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Viewpoint Appraisal Services LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Viewpoint Appraisal Services LLC is more than happy to elaborate on any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Mesa and Maricopa County. Contact Viewpoint Appraisal Services LLC today to learn how we can help solve your valuation problems.

Describe an appraisal
What does an appraiser do?
What are the reasons a person would require a real estate appraisal?
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What does the appraisal report contain?
Upon completion of the report, how can I have certainty that the value conclusion is valid?
How hard is it to become certified?
Who employs appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Maricopa County or other areas?
What can a full appraisal do for 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?
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?



Describe an appraisal   (Back to top)

The method of producing an appraisal deals with an investigation which leads to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is arrived at using a formal method that commonly utilizes the three main "common approaches to value". One of the methods in use is the Cost Approach, which finds what it would cost to restore the improvements to the house, less the depreciation and physical dilapidation, adding the land value. Another of the approaches is the Sales Comparison Approach - which involves finding a comparable analysis to other similar nearby properties which have recently sold. Being the most commonly used approach, the Sales Comparison Approach is considered the most accurate and best indicator of market value for a residence. The Income Approach is generally 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?   (Back to top)

An appraiser generates a fair and credible opinion of market value, in the support of real estate exchanges. Appraisers summarize their professional conclusions in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons a person would require a real estate appraisal?   (Back to top)

There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal from Viewpoint Appraisal Services LLC with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for getting an report include:
  • To receive a loan.
  • To reduce your tax burden.
  • To help a homeowner realize if they owe less than 80% of their home's value and remove PMI.
  • To fight improperly assessed property taxes.
  • To settle an estate.
  • To offer you an edge when purchasing a home.
  • To determine an honest property value when selling real estate.
  • To protect your rights if your property is being taken by means of eminent domain in a condemnation case.
  • Because an official agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • It's possible you could have to deal with being in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
If you need more information about the appraisal process, please 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 full home inspection. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the available structure and mechanical systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Commonly, a home inspection report will explain the amenities and the necessities of the home: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical systems, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, visible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.

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

Frankly, it's like comparing sugar and saccharin. The CMA depends on indistinct market trends. Appraisals use similar sales which are verifiable resources. Area and construction prices are also precedent in an appraisal. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

The person creating the report is actually the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. A CMA is created by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a previously agreed upon fee for assignments, regardless of their outcome.

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

Each appraisal should indicate a supported value opinion and must clearly state the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Pertinent property attributes, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic attributes, the real property interest in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, permanent equipment installations and even intangible items.
  • All 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 when completing the appraisal.
For a more detailed look at the work that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Upon completion of the report, how can I have certainty that the value conclusion is valid?   (Back to top)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
  • That the information analysis contained in the appraisal was suitable.

  • Whether individually or collectively, there were no critical errors contained in the appraisal, nor any relevant details left out.

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

  • The final appraisal report was easy to explain, credible and conclusive.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must satisfy extensive education and experience requirements that prepare us to produce an unbiased opinion. Likewise, appraisers must obey a stringent industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for working up an appraisal and reporting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Back to top) Licensing and certification is achieved through coursework, tests and experience working under a supervisor. Once licensed, he/she is required to take continuing education courses in order to keep the license current. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who employs appraisers?   (Back to top)

Most of the time, appraisers are employed by mortgage lenders to render a value opinion on a home involved in a loan transaction. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.

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

Collecting data is one of the primary tasks an appraiser does. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are gathered by the appraiser while on site.

General data is received from a number of places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Appraisers routinely have to report when a property lies in a flood zone, and that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood service.

And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other properties in the same market.


What can a full appraisal do for me?   (Back to 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 figure out a price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. When buying, you can avoid overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. For people settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Viewpoint Appraisal Services LLC is the best documentation to ensure assets are divided evenly. 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?   (Back to top)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI guards the lender in case a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the value of the house is lower than what is owed on the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.

The savings from getting rid of your PMI pays for the appraisal in a matter of months. Nobody is more qualified than Viewpoint Appraisal Services LLC when it comes to analyzing real estate appreciation in Mesa and Maricopa County. Contact us today.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (Back to top)

We begin with an inspection of the property. 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. Inside, make sure it is clutter free and that we can access things like furnaces and water heaters. On the outside, trim any bushes so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if readily available).
  • Title policy that describes encroachments or easements.
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
  • Find copies of the current listing agreement, broker's data sheet and, in the event of a pending sale.
  • A list of "suggested" improvements when the property is being appraised "as complete".

How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?   (Back to top)

In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair 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."



Who has rights to the appraisal report?   (Back to top)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. While the 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 buyer is entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner hiring the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, the appraiser may state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.


Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (Back to top)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, if you're in a neigborhood of small to medium priced homes, a media room may not be something people in that price range want

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. 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 were second, returning 85%. On the contrary, an improvement that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.