FAQ | Frequenty Asked Questions
It depends on several factors, the most important of which is the complexity of the individual assignment. Most appraisals usually take about a week to complete.   Some complex assignments will take longer and sometimes I am able to complete a report in less than a week.   My current workload also plays a factor since I am typically working on several assignments at the same time.   Just as with price, I will quote an approximate turnaround-time for each order.
It may be worth noting that I am a Certified Licensed Appraiser who personally performs all development and reporting standards with respect to each appraisal — I do not utilize trainees or non-Certified staff appraisers to complete any part of an assignment.
Prices start at $600 and go up from their depending on complexity.   Apraisals are quoted on an indiviual basis after discussing assigents details with the client and conducting some preliminary research on the property to be appraised.   Assigment details can discussed over the phone 202.320.3702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I specialize in property located in the District of Columbia.   This is where I live and work; I am not licensed in any other jurisdictions.   If you are looking to have property appraised in Virginia or Maryland I’m happy to refer you to an appraiser licensed in those states.
I am a Certified Licensed Residential Appraiser, which means I am licensed to appraise single-family homes, 1 to 4-unit apartments, and individual condominium or cooperative units.   For retail, office, industrial, warehouse, or apartment buildings over four units you will need to hire a Commercial Appraiser, also known as a General Appraiser.   If you are looking to have commercial a property appraised in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington DC you can contact us at email@example.com for a referral.
Short answer: yes.   Long answer: if access to the interior of the home is not provided then the appraiser will need to make various Extraordinaty Assumptions about the condition, quality, layout, room count, finishes, fixtures, and appliances inside the home.   A reasonable basis is needed to use extraordinary assumptions in an appraisal.   Theses assumptions may affect assignment results and if found to be false they could alter the appraiser's opinions or conclusions.
In most cases having access to the interior of a home will allow an appraiser to develop a more accurate and credible opinion of value.   In some cases a Hypothetical Condition may be appropriate in addition to, or in pace of, an Extraordinary Assumption.   For example, lets say a client is contemplating significant renovations to a home and they want to know the value of the home after those renovations are complete.   In this scenario an appraisal can be ordered subject to the Hypothetical completion of renovation plans and specifications.
Although this in not required, if you’ve made significant updates or renovations to your home within the last 15 years it's a good idea talk to the appraiser about them (you don’t need to provide the precise dates they were completed, just the year is fine). This can be done in person or through email, either is helpful.   The same applies if there is anything unusual about the home or if any significant repairs are needed.
Don’t follow the appraiser around room to room, you’d be surprised how may people feel obligated to accompany the appraiser because they don’t want to seem rude.   This is not necessary, you don't’ have to host, just go about your day as you normally would.
Don’t apologize for the mess; you don’t need to clean up for an appraisal (although it can’t hurt).   Appraisers are not appraising your personal property or organization, they should be able to see past the laundry on the floor; what they’re interested in is the quality and condition of the improvements.
The short answer is yes they can. Opinions vary and an appraisal is simply an opinion provided by a licensed professional appraiser.   What is most important is the support provided for the conclusions made in an appraisal. This is primary purpose of USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice).
Yes and no.
An appraisal is an opinion provided by a licensed professional appraiser, so in that context can someone’s opinion be wrong? Maybe not but an opinion can certainly lack credibility.   If an appraiser fails to provide support for their conclusions or fails to follow USPAP development or reporting standards then the appraises opinion may lack credibility.   USPAP stands for Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, which are the generally recognized ethical and performance standards for the appraisal profession in the United States.
USPAP was adopted by Congress in 1989, and contains standards for all types of appraisal services, including real estate, personal property, business and mass appraisal.   Compliance is required for state-licensed and state-certified appraisers involved in federally related real estate transactions.
Has the appraiser provided sufficient information to allow the intended users of the appraisal to follow how they arrived at their conclusion?   There is nothing to say that the client or any other intended user must agree with those conclusions.   The appraisers job is to provide an unbiased professional opinion whether it is liked it or not.   It’s also important to put the appraisers opinion within the context of the definition of value provided in the report.
In most cases no but every year around tax time I get clients that think they are being taxed unfairly who would like to order an appraisal for property tax appeal purposes.   I can only give my impartial professional opinion whether it helps with a property tax appeal or not.   In other words, an appraiser cannot advocate on behalf of a client and purposefully steer the opinion of value towards a predetermined price, which would be both unethical and illegal.   Sometimes the appraisal will come in higher than the property's tax accessed value and sometimes it will come in lower.   If it comes in lower then a client can use the appraisal at their property tax appeal hearing in support of lowering their property taxes.
Often it is just the appraiser and the occupants of the home (homeowners or tenants).   It is also not uncommon for an appraiser to inspect a vacant home in which access is provided through the use of a lockbox.   (Here in DC I appraise many vacant homes that are listed for sale where the homeowners have already moved out).   Sometimes an agent or property manager is there to meet the appraiser if there is no lockbox.
I enjoy talking to homeowners if they are present at the inspection; however, I prefer to do it after the inspection is complete.   When I’m focused on talking measurements and mapping out a floor plan I don’t want to make any mistakes or miss observing elements of the property.   It’s no fun having to go back to a home because you missed taking a photo of the half-bath or forgot to take a measurement that is throwing off your floor plan rendering.
There are many factors; for single-family homes here are some of the most important (in no particular order): location, size, condition, quality, style(design), exterior features/amenities.   For idividual condominium / cooperative units there are additional elements of comparison to consider such as: floor, views, association dues, building amenities.   For income property the biggest factors are the annual income and expense to operate the property, rent control, vacancy.
No.   Assignment results are confidential between the client and the appraiser unless express consent is given to share the report with other parties.
This is a difficult question to answer because they can be all over the place.   I find this to be the case with most tax assessed value as well, although from my experience here in the District tax assessed values tend be lower than a home's current market value on average (that’s a generalization, it’s not a rule).
Home value sites and tax assessments use automated valuation models that estimate a homes value through mathematical modeling.   The credibility of an AVM is highly dependent on the data used as inputs in the model.   There is no interior or exterior inspection of the subject property with an AVM.   Therefore the quality and condition of the home may not be accurately reflected in the models output.   This can lead to results that are above or below a homes current market value.
The truth of matter is even professional appraisals may vary significantly if one appraiser's opinion differs significantly from that of another appraiser.   I have found that the quality of appraisal work varies considerably depending on qualifications, experience, and competence of individual appraiser.
You can order a home appraisal directly from a licensed real estate appraiser but there are some important things to consider.   Make sure the appraiser you are using has the correct license for the type of property you need appraised (the appraiser should tell you if they do not have the correct type of license, it’s not just up to you to figure this out).   For example, if you have a residential property that could potentially be valued at over $1,000,000 you will need a ‘Certified’ Licensed Residential Appraiser or a ‘General’ Licensed Appraiser as apposed to a ‘Residential’ Licensed Appraiser.   If the property is commercial (and sometimes even if the property is residential but zoned commercial) you will need a Commercial Appraiser, also known as a ‘General’ Licensed Appraiser.
If you are ordering an appraisal through your lender as part of a refinance or a new purchase loan origination you can ask your lender if you are able to order the appraisal yourself directly from an appraiser; however, most of the time the bank will want to manage the ordering of the appraisal themselves.   I’ve found that local lenders or smaller specialty lenders are most inclined to allow a borrower to order the appraisal themselves.
I often receive calls from homeowners wanting to order an appraisal for a refinance or new home purchase, and I always point out that they need to get approval from their lender first because the last thing I want is for them to pay me for an appraisal that their bank will not accept and then end up having to pay for two appraisals.   Even when the bank is ordering the appraisal they will usually make the borrower pay for it (although not always).
When the bank orders the appraisal they are typically listed as the appraiser's client and therefore the appraiser is prohibited from sending anyone but the bank copy of the appraisal (unless given express consent form the lender, which they usually do not provide).   But as the borrower you can always ask your lender for a copy of the appraisal and they will usually send it to you (although they may be under no obligation to do so even though you paid for it).
As defined in The Dictionary of Real Estate (Fifth Edition), a Retrospective Appraisal is a value opinion effective as of a specified historical date.   The term does not define a type of value.   Instead, it identifies a value opinion as being effective at some specific prior date.   Value as of a historical date is frequently sought in connection with property tax appeals, damage models, lease renegotiation, deficiency judgments, estate tax, and condemnation.   Inclusion of the type of value with this term is appropriate, e.g., “retrospective market value opinion.”
I have performed many Retrospective Appraisals for estate settlement purposes over the years.   Clients usually use them for tax purposes and less frequently for probate court administration.   Sometimes clients refer to these assigments as 'Date of Death Appraisals.'