Some appraisers are wary to answer questions on the value of particular home improvements because each situation is unique and no information should be regarded as a guarantee. At Verappraise.com, as a service to you, would like to offer our opinion on the cost effectiveness of a few of the more common improvements, as seen through the eyes of an appraiser. These are general guidelines only.
As a homeowner, you will want to make whatever changes are necessary to enhance the enjoyment of the home for you and your family, but be aware that the cost of the improvement will often not be totally recaptured in an appraisal or sale of your home.
Typically, neutral decorating (new carpet, paint, wallpaper, etc.) is money well spent. Larger improvements, such as additions and four-season porches, must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Be sure to take a look at your neighborhood when planning changes and try to keep improvements in line with other properties in the area.
The following guidelines are rough estimates based on the multiple years of experience. Only a complete home appraisal can tell the value of such improvements on your particular home. These guidelines are based on a 20-year-old home with a value of $100,000.00.
How Appraisals and Appraisers Work
This data for FAQ's and general overview of the appraisal process is based on standards set forth by USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice), and the overall expertise found within the Verappraise.com network. If your question is not answered within, feel free to contact an appraiser with Verappraise.com
Q: Why should I hire an appraiser?
A: One answer is to find out how much your property is worth and/or its related overall real property value. However, a certified appraisal also can help with other matters, including taxes and eliminating private mortgage insurance. A licensed appraiser can also help you with estate planning, divorce issues, analyzing the feasibility of proposed improvements, determining the best use for a property, and with insurance valuations.
Q: How does an appraiser come up with a value?
A: By analyzing market data, including both historic and current comparable sales, current offers, pending sales, and proposed improvements. Then the appraiser compares your property to the broader market. The process may vary depending on why it is being done; for instance, an appraiser might weigh different factors more heavily for an insurance valuation than for a market valuation. The other method to determine an opinion of value is by using the cost model that includes site value, reproduction cost new (as determined by cost manuals, area contractors, builders and developers) less any depreciation factors and finally analyzing the overall as is value of all remaining real property items not included in the reproduction cost new. The approach is most effective in determining value on new construction dwellings.
Q: Where does an appraiser get this information?
A: From a wide variety of sources, including a local Multiple Listing Service, local real estate professionals, county courthouse records, private data vendors, stated cost manual, builder/developer, interviews with owners, and his or her own personal knowledge. The quality and reliability of each piece of information is weighed by the appraiser.
Q: How long is an appraisal good for?
A: Although there is no fixed expiration date on an appraisal, most lenders consider them outdated after six months. This is taken on a case by case basis considering the use of the appraisal and requirements of the client.
Q: If I have five appraisers appraise my home will they come out with five different values?
A: Probably. If five prospective homebuyers made offers on the same property, they would likely have five different offering prices. Therefore, it is common for different appraisers to calculate different opinions of values, although they should all be within a reasonable range, assuming each was completed at the same time and under the same conditions. On the other hand, different appraisal techniques could result in markedly different valuations. For example, a complete appraisal that includes an interior inspection might vary from a drive-by appraisal, which wouldn't provide accurate information about the updates, features, or condition of a property. One must always know that a real property appraisal is an opinion of value.
Q: Can the appraiser talk to other people about my home and the reasons for my appraisal?
A: No. The relationship between an appraiser and client is bound by confidentiality and overall fiduciary responsibility.
Q: Who do I contact if I have a complaint? Are there any licensing or governing boards that oversee appraisers?
A: If you have a complaint, the licensing or regulatory board within the State of Texas is the TLACB (Texas Licensing and Certification Board).
Q: Does the appraisal serve as a home inspection also?
A: No. An appraiser is not a home inspector.
Q: What does the appraiser look for inside my home?
A: Typically, an appraiser needs to document the condition of the interior, from the layout and features to any updates and construction. This information assists the appraiser in the valuation, cost and comparison process.
Q: The appraiser only spent a few minutes in my house. How can he or she estimate a value in such a short time?
A: A physical inspection is usually only a small part of the overall appraisal process. How long it takes depends on how big and how complex the assignment. If you have concerns regarding the thoroughness of the appraisal inspection, contact the appraiser.
Q: How does the appraiser determine the square footage or gross living area of my home's living area?
A: Generally, by measuring the exterior of the home and or analyzing the architectural rendering. Non-living areas, such as garages or covered porches, are not included. Garage conversions are taken on a case by case basis and will be determined as gross living area by the appraisers.
Q: Does an appraiser include my above-ground pool or my shed in the appraisal?
A: The appraiser generally considers only permanent fixtures and real property. Because many above-ground pools and small sheds are not permanent structures, they usually are not included in the analysis. Depending on the specific installation process, however, an above-ground pool or small shed might be considered part of the real estate.
Q: I have the biggest house in the neighborhood. If the appraiser users other home sales in my neighborhood for comparison, will that make my appraised value less?
A: Not necessarily. The appraiser will consider all relevant real estate data in the area. But when analyzing other recent sales, the appraiser generally will look for the homes most comparable to yours in terms of physical characteristics and the appeal of the location. In other words, the sales in your neighborhood might not make for the best comparisons if those homes are significantly less appealing. The appraiser may determine that the best for comparison home sales are in another neighborhood. The appraiser will also consider the cost and site value associated with the property.
Q: I am refinancing my house with a local bank. If my bank appraisal comes out higher than my tax value, will my taxes go up?
A: They should not. The bank appraiser is expected to maintain confidentiality with the client, which in this case would be the bank, not the local tax authorities.
Q: Where can I find a summary of census information for Texas?
A: That can be found at the U.S. Census Bureau's Quickfacts web site.