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It is mandated by law that an appraiser be state-licensed to create appraisal reports for federally-related transactions in California. Also by law, you are allowed to demand a copy of the finished report from your lender. Contact Vanguard Valuations if you have any concerns about the appraisal process.

Vanguard Valuations discusses myths and realities about real estate appraisals and appraisers

Myth: Market value must be similar to the assessed value of the property.
Reality: While most states uphold the concept that assessed value approximates estimated market value, this generally is not the case. Generally when interior remodeling has been done and the assessor is unaware of the improvement or other houses in the Vista have not been reassessed for quite some time, it may vary widely.

Myth: Depending on if the appraisal is ordered for the buyer or the seller, the appraised value of the home will vary.
Reality: The appraiser has no vested interest in the result of the appraisal report and should render his task with independence, objectivity and impartiality - no matter for whom the appraisal is written.

Myth: Any time market value is determined, it should match the replacement cost of the house.
Reality: The way market value is arrived at is based on what a home buyer would likely pay a willing seller for a house without being under duress from any outside party to buy or sell. If the house were rebuilt, the dollar amount required to do so would form the replacement cost.

Myth: There are certain ways that appraisers use to show the value of a home, like the price per square foot.
Reality: There are many different ways that an appraiser will use to make a comprehensive investigation of every factor pertaining to the home, such as the size, location, condition, how close it is to certain facilities and the values of recently sold comparable homes.

Myth: As homes increase in value by a certain percentage - in a robust economy - the houses around the appreciating properties are expected to increase by the same amount.
Reality: Any value an appraiser derives concerning a specific home is always personalized, based on certain factors found from the data of comparable properties and other specifications within the home itself. This is true in good economic times as well as poor.

Myth: The house's exterior is determinate of the actual value of the house; it is unnecessary to do an interior appraisal.
Reality: To find a solid value beyond all doubt, an appraiser must inspect the property on a variety of factors based on location, condition, improvements, amenities, and current market trends. Obviously, none of these variables can be found just by looking at the property from the exterior.

Myth: Since the consumer is the one who provides the funding to pay for the appraisal when applying for a loan for any real estate transaction, legally the appraisal report is theirs.
Reality: Unless a lender releases its interest in the report, it is legally owned by the lending agency that purchased the appraisal. Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, any consumer asking for a copy of the appraisal report must be given one by their lending agency.

Myth: It doesn't mean anything to consumers what's in the appraisal report so long as it meets the necessities of their lending company.
Reality: Only when consumers examine a copy of their report can they verify its accuracy and know if they should ask questions. Remember, this is probably the most expensive and important investment a consumer will ever make. There is a great deal of information contained in a report that can be useful to the consumer in the future, such as the legal and physical description of the property, square footage measurements, list of comparable properties in the neighborhood, neighborhood description and a narrative of current real-estate activity and/or market trends in the area.

Myth: The only reason someone would order an appraisal is if a house needs its value assessed in a lender sales transaction.
Reality: Appraisers can have many different qualifications and designations which allow them to provide a variety of different services including - but definitely not limited to - advice on estate planning, tax assessment, zoning, dispute resolution in many different legal situations and cost analysis.

Myth: An appraisal report is the same as a home inspection.
Reality: Appraisal reports are definitely not the same as a home inspection report. The purpose of the appraiser is to arrive at an opinion of value in the appraisal process and through creating the report. The point of a home inspector is to determine the condition of the house and its main components, then create a report on their inspection.

Contact Vanguard Valuations if you have any other questions about appraisers, appraising or real estate in Los Angeles or Vista, California.