It is enforced by law that an appraiser be state-licensed to write appraisals for federally-related transactions in California. You also have the right to demand a copy of the finished report from your lending agency. Contact our professional staff if you have any concerns about the appraisal procedure.

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

Myth: Assessed value should equate market value.
Reality: While most states back the concept that assessed value equates estimated market value, this commonly is not the case. Examples include when interior reconstruction has happened and the assessor is unaware of the improvements, or when properties in the area have not been reassessed for an extended period.

Myth: The buyer or the seller will have some pull in the cost of the home depending upon for whom the appraiser is working.
Reality: The appraiser has no personal interest in the result of the appraisal report and should conduct his task with independence, objectivity and impartiality - no matter for whom the appraisal is provided.

Myth: Market value will equal replacement cost.
Reality: Market value is arrived at through what a willing buyer would likely pay a willing seller for a certain house, with neither being under undue influence to buy or sell. If the home were reconstructed, the dollar amount required to do so would set the replacement cost.

Myth: Specific methods, such as the price per square foot, are what appraisers use to come to the value of a house.
Reality: An appraisal report is a collection of information based on the home's size, location, proximity to specific facilities, the condition of the house and the values of recent comparable sales. You can rely on WalshStreet Appraisals's appraisers to be honest in assessing this information.

Myth: As houses increase in value by a certain percentage - in a strong economic state - the properties in proximity are figured to increase by the same amount.
Reality: All increase of value is on a one-on-one basis, determined by data on relevant elements and the data of comparable homes. It doesn't matter if the economy is on the rise or declining.

Myth: Just looking at what the house looks like on its exterior gives an idea of its value.
Reality: To determine a concrete value beyond all doubt, an appraiser must examine the property on a variety of factors based on area, condition, improvements, amenities, and current market trends. Obviously, none of these variables can be derived just by viewing the home from the exterior.

Myth: Because consumers pay for appraisal reports when applying for loans to purchase or refinance their home, they legally own their appraisal report.
Reality: The appraisal is, in fact, legally owned by the lender - unless the lender "releases its interest" in the document. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, any consumer requesting a copy of the report must be provided with one by their lending agency.

Myth: Consumers need not be concerned with what is in their document so long as it meets the necessities of their lending institution.
Reality: A home buyer should definitely look through their appraisal; there might be some questions or some concerns with the accuracy of the analysis that should be addressed. Remember, this is probably the most expensive and important investment a consumer will ever make. An report can double as a record for the future, since it contains a great deal of information - including, but not limited to 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 proximity.

Myth: Appraisals are ordered only to assess real estate property values in house sales involving mortgage-lending transactions.
Reality: Appraisers can have many different qualifications and designations which allow them to provide a variety of different services including - but certainly not limited to - advice on estate planning, tax assessment, zoning, dispute resolution in many different legal situations and cost analysis.

Myth: A property inspection serves the same purpose as an appraisal.
Reality: An appraisal does not fulfill the same purpose as an inspection. The job of the appraiser is to arrive at an opinion of value in the appraisal process and through writing the report. The task of a home inspector is to approximate the condition of the home and its main components, then produce a report on their inspection.

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