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Homeowners, buyers, sellers, investors, and consumers, real estate is/or will probably be your largest investment, you should protect it with a certified appraisal.  Relying on websites for market value can be detrimental, these sites (Zillow, Trulia, etc) are lead generation sites and are not interested in your financial health.  Here are 20 ideas for an appraisal to protect your wealth.

Property Taxes

My property taxes are too high – A property assessment is a value of your home for tax purposes. Assessments are only used to determine the “Assessed Value” for property taxes by a public/county appraiser, while an independent appraiser would typically provide a “Market Value”appraisal.   In each case the methodology to produce the appraisal is different. The assessed value uses a mass appraisal approach and is typically valued less than the market value to avoid a large number of appeals, while the independent appraiser analyzes each property characteristic and provides a detailed analysis.   Often public records are incorrect and your home can be over-assessed which results in paying higher property taxes. An appeal with the County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) is necessary.  by providing a defensible real estate appraisal that irrefutably shows the assessed value higher than market value,  YOU ARE ENTITLED TO A REFUND.   If your assessment higher than the market value, we can help lower your taxes. We recommend a full interior appraisal, to include a property sketch.


I need a real estate appraisal for a legal reason – Legal, Arbitration, Mediation, Dispute resolutions. If you own real estate, there are many reasons you may need to determine the value of the property other than for sales purposes.  Some examples may be partnership dissolution, gifting, portfolio, disputes (encroachment, views, easements). Expert witness testimony may be required for a specific case. Depending on your specific situation, we may be able to help.  Your attorney will help you in this process. Please contact us with specific requirements.

Investment Buy-Sell Decision

When purchasing a home with cash, it should always be part of your due diligence to obtain an independent appraisal much like the banks obtain for a mortgage.   We can provide a report to help you decide if the time is right to buy or sell your asset.

Market Timing

The real estate has an economic cycle similar to the stock market driven by economic conditions in the market place, however is less liquid and slower to react.  As we say in 2006-2008, the real estate market quickly fell apart and many were left underwater, facing foreclosure and short sales.  Through carefully analyzed market indicators, we can predict with great certainty when the market is getting weak.  Remember, real estate is local in nature, and each neighborhood has different economic data.  Hire an appraiser to best determine if its the right time to buy or sell.

Home Equity

You were approved for a HELOC a few years ago, and were provided a line of credit Home values have appreciated and you would like to increase your line of credit.  Call your lender and “recommend us” for the valuation.  Chances are we have already done business with them, but if not, we can quickly become business partners.

I need a review on my last appraisal

You  don’t agree with the last appraisal on your home. You would like another appraiser to double check its accuracy and completeness and to provide a second opinion without ordering another appraisal.  We can help.  Desk Review – you just want to double check the facts,  make sure the data from public records are correct, and the best comparables were considered.   Field Review – we go over the steps of the first appraisal, verifying the data. If we do not agree with the original value, we will provide additional comparables and a second opinion of value. If we can help, please order either a desk review or field review.

I’m getting divorced

I need a real estate divorce appraisal – You’re going through matrimonial difficulty, separation, dissolution of marriage,  divorce – friendly or hostile. One of you has probably moved out, and you’re both wondering what your share of the real estate will amount be, usually the family residence or investment property.  You’ll need a professional real estate appraisal.as you go through the divorce process. A mediator or judge cannot determine how much your property is worth without a professionally prepared appraisal. Your attorney may know a reputable appraisal firm that will give an unbiased, arms-length, and stand-alone valuation of your property or he may leave it up to you.  I always like to know whom I am hiring. We provide real estate valuations for your dissolution of marriage. Provide us with the name of the attorney, and we will gladly communicate with him/her on your request.  Leave the process to us, order your appraisal today.

For Sale By Owner

I am selling “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) in Henderson NV – Getting an appraisal is an essential step in selling your home on your own.  You may have a rough idea of what it will sell for, but do you know what the banks thinks it worth?   Chances are the buyer will need a mortgage and a market value appraisal is required to fund the loan.  Yes, there are other alternative valuation methods available, but they do not follow the strict federal rules and Fannie Mae guidelines, so a value given by a realtor may not conform.  Don’t chance it.  Use the appraisal as a solid negotiating tool. Know exactly where you stand. Furthermore, you can use your appraisal as a marketing tool.  We can provide detailed information to show what the trends are, show you ratios (List Price v Sales Price), and provide a detailed measurement of your home measured to ANSI Standards.  Remember, you cannot transfer the appraisal to another party or use it for a mortgage, but you can be assured the value is correct.  We strongly suggest ordering an interior appraisal to get the most accurate value. The investment to have an appraisal is a smart choice.

List Price

What can I sell my home for?  Maybe you have already completed some research and know roughly what your home is worth. (Caution: Zillow, Trulia, etc are marketing sites, not valuation providers) or maybe you have had a realtor provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA).  So you have done some due diligence. Chances are, the buyer you are selling to needs a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Besides layers of specific appraisal standards, government rules, these entities also have their guidelines for acceptable appraisals. To go even deeper, they have a database called Collateral Underwriter which measures the quality of the appraisal, comparable selection and criteria. As an appraiser, we have adapted to learn not only how to value your property, but in a way that conforms to the Federal Government.

Deal Fell Through

You here many times, “the deal fell through” sometimes, “it didn’t appraise” to the agreed sales contract price and the buyer is not willing to put additional cash towards the transaction. No one wants to hear that.  With an interior appraisal, we also provide a property sketch. Many times the county has incorrect measurements of your home.  Using the county measurements gross living area can skew the appraisal results.  We measure to ANSI standards.  Furthermore, you can use the sketch as a marketing tool. Go into the sale with confidence with a certified appraisal. Know for sure your home will sell for a pre-listing appraised value.  Order yours before you list your home for sale. We recommend a full interior appraisal for this service.

Seller Financing

I am financing my home through the seller – Buyers, so you have contracted to purchase the perfect home and the owner is willing to provide owner financing with a 20% down payment. Have you done your due diligence on the property?   Are you sure what the value of the property you are contracting with is worth what you are paying?  Many times in seller financing, you agree to prepayment penalties and balloon payments.  Ensure you know exactly the value of your investment and where the market is going. Order an appraisal before you commit.  You’re the owner and are offering financing to your buyer and have set the terms. Your real estate collateral is a large investment and you should know exactly what it is worth. Lenders order appraisals for many reasons, not just for the initial funding. They continuously update their balance sheet with a portfolio valuation.  This can be through AVMs on a yearly basis or if your investments are located in different areas, a drive-by exterior appraisal provides condition. Don’t chance it, order an appraisal.


I am paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – The homeowner protection act gives you the right to request the lender to cancel PMI when you have reached the date when the principal balance of your mortgage falls below 80% of the original value of your home.   This date should have been given to you on a PMI disclosure. If there has been appreciation in the local market, you may reach this value prior to your disclosed date.  If you feel you have less than 78% LTV, you must: Request the PMI cancellation in writing. Good payment history may be required that there are no junior liens. Lender may ask you to provide an appraisal.


The government is planning to take my home through Condemnation – The government is planning to take your property. They likely have their own idea of just compensation they are willing to pay you.  You need a professional appraisal that is powerful, useful, and evidence of what you are entitled to. Eminent domain is a complex procedure and should only be completed by an experienced appraiser who has experience.  Don’t throw up your hands and give in, hire an appraiser.  Call us for recommendations on someone experienced in your area.


Estate Planning, Settlement & Probate – Settling an estate can be a difficult process.  If it includes real estate, chances are you need an independent appraisal to determine market value.  We provide appraisal reports that are easily understood, supported which meets state, federal, and  IRS treasury regulations.  Estate Appraisals are typically used for: benchmarking, probate, trust inventory, estate planning, equitable distribution, and estate taxes.

Death in the Family

Appraisers determine the historical (retrospective) market value as of the date of death of the property, and not the date of the order.  An estate appraisal is completed by a Real Estate Appraiser with several years of experience.  Retrospective appraisals can be challenging in that the appraiser needs to decipher the trends and perceptions of market participants in a previous time period instead of whatever is happening right now (which could be substantially different).  The IRS has also made allowance for Alternative Valuation Date. If the market has declined 6 months after the date of death, you may order another appraisal (6 months from date of death) to show the difference and save on estate taxes. Taxes can be a substantial expense when settling an estate, we provide a defensible report to help through your process.  An interior appraisal is recommended.


Insurance Replacement Costs – Your insurance company is interested in what it would cost to replace your “home” (less the land value)  in a catastrophic loss and not its market value.  Sometimes rebuilding is not an option for a variety of reasons, in which case Actual Cash Value might be the better way to address the valuation. Actual Cash Value is normally defined as Replacement Cost minus depreciation.  If you disagree with the replacement costs being used, one option is to order a replacement cost appraisal.  Most homeowners typically order this every 5 years and use factors for the years in between.

Short Sale

Short Sale Analysis – If you are upside down in your mortgage, you need to understand what your -Loan-to-Value- is on your home to make a smart decision.  To determine this accurately, you need a real estate appraisal. We can complete an appraisal to determine the best value that best suites your current needs. Market value is non-distressed value. Disposition value is when the owner is under compulsion to sell during a predetermined exposure time to the market. Liquidation value is the most probable price within a short period of time and very little marketing. Be smart, your due diligence can pay off.  Hire us today.

How big is my Las Vegas Home?

I need a property sketch – You have your home for sale, you have all the great staged photos, but do you have a floor plan?  Show off your home with a property sketch and sell your home faster. Your property taxes are calculated from the county assessment.  The assessment uses the gross living area (GLA) as an important factor in determining the value.  Sometimes they use factors in the measurement, skewing results. Most counties have the property sketch on the county website where you can verify the measurements.   Some of the sketches are incorrect.  If your home is smaller than what the county is indicating, you could be paying to much in property taxes. We use ANSI standards in measuring your home, condo, or cooperative. Order a property sketch now.

How much Rent do I charge?

Rental Survey – You own investment rental property and need to know if you are getting the best rent from your unit(s),.  When analyzing the market, we look at several factors including; the condition, location, the hypothetical tenant, duration of tenancy, and current market conditions.  Sometimes a rental survey is required to obtain a mortgage. We offer two services. Rent Range – a commercial services which aggregates local rents in the area and produces an easy to read report. Single Family Rent Schedule 1007 – an appraisal form commonly associated with an operating income statement 216.

What is the building condition?

Building Condition – Before you make an offer, know the history and avoid any surprises. Order a build-fax buyer’s report as a standalone, or include it with an appraisal report.

Although not extensive, we have listed above are 20 reasons to order an appraisal service from a qualified appraiser. Please let us know if we can help with your appraisal needs.


Published by John Patton

An active Florida Real Estate Appraiser since 2001 and active Florida Real Estate Broker.