Altamirano Appraisals has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Define the term "Appraisal"
Define the term "Appraisal"(List of questions) An appraisal is a thought process allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will use a several "approaches," typically three, to arrive at the estimation of market value. One of the processes is the Cost Approach - which is how much it would cost to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. Another of the approaches is the Sales Comparison Approach - which concerns discovering a comparison to other similar properties within a close proximity which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most accurate and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a residence. One of the least common approaches in appraising houses is the Income Approach, which is mainly used to find the market value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the building.
What does an appraiser do?(List of questions) An appraiser offers an unbiased and well substantiated assessment of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers reveal the details of their expert conclusions in appraisal reports.
Why would a person request a real estate appraisal?(List of questions) There are a lot of reasons to get an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for getting an appraisal report include:
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection? (List of questions)Home inspectors do not produce an opinion of value and are not appraisers. The purpose of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the home from bottom to rooftop. The archetypal property inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the integrity of the house's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(List of questions) Frankly, it's like comparing Shakespeare to reality TV. The CMA utilizes market trends to conduct most of their business. Appraisals use similar sales which are verifiable resources. Area and construction costs are also a priority in an appraisal. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.
The person creating the report is frankly the most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. 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. A certified, state licensed professional who has formed their livelihood on valuing properties in and around Los Angeles County creates the appraisal. Further, the appraiser is an independent voice, with no conditional interest in the value conclusion, unlike the agent, who gets a commission based upon the price of the home.
What's in an appraisal report? (List of questions)The main point of an appraisal report is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
Once the report is done, what assurance is there that the value conclusion is valid?(List of questions) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
Who do appraisers work for?(List of questions) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely customer, needing their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Los Angeles County or other areas?(List of questions) Gathering data is one of the primary activities of an appraiser. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser while on site.
General data is received from a numerous sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is available from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood product.
And last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from creating appraisals for other houses in the same market.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?(List of questions) If you're involved in any kind of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want an appraisal. For those selling a home, you'll want to figure out the price that gets you the most profit but also ensures you don't have to wait too long for a buyer to show up; an appraisal can help with that. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. For those settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Altamirano Appraisals is the best way to ensure assets are split up fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value means you can make wise financial decisions.
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?(List of questions) PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This added plan protects the lender if a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the home is lower 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.
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection(List of questions) We begin with an inspection of the home. 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. The best thing you can do to help is make sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any shrubs and move any items that would get in our way while we measure the structure. Indoors, make sure we can get to items like furnaces and water heaters.
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?(List of questions) 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?(List of questions) 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 entitled to a copy of the report - 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.
The exception to this rule is when a home owner hires an appraiser directly. In these scenarios, 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 use the appraisal for any purpose.
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?(List of questions) A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. 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.
As a rule, the most value returned from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. 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%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also help the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.