Eugene Seczko Appraisals has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
What is an appraisal?
What is an appraisal?(Back to top) The method of writing an appraisal consists of an inspection which forms an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is found by a formal method that usually uses the three main "common approaches to value". The Cost Approach is one of the processes that real estate appraisers use to find value; it involves concluding what the improvements would cost without physical depreciation, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves searching for comparable homes in the vicinity and figuring out the value based on making a comparison of those houses to the property in question. Being the most commonly used approach, the Sales Comparison Approach is generally the most precise and best indicator of market value for a property. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is of most importance in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the property.
What does an appraiser do?(Back to top) An appraiser provides a professional, unbiased determination of market value, in the support of real property exchanges. Appraisers exhibit their expert investigation in appraisal reports.
What are the reasons a person would need your services?(Back to top) There are a lot of reasons to purchase an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for ordering an appraisal report include:
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection? (Back to top)The appraiser is not a home inspector and does not do a full home inspection. A third-party home inspector will evaluate the structure of the house, from the top to the bottom. The standard house inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the house's heating system, 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.
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?(Back to top) Honestly, they share nothing in common. What the CMA relies upon are ill-defined trends. The appraisal relies on specific verifiable comparable sales. The appraisal report will also contain area and construction values. 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 biggest difference is the person doing the report. A CMA is written by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Further, the appraiser is an independent party, with no conditional interest in the value of a home, unlike the agent, whose income is tied to the price of the home.
What's in an appraisal report? (Back to top)Each appraisal should indicate a credible value opinion and will clearly state the following:
Once the assignment has been delivered, how can I have a guarantee that the final number is valid?(Back to top) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
Who hires Eugene Seczko Appraisals(Back to top) Most of the time, appraisers are employed by mortgage lenders to render a value opinion on real estate involved in a loan transaction. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Crow Wing County or other areas?(Back to top) One of the primary tasks an appraiser engages in is to gather property data. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are gathered by the appraiser during an inspection.
General data is received from a number of sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have information on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. Tax records and other courthouse documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Appraisers often 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 last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other houses in the same market.
How can a licensed appraiser help me?(Back to top) 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 assists you in setting the most appropriate price. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. For those settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Eugene Seczko Appraisals is the best documentation to ensure assets are split up fairly. A home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value is essential to making smart financial decisions.
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?(Back to top) PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. It protects the lender in the event a borrower defaults on the loan and the value of the house is lower 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.
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal appointment(Back to top) We start with an inspection of the property. During this process, the appraiser 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 . Trim any shrubs and move any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. Indoors, make sure we can easily access appliances like furnaces and water heaters.
To help expedite our work plus ensure a more accurate report, try if possible to have the following items:
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?(Back 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?(Back to top) 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 entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.
This rule doesn't apply when a home owner engages an appraiser directly. In these situations, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used; 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.
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?(Back to top) Like all things real estate, this is dependent on a home's location. For example, adding a central air conditioner in to a home in the South may add significant value, while putting one in a home near the Pacific Northwest might not have much impact.
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 were second, returning 85%. On the contrary, something that may not add value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.