What is a Residential Appraisal?

An appraisal is an opinion of value. For estate planning, financial planning, or sale price decisions, individuals, a trusted advisor or a lender usually orders an appraisal. When an appraisal is used to obtain an opinion of value of a property for loan purposes, federal regulation requires the lender or its agent to place an appraisal order. The lender or its agent contacts a state licensed or certified appraiser and identifies the property to be appraised and the intended use of the appraisal. The appraiser then determines the appropriate scope of work for the assignment. The appraiser’s scope of work typically includes the type of property inspection (interior, exterior only or none), what approaches to value are required, and any lender-specific requirements.

There is no single standard appraisal report form, format, or style. However, for residential mortgage lending, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC), which are Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) that purchase mortgages on the secondary market, have developed residential appraisal report forms that are commonly used to communicate the appraisal of properties used as collateral.


• If an appraisal requires an interior inspection, an appraiser will contact the homeowner (or, in the case of a sale, an agent or the seller) to inspect the interior and exterior of a property. As previously mentioned, an appraisal may not require an interior inspection.

• An appraiser will research county and municipal records, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) records, and other data services for information and documentation concerning the subject property and market area.

• An appraiser will review recent sales and listings of comparable properties. Comparables are recently sold or listed properties that have similar utility, quality, age and amenities as the subject property and are located in the subject property’s market area. In markets where few sales have recently occurred, comparables may be from similar or competing neighborhoods located some distance from the subject property.

• An appraiser may use the sales comparison approach to develop an opinion of value. Often the primary approach to develop an opinion of value for a residential property, the sales comparison approach utilizes recent sales of comparable properties. An appraiser will analyze and compare characteristics that include the living area of the home, land area, style, age, quality of construction, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, presence or absence of a garage, etc.

• The cost approach is another method an appraiser may use to develop an opinion of value. The cost approach is the appraiser’s opinion of the current replacement cost of constructing a reproduction of the existing structure, less any estimated depreciation, plus the value of the land. The cost approach is a valuable approach to use when appraising newer homes that might have little or no depreciation.

• Lastly, an appraiser may utilize the income approach. The income approach is most often used in appraisals of properties that have two, three or four living units, where income is a factor in the decision-making process of buyers and sellers. It is generally not used for one-unit residential properties in areas where the majority of the homes are owner-occupied.

• After data collection and analysis, the appraiser will develop an opinion of value by considering the indicated value(s) of the sales comparison approach, as well as the cost approach and/or income approach, if applicable. The values indicated by the approaches utilized will be reconciled to a final opinion of value. The appraiser will present his or her findings and conclusions in a report to the lender.

Mortgage Rates Bounce Up

Home loan mortgage rates increased this week. The 10-year Treasury yield ticked up 6 basis points, while the 30-year mortgage rate jumped 5 basis points to 3.95 percent. Today’s survey rate is the highest rate in nearly four months.


Overview of Homeowner’s Insurance Basics

If you’re a homeowner, your house needs to be insured for a minimum of 80 percent of its value (not counting the value of the land). Be proactive and review your current homeowner’s coverage periodically to make sure that your insurance is sufficient to rebuild or repair your home after a disaster. So, what do you need to look for during the review of your homeowner’s policy?

Actual-cash-value coverage: If you have a policy that pays the actual cash value of your home’s contents, you’ll get a check for what your stuff was worth before it was destroyed — not what it would cost to replace it all.

Declarations page(s): This annual statement from your insurance company outlines your coverage and your annual premium. Keep it with your policy.

Full replacement cost: If your property is destroyed, the insurance company is obligated to fully replace or rebuild your property without any deduction for depreciation. Obtaining full replacement cost on your personal property will cost you only about 10 to 20 percent more than the actual-cash-value coverage. Comprehensive homeowner’s coverage must include full replacement cost to repurchase all the items in your home today if they’re lost, stolen, or destroyed.

Guaranteed replacement cost: Even if the damage exceeds the limits on your policy, the insurance company is obligated to fully replace or rebuild your property without any deduction for depreciation. Guaranteed replacement policies aren’t exactly what you might imagine. Insurers limit the amount that they pay out to replace or rebuild your home to usually no more than 20 percent above the amount for which your home is insured.

If your home appreciates beyond the level of coverage, the policy won’t cover that amount — even though you thought you had guaranteed replacement coverage. Guaranteed replacement coverage doesn’t end with just the dwelling itself, either; you must also think about the value of the contents of your home.

Liability: This type of insurance helps protect you financially if someone is injured by you on your property.

Rider: A rider is really a separate insurance policy that goes with your homeowner’s policy to insure special types of personal property. You must obtain a rider on your homeowner’s policy, for an additional cost, to fully insure these items. A copy of your purchase receipt and/or an appraisal may be necessary to substantiate the value of the items covered under each rider.

You may also want to consider whether your home falls under special circumstances that require additional coverage. You may need additional coverage on your home if the following conditions apply:

  • You operate a home-based business.
  • You live with someone to whom you aren’t married and who isn’t on the deed or title to the home.
  • You may be exposed to water damage due to storm sewer or water backup.
  • Earthquake coverage.

Engineered Wood Floors Overview

Solid wood is classic and can last a century, but engineered flooring offers a quicker, easier way to get a new floor, and it comes with a durable factory-applied finish.

Because it’s laminated, it’s more stable than solid wood, so you can put it over concrete or radiant floors, and not worry about warping. And Hosking says the finishes are far more durable than anything he can apply on-site.

Top-of-the-line engineered strips range from about $8 to $12 per square foot. That’s higher than solid-wood planks, but homeowners can offset the expense by tackling the installation themselves.

Read the rest HERE.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.

GOP tax plan: What does it mean for San Diego housing?

A tax plan introduced by House Republicans on Thursday could have a bigger impact on affluent San Diego County homebuyers than in the rest of the nation.

Why it matters: The plan would lower the annual mortgage interest deductions to newly issued loans totaling no more than $500,000, down from $1 million right now. Homes cost more in Southern California than much of the nation.

Impact locally: In September, the San Diego County median home price was $535,000. Typical buyers put 10 to 20 percent down, so most San Diegans would not have a loan affected by the new plan. However, luxury buyers with higher loans will see less of a tax benefit.

More details: There have been 17,862 homes out of 32,900 sold over $500,000 this year, said real estate tracker Reports on Housing.

Some examples: Matthew Shaver, a San Diego senior mortgage consultant at Finance of America, said he was processing 10 loans at the moment and all were under $470,000. He noted that the tax plan still would allow people with bigger loans to write off deductions up to $500,000.

“You still are going to get the bulk of the reduction,” he said.

For example, take a San Diego couple who decides to buy a home for $750,000. They would probably take out a fixed-rate loan and put 20 percent down. With a $600,000 loan at current interest rates, they would lose out on a $4,250 annual mortgage rate deduction under the proposed tax plan.

Read the rest HERE.