Milhizer and Associates has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Describe an appraisal
Describe an appraisal(Back to top) An appraisal report is a thought process allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. There are three "common approaches to value" which helps the appraiser conclude this opinion or valuation. One of the methods in use is the Cost Approach, which is what it would cost to restore the improvements to the property, less the age and physical deterioration, plus the land value. The most common approach in finding the value of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with making a comparison to comparable houses close by. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most accurate and best indicator of value for a home. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the best method in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the capital generated by the property.
Describe what an appraiser does(Back to top) An appraiser produces a professional, unbiased assessment of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers document their professional findings in appraisal reports.
Why would someone request services from Milhizer and Associates?(Back to top) There are a lot of reasons to get an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for getting an report include:
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection? (Back to top)Appraisers do not do perform residential property inspections and are not home inspectors. A third-party home inspector will evaluate the structure of the home, from the top to the foundation. The general home inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the condition of the house'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?(Back to top) Frankly, it's like comparing sugar and saccharin. What the CMA depends on are vague trends. The appraisal is based on similar proven comparable sales. The appraisal report will also contain neighborhood and building values. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.
But the most significant factor is the person doing the report. 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. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. 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 work they perform, regardless of their outcome.
What's in an appraisal report? (Back 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, you'll usually see the following:
Once the assignment is done, how can I have certainty that the final number is legitimate?(Back to top) In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
Who employs appraisers?(Back to top) Typically, appraisers are employed by mortgage lenders to estimate the value of a home involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the real estate is indeed adequate collateral for the loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Livingston County or other areas?(Back to top) Gathering information is one of the primary occupations of an appraiser. Data can be split into Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are documented by the appraiser during an inspection.
General data is received from a numerous places. To research recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we often go to the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is gathered from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood product.
And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other properties in the same market.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?(Back to top) If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want a full appraisal. For those selling a home, you'll want to figure out the price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; 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 Milhizer and Associates is the best way to ensure assets are split up fairly. A home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?(Back to top) PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. It protects the lender if a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the property 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.
Does the appraiser need anything from the homeowner in advance?(Back to top) The first step in most appraisals is the home inspection. During this process, the appraiser 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. On the home's interior, pick up any clutter and make sure we can get to things like furnaces and water heaters. On the outside, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.
You can make the inspection go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
Define "Market Value"(Back to top) In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:
Who has rights to the appraisal report?(Back 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 entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually bundled 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 cases, the appraiser may define how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stipulated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.
I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?(Back to top) 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.
No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. 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, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also increase the value of your home (when done well) as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.