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Ashley, Scarborough & Pierce Appraisal Services has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Ashley, Scarborough & Pierce Appraisal Services is always willing to reply to any concerns you might have about appraisals or real estate in Tolland County. Contact Ashley, Scarborough & Pierce Appraisal Services today to see how we can help you with your specific valuation problems.

Describe an appraisal
Describe what an appraiser does
What are the reasons someone would need a real estate appraisal?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?
What does the appraisal report contain?
After completing the appraisal, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is veritable?
What are the requirements to be a certified appraiser?
Who do appraisers work for?
Where does Ashley, Scarborough & Pierce Appraisal Services get the data used to estimate values in Tolland County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection
What does "Market Value" mean?
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



Describe an appraisal   (List of questions)

The method of creating an appraisal report consists of an estimation which forms an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is arrived at using a formal method that usually uses the three main "common approaches to value". One of the processes is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. Another of the methods is the Sales Comparison Approach - which deals with discovering a comparison to other similar properties within a close vicinity which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and best indicator of value for a residence. The Income Approach is mainly used for figuring out the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of income a property produce.

Describe what an appraiser does   (List of questions)

An appraiser offers an unbiased and well justified determination of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers illustate their professional investigation in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons someone would need a real estate appraisal?   (List of questions)

There are many reasons to get an appraisal from Ashley, Scarborough & Pierce Appraisal Services with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
  • To get a loan.
  • To lower your property taxes.
  • To help a homeowner realize if they owe less than 80% of their home's value and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To contest inflated property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To give you an edge when purchasing real estate.
  • To find the most probable price when listing your home.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS require an appraisal on every property.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will help.
If you need a more detailed explanation of the appraisal process, please click here.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (List of questions)

Home inspectors do not come to an opinion of value and do not use the same forms as appraisers. A third-party home inspector will evaluate the structure of the property, from the roof to the bottom. The usual house inspector's report will include 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.

Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?   (List of questions)

Honestly, they share nothing in common. The CMA relies on vague local market trends. Appraisals use similar sales which are valid resources. The appraisal report will also contain area and construction costs. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

The person behind the report is frankly the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. A CMA is written by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Moreover, the appraiser is an unbiased voice, with no conditional interest in the value of a home, unlike the real estate agent, who gets a commission based upon the price of the home.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (List of questions)

The main point of an appraisal document 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 other intended users.
  • 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 appraiser's opinions and conclusions.
  • Relevant property attributes, including: location, physical description, legal attributes, economic factors, the real property interest in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, permanent equipment installations 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.
  • The scope of work considered while working up the job.
For a more detailed view of what goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


After completing the appraisal, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is veritable?   (List of questions)

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

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

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

  • That a credible, substantiated appraisal report was communicated.
To become a state licensed appraiser, there are education requirements as well as on the jobexperience that must be logged. Likewise, appraisers must stick to a meticulous industry code of ethics and comply with national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The guidelines for working up an appraisal and reporting its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (List of questions) Licensing and certification is achieved through coursework, tests and real world experience. Once an appraiser is licensed, he or she is required to take continuing education courses so the license remains up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who do appraisers work for?   (List of questions)

Commonly, appraisers are employed by lenders to estimate the value of a home involved in a loan transaction. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does Ashley, Scarborough & Pierce Appraisal Services get the data used to estimate values in Tolland County or other areas?   (List of questions)

Compiling information is one of the primary occupations of an appraiser. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are documented by the appraiser while on site.

General data is collected from a number of places. To look up recent sales to be used as "comps", an appraiser will often go to the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other courthouse documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Appraisers often 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 product.

And last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other properties in the same market.


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

If you're involved in any kind of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want to hire a licensed appraiser. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine a 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 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. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


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

PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI guards the lender if a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the value of the home is lower than the loan balance. Once you reach the point where your home's equity plus the amount you've paid is at least 20% of your loan balance, you can have your PMI dropped.

The money you keep from dropping the PMI required when you got your mortgage pays for the appraisal in no time. Nobody is more qualified than Ashley, Scarborough & Pierce Appraisal Services when it comes to analyzing real estate appreciation in Bolton and Tolland County. Contact us today.

Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection   (List of questions)

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 find our way to things like furnaces and water heaters. In the yard, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of exterior walls.

To help speed things along as well as 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.
  • Title policy that describes encroachments or easements.
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the amount of their purchase and date of their installation (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.

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

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."



Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (List of questions)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is 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 state how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (List of questions)

The added value of a particular amenity truly depends on the local market. 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 were second, returning 85%. On the contrary, an improvement that may not add value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.