Determining your property’s value–the role of the AppraiserMay 3, 2019
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only. The HomeTaxSavings.com website is not a market value appraisal, rather it is an assessment tool.
DETERMINING YOUR PROPERTY’S VALUE—THE ROLE OF THE APPRAISER
When we talk about home values, we frequently hear the words “appraisal” or “appraiser.” And while we know that the goal of the appraisal process is to yield a property valuation, the actual role of the appraiser is often misunderstood. Here we’ll look at some basics of property appraisal (including market appraisal vs. tax appraisal) and hopefully clarify the role and responsibilities of the appraiser in determining your home’s value.
What Property Appraisers Do
It might not seem so from first glance, but appraisers don’t set a property’s value so much as they confirm that value for a lender. That is, a bank issuing a buyer a mortgage wants to know that the property is properly valued before making the loan. And the seller also wants confirmation of a fair asking price. It is in this environment that the appraiser works to determine a home valuation that is acceptable to parties on each side of the sales transaction.
Tax Assessed Value vs. Market Value
Tax assessed values are used only by the property tax authority of your county or municipality in order to bill you properly. Your home’s appraised value represents the fair market value of the property, which depends to a great extent on both market trends and the condition of the property itself. This distinction is important.
Tax Assessed Value
Counties and municipalities tax properties within their boundaries and use the funds for schools, community improvement projects, etc. Frequency of community tax assessment depends on the county or municipality where you live. Some counties re-assess annually, while others do so every other year or less often. Communities where tax valuation assessment is infrequent can see more sudden rises or dips in both assessed value and property tax owed. Tax assessment is usually based on data from your area or neighborhood and is done without an assessor coming to the home.
To determine a property’s market value (on behalf of a seller, lender, or both) there is a more personal process focused on the specific attributes of the property itself. These can include the property’s age, structural condition, land or drainage issues, possible weather or insect damage, as well as additions and improvements and a host of other factors affecting the property’s market appeal. This routinely involves a visit to the home by a licensed appraiser.
What Qualifications Must Appraisers Have?
Independent appraisers come from a range of backgrounds, including real estate, construction, property management, and insurance. The specific requirements for becoming an appraiser vary by state, but a Bachelor’s degree is typically helpful (though no longer required as of May 2018). A candidate must then complete a set program of coursework set by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB). This usually involves 30 hours of training in basic appraisal principles, 30 hours of training in basic appraisal procedures, and 15 hours of training in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). In addition, a 4-hour supervisor/trainee class is also required, bringing the total number of training hours to 79. In Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee, the requirement is 90 hours. Some states—including Florida, California, Colorado, New York, and West Virginia—require upwards of 100 hours of appraiser training.
Following coursework, appraiser trainees must complete 1000 hours of work experience under a trained supervisor in no fewer than 6 months. After completing this training period, candidates are eligible to take the Residential Real Property Appraiser’s exam. Upon passing the exam, one must then complete and submit an application for licensure to the state’s Real Estate Appraisers Board. Current licensees are permitted to appraise 1- to 4-unit non-commercial residential properties worth less than $1 million, and complex 1- to 4-unit properties worth less than $250,000. To appraise more complex or higher value properties, one must obtain certification. Certification requirements include a Bachelor’s degree, 200 hours or more of AQB-approved coursework, and 1500 hours of supervised field work over a period of not less than 12 months.
Who Employs the Appraiser?
People often wonder whether home appraisers are independent or contracted by your municipality. In contrast to tax appraisers (who are employed by the county or municipality, most market value appraiser work for independent companies. These companies or individuals are then typically contracted by the lender (the bank) to ensure that the property meets the value of the mortgage loan. In essence, however, the job of the independent appraiser is to assess both the strengths and weaknesses of a property as they might affect its market value—thus helping to arrive at a value agreeable to seller, buyer, and lender.
We hope this quick review has helped better define the role of the property assessor in determining your home’s value. Look to this site for more regular content on maximizing the value of your home sales, keeping property tax rates manageable, and more!
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HomeTaxSavings.com is wholly owned by Assessment Solutions, LLC and was established in 2016 as the nation’s first fully automated and integrated real estate assessment review and appeal system. The principals of HomeTaxSavings.com have worked in the real estate and IT world for over 100 years. Founders Keith McIntosh, Stuart Smith, Rachel Brown and Mandeep Sandhu possess a vast knowledge of the industry with many years of experience. The group is gaining wide popularity having covered The District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, California and Washington.