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Appraisal myths & facts

Legally, an appraiser is required to be state certified to create substantiated real estate appraisals for federally-related sales. Also by law, you have the right to demand a copy of the completed report from your lender. Contact Marlow Real Estate and Appraisal Services if you have any questions about the appraisal procedure.

Email me at to ask a question or get a fee quote, or call 828-236-3221.

Assessed value should always be equal to market value.

Fact: This usually isn't true; most states do support the concept that the assessed value is the same as market value, but not always. Often when interior remodeling has occurred and the assessor has not investigated the improvement or homes in the area have not been reassessed for quite a while, it may vary wildly.  Tax reassessments are only done once every 4 to 8 years.

Myth: The opinion of value of a property will be different depending upon whether the appraisal is provided for the buyer or the seller.

Fact: There is no real interest on the part of the appraiser in the outcome of the appraisal, therefore he will complete his work with impartiality and independence, despite for whom the appraisal is conducted.

Myth: The replacement value of the house is always is on par with the market value.

Fact: Market value is found by what a willing buyer would likely pay a willing seller for a specific house, with neither being under duress to buy or sell. The dollar amount required to reconstruct a house is what shows the replacement cost.  The replacement cost can be above or below market value.

Myth: There are specific ways that real estate appraisers use to determine the opinion of value of a house, like the price per square foot.

Fact: An appraisal report is a collection of information based on the house's size, location, proximity to specific facilities, the condition of the home and the value of recent comparable sales. You can count on Marlow Real Estate and Appraisal Services to be professional in assessing this information.

Myth: In a robust economy - when the costs of houses in a given neighborhood are reported to be appreciating by a particular percentage - the values of individual homes in the proximity can be expected to rise by that same percentage.

Fact: Cost appreciation of a certain home must be determined on a case-by-case basis, factoring in data on comparable homes and other relevant specifications within the property itself. This is true in strong economic times as well as poor.

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Myth: Just seeing what the home looks like on its exterior gives a good idea of its cost.

Fact: There are a number of different factors that show the value of a house; these factors include location, condition, improvements, amenities, and market trends. An exterior inspection definitely can't provide all of the data needed.

Myth: Because the consumer is the party who puts up the funding to pay for the appraisal report when applying for a loan for any real estate transaction, legally the appraisal belongs to them.

Fact: The report is, in fact, legally owned by the lending company - unless the lender "releases its interest" in the report. Home buyers have to be supplied with a version of the appraisal report by the lender through request because of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Myth: It doesn't matter to consumers what's in the appraisal so long as it meets the requirements of their lending agency.

Fact: Only if consumers check out a copy of their appraisal can they ensure its accuracy and possibly need to question the result. Remember, this is probably the most expensive and important investment a consumer will ever make. Also, the appraisal report makes a valuable record for future reference, filled with useful and often-revealing information - including, but not limited to, the legal and physical description of the property, square footage measurements, list of comparable properties in the neighborhood, neighborhood description and a narrative of current real-estate activity and/or market trends in the proximity.

Myth: The only reason someone would hire an appraiser is if a home needs its price estimated in a lender sales transaction.

Fact: Appraisers can have many varied qualifications and designations which allow them to perform a variety of different services including - but definitely not limited to - advice on estate planning, tax assessment, zoning, dispute resolution in many different legal situations and cost analysis.

Myth: An appraisal is no different than a home inspection.

Fact: A home inspection serves a completely different purpose than an appraisal. The task of the appraiser is to arrive at an opinion of value in the appraisal process and through creating the report. A home inspector assesses the condition of the building and its major components and reports their findings.