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Skyline Appraisal Group has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Skyline Appraisal Group is eager to talk to you about any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Las Vegas and Clark County. Contact Skyline Appraisal Group today to learn how we can help you with your specific valuation problems.

Describe an appraisal
Describe what an appraiser does
Why would I request a real estate appraisal?
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?
Once the appraisal has been completed, how can I have assurance that the final number is trustworthy?
What are the requirements to be a certified appraiser?
Who do appraisers work for?
Where does Skyline Appraisal Group get the data used to estimate values in Clark County or other areas?
Why do I need a professional appraisal?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal appointment
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?
Who actually owns the appraisal report?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



Describe an appraisal   (Back to top)

The method of producing an appraisal consists of an evaluation which forms an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a number of "approaches," typically three, to arrive at the estimation of market value. The Cost Approach is one of the approaches that appraisers use to find the value of a home; it involves concluding what the improvements would cost less physical degradation, plus the land value. Another of the approaches is the Sales Comparison Approach - which involves discovering a comparison to other similar properties within a close vicinity which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most definitive and best indicator of value for a house. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the most important method in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the money generated by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Back to top)

An appraiser forumlates a fair and credible assessment of market value, in the support of real estate exchanges. Appraisers reveal the details of their professional analysis in appraisal reports.


Why would I request a real estate appraisal?   (Back to top)

There are a lot of reasons to obtain an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for ordering an appraisal include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • To reduce your property taxes.
  • To show a homeowner has 30% equity and remove PMI.
  • To fight high property taxes.
  • To handle an estate.
  • To provide you a negotiating tool when purchasing a home.
  • To figure out an honest price when listing your home.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Because a government agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will help.
Click here for a more detailed explanation of the process involved in getting an appraisal.


How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?   (Back to top)

Appraisers do not do complete home inspections and are not home inspectors. A third-party home inspector will judge the structure of the house, from the roof to the bottom. The archetypal property inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the home's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and accessible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?   (Back to top)

To be blunt, it's night and day. The CMA depends on indistinct trends in the market. An appraisal is based on comparable sales that can be verified by records. Area and building costs are also important in an appraisal. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.

Who's creating the report is actually the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents, who may not have a true grasp of valuation methods or the entire market, create CMA's. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Further, the appraiser is an unbiased party, with no vested interest in the value conclusion, unlike the agent, who gets a commission based upon the price of the home.

What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?   (Back to top)

Each report should demonstrate a believable estimate of value and will identify the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The reason for the appraisal.
  • The type of value reported and a definition of that value.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Characteristics of the property that have a bearing on the value, including: location, physical characteristics, legal attributes, economic factors, the real property interest valued, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible factors.
  • Any known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • The scope of work considered while working up the job.
For a more in depth view of what goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the appraisal has been completed, how can I have assurance that the final number is trustworthy?   (Back to top)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • That the information analysis utilized in the appraisal was appropriate.

  • Whether individually or collectively, there were no major errors contained in the appraisal, nor any material details left out.

  • That appraisal services were done in a careful and cognizant fashion.

  • That a credible, supportable appraisal report was communicated.
There are intense classroom and real world experience requirements that must be satisfied in order to get an appraisal license in Nevada. Likewise, appraisers must obey a stringent industry code of ethics and comply with national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for carrying out an appraisal and communicating its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Back to top) Regulations regarding licensing and certification of Real Estate Appraisers are different from state to state. In general, licensing and certification is commonly associated with many hours of classroom study, tests and real world experience. Once licensed, he or she is required to take continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who do appraisers work for?   (Back to top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely customer, requesting their services to ensure property involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does Skyline Appraisal Group get the data used to estimate values in Clark County or other areas?   (Back to top)

One of the primary things an appraiser does is to collect data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser while on site.

General data is collected from a numerous sources. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we often use the local Multiple Listing Service. To verify actual sales prices, we research items in the assessor's office and other public documents. Flood zone data is gathered from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.

And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other properties in the same market.


Why do I need a professional appraisal?   (Back to top)

Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. If you're selling your house, an appraisal assists you in setting the most appropriate price. When buying, you can avoid overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Skyline Appraisal Group is the best documentation to ensure assets are divided evenly. Simply put, a home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (Back to top)

PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI guards the lender if a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the home is lower than what is owed on the loan. Once you reach the point where your home's equity plus the amount you've paid is at least 20% of your loan balance, you can have your PMI dropped.

Did you secure your mortgage with less than 20% down? Contact Skyline Appraisal Group today at (702) 335-6436. You may be able to cancel your Private Mortgage Insurance payment.

Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal appointment   (Back to top)

The first step in most appraisals is the property inspection. What this entails is the appraiser, after setting up an appointment, personally going through the home - recording the layout of the rooms, taking photos and documenting the general status of its features. The best thing you can do to help is make sure we have easy access to the exterior of the house (gates aren't locked, etc). Trim any bushes and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. Indoors, make sure the appraiser can easily access items like furnaces and water heaters.

To help expedite our work as well as ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
  • Any information on the purchase of the property for the last three years.
  • Title policy that describes encroachments or easements.
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
  • A copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is "pending".
  • Most recent real estate tax bill from Clark and or legal description of the property.

How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?   (Back to top)

In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:

"The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: the buyer and seller are typically motivated; both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; payment is made in terms of cash in United States dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."



Who actually owns the appraisal report?   (Back to top)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. While the buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within. The buyer is certainly entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

The exception to this rule is when a home owner engages an appraiser directly. In these situations, the appraiser may state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (Back to top)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, adding a central air conditioner in to a home in the South may add significant value, while putting one in a home near the Pacific Northwest might not have much impact.

As a rule, the best ROI from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms weren't far behind, yielding 85%. On the contrary, work that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.