Conlan Appraisal Company has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Conlan Appraisal Company is always prepared to answer any questions you might have about appraisals or real estate in Watauga County. Feel free to contact us today.

Describe an appraisal
Describe what an appraiser does
Why would I require services from Conlan Appraisal Company?
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What's in an appraisal report?
Once the assignment has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the value indicated is valid?
How hard is it to become certified?
Who hires Conlan Appraisal Company
Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in Watauga 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?
Define "Market Value"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?



Describe an appraisal   (See list of FAQ's)

The appraisal process is an estimation that produces an opinion of value. There are three "common approaches to value" which assists the real estate appraiser arrive at this opinion or valuation. One of the methods in use is the Cost Approach, which finds what it would cost to replace the improvements to the home, less the age and physical deterioration, plus the land value. Another of the processes is the Sales Comparison Approach - which concerns discovering a comparison to other similar properties within a close vicinity which have recently sold. Being the most common approach, the Sales Comparison Approach is considered the most precise and best indicator of market value for a home. 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 money 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, in the support of real property transactions. Appraisers demonstrate their expert investigation in appraisal reports.


Why would I require services from Conlan Appraisal Company?   (See list of FAQ's)

There are a lot of reasons to get an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for ordering an report include:
  • If you are applying for a loan.
  • To reduce your property taxes.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove insurance.
  • To challenge high property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To provide you a leg-up when purchasing real estate.
  • To find a reasonable sales price when selling real estate.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Because a government agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • If you are ever involved in a civil case.
Click here for a more extensive explanation of the process involved in getting an appraisal.


Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?   (See list of FAQ's)

The appraiser is not a home inspector nor does he/she do a complete home inspection. A third-party home inspector will evaluate the structure of the house, from the top to the bottom. The stereotypical home inspector's report will include an evaluation of the condition of the property'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.

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

Honestly, they have nothing in common. The CMA relies on indistinct local market trends. The appraisal is reliant on specific valid comparable sales. In addition, the appraisal checks other factors like condition, area and construction prices. The CMA will provide a non-specific figure. An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

Who's creating the report is hands down the biggest difference between a CMA and an appraisal. Real estate agents, who may not have a complete understanding of valuation methods or the entire market, generate CMA's. A certified, North Carolina licensed professional who bases a career on valuing properties in and around Watauga County creates the appraisal. Further, the appraiser is an independent voice, with no conditional interest in the value conclusion, unlike the agent, who gets a commission based upon the value of the home.

What's in an appraisal report?   (See list of FAQ's)

The main point of an appraisal document is to provide a value opinion, and depending on the scope of the report, one will customarily see the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraiser's opinions and conclusions.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Characteristics of the property that have a bearing on the value, including: location, physical attributes, 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.
  • 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 while working up the appraisal.
For a more detailed look at all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the assignment has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the value indicated is valid?   (See list of FAQ's)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • That the information analysis utilized in the appraisal was suitable.

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

  • That appraisal services were rendered in a careful and cognizant fashion.

  • The final appraisal report was clear, sound and conclusive.
There are intense classroom and experience requirements that must be adhered to in order to get an appraisal license in North Carolina. In addition, appraisers must stick to a stringent industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The guidelines for working up an appraisal and documenting 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 are different from state to state. However, licensing and certification typically translates to many hours of coursework, tests and real world experience. Once licensed, he/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 hires Conlan Appraisal Company   (See list of FAQ's)

Commonly, appraisers are hired by lenders to render a value opinion on a home involved in a loan transaction - to make sure the subject is indeed adequate collateral for the loan. Appraisers also provide opinions for legal settlements, tax matters and investment decisions.

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

Gathering data is one of the primary activities of an appraiser. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is taken from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are gathered by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is collected from a variety of places. To find out about recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we often go to the local Multiple Listing Service. To double-check actual sales prices, we use items in the assessor's office and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Appraisers often need 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 service.

And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other houses in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (See list of FAQ's)

An appraisal is a valuable tool whenever the value of your home is relevant to a financial decision. 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. For people settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Conlan Appraisal Company is the best documentation to ensure assets are divided properly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (See list of FAQ's)

PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplementary policy covers the lender if a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the value of the property is less than what is owed on 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.

Did you secure your mortgage with less than 20% down? Call Conlan Appraisal Company today at (828) 963-5367. You may be able to cancel your Private Mortgage Insurance premium.

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

The first step in most appraisals is the property inspection. 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. 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 relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can easily access items 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).
  • List of personal property to be sold with the building.
  • Title policy that describes encroachments or easements.
  • Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
  • Any "Homeowners Associations" agreements or, if applicable, condo agreements or fees .

Define "Market Value"   (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."



Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (See list of FAQ's)

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 included with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed 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 situations, the appraiser may define 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 use the appraisal for any purpose.


I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?   (See list of FAQ's)

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!

As a rule, the most value returned 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 were second, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also help 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.