A Good Appraisal Service has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

A Good Appraisal Service is always prepared to talk to you about any concerns you might have about appraisals or real estate in Brooksville and Hernando County. Don't hesitate to contact us today.

Define the term "Appraisal"
What does an appraiser do?
Why would a person need your services?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What's in an appraisal report?
Upon completion of the report, what assurance is there that the value indicated is valid?
How are appraisers certified?
Who employs appraisers?
Where does A Good Appraisal Service get the data used to estimate values in Hernando County or other areas?
What can a full appraisal do for me?
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?
How do I get ready for the appraiser?
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?
Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?



Define the term "Appraisal"   (Return to top)

The appraisal process is an estimation that leads to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a number of "approaches," typically three, to conclude the estimation of market value. The Cost Approach is one of the processes that real estate appraisers use to find value; it involves figuring what the improvements would cost without physical depreciation, plus the land value. The most common approach in figuring the likely sales price of a home is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with concluding a comparison to similar houses close by. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most accurate and best indicator of a liklely sales price for a residence. The Income Approach is generally used for determining the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of capital a property would bring in.

What does an appraiser do?   (Return to top)

An appraiser offers a professional, unbiased assessment of market value, in the support of real estate exchanges. Appraisers present their professional conclusions in appraisal reports.


Why would a person need your services?   (Return to top)

There are a lot of reasons to get an appraisal from A Good Appraisal Service with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for ordering an report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax burden.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove insurance.
  • To contest improperly assessed property taxes.
  • To deal with an estate.
  • To provide you an edge when purchasing a home.
  • To find an honest price when putting your home on the market.
  • To defend your rights if your property is being taken by means of eminent domain in a condemnation case.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS need an appraisal on every home.
  • If you ever find yourself in a lawsuit.
For a more extensive description of the appraisal process click here.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Return to top)

Home inspectors do not produce an opinion of value and do not do appraisal reports. The point of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the home from basement to rooftop. The archetypal house inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home'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.

My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?   (Return to top)

To be blunt, it's like comparing sugar and saccharin. What the CMA relies upon are vague trends. Appraisals use comparable sales which are verifiable resources. Location and architectural prices are also important in an appraisal. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

Who's creating the report is hands down the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. A CMA is created by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. A certified, state licensed professional who has formed their livelihood on valuing properties in and around Hernando County creates the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat fee for assignments, regardless of their value conclusion.

What's in an appraisal report?   (Return to top)

The main objective 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:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and whose purposes the appraisal is to serve.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The purpose of the appraisal.
  • The type of value reported and a definition of that value.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.
  • Pertinent property attributes, including: location, physical characteristics, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible considerations.
  • Any 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 what goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Upon completion of the report, what assurance is there that the value indicated is valid?   (Return to top)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
  • The appraisal used analysis of the data.

  • That significant errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.

  • That appraisal services were not rendered in a careless or negligent fashion.

  • The final appraisal report was easy to explain, credible and defensible.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must fulfill extensive education and experience requirements that train us to produce an unbiased opinion. Plus, appraisers must stick to a stringent industry code of ethics and comply with national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for working up an appraisal and communicating its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Return to top) Licensing and certification is achieved through classroom study, tests and experience working under a supervisor. Once licensed, he/she must then engage in continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who employs appraisers?   (Return to top)

Typically, appraisers are called upon by mortgage lenders to render a value opinion on a house involved in a loan transaction. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does A Good Appraisal Service get the data used to estimate values in Hernando County or other areas?   (Return to top)

One of the most important things an appraiser does is to collect data. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser while on site.

General data is received from a numerous places. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we typically go to the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other public documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood system.

And most importantly, the appraiser assimilates general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


What can a full appraisal do for me?   (Return to top)

If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want an appraisal. When selling your house, an appraisal helps you set the most appropriate price. When buying, you can avoid overpaying by commissioning 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. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.


My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?   (Return to top)

PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI covers the lender in the event a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the value of the house is less than what is owed on the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.

The savings from dropping your PMI pays for the appraisal in a matter of months. Nobody is more qualified than A Good Appraisal Service when it comes to analyzing real estate appreciation in Brooksville and Hernando County. Contact us today.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (Return to top)

We begin with an inspection of the home. What this entails is the appraiser, after setting up an appointment, personally going through the home - recording the layout of the rooms, taking photos and documenting the general status of its amenities. Is there anything you can do to help? Yes there is! First, be sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any bushes and move any items that would get in our way while we measure the structure. Indoors, make sure the appraiser can get to appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if available).
  • 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.
  • Title policy that lists encroachments or easements.
  • Home 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".

How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?   (Return to 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."



Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?   (Return to top)

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 certainly entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner hiring the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, the appraiser may define how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?   (Return to top)

The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. 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.

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe move. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms weren't far behind, returning 85%. On the contrary, an improvement that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.