Pullum Appraisals has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
What is an appraisal?
What is an appraisal?(Return to top) The appraisal process is an evaluation that leads to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is arrived at through the use of a formal method that commonly uses three "common approaches to value". One of them is the Cost Approach - which is how much capital would be required to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves finding comparable homes nearby and discovering the value based on making a comparison of those prior sales to the property being appraised. Being the most commonly used approach, the Sales Comparison Approach tends to be the most accurate and best indicator of market value for a residential property. The Income Approach is mainly used for determining 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(Return to top) An appraiser offers a fair and credible opinion of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers illustate their conclusions in appraisal reports.
What would cause me to request your services?(Return to top) There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal from Pullum Appraisals with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for ordering an appraisal include:
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection? (Return to top)The appraiser is not a home inspector and does not do a full home inspection. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the available structure and systems of a home, from the top to the bottom. For the most part, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the requirements of the home: 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, visible 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)?(Return to top) Simply, they share nothing in common. The CMA depends on vague trends in the market. An appraisal utilizes comparable sales that can be proven by public record. Also, the appraisal checks other factors like condition, neighborhood and building costs. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.
But the most significant factor is the person creating the report. Real estate agents write CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or bear specific competence when it comes to home valuation. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat fee for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report? (Return to top)The main point 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:
After completing the report, what assurance is there that the value indicated is trustworthy?(Return to top) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
Who are an appraiser's customers?(Return to top) Commonly, appraisers are called upon by mortgage lenders to estimate the value of a home involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the property is indeed adequate collateral for the loan. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Limestone County or other areas?(Return to top) One of the primary activities of an appraiser is to assimilate data. 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 while on site.
General data is received from a numerous places. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", an appraiser will often use the local Multiple Listing Service. To verify actual sales prices, we research tax records and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Appraisers routinely have to report when a property is in a flood zone, so that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood product.
And most importantly, the appraiser assimilates general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other properties in the same market.
Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?(Return to top) If you're making some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want an appraisal. If you're selling your house, an appraisal will help you determine the most appropriate price. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Pullum Appraisals is the best documentation to ensure assets are split up properly. Simply put, 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 is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This added plan covers the lender in the event a borrower defaults on the loan and the value of the home is less than the balance of the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.
Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?(Return to top) The first step in most appraisals is the property inspection. During this process, we will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. 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 shrubs and move 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?"(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) 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 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 engaging 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 stated otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?(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 weren't far behind, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also help the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.