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Choice Realty has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Choice Realty is always willing to reply to any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Cabarrus County. Contact Choice Realty today to talk about how we can help solve your valuation problems.

What is an appraisal?
What does an appraiser do?
What are the reasons a person would need services from Choice Realty?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?
Once the appraisal has been completed, how can I have a guarantee that the final number is trustworthy?
What goes into an appraiser's certification?
Who employs appraisers?
Where does Choice Realty get the information used to estimate values in Cabarrus County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Do you need anything from me in advance?
What does "Market Value" mean?
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?

What is an appraisal?   (List of questions)

An appraisal report is a thought process allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser must 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, less physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. Easily the most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a home is the Sales Comparison Approach which deals with concluding a comparison to similar houses close by. Generally speaking, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most definite indicator of market value of a house. The Income Approach is mainly 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?   (List of questions)

An appraiser provides a professional, unbiased opinion of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers summarize their expert analysis in appraisal reports.

What are the reasons a person would need services from Choice Realty?   (List of questions)

There are a lot of reasons to purchase an appraisal from Choice Realty with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • To lower your property taxes.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove insurance.
  • To challenge high property taxes.
  • To handle an estate.
  • To offer you a leg-up when purchasing a home.
  • To find the most probable sales price when listing your home.
  • 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 require an appraisal on every property.
  • If you ever find yourself in a civil case.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process dealing with getting an appraisal.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?   (List of questions)

The appraiser is not a home inspector and does not do a full home inspection. The purpose of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the house from basement to top. Usually, a home inspection report will explain the amenities and the necessities of the house: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical systems, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, accessible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and other visible structures.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?   (List of questions)

Honestly, they have nothing in common. The CMA relies on vague trends in the market. The appraisal depends on similar definite comparable sales. The appraisal report will also include location and construction costs. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.

Who's behind the report is frankly the most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents produce CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or bear specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, North Carolina licensed professional who made their livelihood on valuing homes in and around Cabarrus County creates the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a previously agreed upon fee for work they perform, regardless of their value conclusion.

What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?   (List of questions)

The main point of an appraisal document is to give a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
  • The client and whose purposes the appraisal is to serve.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The reason for the assignment.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.
  • Pertinent property characteristics, including: location, physical characteristics, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, items that are more or less permanently installed and even intangible items.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • What was entailed in the process of completing the job.
For a more detailed view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report

Once the appraisal has been completed, how can I have a guarantee that the final number is trustworthy?   (List of questions)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • That the information analysis utilized in the appraisal was suitable.

  • Whether individually or collectively, there were no critical errors contained in the report, nor any material details left out.

  • That appraisal services were done in a careful and judicious manner.

  • The final appraisal report was understandable, sound and not easily discredited.
There are rigorous education and on the job experience requirements that must be fulfilled in order to achieve the title of "licensed appraiser" in North Carolina. Plus, appraisers must stick to a meticulous industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for carrying out an appraisal and communicating its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

   (List of questions) Regulations regarding licensing and certification vary from state to state. In general, licensing and certification is most often associated with many hours of classroom study, tests and real world experience. Once licensed, he or she must then engage in continuing education courses in order to keep the license up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who employs appraisers?   (List of questions)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's typical customer, needing their services to ensure a home involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.

Where does Choice Realty get the information used to estimate values in Cabarrus County or other areas?   (List of questions)

Collecting information is one of the primary functions of an appraiser. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is received from a numerous sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide data on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. To verify actual sales prices, we look at items in the assessor's office and other public documents. Appraisers routinely need to report when a property lies in a flood zone, so that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood service.

And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other properties in the same market.

How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (List of questions)

Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine a 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, you can avoid overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. Simply put, a home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.

What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (List of questions)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplemental plan protects the lender in case a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the home is less than the loan balance. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

Did you secure your mortgage with less than 20% down? Contact Choice Realty today at 7048867900 to see if you can save money by removing your Private Mortgage Insurance payment.

Do you need anything from me in advance?   (List of questions)

We start with an inspection of the property. 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 condition of its features. On the home's interior, make sure it is clutter free and that 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.

To help speed things along plus ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if available).
  • List of personal property to be sold with the building.
  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.
  • Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
  • Any "Homeowners Associations" agreements or, if applicable, condo agreements or fees .

What does "Market Value" mean?   (List of questions)

In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair 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."

Who has rights to the appraisal report?   (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 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 use the appraisal for any purpose.

Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (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.

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. 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 are right up there with kitchens, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also boost the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.