Vaccari & Associates, Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Vaccari & Associates, Inc. is prepared to elaborate on any concerns you might have about appraisals or real estate in Marblehead and Essex County. Contact us today to talk about how we can help solve your specific valuation problems.

Describe an appraisal
What does an appraiser do?
Why would I require your services?
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?
What are the contents of an appraisal report?
After completing the appraisal, how can I have a guarantee that the value conclusion is veritable?
What are the requirements to be a certified appraiser?
Who employs appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Essex 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?
What does "Market Value" mean?
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?



Describe an appraisal   (List of questions)

The appraisal process is an evaluation that generates an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is concluded by using a formal method that usually uses three "common approaches to value". One of them is the Cost Approach - which is how much capital would be required to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves searching for similar properties in close proximity and discovering the value based on comparing those prior sales to the property being investigated. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most accurate and clearest indicator of a liklely sales price for a home. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is the most important method in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the income generated by the property.

What does an appraiser do?   (List of questions)

An appraiser offers a professional, unbiased determination of market value, in the support of real property exchanges. Appraisers illustate their expert conclusions in appraisal reports.


Why would I require your services?   (List of questions)

There are a lot of reasons to purchase an appraisal from Vaccari & Associates, Inc. with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for getting an report include:
  • To receive a loan.
  • If you would like to lower your property tax obligations.
  • To build a case for a homeowner's equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To contest inflated property taxes.
  • To deal with an estate.
  • To provide you a negotiating tool when purchasing a home.
  • To find a reasonable sales price when putting your home on the market.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS need an appraisal on every property.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will help.
If you need more information about the appraisal process, please click here.


Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?   (List of questions)

Home inspectors do not provide an opinion of value and do not do appraisal reports. A third-party home inspector will investigate the structure of the house, from the top to the foundation. Commonly, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the necessities of the home: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical services, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, accessible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and other visible structures.

Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?   (List of questions)

Simply, they share nothing in common. The CMA utilizes market trends to create most of their business. Appraisals use similar sales which are verifiable resources. The appraisal report will also include area and construction costs. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.

But the most significant factor is the person creating the report. A CMA is created by a real estate agent who may or may not have a true grasp of the market or valuation concepts. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Further, the appraiser is an independent voice, with no vested interest in the property's value, unlike the real estate agent, who gets a commission based upon the price of the home.

What are the contents of an appraisal report?   (List of questions)

Each report must demonstrate a credible value opinion and must document the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the appraisal.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.
  • Pertinent property characteristics, including: location, physical description, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, permanent equipment installations and even intangible items.
  • Any known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and other items of a similar nature.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • The scope of work considered while working up the assignment.
For a more detailed view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


After completing the appraisal, how can I have a guarantee that the value conclusion is veritable?   (List of questions)

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

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

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

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


   (List of questions) Licensing and certification requires classroom study, tests and experience working under a supervisor. Once an appraiser is licensed, he or she is required to complete continuing education courses so the license stays up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who employs appraisers?   (List of questions)

Most of the time, appraisers are employed by lenders to render a value opinion on a house involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the real estate is truly adequate collateral for the loan. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Essex County or other areas?   (List of questions)

Compiling information is one of the primary roles of an appraiser. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are documented by the appraiser while on site.

General data is collected from a variety of sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. Tax records and other courthouse documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Appraisers often have to report when a property lies 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 assembles general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (List of questions)

Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine a 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 those settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Vaccari & Associates, Inc. is the best way to ensure assets are divided properly. Simply put, a house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?   (List of questions)

PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. It takes care of the lender if a borrower defaults on the loan and the value of the property is less than the balance of the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.

Does your monthly house payment include a fee for PMI?Call Vaccari & Associates, Inc. today at 7816390946 or send us an e-mail. A new appraisal could save you thousands.

How do I get ready for the appraiser?   (List of questions)

We begin with an inspection of the property. 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. The best thing you can do to help is make sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house (gates aren't locked, etc). Trim any shrubs and move any items that would get in our way while we measure the structure. Indoors, make sure we can get to items like furnaces and water heaters.

You can make our visit go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • A plot plan or survey of the house and land (if readily available).
  • A list of any personal property that is part of the home and you intend to be sold with the home, such as a oven, or a washer and dryer, if applicable.
  • Title policy that describes encroachments or easements.
  • Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, your septic system and wells.
  • A list of "proposed" improvements if the property is to be appraised "as complete".

What does "Market Value" mean?   (List of questions)

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?   (List of questions)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. 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 engages an appraiser directly. In these cases, the appraiser may stipulate 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 do whatever they want with the appraisal.


I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?   (List of questions)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, adding a central air conditioner in to a home in the South may add significant value, while putting one in a home near the Pacific Northwest might not have much impact.

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe move. 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 (when done well) as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.