C. Gaba Appraisals has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Define the term "Appraisal"
Define the term "Appraisal"(Return to top) An appraisal is an investigation allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is concluded through a formal method that generally utilizes the three main "common approaches to value". One of the methods in use is the Cost Approach, which evaluates what it would cost to restore the improvements to the house, less the age and physical dilapidation, plus the land value. The most common approach in finding the value of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with making a comparison to similar homes close by. Generally speaking, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most accurate indicator of market value of a house. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is of most importance in appraising income producing properties - it deals with estimating what an investor would pay based on the money produced by the property.
What does an appraiser do?(Return to top) An appraiser produces a professional, unbiased determination of market value, in the support of real property transactions. Appraisers summarize their professional conclusions in appraisal reports.
What would cause me to need a real estate appraisal?(Return to top) There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for getting an appraisal report include:
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector? (Return to top)The appraiser is not a home inspector nor does he/she 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. Generally, a home inspection report will explain the amenities and the necessities of the property: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical functions, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, visible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and other visible structures.
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(Return to top) Honestly, they have nothing in common. What the CMA relies upon are ill-defined trends. The appraisal depends on specific definite comparable sales. Also, the appraisal looks at other factors like condition, location and construction prices. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.
But the biggest difference is the person creating 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. 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 accept a flat sum for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report? (Return to top)Each appraisal must indicate a credible estimate of value and should identify the following:
Upon completion of the report, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is veritable?(Return to top) In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
Who engages the services of appraisers?(Return to top) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, requesting their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.
Where does C. Gaba Appraisals get the data used to estimate values in Mobile County or other areas?(Return to top) Compiling data is one of the primary things an appraiser does. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are gathered by the appraiser while on site.
General data is gathered from a many places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have data on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Appraisers often have to report when a property lies in a flood zone, so that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood service.
And most importantly, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other houses in the same market.
What can a full appraisal do for me?(Return 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. 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, be sure you're not overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. Simply put, a home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value means you can make the right financial decisions.
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?(Return to top) PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplemental plan protects the lender if a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the home 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?(Return to top) We start 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 features. Inside, make sure it is clutter free and that we can find our way 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.
You can make our visit go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
What does "Market Value" mean?(Return to top) In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:
Who has rights to the appraisal report?(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 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.
It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, the appraiser may state how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated 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?(Return to top) Like all things real estate, this is dependent on a home's location. For example, installing an inline humidifier could be nice in arid regions, but completely useless near the coast!
No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. 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, yielding 85%. On the contrary, an improvement that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.