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Premier Appraisals, Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Premier Appraisals, Inc. is always willing to elaborate on any questions you might have about appraisals in Suffolk County. Don't hesitate to contact us today.

Define the term "Appraisal"
What does an appraiser do?
What are the reasons I would request services from Premier Appraisals, Inc.?
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What are the contents of an appraisal report?
Once the appraisal has been completed, what guarantee is there that the final number is legitimate?
How are appraisers certified?
Who engages the services of appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Suffolk County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?
How do I get ready for the appraiser?
Define "Market Value"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?



Define the term "Appraisal"   (Top)

An appraisal report is an estimation leading to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is found by using a formal process that generally utilizes three "common approaches to value". The Cost Approach is one of the processes that appraisers use to find value; it involves figuring what the improvements would cost without physical deterioration, adding the land value. Easily the most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a house is the Sales Comparison Approach which involves concluding a comparison to similar properties close by. Usually, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most accurate indicator of market value of a home. One of the least common approaches in appraising homes is the Income Approach, which is commonly used to find the value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the property.

What does an appraiser do?   (Top)

An appraiser offers a professional, unbiased assessment of market value, in the support of real estate exchanges. Appraisers document their expert conclusions in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons I would request services from Premier Appraisals, Inc.?   (Top)

There are many reasons to purchase an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for getting an appraisal include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • To lower your tax burden.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove PMI.
  • To fight high property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To give you a negotiating tool when purchasing a home.
  • To determine an honest 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.
  • Because an official agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
For a more extensive explanation of the appraisal process click here.


How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?   (Top)

The appraiser is not a home inspector and does not do a complete home inspection. The purpose of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the home from bottom to top. Usually, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the requirements of the home: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical systems, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural capacity of the home such as the attic, visible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.

My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?   (Top)

Simply put, it's apples and oranges. The CMA relies on indistinct local market trends. Appraisals use comparable sales which are verifiable resources. The appraisal report will also contain location and construction values. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.

But the biggest difference is who's creating the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, write CMA's. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in 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 assignments, regardless of their outcome.

What are the contents of an appraisal report?   (Top)

Every appraisal must indicate a supported estimate of value and must document the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Relevant property characteristics, including: location, physical description, legal attributes, economic attributes, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible items.
  • Any 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 considered when completing the appraisal.
For a more detailed view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the appraisal has been completed, what guarantee is there that the final number is legitimate?   (Top)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
  • That the information analysis implemented in the appraisal was suitable.

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

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

  • That a solid, substantiated appraisal report was conferred.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must satisfy intense education and experience requirements that prepare us to produce an unbiased opinion. In addition, appraisers must obey a strict industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for developing an appraisal and documenting its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Top) Regulations regarding licensing and certification of Real Estate Appraisers vary from state to state. However, licensing and certification typically translates to many hours of coursework, tests and practical experience. Once an appraiser is licensed, he/she is required to complete continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who engages the services of appraisers?   (Top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely customer, requesting their services to ensure property involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Suffolk County or other areas?   (Top)

One of the most important tasks an appraiser must accomplish is to compile data. Data can be split into Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are noted by the appraiser while on site.

General data is collected from a numerous places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have data on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Appraisers often have to report when a property lies in a flood zone, and 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 doing assignments for other properties in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Top)

If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home matters, you'll want a full appraisal. When selling your home, an appraisal helps you set the most appropriate price. 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. A home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value is essential to making the right financial decisions.


My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?   (Top)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects the lender if a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the home is lower than what is owed on 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.

Has your real estate appreciated since you first purchased? Contact Premier Appraisals, Inc. today at (516) 523-1216. You may be able to cancel your Private Mortgage Insurance payment.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (Top)

We start with an inspection of the property. What this entails is the appraiser, after setting up an appointment, personally going through the home - recording the layout of the rooms, taking photos and documenting the general condition of its amenities. On the home's interior, make sure it is clutter free and that we can access things like furnaces and water heaters. On the outside, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • Any information on the purchase of the property for the last three years.
  • 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 your well.
  • A list of any major home improvements and enhancements, the amount of their purchase and date of their installation (for example, the addition of Insulation or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • A list of "proposed" improvements if the property is to be appraised "as complete".

Define "Market Value"   (Top)

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?   (Top)

For mortgage transactions, the lender requests the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. While the buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the report - 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.

The exception to this rule is when a home owner engages an appraiser directly. In these cases, the appraiser may define the purpose of the appraisal; 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.


Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?   (Top)

It really depends on the 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.

As a rule, the most value returned from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms weren't far behind, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also boost the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become overbuilt for your neighborhood in terms of size.