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Lezlie R Ford has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Lezlie R Ford is always eager to address any inquiries you might have about appraisals in Rogers and Benton County. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your specific valuation problems.

Describe an appraisal
Describe what an appraiser does
Why would a person need a real estate appraisal?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?
What's in an appraisal report?
Upon completion of the appraisal, what assurance is there that the value conclusion is veritable?
What are the requirements to be a certified appraiser?
Who are an appraiser's customers?
Where does Lezlie R Ford get the information used to estimate values in Benton County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help 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?
Define "Market Value"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
Which home renovations add the most to the price?



Describe an appraisal   (Back to top)

An appraisal is an inspection allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is concluded through the use of a formal method that generally uses three "common approaches to value". The Cost Approach is one of the methods that appraisers use to find the value of a house; it involves figuring what the improvements would cost minus physical degradation, plus the land value. Another of the approaches is the Sales Comparison Approach - which deals with finding a comparison to other similar nearby properties which have recently sold. Being the most common approach, the Sales Comparison Approach is generally the most accurate and best indicator of market value for a home. The Income Approach is primarily 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 produce.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Back to top)

An appraiser offers a fair and credible determination of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers reveal the details of their expert conclusions in appraisal reports.


Why would a person need a real estate appraisal?   (Back to top)

There are many reasons to obtain an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for purchasing an report include:
  • To get a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax obligations.
  • To show a homeowner has 30% equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To fight high property taxes.
  • To settle an estate.
  • To give you a negotiating tool when purchasing real estate.
  • To figure out a likely sales price 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 property.
  • It's possible you could have to deal with being in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process involved in getting an appraisal.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Back to top)

Appraisers do not do complete residential property inspections and are not home inspectors. The purpose of a home inspection is to investigate the structure of the home from bottom to top. The standard home inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the integrity of the home'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.

Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?   (Back to top)

To be honest, they have nothing in common. The CMA depends on indefinite local market trends. Appraisals use similar sales which are valid resources. In addition, the appraisal checks other factors like condition, area and construction prices. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.

But the largest differentiator is the person behind the report. Real estate agents produce CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or bear specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, Arkansas licensed professional who has formed their livelihood on valuing real estate in and around Benton County creates the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a previously agreed upon fee for assignments, regardless of their value conclusion.

What's in an appraisal report?   (Back to top)

The main purpose of an appraisal report is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The purpose of the assignment.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Pertinent property characteristics, including: location, physical description, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, permanent equipment installations and even intangible considerations.
  • 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.
  • The scope of work considered to complete the job.
For a more detailed view of the work that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Upon completion of the appraisal, what assurance is there that the value conclusion is veritable?   (Back to top)

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

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

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

  • That a believable, substantiated appraisal report was communicated.
To become a state licensed appraiser, there are extensive education requirements as well as experience that must be logged. Plus, appraisers must abide by a meticulous industry code of ethics and respect national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for developing an appraisal and reporting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Back to top) Licensing and certification requires classroom study, tests and experience working under a supervisory appraiser. Once an appraiser is licensed, he/she is required to take continuing education courses so the license stays up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who are an appraiser's customers?   (Back to top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's typical customer, requesting their services to ensure property involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.

Where does Lezlie R Ford get the information used to estimate values in Benton County or other areas?   (Back to top)

One of the primary things an appraiser does is to compile property data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are noted by the appraiser while on site.

General data is collected from a number of places. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we often use the local Multiple Listing Service. To double-check actual sales prices, we research tax records and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood product.

And most importantly, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other properties in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Back to top)

If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home matters, you'll want an appraisal. If you're selling your house, an appraisal helps you set a price that maximizes profit and reduces time on the market. 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 home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value is essential to making the right financial decisions.


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

PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI covers the lender in case a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the property is less than what the borrower still owes on the loan. 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.

Is PMI a part of your monthly mortgage payment?Call Lezlie R Ford today at 4795313810 or send us an e-mail. A current appraisal could save you thousands.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (Back to top)

We start with an inspection of the home. 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. In the yard, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.

You can make our visit go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • Any records on the purchase of the property for the last three years.
  • List of personal property to be sold with the home.
  • Title policy that lists encroachments or easements.
  • A list of any major home improvements and enhancements, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of Insulation or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • Any "Homeowners Associations" agreements or, if applicable, condo covenants or fees .

Define "Market Value"   (Back to top)

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?   (Back to top)

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 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.

This rule doesn't apply when a home owner engages an appraiser directly. In these situations, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stipulated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


Which home renovations add the most to the price?   (Back to top)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. 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 are right up there with kitchens, returning 85%. On the contrary, an improvement that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.