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Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc. is always more than happy to talk to you about any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Centennial and Arapahoe County. Feel free to contact us today.

Define the term "Appraisal"
Describe what an appraiser does
Why would I require services from Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc.?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What's in an appraisal report?
Once the report is done, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is veritable?
What goes into an appraiser's certification?
Who are an appraiser's customers?
Where does Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc. get the information used to estimate values in Arapahoe County or other areas?
Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?
Does the appraiser need anything from the homeowner in advance?
What does "Market Value" mean?
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



Define the term "Appraisal"   (Go to list of  questions)

An appraisal is an inspection that concludes with an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a few "approaches," typically three, to conclude the estimation of market 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 age and physical dilapidation, adding the land value. Another of the methods is the Sales Comparison Approach - which deals with discovering a comparison to other similar properties within a close vicinity which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most definitive and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a residence. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the best method in appraising income producing properties - it deals with estimating what an investor would pay based on the income generated by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Go to list of  questions)

An appraiser forumlates an unprejudiced and well supported opinion of market value, to be used in making real estate transactions. Appraisers exhibit their professional analysis in appraisal reports.


Why would I require services from Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc.?   (Go to list of  questions)

There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax burden.
  • To help a homeowner realize if they owe less than 80% of their home's value and remove insurance.
  • To contest improperly assessed property taxes.
  • To deal with an estate.
  • To offer you a negotiating tool when purchasing a home.
  • To figure out a reasonable price when listing your home.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS require an appraisal on every property.
  • If you are ever involved in a civil case.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process about getting an appraisal.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Go to list of  questions)

Home inspectors do not estimate an opinion of value and are not appraisers. A third-party home inspector will inspect the structure of the property, from the top to the bottom. The archetypal home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition 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)?   (Go to list of  questions)

Honestly, they have nothing in common. The CMA uses market trends to conduct most of their business. Appraisals use similar sales which are valid resources. Location and building costs are also precedent in an appraisal. 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 the person doing the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, create CMA's. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Moreover, the appraiser is an independent party, with no vested interest in the value conclusion, unlike the real estate agent, who gets a commission based upon the price of the home.

What's in an appraisal report?   (Go to list of  questions)

The main purpose of an appraisal report is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the appraisal.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • The type of value contained and a definition of the value reported.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.
  • Relevant property attributes, including: location, physical description, legal attributes, economic attributes, the real property interest valued, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, permanent equipment installations and even intangible factors.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • The scope of work considered while working up the job.
For a more detailed look at the work that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the report is done, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is veritable?   (Go to list of  questions)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
  • That the information analysis contained in the appraisal was appropriate.

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

  • That appraisal services were not conducted in a careless or negligent fashion.

  • The final appraisal report was clear, legitimate and not easily discredited.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must fulfill extensive education and experience requirements that prepare us to produce an unbiased opinion. Likewise, appraisers must follow a strict industry code of ethics and respect national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for developing an appraisal and communicating its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Go to list of  questions) Regulations regarding licensing and certification of Real Estate Appraisers vary from state to state. In general, licensing and certification is most often associated with many hours of classroom study, tests and experience working under a supervisory appraiser. Once licensed, he/she is required to complete continuing education courses so the license remains up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who are an appraiser's customers?   (Go to list of  questions)

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

Where does Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc. get the information used to estimate values in Arapahoe County or other areas?   (Go to list of  questions)

Gathering data is one of the main tasks an appraiser does. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are documented by the appraiser while on site.

General data is gathered from a number of sources. To find out about recent sales to be used as "comps", we typically use the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other courthouse documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood product.

And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other houses in the same market.


Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?   (Go to list of  questions)

If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want a full appraisal. When selling your house, an appraisal will help you determine the most appropriate price. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. For people settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc. is the best documentation to ensure assets are divided fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value means you can make the right financial decisions.


My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?   (Go to list of  questions)

PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplementary plan guards the lender in the event a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the property is less than the loan balance. 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.

Does your monthly loan payment include a fee for PMI?Call Whitman Appraisal Professionals, Inc. today at 720-870-3585 or send us an e-mail. A current appraisal could save you thousands.

Does the appraiser need anything from the homeowner in advance?   (Go to list of  questions)

We begin with an inspection of the home. 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 amenities. Inside, make sure it is clutter free and that we can get to things like furnaces and water heaters. In the yard, 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:
  • Written property agreements, such as a maintenance easement for a shared driveway.
  • Any paperwork, such as a title policy with information on encroachments or easements encroachments or easements.
  • Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
  • A list of any major home improvements and upgrades, the amount of their purchase and date of their installation (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • Most recent real estate tax bill from Arapahoe and or legal description of the property.

What does "Market Value" mean?   (Go to list of  questions)

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."



Who has rights to the appraisal report?   (Go to list of  questions)

For mortgage transactions, the lender requests the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. 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 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 stipulate 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 use the appraisal for any purpose.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (Go to list of  questions)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, installing an inline humidifier could be nice in arid regions, but completely useless near the coast!

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe move. 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, an improvement that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.