FAQ with Appraisal Allie

Name of your business: Appraisal Allie

Your name: Allison Candelas, Certified Residential Appraiser in MD & WV

Website: (4) Appraisal Allie | Facebook  

Email: ali.candelas@yahoo.com

Phone Number: 301-268-0816

What exactly is an appraisal and when do I need to have one? 

An appraisal is the process of developing an opinion of value for real property. There are several reasons an appraisal could be needed which include part of the buyer’s loan process when purchasing a property, when a current owner wants to do a refinance for a home equity loan or better rates, for estate purposes, foreclosure purposes and a number of other reasons.

Do I need to have an appraisal done before listing my house? 

It is not necessary but could be a very useful tool to establish a list price for your property and have on record to show prospective buyers the current market value. The owner’s appraisal typically cannot be used by the buyer, as their lender will most likely require an appraisal to be completed by an appraiser on their roster and then completed with that lender as the client.

How long does an appraisal take? 

An appraisal inspection typically takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the property. Typical turn time for an appraisal can be as little as a day or up to a week or two depending on the appraiser’s workload. The appraiser must do thorough research and take time to thoroughly evaluate the property, the neighborhood and the market area.

Who pays for an appraisal? The buyer or seller? 

The appraisal is typically paid for by the buyer as part of their loan process and included in their closing costs.

Are sellers and buyers allowed at the appraisal? Anyone can be present at the appraisal inspection. Buyers, sellers and even their agents can be present if they choose to be.

What are the major things you are looking for during an appraisal? 

An appraiser’s job is to gather as much information about the property by measuring, taking pictures and documenting details of the property as well as noting any deferred maintenance or safety issues in order to develop an opinion to establish value. An appraisal is to develop value where an inspection tells you more about the condition. An appraiser is not a home inspector and is not doing as thorough of an inspection that a home inspector would complete. I’ve had several people tell me that they did not get a home inspection because they knew the appraisal would be the same thing. This is not the case.

Do appraisals vary depending on your loan type? 

Government loans such as VA, USDA & FHA typically have more guidelines for the appraisal inspection. Safety items should be flagged and typically repaired before the loan can be processed. These types of loans also require inspections of the attic and basement.

What are some common repairs that banks and lenders flag? 

One of the most common repairs flagged is chipped and peeling paint for homes built before 1978 or on exterior surfaces such as wood that need to be sealed in order to prevent deterioration. This can include window frames, gutters, fascia/soffit, porches, railings, sheds, garages, etc… Other common repair items are outlets within 6′ of a water source should be GFCI outlets, proper smoke/CO2 detectors on each level as required by the age of the home, handrails on stairs and railings around porches and an extension on the pressure relief valve on the hot water tank to be within 5″ of the ground.

As a seller, what can I do beforehand to prepare for an appraisal? 

Try to have all the repair items specified above taken care of prior to inspection. Have crawl space and attic spaces easily accessible for the inspection. A buyer typically has to pay an additional fee for the appraiser to come back out to the property for a final inspection once repairs are complete or if utilities were not on for the inspection. Feel free to provide the appraiser with a list of any recent updates or remodeling.

Anything else you want to add? 

1. Appraisers are not perfect, and we do make mistakes. If you get an appraisal report back and there are discrepancies in the report, we want to correct that information so that it is accurate. Let us know. Also feel free to contact the appraiser for clarification for areas of the report that you may not understand.

2. One common question we hear is “can you send me a copy of the appraisal”. The appraiser can only deliver a copy of the appraisal to the client, and anyone specified by the client. So, even though the buyer might be paying for the report, they are not typically the client and therefore the buyer will need to get the report from their lender. The seller does not typically get a copy of the report or told value unless the buyer provides that information to them or if the value would come in below the contract price.

3. Appraisal values are different from assessed values. Sometimes they will line up, but sometimes they do not. An appraiser is typically given interior access to the property to measure for gross living area, see room counts, remodeling and finishes throughout the home. An assessor does not typically have this access and could be missing out on key information for their valuations.

4. Improving your home is great, but you cannot expect every one of your home improvements to give you a return. For example, you may spend $20,000 on a new front porch, but you will probably not see the value of your home go up by $20,000. You may build a $30,000 2 car detached garage, but you typically will not see the value of your property go up by $30,000. Both improvements should make your home more appealing though and easier to market when selling time comes.

5. Zestimates ARE NOT RELIABLE! Please please please, call a licensed Realtor for a comparative market analysis or have an appraisal completed. A CMA is a useful tool that any Realtor can complete for you to help you determine a range of value for your home.

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