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ASC Professionals, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

ASC Professionals, LLC is always prepared to talk to you about any questions you might have about appraisals or real estate in Acworth and Cobb County. Contact ASC Professionals, LLC today to see how we can help you with your specific valuation problems.

Define the term "Appraisal"
Describe what an appraiser does
Why would I need a real estate appraisal?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What does the appraisal report contain?
Upon completion of the report, what assurance is there that the value indicated is valid?
What goes into an appraiser's certification?
Who engages the services of appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Cobb 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?
How do I get ready for the appraiser?
What does "Market Value" mean?
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?



Define the term "Appraisal"   (See list of FAQ's)

An appraisal is an estimation that concludes with an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is found using a formal method that generally uses three "common approaches to value". One of the methods in use is the Cost Approach, which evaluates what it would cost to replace the improvements to the property, minus age and physical deterioration, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves finding comparable homes nearby and figuring out the value based on comparing those prior sales to the home being appraised. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most accurate and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a residence. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the best method in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (See list of FAQ's)

An appraiser forumlates an impartial and well substantiated assessment of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers reveal the details of their expert analysis in appraisal reports.


Why would I need a real estate appraisal?   (See list of FAQ's)

There are many reasons to order an appraisal from ASC Professionals, LLC with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
  • To obtain a loan.
  • If you would like to lower your property tax obligations.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To challenge high property taxes.
  • If you need to settle an estate.
  • To give you an edge when purchasing real estate.
  • To find a likely price when selling your home.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS require an appraisal on every home.
  • If you ever find yourself in a lawsuit.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process involved in getting an appraisal.


What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?   (See list of FAQ's)

Home inspectors do not figure out an opinion of value and do not use the same forms as appraisers. An inspection is a third-party investigation of the livable structure and electrical and mechanical systems of a house, from the top to the foundation. Usually, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the necessities 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, exposed insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and other visible structures.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?   (See list of FAQ's)

To be honest, they have nothing in common. The CMA depends on indefinite trends in the market. The appraisal is based on similar verifiable comparable sales. In addition, the appraisal verifies other factors like condition, area and replacement costs. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.

The credentials of the person creating the report is actually the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents produce CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or have specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, Georgia licensed professional who has formed a career on valuing real estate in and around Cobb County creates the appraisal. Further, the appraiser is an independent voice, with no conditional interest in the value of a home, unlike the real estate agent, whose income is tied to the price of the home.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (See list of FAQ's)

Every report should indicate a credible value opinion and must identify the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The purpose of the appraisal.
  • The type of value contained and a definition of that value.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.
  • Relevant property attributes, including: location, physical characteristics, legal attributes, economic attributes, the real property interest in question, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible items.
  • Any 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.
  • The scope of work considered to complete the job.
For a more detailed view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Upon completion of the report, what assurance is there that the value indicated is valid?   (See list of FAQ's)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
  • The appraisal used an apropos analysis of the information.

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

  • That appraisal services were done in a careful and judicious manner.

  • The final appraisal report was understandable, legitimate and defensible.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must meet intense education and experience requirements that give us the background to produce an unbiased opinion. Likewise, appraisers must stick to a strict industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for working up an appraisal and communicating its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (See list of FAQ's) Regulations regarding licensing and certification vary from state to state. However, licensing and certification is commonly associated with many hours of classroom study, tests and experience working under a supervisor. Once licensed, he or she is required to take continuing education courses in order to keep the license current. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who engages the services of appraisers?   (See list of FAQ's)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, needing their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Cobb County or other areas?   (See list of FAQ's)

Gathering information is one of the main things an appraiser engages in. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are documented by the appraiser while on site.

General data is received from a variety of places. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we often use the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other courthouse documents reveal actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is gathered from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood product.

And last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other properties in the same market.


What can a full appraisal do for me?   (See list of FAQ's)

If you're making some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want to hire a licensed appraiser. When selling your home, an appraisal will help you determine the most appropriate price. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. For those settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from ASC Professionals, LLC is the best way to ensure assets are split up fairly. A home 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?   (See list of FAQ's)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI covers the lender if a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the property is lower than what the borrower still owes on the loan. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

The money you keep from dropping the PMI required when you got your mortgage will make up for the price of the appraisal in a matter of months. Nobody is more qualified than ASC Professionals, LLC when it comes to analyzing real estate appreciation in Acworth and Cobb County. Contact us today.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (See list of FAQ's)

The first step in most appraisals is the home inspection. What this entails is the appraiser, after setting up an appointment, personally going through the home - recording the layout of the rooms, taking photos and documenting the general status of its features. On the home's interior, make sure it is clutter free and that we can access things like furnaces and water heaters. On the outside, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of exterior walls.

To help expedite our work plus ensure a more accurate report, try if possible to have the following items:
  • Any information on the purchase of the property for the last three years.
  • Any documents, such as a title policy with information on encroachments or easements encroachments or easements.
  • Any "Homeowners Associations" agreements or, if applicable, condo covenants or fees .
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of central air conditioning or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • Most recent real estate tax bill from Cobb and or legal description of the property.

What does "Market Value" mean?   (See list of FAQ's)

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?   (See list of FAQ's)

For mortgage transactions, the lender requests the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is certainly entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

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


Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (See list of FAQ's)

The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. For example, if you're in a neigborhood of small to medium priced homes, a media room may not be something people in that price range want

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. 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 boost the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.