Common Assumptions and Facts Concerning Appraisals
Assumption: The appraised value of a property will vary, depending upon whether the appraisal is conducted for the buyer or the seller.
Fact: The appraiser has no vested interest in the outcome of the appraisal and should render services with independence, objectivity, and impartiality.
Assumption: You generally can tell what a property is worth simply by looking at the outside.
Fact: Property value is determined by a number of factors, including location, condition, improvements, amenities, and market trends.
Assumption: Appraisers are hired only to estimate real property values in property sales involving mortgage lending transactions.
Fact: Depending upon their qualifications and designations, appraisers can and do provide a variety of services, including advice for estate planning, dispute resolution, zoning and tax assessment, review PMI removal and cost/benefit analysis.
Assumption: Assessed value should equate to market value.
Fact: While most states support the concept that assessed value approximate estimated market value, this often is not the case. Examples include when interior remodeling has occured and the assessor is unaware of the improvements, or when properties in the vicinity have not been reassessed for an extended period.
Assumption: Market value should approximate replacement cost.
Fact: Market value is based on what a willing buyer likely would pay a willing seller for a particular property, with neither being under pressure to buy or sell. Replacement cost is the dollar amount required to reconstruct a property in-kind.
Assumption: Appraisers use a formula, such as a specific price per square foot, to figure out the value of a home.
Fact: Appraisers make a detailed analysis of all factors pertaining to the value of a home including its location, condition, size, proximity to facilities and recent sale prices of comparable properties in the subject's market area.
Assumption: Because consumers pay for appraisals when applying for loans to purchase or refinance real estate, they own their appraisal.
Fact: The appraisal is, in fact, legally owned by the lender - unless the lender "releases its interest" in the document. However, consumers may obtain a copy of the appraisal report from the lender who had ordered the report under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Contents of the appraisal (actual wording, comments, and opinions) remain the "Intellectual Property" of the Appraiser.
Assumption: In a robust economy - when the sales prices of homes in a given area are reported to be rising by a particular percentage - the value of individual properties in the area can be expected to appreciate by that same percentage.
Fact: Value appreciation of a specific property must be determined on an individual basis, factoring data on comparable properties and other relevant considerations. This is true in good times as well as bad.
Assumption: Consumers need not be concerned with what is in the appraisal document so long as it satisfies the needs of their lending institution.
Fact: Only if consumers read a copy of their appraisal can they double-check its accuracy and question the result. Also, it makes a valuable record for future reference, containing useful and often revealing information - including the legal and physical description of the property, square footage measurements, list of comparable properties in the neighborhood, neighborhood description and a narrative of current real estate activity and/or market trends in the vicinity.
Assumption: An appraisal is the same as a home inspection.
Fact: An appraisal does not serve the same purpose as a home inspection. The appraiser forms an opinion of value in the appraisal process and resulting report. A home inspector determines the condition of the home and its major components and reports these findings.
Atlantic Coast Appraisal Services, L.L.C. Phone: 609-296-4542 Fax: 609-296-3860