An appraisal is something homeowners will need to obtain sooner or later – whether they’re getting ready to sell their home, refinancing their mortgage, applying for a new mortgage, or doing something else. And although an appraisal is a necessity in a variety of situations, there are some common misconceptions about the process and what appraisers actually do. Below are eight facts that homeowners should know in order to better understand what to expect when obtaining an appraisal.
There Is More to a Home Appraisal than the Home Visit.
An appraiser’s job takes longer than the time they spend at your house. A home appraisal is a multi-step process. The appraiser must collect, verify, analyze, and reconcile the data pertaining to your home and the market. The collection of data includes what is termed a “home observation.” The home observation involves a visit to the home being appraised in order to take measurements and photos of the home. After that task is completed, the appraiser will write a report based on the collected data.
Home Appraisals Are Different from Home Inspections.
Appraisers are not home inspectors. While the condition of the home does factor into the appraised value, the appraiser does not inspect the systems and structure of the house or certify their integrity. If the appraiser suspects there is a significant issue that could impact the home’s value, they will require an inspection of the issue by a licensed expert.
Appraisers Need to Research Before Valuing Your Home.
An appraiser cannot tell you the value of your house immediately after completing the home observation. After looking at your property, the appraiser will then have to compare it with other comparable homes that have recently sold and analyze the data to determine the appraised value of your property.
For Mortgage-Related Appraisals, the Appraiser Works for the Bank.
If you are obtaining a mortgage or refinancing your home and an appraisal is ordered, the appraiser works for the bank. The appraiser is hired by the lender to provide an expert opinion of value as an independent third party, and they are there to protect the lender’s investment in your property. While you will typically reimburse the lender for the appraisal, you are not paying the appraiser directly. So, by law, the appraiser does not work for you.
Homeowners Should Avoid Trying to Influence the Value of Their Homes.
Putting pressure on an appraiser to provide a desired value could delay the process. You should not talk about the value of your property with the appraiser, including mentioning recent sales in the neighborhood, as this information could be considered undue influence. By law appraisers are required to report any undue influence to the lender. In some cases, the lender may then have to hire a new appraiser.
Homeowners Should Disclose All Home Updates and Upgrades.
The appraiser will need to know about any updates or upgrades to your house. While the appraiser can’t talk about value with you if the bank ordered the appraisal, they do need to know what you have done to the house. Some updates may increase your value, while others will not. For example, changing the color of the granite in your kitchen may help it sell faster, but it doesn’t impact the value of your home. On the other hand, updating to granite countertops from laminate countertops might increase the property’s value.
When the Bank Is Involved, Appraisers Provide the Report to the Bank.
If the bank orders a home appraisal for your property, by law, the appraiser cannot directly share the appraisal report with you unless authorized by the bank in writing. However, the bank is required by federal regulations to share a copy of the appraisal with you.
Zillow’s Zestimate Is Not An Appraisal.
The Zillow Zestimate for your house is not the same as the appraised value. Texas is a non-disclosure state, which means the sale price of a home is not reported on the deed. Consequently, Zillow does not have access to actual sale prices for homes sold in Texas. Instead, Zillow uses data from public records, and that data may or may not be correct or up to date. While Zillow is a helpful tool to learn more about the homes in your neighborhood, it is not a good way to determine the value of your home in Texas.
Stafford Appraisals has 25 years of experience appraising homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. If you are looking for a home appraisal in Collin County or Denton County, give us a call today. A knowledgeable member of our team will answer your questions and explain the next steps.