Stylen Valuations, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Stylen Valuations, LLC is always more than happy to handle any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Maricopa County. Contact us today to talk about how we can help you with your specific valuation problems.

Describe an appraisal
What does an appraiser do?
What are the reasons someone would require a real estate appraisal?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?
Once the appraisal has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the value indicated is valid?
What are the requirements to be a certified appraiser?
Who employs appraisers?
Where does Stylen Valuations, LLC get the information used to estimate values in Maricopa County or other areas?
What can a full appraisal do for me?
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?
Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?



Describe an appraisal   (Go to list of  questions)

An appraiser provides an estimation that produces an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a few "approaches," typically three, to come to the estimation of market value. One of them is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach deals with finding similar properties in the vicinity and discovering the value based on making a comparison of those homes to the property being investigated. Generally speaking, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most definite indicator of market value of a home. One of the least common approaches in appraising houses is the Income Approach, which is commonly used to figure the value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the property.

What does an appraiser do?   (Go to list of  questions)

An appraiser produces an impartial and well substantiated opinion of market value, often in the context of a real estate purchase. Appraisers illustate their expert investigation in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons someone would require a real estate appraisal?   (Go to list of  questions)

There are a lot of reasons to obtain an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax burden.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove PMI.
  • To fight high property taxes.
  • If you need to settle an estate.
  • To give you an edge when purchasing a home.
  • To find a reasonable price when selling your home.
  • To protect your rights if your property is being taken by means of eminent domain in a condemnation case.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS need an appraisal on every home.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
For a more extensive description of the appraisal process click here.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Go to list of  questions)

The appraiser is not a home inspector and he or she does not do a complete home inspection. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the available structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the bottom. The usual property inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the integrity of the house'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.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?   (Go to list of  questions)

To be blunt, it's like comparing Shakespeare to reality TV. The CMA depends on indefinite market trends. Appraisals use similar sales which are verifiable resources. Also, the appraisal looks at other factors like condition, location and building prices. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.

But the most significant factor is who's doing the report. Real estate agents write CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or bear specific competence when it comes to home valuation. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat sum for assignments, regardless of their outcome.

What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?   (Go to list of  questions)

The main point of an appraisal document is to give a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and other intended users.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • The type of value contained and a definition of that value.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.
  • Characteristics of the property that have a bearing on the value, including: location, physical description, legal attributes, economic attributes, the real property interest in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible items.
  • All 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.
  • What was involved in the process of completing the appraisal.
For a more in depth look at what goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the appraisal has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the value indicated is valid?   (Go to list of  questions)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
  • The appraisal used analysis of the information.
  • That substantial errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.
  • That appraisal services were not rendered in a careless or negligent fashion.
  • The final appraisal report was transparent, credible and conclusive.
To become a state licensed appraiser, there are extensive education requirements as well as practical experience that must be attained. Plus, appraisers must obey a strict industry code of ethics and comply with national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The guidelines for developing an appraisal and communicating its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Go to list of  questions)

Regulations regarding licensing and certification are different from state to state. However, licensing and certification typically translates to many hours of classroom study, tests and practical experience. Once licensed, he or she is required to take continuing education courses so the license stays current. To see the specific requirements for any state
click here.

Who employs appraisers?   (Go to list of  questions)

Commonly, appraisers are hired by mortgage lenders to estimate the value of property involved in a loan transaction. Appraisers also provide opinions for legal settlements, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does Stylen Valuations, LLC get the information used to estimate values in Maricopa County or other areas?   (Go to list of  questions)

Compiling data is one of the primary things an appraiser performs. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is collected from a variety of places. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) have information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. To double-check actual sales prices, we look at tax records and other public documents. Flood zone data is available 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 creating appraisals for other properties in the same market.


What can a full appraisal do for me?   (Go to list of  questions)

If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want an appraisal. If you're selling your house, an appraisal assists you in setting the most appropriate price. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. For people settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Stylen Valuations, LLC is the best documentation to ensure assets are divided fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.


My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?   (Go to list of  questions)

PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This added policy covers the lender in the event a borrower defaults on the loan and the value of the house is lower than the loan balance. 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 have less than 20% to put down on your mortgage? Call Stylen Valuations, LLC today at 602-373-2136 to see if you can cancel your Private Mortgage Insurance premium.

Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?   (Go to list of  questions)

We start with an inspection of the property. During this process, we will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. Inside, make sure it is clutter free and that we can get to things like furnaces and water heaters. On the outside, trim any bushes so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of exterior walls.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • Information on any written private agreements, such as a shared driveway with a neighbor.
  • List of personal property to be sold with the building.
  • Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and your well.
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and enhancements, the amount of their purchase and date of their installation (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • Most recent real estate tax bill from Maricopa and or legal description of the property.

How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?   (Go to list of  questions)

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."



Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (Go to list of  questions)

For mortgage transactions, the lender orders the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. 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 entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, 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 use the appraisal for any purpose.


Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?   (Go to list of  questions)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes

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%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also increase the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.