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Frequently Asked Questions


These are some of the most common questions we receive from buyers, sellers, real estate agents and others. We hope you will find it helpful. If you still have questions we would be happy to answer you. Call, email, or text message and we will get back to you promptly.


Phone: 407-731-3209


01  What is an appraisal?

Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) defines APPRAISAL as an opinion of value; or the act or process of developing an opinion of value.

This opinion or estimate is usually presented in writing to the client and is formed using one or more of the 3 approaches to value. First the Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most accurate and best indicator of value for a residential property. It involves making a comparison to other similar, nearby properties which have recently sold. Second is the Cost Approach which is the estimate of what it would cost to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, and adding the land value. This approach is typically only reliable for new construction properties. Third is the Income Approach which involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the property. This approach is most important in appraising income producing properties.


The most important part to understand about an appraisal is that it is an unbiased opinion of value. USPAP demands: "An appraiser must perform assignments with impartiality, objectivity, and independence, and without accommodation of personal interests."




02  Why get an appraisal?

There are many reasons to get an appraisal such as to obtain a loan to buy or refinance a property, to help establish a reasonable list price in order to sell a property, to settle an estate, to protect your rights in a condemnation case, etc.




03  What does an appraiser do?

The work involved in a typical residential appraisal assignment for lending purposes is much more involved than most people think. The home owner may only see the appraiser for 20-30 minutes for the property visit but the entire process from start to finish usually involves many hours of research, analysis and reporting. Please keep in mind this is just an overview and not a detailed list of an appraisers duties.

  1. The appraiser must analyze the appraisal order and the sales contract (if for a purchase) and maybe communicate with the client to identify the client and any intended users as well as the intended use of the appraisal, what type of interest being appraised, identify the real estate involved and the definition of value that should be used in order to determine the scope of work for the assignment.

  2. The appraiser must research the subject property. Usually through public records, Multiple Listings Service (MLS), other data sources, and through conversations with listing agent and the owner. Through this research the appraiser finds information about the subjects location (including environmental conditions or proximity to things that might affect value such as lake frontage or proximity to landfills, rail roads, airports, etc.), neighborhood, lot size, zoning, limited physical characteristics for the property such as size, number of bedrooms/baths, 1-story or 2-story. Find out about amenities such as porch, pool, fireplace and if the property has been upgraded or remodeled. At this time the appraiser may ask the owner or real estate agent for a copy of a survey, a list of upgrades or improvements, current Home Owners Association (HOA) fees, verifying it the subject has public water and sewage, etc. The appraiser may at this time schedule a time for the property visit/appraisal inspection.

  3. The appraiser has to develop an opinion of highest and best use of the subject land and summarize the support and rationale for that opinion. In other words the appraiser has to determine a) what use is legally permissible b) physically possible c) financially feasible and d) most profitable and then summarize the support and rationale.

  4. The appraiser research sales of similar properties in the subject neighborhood, completes a market analysis for the past 12 months that shows the appraiser if the sales prices are increasing, decreasing or staying the same, how long properties stay on the market among other things. Usually 3 or 4 of the best, most recent sales (within past 6 month typically) are selected as comparables and 2 active or pending listings selected for additional support.

  5. While doing the market research the appraiser also analyze to see if properties in the subject’s market are typically purchased as rental investment properties, if they are, a minimum of 3 rental sale comparables are selected to complete the Income Approach. 3 similar vacant land sales are also selected if available to provide a site value for the Cost Approach.

  6. Visiting the subject property to verify size by measurements, verify condition and upgrades and documenting with photographs (all sides of the exterior, and all interior rooms along with garage, pool, sheds, views, appliances, attic and crawl space, etc.). This part is usually the quickest part of the appraisal process and will usually only take 20-30 minutes for a typical residence although larger estate type properties can sometimes take several hours to view and measure.

  7. The appraiser will view each comparable sale and listing from the street and take photos and drive the neighborhood and view community amenities etc.

  8. Once back at the office the appraiser will typically upload photos and update all the verified information about the subject and the comparable sales and listings, complete a sketch based on the measurement taken during the property visit (unless already done in the field) and complete the Sales Comparison Approach with appropriate adjustments for differences and summarize and reconcile the sales data used and then complete the Cost Approach and/or Income Approach if applicable.

  9. Once all applicable approaches to value has been completed the appraiser will summarize the information analyzed, the appraisal methods and techniques employed, and the reasoning that supports the analysis, opinions, and conclusions of any approach to value is explained.

  10. At this point the appraisal report is usually ready to be transmitted to the lender/client.




04  Do I need to clean before the appraiser comes?

The short answer is no. The appraiser is not coming out to judge how clean or messy your house is and will not consider personal property in the valuation. That being said. The appraiser will most likely take pictures of all rooms including, kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, garage, etc. and will transmit them within the appraisal report to the client. Keep in mind that the appraiser usually needs access to the attic and to be able to view the water heater, electrical panel and furnace/air handler so don't block those with boxes. Also, extremely dirty homes causing unhealthy conditions (pet soiled carpets, piles of dirty dishes with molding food and bugs, roach infestation, etc.) could negatively affect the value of the property.



05  Can I get a copy of the appraisal?

If you are the client/lender you will get a copy of the appraisal report. If you are not the client/lender the appraiser will not be able to give you a copy due to the confidentiality section of the Ethics Rule in USPAP which states: "An appraiser must not disclose: (1) confidential information; or (2) assignments results to anyone other than: the client, parties specifically authorized by the client, state appraiser regulatory agencies, third parties as may be authorized by due process of law or duly authorized professional peer review committee except when such disclosure to a committee would violate applicable law or regulation. You can however request a copy from your lender.

06  Can the appraiser tell me the value?

Not unless you are the client/lender. Once again due to the confidentiality section of the Ethics Rule in USPAP which states: "An appraiser must not disclose: (1) confidential information; or (2) assignments results to anyone other than: the client, parties specifically authorized by the client, state appraiser regulatory agencies, third parties as may be authorized by due process of law or duly authorized professional peer review committee except when such disclosure to a committee would violate applicable law or regulation.

07  How much does an appraisal cost?


A residential appraisal assignment for lending purposes can run anywhere from $350-$950 (or more) depending on type of property, value needed, difficulty of the assignment, etc. Just call or email us for a quote. 

08  What is your turn time?

Turn times vary based on type of assignment and the scope of work required but as a rule most appraisal reports will be transmitted to the client/lender within 48 hours of the property visit.

09  Does the appraiser need any particular information from me?

Most appraiser will ask questions if they need anything, but it could be helpful to provide the appraiser with a list of upgrades or improvements to the property along with when they were completed. A copy of a survey will always be appreciated as well. Most appraisers will ask you for the Home Owner Association fee, type of water and sewage, type of fuel for heat (electric, gas, solar) so it could be a good idea to look it up so you are ready with the information. 

10  Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?

No, the appraiser is not a home inspector nor does he/she do a comprehensive home inspection. The appraiser does a visual inspection of the property and report apparent or observable problems that might affect the value of the property. In addition, the appraiser takes into account the house's location, size and the selling prices of similar properties in determining the market value of the home. The home inspector looks for hidden problems and spends time testing all major mechanical systems and checks for foundation and roof issues. A home inspection is primarily intended to protect the prospective buyer from purchasing a home with structural defects and other major problems while the appraisal is meant to assist the lender in determining how much to lend against the property. If you are buying a home always get a home inspection for your protection.

11  What is "Market Value"?

The most probable price that a property should bring (will sell for) in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller, each acting prudently, 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: (1) buyer and seller are typically motivated; (2) both parties are well informed or well advised; (3) a reasonable time is allowed for exposure to the open market; (4) payment is made in terms of cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and (5) 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.

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