions) PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplementary policy covers the lender in the event a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the property is lower than the loan balance. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.
How do I get ready for the appraiser?(List of questions) We begin with an inspection of the home. 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 we have easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any shrubs and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure the appraiser can get to appliances like furnaces and water heaters.
To help speed things along plus ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
Define "Market Value"(List of questions) In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:
Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?(List of questions) In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled 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 situations, the appraiser may state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.
I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?(List of questions) The added value of a particular amenity truly depends on the local market. 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.
As a rule, the best ROI from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. 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%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also help the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.