Friday, March 16, 2018

What To Understand About Real Estate Appraisals

When purchasing or selling a property, real estate appraisals are often necessary, especially if the buyer is using a mortgage loan to purchase the property. The appraisal value of a property often influences the buyer to purchase the property or move on. If the buyer is seeking a mortgage loan to purchase the property, an appraisal is often ordered by the lender. The lender will want to obtain an appraisal to determine the true value of the property, independent of it's listed or negotiated price, to measure against what the buyer has agreed to pay. Appraisers will use their knowledge and experience to deliver an accurate home appraisal report.

As a buyer or seller, it is essential to understand the appraisal process. Continue reading our blog to discover the 7 most commonly asked questions about appraisals, and the truth behind the appraisal process.

1. Are Appraisals Really Necessary? 

Appraisals are highly suggested for all property transactions, however appraisals are only necessary when the buyer is seeking to obtain a mortgage. Since sellers want to obtain as much money as possible for their property, and buyers only want to spend what is deserved and necessary, professional appraisals make senses for both parties involved. 

Lenders always order appraisals to protect themselves. If the buyer defaults on the loan for any reason, the lender wants to know that they can sell the property to obtain the money back. Lenders never want to receive low appraisals before handing out home mortgages.

2. Who Hires the Appraiser? 

The appraiser is hired through the lender giving the mortgage, through a third-party company. Appraisers and lenders are forbidden from being in direct communication. The appraiser is a licensed professional that successfully completes licensing coursework and internship hours. The appraiser is also required to be an objective third party with no connections to anyone involved in the transaction. 

3. What Does a Real Estate Appraisal Report Contain? 

The real estate appraisal will contain specific details concerning the subject property. Included in the report, will be comparisons between similar properties that have recently sold or are for sale. The appraiser will also provide a detailed evaluation summarizing how the real estate market is performing in that specific area. Any issues or potential issues the appraiser is concerned over will be highlighted in the appraisal report. There will also be flagged descriptions of any important issues such as water penetration through the roof, or cracked walls. The appraisal will also include an estimate of the average sales price for other comparable homes.

4. Are There Multiple Types of Appraisals?

The most common and frequently used type of appraisal is a full appraisal, which includes the appraiser carefully inspecting both the inside and outside of the property. Exterior-only appraisals are sometimes performed, and are referred to as "drive-by appraisal". Drive-by appraisals are not as compressive as a full appraisal, and are often used by lenders who do not possess much doubt concerning the property being appraised.

5. What Does the Appraisal Process Really Involve? 

The appraiser will go throughout the house and inspect its state of repair, square footage, and features. The appraiser will mainly be looking for features which help determine the property market value. The appraiser will go through each room, taking careful notes of all details, big and small, which are required to accurately compare and contract nearby homes that have sold in the area. Once all details of the house are carefully inspected and recorded, the appraisor will look over the sales of recent homes in the area, and summarize a comparison before delivering the final appraisal report.

6. What is the Difference Between an Appraisal and a Home Inspection? 

Although often confused with each other, home appraisals and home inspections are two very different operations. An appraisal simply focuses on generating an accurate market value of the home, while a home inspection focuses on identifying problems associated with the home. While appraisals look for obvious defects, home inspections go much deeper and intrusive. Home inspections aim to discover faults with the property that are not discoverable by simply looking at the property.

7. Is the Appraisal Information Available to the Public?

No, home appraisal reports are not available to the public. The appraisal report belongs exclusively to the party who ordered it, not necessarily the party who paid for it. If the lender orders the appraisals, the lender have full access to the appraisal, and is responsible for sharing that information with the appropriate parties. Usually, the buyer is responsible for paying for the appraisal. The lender or mortgage holder is required to give the buyer a copy of the appraisal report by law.