FAQs Sarah McClelland May 17, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Professional Appraisal Services: What You Need to Know

An appraisal is an impartial report that establishes the market value of a property. Our certified, licensed professionals produce unbiased and well-supported determinations of market values for real estate transactions. We provide appraisal reports that offer defensible and carefully documented opinions of value. Our skilled appraisers rely on various approaches to arrive at an opinion of value. 

The Cost Approach determines how much it would cost to replace the improvements of a property.

The Sales Comparison Approach compares recently sold similar properties nearby.

The Income Approach determines the market value of income-producing properties based on the capital they produce.

Why get an appraisal?

There are many reasons to purchase an appraisal, from real estate and mortgage transactions to tax assessment disputes. Our appraisal services can help you show that you have 30% equity in your home, settle an estate, or fight mis-assessed property taxes. An appraisal can also provide a leg up when purchasing or listing a home, ensure just compensation in eminent domain cases or lawsuits, and fulfill IRS requirements for government agencies.

It’s important to note that an appraisal is not the same as a home inspection. While a home inspection evaluates the structure and amenities of a property, an appraisal provides an expert determination of market value.

Certified Market Appraisal vs. Appraisal Report

Comparing a Certified Market Appraisal (CMA) to an appraisal report is like comparing dial-up to broadband. A CMA is dependent on local market trends and generates a ballpark figure. In contrast, an appraisal utilizes validated comparable sales, area, and construction values to deliver a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

When it comes to the person behind the report, a CMA is written by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. A certified, licensed professional appraiser bases their career on valuing properties in and around the home’s area. A code of ethics binds our appraisers and collects only a previously agreed-upon sum for assignments, regardless of their outcomes. Choose our professional appraisal services for comprehensive and impartial assessments of your property.

What's in an appraisal?

As a homeowner, understanding the specifics of your appraisal report is essential for making informed financial decisions. The report should: 

  • Outline a reliable value opinion and include details on the client and other intended users, how the report will be used, the purpose and type of value, and the effective date of the appraisal.
  • Cover important property attributes including location, physical, legal, and economic attributes, as well as any encumbrances or restrictions.
  • Document how the appraisal was completed and provide assurance that the value indicated is verifiable by ensuring a credible, supportable appraisal report.

Working with a pro appraiser

To become a licensed appraiser, professionals must complete extensive education requirements and adhere to strict industry codes of ethics and national standards of practice. Appraisers are typically employed by mortgage lenders, attorneys, and CPAs for asset division, estate settlement, and mortgage transactions.

Having a professional appraisal is crucial whenever the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, such as setting a price when selling your house or ensuring that property is divided fairly during estate settlement or divorce. Additionally, by proving that the amount owed on your home is less than 80% of the home’s market value, you may be able to cancel your Private Mortgage Insurance premium.

Gain a Clear Understanding of "Market Value"

Market Value in real estate appraising refers to the most probable price a property should fetch under conditions required for a fair sale. The buyer and seller should act prudently, each with good knowledge, not influenced by any undue stimulus. The sale dates and title transfer procedures must also meet reasonable exposure time in open markets. Key considerations require that both parties be motivated and well-informed and pay the usual offer amount for the property.

Understanding Appraisal and Your Rights

In mortgage transactions, lenders order the appraisal, and buyers pay for the report, but lenders remain the intended users. Buyers receive a copy of the report at the closing, but they cannot use it for other purposes without the lender’s permission. However, homeowners who engage appraisers for other services to remove PMI or plan estates, or for tax challenges, can use the appraisal without any constraints.

Maximize Your Home Value with Remodeling

To maximize your home value, consider remodeling your kitchen or bathroom. These two areas often offer the highest returns on investment. A $20,000 kitchen upgrade can add $17,500 to your home value on average, yielding an 88% return on investment. Similarly, renovating bathrooms offers an average return of 85% on the amount spent. Adding bedrooms and bathrooms can also add value to your home, but you should avoid overbuilding relative to the neighborhood’s average.

Trademark Appraisal coverage areas

Trademark Appraisals serves clients throughout 13 counties in Maryland, all of Washington D.C. and 4 areas in Virginia.

Work with us

Trademark Appraisals is built on mortgage industry experience and commitment to customer satisfaction. Our services are not completed until your loan closes.