The report must include a street map showing the appraised property and comparable sales used; an exterior building sketch; an explanation of how the square footage was calculated; photographs of the home's front, back and street scene; front exterior photographs of each comparable property used; and any other information, such as market sales data, public land records and public tax records, that the appraiser uses to determine the property's fair market value. An appraisal costs several hundred dollars, and generally, the borrower pays this fee.
While no appraiser is infallible, his or her opinion of the value of your home is informed by rigorous training, numerous tests, several years of on-the-job experience and required continuing education. They are also required to substantiate every finding in their reports that could influence a home’s value. Appraisers and their employers (often appraisal management companies) are heavily regulated. Consequences of issuing deliberately misleading or biased reports can be severe, so appraisers work hard to remain impartial and keep personal value judgments and prejudices out of their work.
I spoke with John about getting an appraisal for the home I was purchasing and even though it was short notice, he was able to fit me in the next week. I gave him my information and told him the last inspector I called had agreed but had to back out when he found out how large the house was, but John said it would be no problem, and figured it would take a couple of days to do the appraisal and get the proper amount of comps. I had no problem with his fee, as I know that large houses can cost even more to inspect and appraise and thought his prices were reasonable-- especially considering how quickly he was going to get it done. Right after our phone conversation he sent me an email and sent the contract, which I signed and emailed back, and gave him my credit card info., which made it very easy to deal with versus writing another check-- which you write so many of in the house purchasing process. He arrived promptly and introduced himself, and was just as pleasant in person as he was on the phone. He did a thorough job of going through the house, and really seemed to know his business very well. He was nice enough to point out some positive aspects about the house we were purchasing, and pointed out many details. He was very knowledgeable about the housing industry and houses in general as well, and after business talk, it was nice he took the time to just chit chat for a bit. After speaking with me on the phone and chatting at the house, he gave me some great information about places he thought I would be interested in visiting, because he figured out pretty quickly I was a nerd who would be into some of the places he mentioned. He was right! Great information and advice! I really enjoyed doing business with John, who I found interesting, knowledgeable, and excellent to work with, and if I ever need another appraisal, he is definitely the one to call! I would highly recommend him to anyone who wants the best service in this business!
These appraisers also perform valuations on commercial property ranging from single to multiple tenant office buildings, shopping centers, retail, industrial, malls, hospitals, health care facilities, warehouses, and hotels to multi-family apartment buildings, co-ops, senior housing, condominium developments, and even vacant land, agricultural, and golf courses.  Regardless of the property type or local zoning, they'll determine the highest and best use of the project and assess the value using the actual or projected cash flow from the property's rent roll and financial statements, using both cap rates for capitalizing year one net operating income (NOI) and discounted cash flow (DCF) of multiple future income streams.  If you're a commercial lender, investor, builder, contractor, architect, or agent, you'll want to use these appraisers to conduct a feasibility analysis of any income producing real estate project you may be considering.  They can also help consult on construction costs and projected absorption rates.  They generally produce a commercial narrative appraisal when engaged for any commercial assignment.
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