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By law, an appraiser needs to be state-licensed to produce appraisals for federally-related transactions. You also have the right to receive a copy of the finished report from your lending agency. Contact us if you have any concerns about the appraisal process.

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

Myth: Market value needs to be equivocal to the assessed value of the property.
Reality: This is not often the case; most states do support the suggestion that the assessed value is the same as market value, but not always. Interior reconstruction that the assessor is unaware of and a lack of reassessment on nearby properties are prime examples of why the price can vary.

Myth: The appraised value of a property will change depending upon if the appraisal is ordered for the buyer or the seller.
Reality: There is no real interest on the part of the appraiser in the outcome of the appraisal, therefore he will complete his work with impartiality and independence, regardless of for whom the appraisal is ordered.

Myth: Market value will mirror replacement cost.
Reality: Market value is acquired by what a willing buyer would be interested in paying a willing seller for a particular property, with neither being under pressure to buy or sell. Replacement value is the dollar amount required to reconstruct a property in-kind.

Myth: Certain formulae, like the price per square foot, are the methods appraisers use to determine the value of a property.
Reality: An appraisal is an amalgamation of data concluded from the home's size, location, proximity to undesirable facilities, the condition of the home and the values of recent comparable sales. You can count on WalshStreet Appraisals's appraisers to be ethical in assessing this information.

Myth: When the economy is doing well and the sales prices of properties are found to be appreciating by a certain percentage, the other properties in the vicinity can be expected to increase based on that same percentage.
Reality: Any value an appraiser derives concerning a certain house is always individualized, based on certain factors found from the data of comparable properties and other considerations within the home itself. It makes no difference if the economy is strong or on the decline.

Myth: You can usually tell what a house is worth simply by looking at the exterior.
Reality: To find a solid value beyond all doubt, an appraiser must assess the property on a variety of factors based on location, condition, improvements, amenities, and market trends. As you can see, none of these factors can be found just by examining the property from the outside.

Myth: Because the consumer is the one who provides the capital to pay for the appraisal report when applying for a loan for any real estate transaction, by law the appraisal is theirs.
Reality: The report is, in fact, legally owned by the lender - unless the lender "releases its interest" in the appraisal report. Home buyers have to be provided with a version of the appraisal report through request because of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Myth: There's no point for home buyers to even worry about what the appraisal contains so long as their lending company is fine with the contents therein.
Reality: Only when home buyers check out a copy of their appraisal can they verify 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 report makes an invaluable record for future reference, filled with useful and often-revealing 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: 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: Depending upon their qualifications and designations, appraisers can and do perform a multitude of different services, including advice for estate planning, dispute resolution, zoning and tax assessment review and cost/benefit analysis.

Myth: An appraisal is no different than a home inspection.
Reality: An appraisal does not serve the same purpose as an inspection report. An appraiser decides upon an opinion of value in the appraisal process and resulting appraisal report. The task of a home inspector is to assess the condition of the house and its major components, then produce a report on these conclusions.

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