When opinions differ

Appraisals are done for the wrong type of people, sometimes. Some times people need an appraiser when they’re looking to refinance or buy a home. A friend of mine shared a story while we were watching the Super Bowl.

My friend was looking to sell their home using FSBO in Mt Pleasant, SC. Going this route, my friend — let’s call him Jack — wouldn’t have to pay high commission sales to real estate agents with this sale. He marketed his property everywhere: the MLS, Craigslist, etc. He wasn’t having much luck at showing his home, though. Until he received an offer.

The offer came from his neighbor — the pesky neighbor he had been at odds with for years! Though, Jack didn’t want to sell it to this neighbor, he knew that he might be open to a deal anyway, so he entertained an offer.

The offer from his neighbor came in low — really low, in fact. Of course, my friend declined his offer. The neighbor came back with another offer — only $10 more this time — was the neighbor being ridiculous?

This continued, and drove my friend Jack up-the-wall (crazy) with the absurd offer. Finally, another buyer came in to the rescue and offered something right below the asking price.

This just goes to show you, though — even though appraisals are expert opinions into the value of the home, it doesn’t mean people won’t attempt to go the end-route around and offer a way lower price. Jack wasn’t looking to sell his home at a discount — he wanted a fair deal. That’s partially why appraisers exist in the first place.

AirBNB Property Management Trend

airbnb pic with home

You’d have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the rising trend of the popularity of AirBNB and it’s impact in the hospitality industry over the last several years. Due the increased level of convenience for the consumer, and increased profitability for the leasor, many people across the nation are looking to participate in this short term rental and vacation rental market. In this blog post we want to show you some of the data the stands behind the trend to give you a perspective where where it might be headed in the future.

The Trend Itself

According to Google Trends, there seems to be a steady rise of searches about AirBNB property management. By looking at the chart below, we can see there are seasonal spikes, but overall, we can see a study upwards trend as more people are seeking information about the use of property management as it relates with the AirBNB site.

At first glance, we can see the trend moving upward (as more people are searching for property management companies specifically for AirBNB), though, we can also monitor how other property management companies are positioning themselves in the marketplace.

For example, one AirBNB property management company prides themselves that they, “Market your property where we know how to find the good customers.” Property management is changing with the focus being on marketing a property specifically for short-term rentals.

Other companies, like HostAway, provide premium software solutions to help property managers streamline their operations so they can become more efficient at managing the rental properties. These types of software solutions in addition to innovative approaches to improve first impressions continue to roll-out in a market that is anticipating the next move.

Continued Anticipation

As appraisers, we must continue to be in-the-know for the best use of a property in order to recommend sound strategies for our clients. The rising popularity of short term rentals using AirBNB has become more than a fad– instead, it seems to be a trend that is here to stay for the long-term. By understanding this market, we can become more capable to assess the market realities and recommend sound strategies.

What Are the Different Types of Real Estate Appraisals?

Real estate is an important part of our lives. There are different types of real estate appraisals out there that are performed to better value what the properly is worth. These things allow the appraiser to do the job pretty well down the road.

We are going to talk about the different types of appraisals out there that will allow you to truly get the most out of any appraisal. The details of these types of appraisals will be covered, though we cannot extend the length of them because of the shortness of the article. Therefore, we need you to continue reading so you can truly know more.

Cost Approach

The cost approach will value the land. Then it will subtract any depreciated improvement down the road too. These depreciated improvements are the new construction costs related to any improvement on the useful land in the standards of the day. Appraisers will start using a replacement cost right away. Then they will subtract value related to an issue that has to do with the land or any sort of improvement on this land down the line too. A home appraisal from Utah, for example will be best performed with a cost approach analysis because of the large number of new housing developments being build there.

Sales Approach

The sales approach is done alone or combined with one or both of the other two approaches. The sales approach will work hard to compare the prices per unit area related to any similar properties in the important surrounding area. The potential purchaser will see a list of properties with similar price ranges, features, and the like. He or she will get information about the appraisal values of his or her property compared to the other properties. He or she will get a fair market value based on the averaged prices of the properties presented in the report.

Income Capitalization Approach

The income capitalization approach is commonly used to appraise commercial properties. The appraisers will use models to predict the real behavior of any participant in the marketplace too. This approach is particularly used in any income-generating property down the line. And this is something useful for you to bear in mind too.

An appraiser will rely on past income performance data before purchasing a commercial property. The income capitalization approach is a more technical appraisal than any residential appraisal out there. The income possibilities of a property will be also taken into consideration.


We have talked about the different appraisals types that you can find out there. The cost approach is truly awesome because it is truly simple to do. You just have to value the land and get rid of any depreciated improvement right away.

Remember also that the sales approach can be used alone or mixed with one or two of the other types of appraisals. We truly hope this article explains the differences between appraisals. If you have any information to add to this article tell us about it.

What You Should Look For When Ordering Appraisal Services

Although there are many appraisers in the market, finding dependable appraisal services that can provide great value can be a daunting process. If the past is anything to go by, most banks and lenders do not hire the best appraisers and this often leads to various internal failures. Statistics have also shown that most appraisal issues can be directly linked to the appraiser’s knowledge and competence. There are several other reasons why you should put more thought when ordering appraisal services. Since you end up paying for the service, it is only right you get value for every penny spent. Here are a few insights including things to look for and questions to ask.

Contact and Credibility

This is a no brainer. When ordering appraisal services, you should ask for a name, telephone number and license certificate number for future reference. Asking for a license lets the appraiser know you are serious about the credibility. If they find it intimidating or fail to provide a satisfactory answer, you should flag it as a possible reason to avoid any appraisal services from them. It is advisable to order from certified appraisers as opposed to licensed individuals. A licensed appraiser is the lowest level for most states and some lenders like FHA do not accept them. However, states like Arizona consider licensed appraisers the best kinds so check the requirements for your state.

Office Location

When ordering appraisal services, you are basically looking for a qualified appraiser who is knowledgeable about your local market. This is why you should know where their office is located. If they are traveling hundreds of miles to reach your home, they probably have a limited knowledge of your area. Even worse, they may not have the credibility and competence to find jobs in their residential towns. Ask whether they work in an office or from home. Studies have shown that appraisers working as a group deliver better results as they are able to share information and increase their respective knowledge in the field.

Experience and Qualification

How long has the appraiser been practicing in your area? Do they have access to the local Multiple Listing System (MLS)? These are very important questions to ask your appraiser. Only competent licensed individuals have private access to the local MLS. If they do not have access, they are probably from another state or simply incompetent. There’s no nationwide MLS and each state has a different system to suit their unique situation. Ask the appraiser how long they have appraised property similar to yours.

Qualification is another important aspect to look at. Appraisers can be designated after passing the government minimum test. Ask your appraiser if they have any designation such as an IFA, MAI or SRA. Designated appraisers have two to three times more knowledge in the field.


There are various other things to look for when ordering appraisal services. Individual fees, discipline status, communication, and representation are all important. Since the government insists that no one is allowed to influence the appraiser, there is one thing you can do; qualify your bank and pre-screen who they hire. You can ask the bank about their hiring process to determine if they have competent appraisers. Never settle for appraisal services from an appraiser you do not believe is knowledgeable or competent enough to provide quality property assessment.

Do you have a good experience ordering your appraisal services. We want to know about it.

Steps to Prepare Your Land for an Appraisal

Determining a worth for your land can be very hectic, mostly if you do not know how to make an appraisal. If the land appraised value is too high from the marked price it may prove to make the agreement or break it. Although appraisers are subjected to strict guidelines, most of their job is subjective, that means it is important for your land to impress them in a good way. Fortunately, there is so much you can try to help your land be appealing at its best.

Take an Honest Look At Your Land and Determine Deficiencies

The first action towards acquiring an appraisal may prove to be toughest for sellers. You need to study your land with a critical eye and familiarize yourself with areas that needs more attention in terms of maintenance. Practicing enables you to reason like an appraiser and point out any factors that may adversely affect your land value. Study the land carefully to ensure everything is in good order.

Determine Methods to Bring Up the Quality of Your Land

While you are at it you should consider things like soil erosion, loss of organic matter, acidity of the soil, drainage and other activities that decline the productivity. As you go around the land write everything down on one list for future reference. Proceed and do some projects like adding residues of plants to degraded soils and enhancing continuous harvest of products. Planting more trees and cover crops will also improve the value of your land.

Create a Highlight Sheet to Document Changes

Formulate a highlight sheet stating all the improvements that have been made to the land. Highlight sheets are crucial tools since they enable the appraiser to see everything that has been adding value to your land with just one look. The best bet for you is to have a meeting with your agent and come up with a list of all the upgrades that have been made to your land within the recent past. It is always wise to include the approximate dates of these projects as well. The appraised value of your land will highly depend by how it likens with similar assets that have traded in your area within the recent past. Most agents will attempt to assist appraisers with that investigation by providing them with comparables that validate the price of sale. It is the seller agent’s responsibility to prepare a comp report exhibiting how best the property in question is in relation to the existing market. Unfortunately, just like anything else in the appraisal procedure, comps are subjected to rules as well as your appraiser’s personal view. Having said that, your land agent will probably be conversant with how the appraisal procedure is managed in your location. Ask your agent to make a list of comps to be handed over to your appraiser. Whether the appraiser elects to consider them, they can be accessed if you need to request for an appeal even after the appraisal.


A land appraisal is scrutiny that gives worth to your land based on size, condition, location, fertility of the land and other aspects. These appraisals are crucial before a buyer makes a decision to buy your land. As a seller it is your wish to have your land to have a higher appraisal as it can. when appraisal is good, it enables you to get a better selling price for your land

Tell us how your appraisal process went and if you learned anything about the process you didn’t know before. We would love to hear from you.

The Skills and Education You Need to Become a Real Estate Appraiser


There are certain academic qualifications and soft skills that you must acquire before you become a certified real estate appraiser. You therefore need to know what your duties will entail before choosing this career path. In simple words, as a real estate appraiser your main job will be to find out the value of properties; both residential and commercial for purposes like selling, taxes, as well as mortgage. With that in mind, you can now know the qualifications needed for the job.

Academic Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree is necessary for you to qualify in this career. To be more specific, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the following; finance, economics, mathematics, real estate and even computer science. These courses will teach you skills that are needed in the real estate industry. Also, most employers want to employ someone with a bachelor’s degree because they feel that you have the capacity to handle the challenges that come with that job. If you have a college diploma or certificate it may be difficult to be considered because the industry is quite competitive. Therefore, to be on the safe side, go get a bachelor’s degree in the fields stated above.

Remember that other regulatory bodies will require you to site for an exam before you become a certified real estate appraiser. This may vary from state to state and you must also be ready to adhere to this requirement.

Soft Skills

It is not enough to have a bachelor’s degree if you want to become an exceptional real estate appraiser. You have to have additional skills to manage the work. An effective way to know the skills required, is by looking at what you will be doing on the job. Some of the skills include:

  • Have a strong analytical mind – As an appraiser, your job is to determine with prices for properties. This requires that you look for data from different places, verify and then analyze it before coming up with an accurate price tag for a given property.
  • Be a critical thinker – This job is demanding and sometimes you have to make decisions that may either break or seal a deal. The decisions made must also be the best. To do this, you have to think critically.
  • Have impeccable writing skills – You will be required to write reports and other necessary documents in your day to day work. These documents may be used by your senior managers, clients and other interested persons. Therefore, you need to have great writing skills so that your work looks presentable.
  • Be a good listener – Listening is very important because it is the only way that you know what your clients need. As a good listener, you can understand the needs of your clients’ and then it can be easier to deliver the exact evaluation they want.
  • Be a good communicator – You must be able to articulate yourself well to pass information around effectively. A good communicator will avoid or minimize confusion, then communicate the appraiser valuations in a way that it can be understood.


If you are planning to become a real estate appraiser, you should work on both your academic qualifications as well as your soft skills. Education alone is not enough; you need the other mentioned skills. The good thing is that you can work on the soft skills so that you acquire them if you do not have them.

Tell us where you obtained your skills to become a real estate appraiser!

7 Innovative Approaches to Improve Your Home Appraisal

When buying or selling your home or even refinancing your existing mortgage, a home appraisal is an important component that dictates the transaction. Banks, lenders, and home-buyers are increasingly becoming interested that they get the best deal, one which will offer them the best value for their money. A reason why you as a homeowner needs to understand the various ways and approaches on how you can improve your home appraisal.

Before we start the discussion, it’s important to know that your home’s location, condition, and features will largely influence your home’s appraisal value.

Furthermore, your home’s appraisal value will be determined by the current market trends, the sale of similar properties, the home’s amenities, floor plan functionality, and the number of bathrooms and bedrooms. These are some of the key considerations looked at when assessing the home’s value. With this in mind, below are some of the key considerations looked at when assessing the home’s value. With this in mind, below are some of the innovative approaches that you need to consider in order to improve your home appraisal value.

1. Ensure that Your Appraiser has a Good Understanding of Your Neighborhood

The market trends for different locations come into play here. Homes located in various neighborhoods don’t necessarily share the same value. Some are highly priced simply because they are located in area A and no in area B. It’s recommended that you request your lender to send a local appraiser who is familiar with the market dynamics of your home’s surroundings so as to give an appropriate judgement. You can also supply as much information as you can to the appraiser.

2. Improve your Curb Appeal

This largely involves you carrying out interior and exterior renovations on your home. Start by giving your house a new paint job so as to improve it’s appeal. Go on and repair your broken roof, install some flower boxes and so on. Carrying out renovations will create a good home picture and will tremendously improve your home’s appraisal value.

3. Learn and Understand what Buyers Want

Ensure that your home or house conforms to the market needs. Do buyers prefer homes with hardwood floors or ones equipped with steel appliances? Research on the common needs or buyers and then try to readjust your home to ensure that it meets most of those requirements. Go on and consult a real estate consultant on such important matters.

4. Compare Your Home with Similar Properties

Let your appraiser compare your house with similar properties. You can also visit nearby open houses or even review recent home sales so as to get the perfect picture of the exact worth on your home. When reviewing different homes try as much as possible to get details such as the number of bathrooms and even the number of bedrooms those houses have. Such details will assist in the pricing details. Sites such as Trulia, Realtor.com, and Zillow provide details such as recent house sale prices.

5. Allow Your Appraiser a Conducive Working Environment

As simple as it looks, this is really important. As a homeowner, let the appraiser perform his or her duties in a fulfilling manner. You don’t want to keep jumping in his way and questioning his every move. An appraiser needs adequate time to accurately value your home so as to make it easier for him to come with a suitable value. You don’t want him to miss out evaluating important areas.

6. Look Out for Any Errors in the Appraisal

Some of the appraisals that are conducted by an appraiser contain numerous discrepancies, a reason which may drag down your home value. In the even where you are dissatisfied with the appraisal done, it is advised that you request a copy of the respective appraisal from the lender and carefully check for any inaccuracies. You can then proceed and appeal the appraisal with the lender.

7. Update the Outdated

It’s high time that you replace your old decor and furnish your home afresh. Keep up with the latest trends or even research around on the preferred home-buyers preferences.


Home appraisals are increasingly becoming important when refinancing existing mortgages and even buying or selling homes. In order to get the best deal, your home needs to be in perfect condition and has to conform to the current market standards.

Hopefully you found these tips of use. Please let us know if they worked for your and your home.

How Does My Appraiser Come Up With the Price?

In the past few decades we have seen a drastic growth in many housing markets globally. This means that there is a growth in interest of developing real estate properties – both commercial and residential, as forms of long-term investment and that there is a real demand for it due to a high take-up rate by consumers. Although there is a shift in owning single detached homes to high-end and/or luxury condominium units, it can not be denied that the demand for the purchase of real estate properties exist and it is still continuing. Statistics show that there is now a varied mix of home buyers ranging from baby-boomers to millenials causing this shift where the new “ideal” life-style is living in city centers. Methods of Valuation

The most tricky of the steps in purchasing a home is making sure you get the right current market value. Let’s understand how they come up with the price. There is a variety of methods on how to obtain a Broker Price Opinion about the market value of a real estate property which includes the following, 1. Sales Comparison is very well known for fast valuations because it utilizes the sales comparison approach which is a method that compares the property on sale to other similar properties that have already been sold. 2. The Drive-thru requires a visit by an appraiser but will not require the ocular inspection of the inside of the property. 3. The last, although more time consuming, is the best and most accurate source of valuation which is the vision appraisal. In vision appraisal, the appraiser visits the property and checks both the outside and the inside of the property.

Here are 5 things you need to know about vision appraisal and how it is advantageous for both the buyer and the seller,
1. Buyer It takes into account the actual age and the condition of the home and its parts. It does not follow the price of “comparables” which are similar properties that have recently been sold. The variance in price could be huge.

2. Buyer It identifies the areas that will require repair that allows the buyer to negotiate for the price to be reduced resulting to savings.

3. Seller It is the best method in obtaining property valuation especially if your area is stricken by foreclosure sales and/or poorly maintained homes which lowers the value of the property. Vision appraisal makes the valuation more resistant to other considerations in the neighborhood where the property is built.

4. Seller If you are short-selling your home and your bank would not agree with you on a lower selling price, a vision appraisal is a good way to put this issue to bed and make the sale possible.

5. Buyer and Seller, It fosters fairness to all involved in the purchase of a home. We must understand that for the majority of those in the middle-class they will soon become – if not already have been involved in the buying and/or selling of real estate properties. This is an indispensable fact since we are hardwired to follow a strict plan in our life cycle.

So if you are planning to buy your first home, as you have learned here, be smart when making the biggest financial decision in your life. Consider the advice that we clipped here for you. You won’t regret it

Challenging a bad home appraisal is a smart move

Challenging the bad home appraisal with a smart move
A home appraisal is an unbiased view of the expert, who has a professional knowledge in mentioning the appraisal of your property to the bank against the said loan or papers. Sometimes, the appraiser makes a mistake while preparing your home appraisal which might put you in trouble. During such circumstances, you need to fight back for getting a second home appraisal. Every time a second home appraisal doesn’t work in your favor but you can still try using some smart moves for overcoming a bad home appraisal.

What is a bad home appraisal?
A bad home appraisal is a lower value appraisal than the amount you have expected of your house or properly for resale or loan. As per the national institute of Realtors, 1 out of every 10 home appraisals reports a bad home appraisal every month. This is quite common and there are ways to challenge it by raising an appeal for a second home appraisal.

The lenders generally approve the loan amount based on the home appraisal report and hence if you have received a bad home appraisal then it is important to fight back or you are going to lose a great opportunity.

Warnings that you need a second appraisal for your property
If a house next to yours or a house in the neighborhood is sold at a higher price than the amount mentioned in your home appraisal report then you must seek for a second home appraisal by requesting the lender or the bank. Sometimes the appraiser has not used the comps wisely and he might have missed out many things to mentioned in his report or statistics. You must bring it to the notice of your bank that the house in your neighborhood is being sold at a certain minimum rate.

If you have made some recent changes in your home or if you have recently made some renovations then it is important to mention it to the appraiser so that he can consider the renovations while preparing your home appraisal report. You must have spent a great amount of money after renovating your house and this adds more value to your house than before. Hence, these things are to be considered by the appraiser for finding out an estimate of your home property. If he hasn’t done that, you must call for a second appraisal discussing the same to your bank.

Apart from the above-mentioned reasons, there are other ways too for helping your home to earn a good appraisal. The following key comparisons are must for any appraiser to mention in the report such as square footage, home age, the condition of the house, facilities inside the home, furniture cost, location of the area and neighborhood, etc. You can talk with the lender or the bank to know whether all this information was considered on the primary basis for preparing the appraisal. It is important for the appraiser to be a local person in order to be aware of the current location and its land value. An appraiser must be knowledgeable on various factors to make a really strong appraisal about your home or property.

Nevertheless, you can ask the bank for a second appraisal by writing a letter to him. You can yourself also prepare your home appraisal by paying for the expenses.

Tips to Hiring a Qualified Appraiser

How do you hire an appraiser for your rental property? I’m going to tell you how to hire an appraiser. No doubt you’ve probably had an appraisal come in that seemed way off or just had you scratching your head about it. I know I have. I recently went through this with an appraiser that I never should have hired so I’m going to give you the exact questions to ask them so you avoid my pitfall.

Appraiser License Number

Ask them what their license number is. That person will know that you’re serious. They obviously have to be licensed as an appraiser and if they don’t know that number off the top of their head or if they don’t have ready access to it you may find that they’re actually not licensed to be an appraiser in the first place. That should be a big whistle, bells going off, that you shouldn’t hire this person. You’re not license as an appraiser? Where did you get yours out of a cereal box? So ask them what their appraiser license number is and they should have that ready to send right over to you.

Are they Locally Based?

This next one is huge and this was actually the problem with the appraiser that I hired recently. Ask that appraiser where their office is located. What does that tell you? That tells you their geographic consistency; that tells you whether they come to this area often. We were having an appraisal done on a property in Indiana and we found out that the appraiser lived in Ohio. What? You don’t even know the area that you’re appraising? You have no sense of this area? It’s very important to have somebody who is from the area who knows what they are appraising. This person had to drive four hours to come there and he did a bunch of appraisals for this bank in one particular day. Not going to fly. You don’t know the area, get out.

Do They Work Alone or For a Reputable Company?

Ask that appraiser if they are a one man band or if they work for a company, a reputable company. Very often if you have an appraiser that’s a one man show than they aren’t talking to many people. They are kind of a loner. Now that’s not to disparage any appraisers out there who don’t work in an office with other appraisers but they don’t tend to then commiserate and talk about the things that they find during an appraisal. There are shared experiences that they’re able to work with and talk with other appraisers and they’re able to see sort of consistencies or inconsistencies in the marketplace. If you’re a one man band if that person is working out of their home and they don’t have an office experience then chances are they are solo and they may not give you the best reflection of that area, especially if they don’t know what’s going on in that market that you’re living in.

Licensed, Certified, or Both?

Ask the appraiser if they are licensed, certified or a both. This question is interesting because if they are licensed that’s the lowest level of certification. Basically they’re able to fill out forms as a licensed appraiser. As a certified appraiser that’s the highest classification for an appraiser with the state and therefore if that person is certified they have the ability and the right to basically examine any residential property and give you an accurate reflection of its value. My personal preference is to go with a certified appraiser.

A Member of the Local MLS

Another really important question to ask that appraiser is if they are a member of the local MLS. The MLS is the multiple listing service and that is where realtors list their properties, but each is regionally based. So if you’re a realtor in Philadelphia you’re not going to have access to the realtors MLS database in another state or another region. You basically get access to the counties in which you work and so this is crucial because when they are going to pull up comparable properties to analyze the value of your home they’re going to be using the multiple listing service to pull these properties. If they’re from Ohio and they’re coming in from out of state they’re not going to have access to the multiple listing service to see comparable properties.

Let me give you a perfect example, this happened to me. We had an appraiser who came in from out of state and appraised one of our properties. That individual pulled old comparable properties before they were rehabbed. Our home that we were getting appraised had been totally gutted and rehabbed and we knew that the value was around $60,000 to $65,000 based on the other sales in the neighborhood. This individual appraiser pulled the comps of pre-rehab homes, ones that were falling apart and gave us a value on our property about $30,000 to  $35,000 based on old out of date comparable properties. This individual did not have access to the MLS and therefore didn’t have up to date comparable properties. This is key. You have to have these in order to do a proper evaluation and an appraisal on a property.

Those are some key takeaways on how to hire an appraiser properly. I would ask them those specific questions and you’ll be better off for it.