Legally, an appraiser has to be state certified to write substantiated appraisal reports for federally-related transactions. You are also entitled by law to request a copy of the finished appraisal report from your lender. Contact us if you have any concerns about the appraisal process.

WalshStreet Appraisals discusses myths and realities about real estate appraisals and appraisers

Myth: Assessed value will always be similar to market value.
Reality: While most states support the idea that assessed value is equal to estimated market value, this often is not the case. Sometimes when interior remodeling has been done and the assessor is unaware of the improvement or other homes in the neighborhood have not been reassessed for quite some time, it may vary widely.

Myth: The opinion of value of a home will change depending upon if the appraisal is ordered for the buyer or the seller.
Reality: The opinion of value of the house does not affect the payment of the appraiser; as a result, the appraiser has no pressured interest in the value of the property. What this means is he will conduct services with impartiality and independence regardless of for whom the appraisal is provided.

Myth: Market value should equate to replacement cost.
Reality: Market value is found by what a willing buyer would be interested in paying a willing seller for a particular house, with neither being under undue influence to buy or sell. Replacement cost is the dollar amount necessary to rebuild a home in-kind.

Myth: There are certain methods that real estate appraisers use to show the cost of a home, like the price per square foot.
Reality: There are many varied processes that an appraiser will use to make an in-depth analysis of every factor in consideration of the property, such as the size, location, condition, how close it is to certain facilities and the sales prices of recently sold comparable homes.

Myth: In a powerful economy - when the values of houses in a given county are reported to be increasing by a particular percentage - the values of individual properties in the vicinity can be expected to appreciate by that same percentage.
Reality: The appreciation of a specific home has to be concluded on an individualized basis, factoring in information on comparable houses and other relevant considerations. It doesn't matter if the economy is doing well or declining.

Myth: The house's exterior is determinate of the expected price of the property; there is no need to do an interior appraisal.
Reality: Home value is determined by a multitude of variables, including - but not limited to - location, condition, improvements, amenities, and market trends. Obviously, none of these things can be found simply by examining the property from the exterior.

Myth: Since you're the one coughing up the cash for the appraisal report when applying for the loan to buy or refinance real estate, you own the produced appraisal report.
Reality: Legally, the appraisal is owned by the lending company unless the lender releases their interest in the report. However, consumers have to be given a copy of the appraisal report upon written request, under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Myth: There's no point for consumers to even concern themselves with what the report contains so long as their lender is satisfied.
Reality: Only when home buyers read a copy of their report can they double-check its accuracy and know if they should ask questions. Remember, this is probably the most expensive and important investment a consumer will ever make. Also, the appraisal makes an excellent record for future reference, comprised of helpful and often-revealing data - including the legal and physical description of the property, square footage measurements, list of comparable properties in the neighborhood, neighborhood description and a narrative of current real-estate activity and/or market trends in the vicinity.

Myth: There is no reason to hire an appraiser unless you are trying to get an assessment of the value of a property during a sales transaction involving a lender.
Reality: Appraisers can have many different qualifications and designations which allow them to perform a lot of different services including - but definitely not limited to - advice on estate planning, tax assessment, zoning, dispute resolution in many different legal situations and cost analysis.

Myth: An appraisal report is the same as a home inspection report.
Reality: An appraisal report does not serve the same purpose as an inspection report. The appraiser decides upon an opinion of value in the appraisal process and resulting report. The purpose of a home inspector is to assess the condition of the property and its major components, then provide a report on their findings.

Contact WalshStreet Appraisals if you have any other questions about appraisers, appraising or real estate in Los Angeles or Los Angeles, California.