profile picture

AccuAppraisal LLC (256) 378-7486 has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

AccuAppraisal LLC (256) 378-7486 is always happy to address any questions you might have about appraisals or real estate in Talladega County. Don't hesitate to contact us today.

Define the term "Appraisal"
Describe what an appraiser does
What are the reasons I would request your services?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What's in an appraisal report?
Once the report is done, what guarantee is there that the final number is valid?
How are appraisers certified?
Who hires AccuAppraisal LLC (256) 378-7486
Where does AccuAppraisal LLC (256) 378-7486 get the information used to estimate values in Talladega County or other areas?
Why do I need a professional appraisal?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
How do I get ready for the appraiser?
What is "Market Value?"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?

Define the term "Appraisal"   (Top)

An appraisal is an evaluation that concludes with an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is found through the use of a formal process that typically utilizes 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 finding what the improvements would cost less physical degradation, plus the land value. Another of the approaches is the Sales Comparison Approach - which deals with making a comparable analysis to other similar nearby properties which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a home. One of the least common approaches in appraising homes is the Income Approach, which is mainly used to figure the market value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Top)

An appraiser produces a fair and credible determination of market value, in the support of real property transactions. Appraisers demonstrate their findings in appraisal reports.

What are the reasons I would request your services?   (Top)

There are many reasons to purchase an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for obtaining an report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • To reduce your property taxes.
  • To build a case for a homeowner's equity and remove insurance.
  • To fight inflated property taxes.
  • If you need to settle an estate.
  • To offer you an edge when purchasing real estate.
  • To determine a reasonable sales price when putting your home on the market.
  • To protect your rights if your property is being taken by means of eminent domain in a condemnation case.
  • Because an official agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • If you are ever involved in a civil case.
If you need more information regarding the appraisal process, please click here.

How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Top)

Appraisers do not do complete home inspections and are not home inspectors. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the livable structure and appliances of a home, from the top to the foundation. The stereotypical home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the integrity of the property'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.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?   (Top)

Simply put, it's like comparing sugar and saccharin. What the CMA relies upon are superficial trends. Appraisals use similar sales which are valid resources. Area and construction costs are also precedent in an appraisal. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

But the largest differentiator is who's doing the report. A CMA is created by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a flat fee for work they perform, regardless of their value conclusion.

What's in an appraisal report?   (Top)

The main objective of an appraisal report is to provide a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The purpose of the assignment.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraiser's opinions and conclusions.
  • Relevant property characteristics, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic factors, the real property interest in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, permanent equipment installations and even intangible items.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and other items of a similar nature.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • What was entailed in the activity of completing the assignment.
For a more comprehensive look at the work that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report

Once the report is done, what guarantee is there that the final number is valid?   (Top)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
  • That the information analysis contained in the appraisal was proper.

  • Whether individually or collectively, there were no grave errors contained in the appraisal, nor any material details left out.

  • That appraisal services were provided in a careful and cognizant manner.

  • The final appraisal report was transparent, legitimate and not easily discredited.
To become a state licensed appraiser, there are strenuous education requirements as well as real world experience that must be logged. In addition, appraisers must stick to a strict industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The guidelines for working up an appraisal and documenting its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

   (Top) Licensing and certification is achieved through classroom study, tests and practical experience. Once licensed, he/she is required to complete continuing education courses so the license stays up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who hires AccuAppraisal LLC (256) 378-7486   (Top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, requesting their services to ensure property involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisers also provide opinions for legal settlements, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does AccuAppraisal LLC (256) 378-7486 get the information used to estimate values in Talladega County or other areas?   (Top)

Gathering data is one of the primary tasks an appraiser does. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are gathered by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is gathered from a number of places. To look up recent sales to be used as "comps", we typically go to the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other courthouse documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood servers.

And last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other properties in the same market.

Why do I need a professional appraisal?   (Top)

An appraisal is a valuable tool anytime your home's value is pertinent to a financial decision. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine a 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 getting an independent appraisal. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. Simply put, a house 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?   (Top)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. It protects the lender in case a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the property is less than what the borrower still owes on the loan. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

Is PMI a part of your monthly mortgage payment?Call AccuAppraisal LLC (256) 378-7486 today at 256 378-7486 or send us an e-mail. A current appraisal could save you thousands.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (Top)

The first step in most appraisals is the property inspection. 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. On the home's interior, make sure it is clutter free and that 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 exterior walls.

You can make the inspection go faster and improve the quality of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years.
  • A list of any personal property that will be left behind and sold with the home, such as a oven, or a washer and dryer, if applicable.
  • Most recent real estate tax bill from Talladega and or legal description of the property.
  • Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and your well.
  • A list of "suggested" improvements if the property is to be appraised "as complete".

What is "Market Value?"   (Top)

In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:

"The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: the buyer and seller are typically motivated; both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; payment is made in terms of cash in United States dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."

Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (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.

It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, 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?   (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 move. 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 are right up there with kitchens, yielding 85%. On the contrary, something that may not add value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.