For What It's Worth Appraisals, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

For What It's Worth Appraisals, LLC is always willing to handle any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Macedonia and Summit County. Don't hesitate to contact us today.

Define the term "Appraisal"
Describe what an appraiser does
What are the reasons I would need your services?
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?
What does the appraisal report contain?
Once the assignment has been completed, how can I have certainty that the value conclusion is trustworthy?
What does it mean for an appraiser to be licensed?
Who engages the services of appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Summit 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 is "Market Value?"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?



Define the term "Appraisal"   (Go to list of  questions)

The appraisal process is an evaluation that generates an opinion of value. The appraiser will use a several "approaches," typically three, to come to the estimation of market value. One of the methods is the Cost Approach - which is how much capital would be required to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. Another of the processes is the Sales Comparison Approach - which concerns finding a comparison to other similar properties within a close proximity which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most accurate and clearest indicator of value for a house. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the best method in appraising income producing properties - it deals with estimating what an investor would pay based on the money generated by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Go to list of  questions)

An appraiser generates an unprejudiced and well supported assessment of market value, in the support of real property exchanges. Appraisers show their analysis in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons I would need your services?   (Go to list of  questions)

There are a lot of reasons to purchase an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for obtaining an appraisal report include:
  • To get a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax burden.
  • To build a case for a homeowner's equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To contest high property taxes.
  • To settle an estate.
  • To offer you a leg-up when purchasing a home.
  • To determine a reasonable property value when putting your home on the market.
  • 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.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will help.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process dealing with getting an appraisal.


How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?   (Go to list of  questions)

Appraisers do not do perform home inspections and are not home inspectors. The point of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the home from bottom to attic. Commonly, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the necessities of the home: 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.

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

Honestly, they share nothing in common. The CMA relies on indefinite local market trends. An appraisal relies on comparable sales that can be proven by public record. Location and architectural values are also precedent in an appraisal. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.

But the largest differentiator is the person creating the report. 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, state licensed professional who has formed a career on valuing properties in and around Summit County is behind 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 collect only a previously agreed upon fee for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (Go to list of  questions)

Each appraisal should demonstrate a supported value opinion and should document the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The purpose of the assignment.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Characteristics of the property that have a bearing on the value, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic factors, the real property interest valued, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible factors.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and other items of a similar nature.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • The scope of work used while working up the assignment.
For a more detailed view of what goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the assignment has been completed, how can I have certainty that the value conclusion is trustworthy?   (Go to list of  questions)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • That the information analysis contained in the appraisal was suitable.

  • That critical errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.

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

  • The final appraisal report was transparent, credible and conclusive.
There are rigorous classroom and on the job experience requirements that must be fulfilled in order to get an appraisal license in Ohio. In addition, appraisers must abide by a meticulous industry code of ethics and respect national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The guidelines for developing an appraisal and reporting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Go to list of  questions) Licensing and certification requires classroom study, tests and practical experience. Once licensed, he or she must then complete continuing education courses in order to keep the license up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who engages the services of appraisers?   (Go to list of  questions)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, needing their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Appraisers also provide opinions for legal settlements, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Summit County or other areas?   (Go to list of  questions)

Gathering information is one of the main things an appraiser does. Data can be split into Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser while on site.

General data is gathered from a number of sources. To look up recent sales to be used as "comps", we often use the local Multiple Listing Service. To verify actual sales prices, we research tax records and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Appraisers often need to report when a property is 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 creating appraisals for other properties in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Go to 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. When selling your house, an appraisal assists you in setting the most appropriate price. When buying, you can avoid overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from For What It's Worth Appraisals, LLC is the best way to ensure assets are 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?   (Go to list of  questions)

PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplementary plan guards the lender in case a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the home is lower than the balance of the loan. 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 savings from cancelling the PMI required when you got your mortgage will make up for the cost of the appraisal in no time. Nobody is more qualified than For What It's Worth Appraisals, LLC when it comes to analyzing real estate appreciation in Macedonia and Summit County. Contact us today.

Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection   (Go to list of  questions)

We begin with an inspection of the home. 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. The best thing you can do to help is make sure we have easy access to the exterior of the house (gates aren't locked, etc). Trim any shrubs and move any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. Indoors, make sure the appraiser can easily access appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

You can make our visit go faster and improve the quality of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if readily available).
  • Information on any written private agreements, such as a shared driveway with a neighbor.
  • Any paperwork, such as a title policy with information on encroachments or easements encroachments or easements.
  • Home 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 is "Market Value?"   (Go to 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."



Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (Go to 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 report - it's usually bundled 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 engages an appraiser directly. In these situations, the appraiser may state 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 do whatever they want with the appraisal.


Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?   (Go to list of  questions)

The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. For example, installing an inline humidifier could be nice in arid regions, but completely useless near the coast!

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe move. 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 weren't far behind, yielding 85%. On the contrary, work that may not add value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.