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Brevard Appraisal Group has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Brevard Appraisal Group is always prepared to elaborate on any inquiries you might have about appraisals or real estate in Cape Canaveral and Brevard County. Feel free to contact us today.

What is an appraisal?
What does an appraiser do?
Why would a person need services from Brevard Appraisal Group?
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?
Once the assignment has been completed, how can I have confidence that the value indicated is accurate?
What goes into an appraiser's certification?
Who hires an appraiser?
Where does Brevard Appraisal Group get the data used to estimate values in Brevard 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?
What is "Market Value?"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?



What is an appraisal?   (Top)

An appraisal is an inspection leading to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a few "approaches," typically three, to come to the estimation of market value. One of the methods in use is the Cost Approach, which is what it would cost to replace the improvements to the house, minus age and physical deterioration, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach deals with searching for comparable properties nearby and finding value based on making a comparison of those homes to the house in question. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most definitive and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a residential property. The Income Approach is mainly used for figuring out the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of income a property would bring in.

What does an appraiser do?   (Top)

An appraiser provides an unbiased and well supported determination of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers show their expert investigation in appraisal reports.


Why would a person need services from Brevard Appraisal Group?   (Top)

There are a lot of reasons to obtain an appraisal from Brevard Appraisal Group with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for getting an report include:
  • To obtain a loan.
  • If you would like to lower your property tax obligations.
  • To help a homeowner realize if they owe less than 80% of their home's value and remove PMI.
  • To fight inflated property taxes.
  • To handle an estate.
  • To provide you an edge when purchasing a home.
  • To figure out a reasonable sales price when selling real estate.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Because a government agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • If you are ever involved in a lawsuit.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process of getting an appraisal.


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

Appraisers do not do complete house inspections and are not home inspectors. The purpose of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the home from bottom to attic. The archetypal house inspector's report will include an evaluation of the integrity of the property's heating systems, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?   (Top)

Frankly, it's like comparing sugar and saccharin. What the CMA depends on are ill-defined trends. An appraisal is based on comparable sales that can be validated by public record. The appraisal report will also include area and building prices. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

Who's creating the report is actually the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents, who may not have a true grasp of valuation methods or the entire market, generate CMA's. A certified, state licensed professional who has formed their livelihood on valuing properties in and around Brevard County creates the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat sum for work they perform, regardless of their value conclusion.

What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?   (Top)

Every appraisal must indicate a believable value opinion and should document the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and whose purposes the appraisal is to serve.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • The type of value contained and a definition of that value.
  • 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 description, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, items that are more or less permanently installed and even intangible considerations.
  • 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 while working up the appraisal.
For a more in depth look at the work that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the assignment has been completed, how can I have confidence that the value indicated is accurate?   (Top)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • The appraisal used analysis of the data.

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

  • That appraisal services were not executed in a careless or negligent manner.

  • The final appraisal report was transparent, sound and not easily discredited.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must meet intense education and experience requirements that give us the background to formulate an unbiased opinion. Plus, appraisers must obey a strict industry code of ethics and comply with national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for developing an appraisal and communicating its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Top) Licensing and certification is achieved through classroom study, tests and real world experience. Once an appraiser is licensed, he/she is required to take continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who hires an appraiser?   (Top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely customer, requiring their services to ensure property involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does Brevard Appraisal Group get the data used to estimate values in Brevard County or other areas?   (Top)

One of the main things an appraiser does is to compile data. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is gathered from a variety of places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide data on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. To verify actual sales prices, we use items in the assessor's office and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Flood zone data is available from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood system.

And most importantly, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Top)

Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine the price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. Simply put, a home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


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

PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI takes care of the lender in the event a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the home is less than what is owed on the loan. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

Has your real estate appreciated since you first purchased? Contact Brevard Appraisal Group today at 3217843037 to see if you can save money by removing your Private Mortgage Insurance premium.

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

The first step in most appraisals is the home inspection. 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 features. 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.

You can make things go faster and improve the quality of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • Information on any written private easements, such as a shared driveway with a neighbor.
  • Title policy that describes encroachments or easements.
  • Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, your septic system and wells.
  • A copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is "pending".
  • Most recent real estate tax bill from Brevard and or legal description of the property.

What is "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)

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 appraisal - it's usually bundled 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 scenarios, the appraiser may state how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (Top)

The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. For example, if you live in a cold region, insulated windows can be a real plus. But they aren't as attractive in a warm-weather climate.

As a rule, the best ROI 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 are right up there with kitchens, yielding 85%. On the contrary, work that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.