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Flagship Appraisal Services, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Flagship Appraisal Services, LLC is always ready to answer any inquiries you might have about appraisals or real estate in St Augustine and Saint Johns County. Don't hesitate to contact us today.

What is an appraisal?
Describe what an appraiser does
What would cause me to request your services?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?
What does the appraisal report contain?
Upon completion of the appraisal, what assurance is there that the value conclusion is veritable?
What goes into an appraiser's certification?
Who do appraisers work for?
Where does Flagship Appraisal Services, LLC get the information used to estimate values in Saint Johns County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
How do I get ready for the appraiser?
What does "Market Value" mean?
Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



What is an appraisal?   (Top)

An appraisal is an evaluation that concludes with an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is discerned through a formal process that generally uses the three main "common approaches to value". The Cost Approach is one of the methods that appraisers use to find value; it involves finding what the improvements would cost without physical deterioration, adding the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves searching for comparable houses nearby and discovering the value based on comparing those houses to the home being investigated. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a home. One of the least common approaches in appraising homes is the Income Approach, which is commonly used to find the market value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Top)

An appraiser forumlates a fair and credible opinion of market value, often in the context of a real estate purchase. Appraisers reveal the details of their expert findings in appraisal reports.


What would cause me to request your services?   (Top)

There are a lot of reasons to order an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for obtaining an appraisal report include:
  • To receive a loan.
  • If you would like to lower your property tax obligations.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove insurance.
  • To fight improperly assessed property taxes.
  • To handle an estate.
  • To give you an edge when purchasing a home.
  • To determine the most probable sales price when putting your home on the market.
  • 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 require an appraisal on every house.
  • If you ever find yourself in a lawsuit.
If you need more information regarding the appraisal process, please click here.


What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?   (Top)

The appraiser is not a home inspector and does not do a full home inspection. The purpose of a home inspection is to evaluate the structure of the property from bottom to attic. The stereotypical house inspector's report will include 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)?   (Top)

Honestly, they have nothing in common. What the CMA depends on are ill-defined trends. Appraisals use similar sales which are valid resources. Area and building prices are also a priority in an appraisal. 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 most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents write CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or have specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, Florida licensed professional who made a career on valuing real estate in and around Saint Johns County is behind the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat sum for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (Top)

Each appraisal should demonstrate a believable value opinion and must clearly state the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and whose purposes the appraisal is to serve.
  • The intended use of the appraisal.
  • The reason for the appraisal.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.
  • Pertinent property characteristics, including: location, physical characteristics, legal attributes, economic attributes, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible considerations.
  • 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 when completing the job.
For a more comprehensive look at 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?   (Top)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must make sure of the following:
  • That the information analysis utilized in the appraisal was appropriate.

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

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

  • That a believable, defensible appraisal report was conferred.
To become a state licensed appraiser, there are strenuous education requirements as well as on the jobexperience that must be logged - all with the end goal of being able to render unbiased value opinions. Likewise, appraisers must obey a meticulous industry code of ethics and respect national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for carrying out an appraisal and documenting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Top) Licensing and certification is achieved through classroom study, tests and practical experience. Once an appraiser is licensed, he or she is required to take continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who do appraisers work for?   (Top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, using their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.

Where does Flagship Appraisal Services, LLC get the information used to estimate values in Saint Johns County or other areas?   (Top)

Collecting information is one of the primary tasks an appraiser performs. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is collected from a numerous sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide information on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. To verify actual sales prices, we look at items in the assessor's office and other public documents. Appraisers routinely have to report when a property is in a flood zone, so that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood product.

And last but not least, the appraiser assimilates 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?   (Top)

If you're making any kind of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want to hire a licensed appraiser. For those selling a home, you'll want to figure out the price that gets you the most profit but also ensures you don't have to wait too long for a buyer to show up; an appraisal can help with that. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. For people settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Flagship Appraisal Services, LLC is the best documentation to ensure assets are split up evenly. Simply put, a home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.


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

PMI is an acronym for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplemental policy protects the lender in case a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the house is lower than the loan balance. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

Is PMI something increasing your monthly mortgage payment?Call Flagship Appraisal Services, LLC today at 904.217.0946 or send us an e-mail. Documentation of your home's present value could save you thousands.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (Top)

The first step in most appraisals is the home 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. Is there anything you can do to help? Yes there is! First, be sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any landscaping and move any items that would get in our way while we measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can get to appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if readily available).
  • Written property agreements, such as a maintenance easement for a shared driveway.
  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of Energy efficiency upgrades or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • A copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is "pending".

What does "Market Value" mean?   (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."



Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?   (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 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.

The exception to this rule is when a home owner hires an appraiser directly. In these cases, the appraiser may stipulate the purpose of the appraisal; 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.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (Top)

It really depends on the market. For example, putting in an inline humidifier could be nice in arid regions, but completely useless near the coast!

As a rule, the best ROI from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. 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 are right up there with kitchens, returning 85%. On the contrary, work that may not increase your value would be painting just for the sake of redecorating.