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Private Use Appraisal (Non-Lending

Private Use appraisals are perfect for any application in which a value needs to be assessed on a property, but the appraisal isn’t to be used by a bank or lender. Not to be confused, these are COMPLETE APPRAISALS with the same level of research as a mortgage appraisal. The difference is these are “user-friendly”, easy to understand and can be used for various applications. These are also commonly used as a pre-sale tool to set a listing value and help sell a home at the best price.

For those times when you just need to “know what it’s worth”, the private appraisal report is perfect. As the name implies, they are intended for private use, yet they contain all the information and detail you would find in a full “mortgage appraisal”. These appraisals are performed just like a mortgage appraisal, to the same standards and are just as accurate; the only difference is the format we use to convey the information. They are full appraisals that include a site visit of the subject property, photos, comparable analysis, market analysis and an explanation of the appraiser’s method for concluding a final value.

In other words these are FULL appraisals, performed exactly the same way an appraisal for a mortgage would be, but they are less “bloated” because we’ve removed the non-essential information and government required forms. This makes the report concise, easy to understand, and less expensive for our customers!

Here’s What is Included in A Full Private Use Appraisal

  • A Site Visit to the property where we measure, photograph & take notes
  • A full color PDF report, delivered via email, which contains the following:
  • A Summary of the Property and it’s features, upgrades, conditions, etc.
  • A summary of the Market Area, Trends and Statistics
  • A Detailed Analysis of Comparable Properties in the market area
  • Colored Photos of the Subject Property
  • Colored Photos of all Comparable Properties
  • Location and Flood Maps showing the Subject and Comparables
  • A detailed Advanced Market Statistics Report
  • A Building Sketch of the Subject property
  • A Certification of Value signed and dated by the appraiser

Since a the appraisal reports are for private use, we can add or remove any additional forms or information as needed. In the end you have a very user-friendly appraisal report with everything anyone could need to know about the property, the market area and how the value was determined.

Desktop Appraisal

Just need a simple, inexpensive appraisal that provides a value, market information and basic property details? The desktop appraisal is, as the name implies, performed in-office without a site visit to the subject property. The appraiser uses data from multiple online sources including tax records, county records and MLS data to determine specifics about the subject property such as size and age. Using this information, along with information provided by the property owner that the appraiser assumes to be accurate, a comparison is made between the Subject and nearby comparables. Because there is no site visit or scheduling needed, these appraisals are typically completed within 1 business day of being ordered.

We utilize data from tax records, the county appraisal district and the local MLS to gather specific information about the Subject property and the market area. Using this information, along with information provided by the property owner that the appraiser assumes to be accurate, a comparison is made between the Subject and nearby comparables. Because there is no site visit or scheduling needed, these appraisals are typically completed within 1 business day of being ordered.

What Are the Benefits to a Desktop Appraisal?

  • More accurate than “online” appraisal sites
  • Less than half the cost of a full appraisal
  • Value is certified by a seasoned appraiser
  • Includes a complete Market Statistics Report
  • Perfect appraisal solution for finding a quick and “reasonable” property value

Another excellent use for the desktop appraisal is to estimate what effects any changes to your property may have on value. For instance, if you were thinking of enclosing a garage or adding a guesthouse, a desktop appraisal could be performed and “hypothetically assume” that this feature or addition exists. You could then understand how this will affect the value. In the same fashion, investors sometimes require a quick and inexpensive way to determine what a property will be worth after specific repairs are made, the desktop appraisal is perfect for this situation as well.

PMI Removal Appraisal

PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance, is an insurance premium required to be paid on borrower’s loans who have less than 20%-25% equity. Lenders are required to remove PMI from your loan payment once you reach the required amount of equity.

Is there a PMI charge on your monthly mortage payment? Private Mortgage Insurance, sometimes called Mortgage Insurance Protection, is assessed on homeowners that have less that 20% (some lenders require 25%) equity in their home. By law, mortgage lenders are required to allow you to remove PMI once you reach the required equity. In other words, the principal balance of your loan needs to be at or below 80% of the original loan amount. Alternatively, if the appraised value of your home indicates that you have already achieved the equity requirements, then you qualify for having your PMI removed or deleted from your monthly mortgage payment.

Austin property values have been strong even throughout the housing crash, and since, have risen in value faster than most markets in the United States. For this reason it is a good idea to contact your lender and determine whether or not you are paying PMI premiums on your mortgage. If so, it may be time to evaluate what your home is currently worth as compared to what you currently owe.

After all, the additional cost of PMI to a $200,000 mortgage can be from $60 to $120 per MONTH!

How Can You Start the Process of Removing PMI?

The first step would be to contact your lender or look over your mortgage bill and verify that you are indeed paying a mortgage insurance premium. You’ll also need to get the exact outstanding balance on your mortgage loan. If you feel that your home’s value has gone up enough to reach the 80% mark, then you’ll need to talk to your lender about the steps involved in having an appraisal performed for PMI removal. Be sure to ask if you can hire your own appraiser or if you must go through an appraiser selected by the bank. If you can use your own, then give us a call!

Property Tax Protest and Appeal Appraisals

Protesting your property taxes can be a tough battle, but it is even harder to win if you do not go prepared. A current appraisal of your property is the most effective tool you can take with you to your hearing. In most cases you can avoid a hearing altogether with a well written appraisal.

When appearing at an informal or formal tax protest hearing, the first thing the county appraiser or appraisal board will ask you is, “Do You Have an Appraisal?”

There are many reasons for homeowners to protest their property taxes, from inaccurate county data, a decline in values within your market area, or simply due to the county property tax office raising taxes each year without cause. Unfortunately, despite whatever evidence you bring, you are never on a level playing field when meeting with the county tax assessors. The exception is if you have, in hand, a real estate appraisal that has been performed explicitly for the purposes of disputing property tax.

If you live in Williamson county then you are especially susceptible to over-taxation by the appraisal district. If you’ve paid attention to your real estate tax bill over the last few years, you may notice a trend of increased valuation of your property each year by as much as 10% on primary residences. This 10% is actually the most they are allowed to increase your real estate taxes if a property has a homestead exemption. These increases are evident even in market areas that have clearly declined over the last few years. It is for this very reason that it is imperative for all Williamson county homeowners to protest their tax bill at least every three years. The tax relief of a lowered assessed value can be felt for many years AFTER a successful tax appeal due to the fact that they can only go up 10% MAX every year.

Let’s look at an example: Say your home is assessed by the county appraisal district at $250,000 in 2010. If you appealed the tax valuation and had the value lowered to $225,000 AND the property has a homestead exemption, then in 2011 the assessed value could be raised to $247,500 at MOST. And that is using the max percentage, 10%, that the county is allowed to increase your property values by. Had you not protested in 2010 year, your 2011 value could have very well been $275,000. So in actuality, you save a good deal of money for years to come just by protesting the value down to $225k in 2010. It’s for this reason that we recommend everyone protest at least every three years!

Tax dispute appraisals are performed a little differently than a standard appraisal and require that the appraisal report be written by an appraiser that is experienced with such types of assignments. For example, an experienced tax appeal appraiser knows that the appraisal must be retrospective to Jan. 1st of the year in protest. In other words, the appraisal will be what the value of the home was on January 1st of the protest year, not the current value. Secondly, an experienced appraiser knows how to indicate declining trends and other market statistics that prove a weakening real estate market within an area.

Appraisers also know the “lingo” and can use verbiage that would be otherwise foreign to an average person. Another unknown caveat is that most counties require the appraisal to be printed, signed and notarized before being shown as evidence. These are just some of the important aspects of tax protests that you and your appraiser must know to present a compelling case.

What Are Some Common Reasons for Protesting Property Taxes?

  • General decline in values
  • Above average number of foreclosures in the Market Area
  • Above average Days on Market for real estate listings
  • Incorrect county data such as square footage of the home
  • External influences that may affect values such as a busy roads or rezoning
  • Interim construction, renovations or other work that is incomplete
  • And more

Our appraisers have performed hundreds of tax protests appraisals over the years across numerous Texas counties.

Divorce Appraisals

If you are facing a legal matter with real estate involved, a professional appraisal is almost always requested to determine the fair market value of the property. Sadly, one of the most common such situations is a divorce. A real estate appraisal for a divorce requires a certain level of professionalism, an unwavering resolve for fairness and a touch of humanity.

With the house often being the largest asset that will need to be dealt with during the separation, both parties have their own agendas as to where they would like the value to come in at. It is our jobs as appraisers to deal with these pressures and assure that they do not unduly influence the outcome of the appraisal. At the same time we must be understanding and sensitive of the situation from both party’s perspective. These unique challenges require a professional appraiser with divorce appraisal experience.

Our appraisers have the experienced required to complete divorce appraisal assignments with the utmost level of professionalism. Regardless of whether the appraisal is ordered by an attorney, an individual involved or an accountant, the assignment will be performed with the same unbiased view of the property and the situation, guaranteeing a fair valuation for all parties involved.

Estate and Probate Appraisals

Settling an estate is an important and sometimes stressful job. As an executor you have been entrusted to carry out the wishes of the deceased as swiftly and exactly as possible. An estate appraisal is required to establish Fair Market Value for the property involved. Often, the date of death differs from the date the appraisal is requested. We are familiar with the procedures and requirements necessary to perform a retrospective appraisal with an effective date and Fair Market Value estimate matching the date of death.

Often times during a divorce, bankruptcy, estate or probate case the fair market value of a property needs to be determined to a previous date. These are known as “retrospective” appraisals and fairly common in legal appraisals. With a retrospective appraisal we simply analyze the market as it was at a specific time in the past with no regard for current or future knowledge of the market. For example, we may value a home at $500,000 and declare that the market values are increasing as of “X” date. The very next day a fire could burn down half the neighborhood and values could rapidly decline. A retrospective appraisal to “X” date would assume ignorance of the events that took place on the next day and the appraisal would still assume market values are increasing