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Every year, countless people in the United States buy, sell or refinance their homes. Most of these transactions require an appraisal. It has become an understood and accepted part of a real estate transaction. 

However, is this the only reason to get an appraisal? Are there other times when the services of a certified, licensed, independent real estate professional might come in handy? Of course.

One of the most important steps involved in purchasing a property is developing an opinion of value to  make an informed offer to purchase.  A professional appraisal report performed by a qualified appraiser can provide you with an objective third party opinion of a property's current market value. For the small fee for this service, one can have "peace of mind" prior to making an offer to purchase that you're offering a fair price for the property. 

If you need to consolidate bills, have a college tuition to pay or just want to tap into the equity of your home, you'll need a new loan which typically requires an appraisal of the property.
"Private Mortgage Insurance" is the supplemental insurance that many lenders require buyers to purchase when the amount being loaned is more than 80% of the value of the home. Often this additional payment is included into the monthly mortgage payment and is quickly forgotten. This is unfortunate because PMI becomes unnecessary when the remaining balance of the loan - whether through market appreciation and/or principal paydown - drops below the 80% level. In fact, the United States Congress passed a law in 1998 (the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998) that requires lenders to remove the PMI payments when the loan-to-value ratio conditions have been met.

Many appraisers offer a specific service for home owners that believe they have met the 80% loan-to-value metric. For a reasonable fee, the appraiser can provide you with an estimate of the home value. The expense of these services are often recovered in just a few months of not paying the PMI.

Divorce can be a traumatic experience for all parties and is often complicated by the difficult decision of Who gets the house?. typically the Court won't force the parties involved to "buyout" the other party's interest however it may order the sale of the home so each party gets an equal share of the equity.  Regardless of the situation, it's a good idea to order an appraisal so both parties are fully aware of the true market value.

If the parties want to sell the home, they'll have a better idea of the listing price. If a buyout is the chosen option, both parties will have received a fair assessment.
The loss of a loved one is a difficult time in life and settling an estate from a death or probate often requires an appraisal to establish Fair Market Value for the subject property involved.  The ethics provision within the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) binds us with confidentiality, ensuring the fullest degree of discretion.

The majority of Americans do not have dedicated estate planners or executors to handle these issues.  Also, a home or other real property makes up a disproportionate share of the total estate value.

Often the first step in fairly disposing of an estate is to understand its true value. Where property is involved, the appraiser can help determine the true value at which time equitable arrangements can more easily be arrived at among disputing parties. Everyone walks away knowing they've received a fair deal.

We understand the stress involved with an employee relocation. We take great care in establishing a convenient appointment time for the appraisal inspection. During our thorough inspection, we encourage relocating employee's to provide input on the positive attributes of their property along with information about any recent sales or listings in their neighborhood that they want considered.

Before you decide to sell your home, there are several decisions to be made. First and foremost: "How much should it sell for?"  But don't forget there may be other equally important questions to ask yourself such as "Would it be better to paint the entire house before we sell it?", "Should I put in that third bathroom?", "Should I complete my kitchen remodel?"  Many things which we do to our houses have an effect on their value.  Unfortunately, not all of them have an equal effect. While a kitchen remodel may improve the appeal of a home, it may not add nearly enough to the value to justify the expense.

Whether you choose to sell your home on your own or use the assistance of a real estate agent (Realtor), a professional appraisal can help you make a better educated decision when determining your selling price.

Unlike a real estate agent (Realtor), an appraiser cannot have any vested interest in what amount the house sells for. It is easy for the appraiser to provide the information to help the seller make the decision.  Appraiser fee's are based on efforts to complete the report and not a percentage of the sales price. Seeking a professional appraisal can often help homeowners make the best decisions on investing in their homes and setting a fair sales price.