profile picture

English French Spanish

Carter Appraisal Group L.L.C. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Carter Appraisal Group L.L.C. is prepared to elaborate on any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Gilbert and Maricopa County. Feel free to contact us today.

Define the term "Appraisal"
Describe what an appraiser does
What are the reasons someone would require your services?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What does the appraisal report contain?
Upon completion of the report, how can I have certainty that the value conclusion is accurate?
How are appraisers certified?
Who are an appraiser's customers?
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Maricopa County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?
What is "Market Value?"
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?



Define the term "Appraisal"   (Top)

The appraisal process is an evaluation that produces an opinion of value. There are three "common approaches to value" which assists the appraiser arrive at this opinion or valuation. One of them is the Cost Approach - which is how much capital would be required to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. Another of the methods is the Sales Comparison Approach - which involves making a comparison to other similar nearby properties which have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most definitive and clearest indicator of value for a house. The Income Approach is mainly used for figuring out the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of income a property would bring in.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Top)

An appraiser offers a professional, unbiased determination of market value, often in the context of a real estate exchange. Appraisers summarize their professional investigation in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons someone would require your services?   (Top)

There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal from Carter Appraisal Group L.L.C. with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for obtaining an appraisal report include:
  • To receive a loan.
  • To lower your property taxes.
  • To build a case for a homeowner's equity and remove PMI.
  • To contest inflated property taxes.
  • To settle an estate.
  • To offer you an edge when purchasing a home.
  • To figure out an honest property value when selling your home.
  • To defend 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 house.
  • If you are ever involved in a lawsuit.
If you need more information regarding the appraisal process, please click here.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Top)

Home inspectors do not generate an opinion of value and do not use the same forms as appraisers. The purpose of a home inspection is to evaluate the structure of the home from basement to attic. Commonly, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the requirements of the home: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical functions, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, accessible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.

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

Honestly, they have nothing in common. The CMA uses market trends to create most of their business. Appraisals use comparable sales which are verifiable resources. Area and architectural prices are also a priority in an appraisal. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.

The person behind the report is frankly the most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. A CMA is written by a real estate agent who may or may not be trained in technical valuation concepts or even have a handle on market trends. A certified, state licensed professional who bases their livelihood on valuing homes in and around Maricopa County creates the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat fee for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (Top)

The main point of an appraisal document is to give a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The purpose of the assignment.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Relevant property characteristics, including: location, physical description, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, items that are more or less permanently installed and even intangible considerations.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and other items of a similar nature.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • What was entailed in the activity of completing the appraisal.
For a more detailed view of the work that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Upon completion of the report, how can I have certainty that the value conclusion is accurate?   (Top)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • That the information analysis contained in the appraisal was appropriate.

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

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

  • That a believable, defensible appraisal report was imparted.
There are intense classroom and on the job experience requirements that must be adhered to in order to get an appraisal license in Arizona. Plus, appraisers must obey a strict industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for developing an appraisal and communicating its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Top) Licensing and certification requires classroom study, tests and practical experience. Once an appraiser is licensed, he/she must then engage in continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who are an appraiser's customers?   (Top)

Most of the time, appraisers are called upon by lenders to estimate the value of real estate involved in a loan transaction. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Maricopa County or other areas?   (Top)

Compiling data is one of the main tasks an appraiser engages in. 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 while on site.

General data is gathered from a numerous places. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", an appraiser will typically go to the local Multiple Listing Service. To verify actual sales prices, we look at items in the assessor's office and other public documents. Appraisers often have to report when a property is in a flood zone, and that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood product.

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.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Top)

An appraisal is a worthwhile anytime the value of your home is pertinent to some financial decision. For those selling a home, you'll want to figure out a price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. Simply put, a house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (Top)

PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplemental policy guards the lender in the event a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the property is less than what the borrower still owes on the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.

Does your monthly loan payment have a lineitem for PMI?Call Carter Appraisal Group L.L.C. today at (480) 507-8675 or send us an e-mail. Documentation of your home's current value could save you thousands.

Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?   (Top)

The first step in most appraisals is the property inspection. During this process, the appraiser 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. 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 move any items that would get in our way while we 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, try if possible to have the following items:
  • Records on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years.
  • A list of any personal property that is part of the home and you intend to be sold with the home, such as an oven, or a washer and dryer, if applicable.
  • Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, your septic system and wells.
  • A copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is "pending".
  • A list of "proposed" improvements when the property is being appraised "as complete".

What is "Market Value?"   (Top)

In real estate appraising, 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 has rights to the appraisal report?   (Top)

For mortgage transactions, the lender requests 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 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.

This rule doesn't apply when a home owner engages an appraiser directly. In these scenarios, the appraiser may state how the appraisal can be used; 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.


Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (Top)

The added value of a particular amenity truly depends on the local market. 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.

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe move. One recent study revealed that putting $20,000 into a kitchen remodel would add about $17,500 to the value of the home - or about an 88% return on investment. Bathrooms were second, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also boost the value of your home (when done well) as long as your home doesn't then become overbuilt for your neighborhood in terms of size.