Lubbbock Select Realty has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Lubbbock Select Realty is always willing to elaborate on any concerns you might have about appraisals or real estate in Lubbock and Lubbock County. Contact Lubbbock Select Realty today to learn how we can help you with your valuation problems.

What is an appraisal?
Describe what an appraiser does
What are the reasons I would need services from Lubbbock Select Realty?
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?
Once the report has been delivered, how can I have confidence that the final number is legitimate?
How are appraisers certified?
Who engages the services of appraisers?
Where does Lubbbock Select Realty get the information used to estimate values in Lubbock 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?
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection
What is "Market Value?"
Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



What is an appraisal?   (Go to list of  questions)

The appraisal process is an estimation that generates an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is discerned through a formal process that commonly uses the three main "common approaches to value". One of the methods is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. Easily the most common approach in finding the likely sales price of a home is the Sales Comparison Approach which concerns making a comparison to comparable properties close by. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and best indicator of a liklely sales price for a residential property. One of the least common approaches in appraising houses is the Income Approach, which is commonly used to determine the value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the building.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Go to list of  questions)

An appraiser provides an impartial and well substantiated determination of market value, often in the context of a real estate sale. Appraisers illustate their investigation in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons I would need services from Lubbbock Select Realty?   (Go to list of  questions)

There are many reasons to purchase an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for purchasing an report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • To reduce your property taxes.
  • To show a homeowner has 30% equity and remove PMI.
  • To contest inflated property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To offer you a negotiating tool when purchasing real estate.
  • To figure out a reasonable property value when listing your home.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS need an appraisal on every house.
  • It's possible you could have to deal with being in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
If you need more information regarding the appraisal process, please click here.


How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?   (Go to list of  questions)

Appraisers do not do perform home inspections and are not home inspectors. An inspection is a third-party investigation of the livable structure and electrical and mechanical systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. Commonly, a home inspection report will discuss the amenities and the requirements of the property: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical systems, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, visible insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.

My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?   (Go to list of  questions)

Honestly, they share nothing in common. The CMA relies on indistinct local market trends. An appraisal is based on comparable sales that can be proven by public record. The appraisal report will also contain location and building 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.

Who's behind the report is hands down the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents write CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or bear specific competence when it comes to home valuation. A certified, state licensed professional who has formed a career on valuing real estate in and around Lubbock County creates the appraisal. Moreover, the appraiser is an unbiased voice, with no conditional interest in the value conclusion, unlike the agent, who gets a commission based upon the price of the home.

What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?   (Go to list of  questions)

Each report should indicate a credible value opinion and will identify the following:
  • Who engaged the appraiser and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the value opinion.
  • Relevant property characteristics, including: location, physical characteristics, legal attributes, economic attributes, the property rights valued, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible factors.
  • 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.
  • What was involved in the activity of completing the assignment.
For a more comprehensive look at all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the report has been delivered, how can I have confidence that the final number is legitimate?   (Go to list of  questions)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
  • That the information analysis implemented in the appraisal was suitable.

  • That major errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.

  • That appraisal services were not carried out in a careless or negligent manner.

  • That a credible, defensible appraisal report was communicated.
There are intense education and on the job experience requirements that must be adhered to in order to achieve the status of "licensed appraiser" in Texas. Likewise, appraisers must abide by a meticulous industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for carrying out an appraisal and reporting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Go to list of  questions) Regulations regarding licensing and certification of Real Estate Appraisers vary from state to state. However, licensing and certification typically translates to many hours of classroom study, tests and practical experience. Once licensed, he or she must then take continuing education courses so the license stays up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who engages the services of appraisers?   (Go to list of  questions)

Most of the time, appraisers are called upon by lenders to estimate the value of property involved in a loan transaction. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does Lubbbock Select Realty get the information used to estimate values in Lubbock County or other areas?   (Go to list of  questions)

One of the main tasks an appraiser performs is to collect data. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is gathered from a numerous places. 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 tax records and other public documents. 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 past experience in doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Go to list of  questions)

An appraisal is a valuable tool whenever the value of your home is pertinent to a financial decision. For those selling a home, you'll want to figure out a price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Lubbbock Select Realty is the best way to ensure assets are split up fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value means you can make wise financial decisions.


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

PMI is the common abbreviation for for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI guards the lender if a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the market price of the home 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.

Does your monthly house payment have a lineitem for PMI?Call Lubbbock Select Realty today at (806) 470 2272 or send us an e-mail. A new appraisal could save you thousands.

Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection   (Go to list of  questions)

The first step in most appraisals is the property 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 amenities. Inside, pick up any clutter and make sure we can get to 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 as well as ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
  • A plot plan or survey of the house and land (if 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.
  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.
  • A list of any major home improvements and upgrades, the amount of their purchase and date of their installation (for example, the addition of Insulation or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • Locate copies of the current listing agreement, broker's data sheet and, in the event of a pending sale.

What is "Market Value?"   (Go to 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."



Once complete, who actually owns the appraisal report?   (Go to list of  questions)

For mortgage transactions, the lender requests the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. While the buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

This rule doesn't apply when a home owner hires an appraiser directly. In these cases, the appraiser may define the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (Go to list of  questions)

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

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, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also increase the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become overbuilt for your neighborhood in terms of size.