Los Tasadores.com has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Los Tasadores.com is always willing to reply to any questions you might have about appraisals or real estate in San Juan County. Contact Los Tasadores.com today to see how we can help you with your specific valuation problems.

What is an appraisal?
What does an appraiser do?
What are the reasons a person would need services from Los Tasadores.com?
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What's in an appraisal report?
After completing the report, how can I have assurance that the value conclusion is valid?
How hard is it to become certified?
Who are an appraiser's customers?
Where does Los Tasadores.com get the data used to estimate values in San Juan County or other areas?
Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?
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?
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



What is an appraisal?   (Return to top)

An appraiser provides an estimation that leads to an opinion of value. There are three "common approaches to value" which assists the appraiser arrive at this opinion or estimate. One of the three is the Cost Approach - which is how much capital would be required to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves finding similar properties in the vicinity and discerning value based on comparing those prior sales to the property being appraised. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and clearest indicator of value for a house. One of the least common approaches in appraising residential properties 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 income produced by the property.

What does an appraiser do?   (Return to top)

An appraiser provides a professional, unbiased opinion of market value, often in the context of a real estate purchase. Appraisers document their expert investigation in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons a person would need services from Los Tasadores.com?   (Return to top)

There are a lot of reasons to order an appraisal from Los Tasadores.com with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for ordering an report include:
  • To obtain a loan.
  • To reduce your tax burden.
  • To show a homeowner has 30% equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To challenge inflated property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To offer you an edge when purchasing real estate.
  • To figure out the most probable price when selling your home.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Because an official agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • If you are ever involved in a lawsuit.
If you need more information regarding the appraisal process, please click here.


Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?   (Return to top)

The appraiser is not a home inspector nor does he/she do a complete home inspection. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the accessible structure and electrical and mechanical systems of a property, from the roof to the foundation. Generally, a home inspection report will discuss the amenities and the necessities of the property: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical services, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural capacity of the home such as the attic, exposed 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?   (Return to top)

Simply, they share nothing in common. The CMA relies on vague trends in the market. An appraisal relies on comparable sales that can be proven by public record. The appraisal report will also contain location and construction costs. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." Being a documented and carefully investigated opinion of value, appraisals are defensible and stand up in legal situations.

But the largest differentiator is who's behind the report. 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. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a flat fee for assignments, regardless of their outcome.

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

Each appraisal should indicate a supported estimate of value and should clearly state the following:
  • The client 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 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 description, legal attributes, economic attributes, the property rights valued, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, items that are more or less permanently installed and even intangible factors.
  • 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 used to complete the job.
For a more comprehensive view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


After completing the report, how can I have assurance that the value conclusion is valid?   (Return to top)

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

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

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

  • The final appraisal report was transparent, credible and conclusive.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must satisfy extensive education and experience requirements that prepare us to formulate an unbiased opinion. Plus, appraisers must obey a strict industry code of ethics and respect national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for developing an appraisal and documenting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Return to top) Licensing and certification requires coursework, tests and experience working under a supervisory appraiser. Once licensed, he/she must then complete continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

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

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's most likely client, requiring their services to ensure property involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisers also provide opinions in litigation cases, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does Los Tasadores.com get the data used to estimate values in San Juan County or other areas?   (Return to top)

One of the primary activities of an appraiser is to collect data. Data can be classified as either Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are noted by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is gathered from a variety of places. To find out about 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. Appraisers often have to report when a property is in a flood zone, and that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood service.

And most importantly, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?   (Return to top)

If you're involved in any kind of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want to hire a licensed appraiser. If you're selling your home, an appraisal helps you set the most appropriate price. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Los Tasadores.com is the best way to ensure assets are split up evenly. Simply put, a house 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?   (Return to top)

PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. This added plan protects the lender if a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the value of the property is lower than what the borrower still owes on the loan. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

Did you secure your mortgage with less than 20% down? Call Los Tasadores.com today at (939) 644-6659 to see if you can get rid of your Private Mortgage Insurance payment.

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

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 we have easy access to the exterior of the house (gates aren't locked, etc). Trim any landscaping and relocate any items that would get in our way while we measure the structure. On the inside, make sure we can easily access appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

To help expedite our work as well as ensure a more accurate report, attempt if possible to have the following items:
  • Information on any written private agreements, such as a shared driveway with a neighbor.
  • A list of any personal property that will be left behind and sold with the home, such as an oven, or a washer and dryer, if applicable.
  • Information on "Homeowners Associations" or condominium covenants and fees.
  • A list of any major home improvements and upgrades, the amount of their purchase and date of their installation (for example, the addition of Energy efficiency upgrades or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.

What does "Market Value" mean?   (Return 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."



Who has rights to the appraisal report?   (Return to top)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. 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 entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. 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 noted otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (Return to top)

Like all things real estate, this is dependent on a home's location. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes

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 were second, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also boost the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.