The Real Estate Cupboard #84 Archives by Steve Hubbard, Certified Buyer’s Representative
A Real Estate Appraisal
One of the most important aspects of a Real Estate transaction is the appraisal and so it is important to buyers, sellers and mortgage lenders, alike. A Real Estate appraisal is an estimate of market value of a property at a particular time and for a particular purpose. It is usually done or should be done by a licensed or certified Real Estate appraiser who is a member of professional appraisal association such as the American Society of Appraisers, and mortgage lenders invariably require these conditions. Real Estate appraisals are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Real Estate assessments but are different from assessments in that assessments are done by assessors employed by municipalities for the purpose of determining market value for property tax purposes. Assessors as a general rule don’t go inside the properties they are assessing and are working with less knowledge and have less time to spend on each property than appraisers do. An assessor might in fact rely on a property appraisal is some instances.
I have known Greg Dodge, a local Real Estate Appraiser, for many years and have always been impressed by the professional manner in which he goes about his work. Greg has been appraising residential properties in this area since 1982 and does an average of 350 appraisals a year. He feels it is important for people to think about for whom the appraiser is working, who the client is, and to understand that the client’s needs are paramount. In most cases of refinance or purchase the client is the lender whose primary interest is the suitability of a particular property as collateral for a mortgage loan sought by a borrower. A good appraisal according to Greg offers supporting information that help clearly explain to the client why and how the appraiser has determined market value and is one that gives the client information upon which decisions can be made. Greg feels it is important for people to realize that a property with unusual characteristics and special features such as a professional tennis court or oversized swimming pool which may be highly valued by a particular buyer or a seller might actually limit the market for the property. This diminished marketability might in turn limit the property’s suitability as collateral for a particular loan.
A state licensed or certified appraiser completes appraisals in conformance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. When determining market value appraisers consider all of the factors included in these standards. Nevertheless Greg believes that knowledge of and experience in the local Real Estate market, knowledge of building and construction and value influencing factors in the area such as an endless view, a stream or a studio, for example, are critically important in appraising a property. It is these issues which often form the basis for the possibility of differing opinions about a particular property among appraisers, according to Greg. He also points out that there is some confusion and misunderstanding on the part of buyers and sellers about the respective meaning of cost, price and market value and relationship of these terms to one another. Cost and price are different values and both differ, in turn, from market value. As to whether Real Estate appraising is an art or a science, Greg says if one considers heart surgery an art, one would still prefer to have the operation done by a surgeon with considerable technical skill and experience.
Although John Haluska is a relative new comer to the area he has been a licensed Real Estate appraiser for 10 years and has done approximately 3700 appraisals. John feels most appraisals done today are for refinancing. He says that appearance and condition such as peeling paint or trash around a property will influence the appraiser in his determination of market value and are factors an appraiser must report to his client, the lender. And so a home owner anticipating refinancing his or her home needs to look at it as if anticipating buying it. He advocates giving the appraiser the opportunity to report on a house in the best possible light and not expecting the appraiser to do it for you.
Steve Hubbard owns and operates Steve Hubbard Real Estate Services.
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