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Frequently Asked Questions


What does the appraiser look for?

Typically, an appraiser will document the condition of the property, both inside and out, from the layout and features to degree of modernization including any updates as well as the overall quality of construction. This information will help to assist the appraiser throughout the valuation and comparison process. The appraiser estimates the square footage (GLA – gross living area), by measuring the exterior of the home. Non-living areas, such as garages or covered porches, aren’t included in GLA, but are accounted for and considered in value separately. The appraiser will generally consider only permanent fixtures and real property. Because many above-ground swimming pools and small sheds are not permanent structures, they typically usually aren’t included in the valuation. Depending on the specific installation process and local custom, however, an above ground pool or small shed might be considered part of the real property.

What improvements add the most value to my home?

Just how much any individual improvement might add to your home’s market value, what appraisers typically call “contributory value” often varies widely from market to market, dictated by the wants and needs of each neighborhood. However, a local appraiser familiar with your market can help you figure out the best home-improvement value. Check out Remodeling On-Line’s Cost Vs. Value Report which features some information on how improvements might increase the value of your home from market to market.

What are the appraiser’s qualifications?

The state of Florida requires all real estate appraisers to be, at a minimum, state licensed or state certified and have fulfilled rigorous education and experience requirements and must adhere to strict industry standards and a professional code of ethics as promulgated by the Appraisal Foundation.

The following Items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period. A survey of the house and property; A deed or title report showing the legal description; a recent tax bill; a list of private property to be sold with the house if applicable; a copy of the original plans & specifications, the date and purchase price you paid when you purchased the property; a list of recent improvements & cost as well as any other information you feel may be pertinent.

What are comparable sales?

A comparable sale is a property, that is like the subject property in most respects, is in a similar (nearby) location, and has sold recently at arm’s length. The selection of comparable sales is in most residential appraisals, the single most important determining factor in establishing value. It is the appraiser’s responsibility to adequately research the local real estate market and determine which comparable sales best represent the value characteristics of the subject property.

What rules must appraisers follow? - Uniform Standards Of Professional Appraisal Practice

Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) The ASB sets forth the rules for developing an appraisal and reporting its results. In addition, it promotes the use, understanding and enforcement of the Uniform Standards Of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

FIRREA requires that real estate appraisals used in conjunction with federally-related transactions be performed in accordance with USPAP. More than 80,000 state certified and licensed appraisers are currently required to adhere to USPAP. USPAP contains the recognized standards of practice for real estate, personal property and business appraisal.

Appraisal vs. engineer or whole house inspection?

The appraiser does not perform the function of a home inspector, engineer, architect, electrician, plumber, Ac technician or any other type of contractor. The typical appraiser briefly walks through the house to get an idea of the general observable condition and room count. An appraisal is not a guarantee of condition.

The appraiser typically inquiries about any visible problems and those which may not be visible and will do his/her best to gauge any impact on value attributable to those problems. You are encouraged to seek the advice of experts if you have any questions about the structural or mechanical aspects

If my appraisal comes out higher than my tax value, could my real estate taxes go up?

The appraiser is required to maintain confidentiality with the client, which would typically be you (if you undertook the appraisal) or the bank (in a mortgage related appraisal), not the local tax authorities.

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