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Carolina Quality Appraisals has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Carolina Quality Appraisals is always ready to elaborate on any inquiries you might have about appraisals or real estate in Icard and Burke County. Contact Carolina Quality Appraisals today to learn how we can help you with your valuation problems.

Define the term "Appraisal"
Describe what an appraiser does
What would cause me to require services from Carolina Quality Appraisals?
Is an appraisal the same as 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, what assurance is there that the value indicated is veritable?
How difficult is it to become certified?
Who employs appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Burke County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Do you need anything from me in advance?
What does "Market Value" mean?
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



Define the term "Appraisal"   (Back to top)

An appraisal report is an estimation allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is arrived at by using a formal process that generally uses the three main "common approaches to value". One of them is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. Another of the approaches is the Sales Comparison Approach - which involves finding a comparison to other similar nearby properties which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a residential property. The Income Approach is mainly used for finding 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.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Back to top)

An appraiser provides an impartial and well justified opinion of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers demonstrate their expert investigation in appraisal reports.


What would cause me to require services from Carolina Quality Appraisals?   (Back to top)

There are a lot of reasons to purchase an appraisal from Carolina Quality Appraisals with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for purchasing an appraisal include:
  • To obtain a loan.
  • If you would like to lower your property tax burden.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To challenge inflated property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To give you a leg-up when purchasing a home.
  • To figure out an honest sales price when putting your home on the market.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS need an appraisal on every house.
  • It's possible you could have to deal with being in a lawsuit - an appraisal will help.
For a more detailed explanation of the appraisal process click here.


Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?   (Back to top)

The appraiser is not a home inspector and he or she does not do a comprehensive home inspection. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the livable structure and electrical and mechanical systems of a property, from the roof to the bottom. The general property inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the integrity of the home's heating system, 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.

Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?   (Back to top)

Honestly, they share nothing in common. The CMA relies on indefinite trends in the market. An appraisal is based on comparable sales that can be verified by public record. In addition, the appraisal checks other factors like condition, area and construction prices. The CMA will provide a non-specific 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 produce CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or have specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, state licensed professional who has formed their livelihood on valuing real estate in and around Burke County is behind the appraisal. 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 accept a previously agreed upon sum for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (Back to top)

The main point of an appraisal report is to give a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The reason for the appraisal.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.
  • Characteristics of the property that have a bearing on the value, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic attributes, 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 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 used 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, what assurance is there that the value indicated is veritable?   (Back to top)

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

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

  • That appraisal services were rendered in a careful and conscientious manner.

  • The final appraisal report was transparent, sound and not easily discredited.
To become a state licensed appraiser, there are intense education requirements as well as real world experience that must be logged - all with the end goal of being able to provide unbiased value opinions. In addition, appraisers must stick to a meticulous industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for carrying out an appraisal and documenting its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Back to top) Licensing and certification takes classroom study, tests and experience working under a supervisory appraiser. Once an appraiser is licensed, he/she is required to engage in continuing education courses so the license remains current. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who employs appraisers?   (Back to top)

Typically, appraisers are called upon by lenders to estimate the value of real estate involved in a loan transaction. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.

Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Burke County or other areas?   (Back to top)

One of the most important tasks an appraiser must accomplish is to gather property data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is received from a numerous places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. To double-check actual sales prices, we research tax records and other public documents. Appraisers often need to report when a property is in a flood zone, and that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood product.

And last but not least, the appraiser assimilates general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from creating appraisals for other properties in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Back to top)

An appraisal is a worthwhile anytime your home's value is relevant to some financial decision. When selling your house, an appraisal will help you determine a price that maximizes profit and reduces time on the market. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. For people settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Carolina Quality Appraisals is the best way to ensure assets are split up evenly. A house 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?   (Back to top)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. It takes care of the lender in case a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the house 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.

Did you have less than 20% to put down on your mortgage? Contact Carolina Quality Appraisals today at 828-397-2744 to see if you can get rid of your Private Mortgage Insurance payment.

Do you need anything from me in advance?   (Back to 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 status 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. In the yard, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of exterior walls.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • Information on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years.
  • A list of any personal property that is part of the home and you intend to be sold with the home, such as an oven, or a washer and dryer, if applicable.
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of Insulation or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.

What does "Market Value" mean?   (Back to 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?   (Back to 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 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.

It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. 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.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (Back to top)

Like all things real estate, this is dependent on a home's location. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes

As a rule, the most value returned from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. 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, returning 85%. On the contrary, work that may not add value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.