Robinson Appraisals

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The Importance of  Professional Real Estate Appraisal

Without question, the final estimate given by the appraiser influences the decisions of people who own, manage, sell, purchase, invest in, and lend money on the security of real estate.  The appraiser plays an essential role in the lending process as a professional and unbiased third party; not only do they protect real estate buyers from overpaying for property, they also protect lenders from over lending to buyers.

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Is an appraisal the same thing as a home inspection?
NO.  An appraisal is not a home inspection. A home inspection is an in-depth, third-party evaluation of the accessible structure and mechanical systems of a house.  The standard home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition 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 thing as a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)?
NO.  The CMA relies on vague market trends.  The appraisal relies on specific, verifiable comparable sales.  The appraisal also looks for factors such as condition, location and construction costs; whereas a CMA delivers a "ball park figure."  An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value arrived at after following the Appraisal Process.  A CMA is crated by a real estate agent, who may or may not have a vested interest in the sale price of the house.  The appraisal is created by an unbiased, third-party who is also a licensed, certified professional.

Who do appraisers work for?
Appraisers are usually contracted by lenders as an unbiased, third-party to estimate the value of real estate involved in a loan transaction.  Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters, investment decisions and investment decisions.  Please see our We're here when you need us section for ideas on how Residential Appraisal & Associates can help you.
Why do I need a professional appraisal?
Knowledge is power and in order to empower yourself to make the right financial decisions, you need an up-to-date accurate value of your single largest investment, your home.  If you are selling your home, an appraisal helps you set the most appropriate value.  If you are buying a home, it makes sure you don't overpay.  If you are engaged in either an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. 
Who owns the appraisal report?
As a general rule, the appraisal report is owned by the person or institution that orders it to be done.

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender.  Even though the home buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within.  The home buyer is entitled to a copy of the report - it is usually included with all of the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender. 

On the other hand, if a home owner engages an appraiser directly, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used.  For example, an appraisal is often used to get Private Mortgage Insurance removed (PMI), for estate planning, during a divorce and to counter tax challenges.  If not otherwise specified, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.
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