An appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home's value. Appraisals are almost always used in purchase and sale transactions and commonly used in refinance transactions. In a purchase and sale transaction, an appraisal is used to determine whether the home's contract price is appropriate given the home's condition, location, and features. In a refinance, it assures the lender that it isn't handing the borrower more money than the home is worth.
Although appraisers and assessors of real estate work in offices, they may spend a large part of their time conducting site visits to assess properties. Time spent away from the office depends on the specialty. For example, residential appraisers tend to spend less time on office work than commercial appraisers, who might spend up to several weeks analyzing information and writing reports on one property. Appraisers who work for banks and mortgage companies generally spend most of their time inside the office, making site visits only when necessary.
The role of a real estate appraiser is to provide honest, impartial and objective opinions regarding the market value of the property in the form of an appraisal. This service plays a huge role in assisting those who own, manage, sell, invest, and/or lend money on the security of real estate. Appraisers will gather facts, stats, and any other information regarding said property. From there they will put their analytical skills to test in analyzing this data, exercising sound judgement, and communicating this effectively in their appraisal report.
An appraisal is a licensed appraiser's opinion of a home's market value based on comparable recent sales of homes in the neighborhood. Appraisals are usually ordered on behalf of a buyer's lender to protect the interests of the lender. The lender's underwriter will compare the appraisal price to the final purchase price of the home to ensure the buyer is not borrowing more than the house is worth. If the home appraises lower than the final sale price, the buyer may be able to renegotiate a lower price with the seller. If the seller won't lower the price, the buyer's lender may ask that the buyer put more money toward the down payment in order to make up the difference. Get an instant estimate of your home's value or learn how to increase your home's appraisal value.
The BauGB defines the Verkehrswert or Marktwert (market value, both terms with identical meaning) as follows: "The market value is determined by the price that can be realized at the date of valuation, in an arm's length transaction, with due regard to the legal situation and the effective characteristics, the nature and lay of the premises or any other subject of the valuation" (non-official translation). The intention, as in other countries, is to include all objective influences and to exclude all influences resulting from the subjective circumstances of the involved parties.
Automated valuation models (AVMs) are growing in acceptance. These rely on statistical models such as multiple regression analysis, machine learning algorithms or geographic information systems (GIS). While AVMs can be quite accurate, particularly when used in a very homogeneous area, there is also evidence that AVMs are not accurate in other instances such as when they are used in rural areas, or when the appraised property does not conform well to the neighborhood.
The cost approach was once called the summation approach. The theory is that the value of a property can be estimated by summing the land value and the depreciated value of any improvements. The value of the improvements is often referred to by the abbreviation RCNLD (for "reproduction/replacement cost new less depreciation"). Reproduction refers to reproducing an exact replica; replacement cost refers to the cost of building a house or other improvement which has the same utility, but using modern design, workmanship and materials. In practice, appraisers almost always use replacement cost and then deduct a factor for any functional dis-utility associated with the age of the subject property. An exception to the general rule of using the replacement cost is for some insurance value appraisals. In those cases, reproduction of the exact asset after a destructive event like a fire is the goal.
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In the United States, appraisals are for a certain type of value (e.g., foreclosure value, fair market value, distressed sale value, investment value). The most commonly used definition of value is Market Value. While Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) does not define Market Value, it provides general guidance for how Market Value should be defined:
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