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When do you need an Appraisal

Every year, countless people in the United States buy, sell, or refinance their home or commercial property.  Most of the time, mortgage financing is needed and for these transactions, appraisals are prepared to identify the market value of the property. 

But is this the only reason to get an appraisal? Are there other times when the services of a certified, licensed, independent real estate professional might come in handy?

Property Tax Challenges

Everyone has a different perspective of what a property is worth. And it's the tax assessor that seems to always come in at the high end of the scale! Challenging the tax assessment has become an annual ritual in many parts of the country. Unfortunately, most people go into these challenges unarmed. They may pull some information from the internet to support their claims, but have no real basis other than: ''It wasn't worth that much last year.''

A real estate appraiser can help in these situations.  These documents can carry a lot of weight when you appear before an appeals board.

PMI Removal

Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI is the supplemental insurance that many lenders ask home buyers to purchase when the amount being loaned is more than 80% of the value of the home. Very often, this additional payment is folded into the monthly mortgage payment and is quickly forgotten. This is unfortunate because PMI becomes unnecessary when the remaining balance of the loan - whether through market appreciation or principal paydown - dips below this 80% level. In fact, the United States Congress passed a law in 1998 (the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998) that requires lenders to remove the PMI payments when the loan-to-value ratio conditions have been met.  We provide appraisal services that will assist you in having PMI removed from your mortgage.

Pre-Sale Decisions

Before someone decides to sell a property, there are several decisions to be made. First and foremost: ''How much should it sell for?''   Unlike a Realtor, an appraiser has no vested interest in what amount the property will sell for.  The appraisal fee is based on the appraiser’s efforts, not a percentage of the sales price. So seeking a professional appraisal can often help property-owners make the best decisions on setting a fair sales price.

Estate Planning, Liquidation or Divorce

The loss of a loved one is difficult. Likewise, a divorce can be a particularly traumatic experience. Sadly, these events are often complicated by difficult decisions regarding the disposition of an estate. Unlike many wealthy individuals, the majority of Americans do not have dedicated estate planners or executors to handle these issues. Also, in most cases, a home or other real property makes up a disproportionate share of the total estate value.

Here too, an appraiser can help. Often the first step in fairly disposing of an estate is to understand its true value. Where property is involved, the appraiser can help determine the true value. At this point, equitable arrangements can more easily be arrived at among disputing parties. Everyone walks away knowing they've received a fair value.

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