Appraisal Services Offered

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Assessment appeal services

 

Assessment appeal services

Most localities determine your property tax burden based on an ad valorem assessment of the property's value. Sometimes, as a property owner, you get an unwanted surprise in the mail telling you your taxes are going up, and sometimes it may seem as though your assessment is too high.

Often, matters like this can be resolved with a phone call. However, if after discussing your assessment with your local taxing authority you still feel as though your property was overvalued, a professional, independent, third-party appraiser is often your best bet in proving your case. That's where we come in.

There are as many different procedures for appealing assessments as there are property taxing districts, so it's important to enlist the help of a professional appraisal firm that's experienced and trained in the ins and outs of your particular jurisdiction. 

Please note: It makes sense to do your own research before determining whether to go forward with a property assessment appeal, especially before you make the decision to hire a professional appraiser. However, according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), we are not allowed to take "shortcuts" -- i.e., your research -- and use it on its face as part of our independent evaluation. When you hire us for an assessment appeal, you're commissioning  an independent, third-party professional appraisal report. As such we do our own evaluation, beginning to end. If you're right that your property has been overvalued, an independent report such as ours will be even more persuasive than any other evidence you can marshal on your own. But it depends on our ability to do the work independently.

Sometimes, you will have a hearing on your assessment appeal and will need for the appraiser you've hired to testify on your behalf. Be assured that at Sycamore Realty Group, Inc., we are able to professionally and persuasively testify at appeal hearings.  Browse our website to learn more about our qualifications, expertise and services offered.

Foreclosure/REO appraisal

 

Foreclosure/REO appraisal

Homes in foreclosure and homes that have reverted to your institution's ownership present special appraisal challenges. At Sycamore Realty Group, Inc., we're more than ready and able to help.

For a property in foreclosure, you may need to know the difference between fair market value and "quick disposition" value, to know your potential charge-off liability. At Sycamore Realty Group, Inc., we have experience in both providing snapshots of fair market value for our mortgage lending and servicing clients as well as "quick sale" forecasts that understand your timeline. 

Owners of property in foreclosure, of course, present special challenges. They may be unwilling to allow an inspection of the property. If they have abandoned the property already, they may have neglected care of the home for some time -- or worse, caused damage. We have the experience and training to deal with the special dynamics of a foreclosure appraisal, and you should not hesitate to rely on us.

For a property that has already reverted to Real Estate Owned, you likewise will be interested in a quick disposition. But you may want to know and compare three values: As-is, as repaired, and "quick sale." These represent the value of the property without any work done to it, with the work required to make the property marketable to full market value commensurate with competing properties in the area, and, somewhere in-between, with minimal investment in repairs -- selling the property quickly, probably as a "fixer-upper." Again, we understand your timeline and the unique circumstances of an REO property, as well as the special information you'll need -- competing listings, market trends, and the like.

Please browse our website to learn more about our qualifications, expertise and services offered.

Condemnation appraisal

 

Condemnation appraisal

It's not just a good idea -- and it's not just the law -- it's your constitutional right that if the government wants to condemn your property, or take it from you by means of "eminent domain," it must give you "just" compensation. That's where we come in.

The government is likely to have its own idea of "just" compensation, maybe based on a professional appraisal.  But an appraisal on your behalf, performed under the standards of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), is powerful -- and useful -- evidence of what you're entitled to, and protects your rights. 

It works the other way, too. We perform work for government clients needing to offer and provide "just" compensation in eminent domain cases. A USPAP-compliant appraisal is the best way to determine fair market value of any property.

If the above makes condemnation appraisals sound simple, that's not the case. There are many legal and procedural issues involved in an accurate condemnation appraisal. A federal condemnation will require a different analysis and report format than a state or local taking. And in any event, the jurisdiction proposing to condemn the property is likely to have its own rules for appraisal that must be followed. It is important to hire an appraisal firm that has experience and training in these types of valuations.

An eminent domain action may reserve certain rights in the property to the current owner. The government may petition to take only part of, or a partial interest in, the property. This requires the appraiser to value the "larger parcel" -- the currently undivided, contiguous property -- and the "remainder" of the property, or rights to use the property, that will be held by the owner after condemnation and factor that into the overall value of the taken property. For an added wrinkle, it will often be necessary for the appraiser to determine his or her opinion of value on the "remainder" before the taking and after the development or use prompting the taking, because they are likely to be very different.

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Likewise, appraisers always consider a property's "highest and best use" when formulating an opinion of value. For many condemnation appraisals, it is necessary to consider the highest and best use of the property before taking and after the development or use resulting from the taking. Again, it is important to have a professional appraiser with experience and training.

Because an appraiser may often have to testify about his or her condemnation appraisal, it is important that certain steps in valuation methodology -- such as selecting and analyzing comparable sales -- be performed more thoroughly. You rely on your appraiser to know what's necessary, so again, it's important to select an appraiser/company that has experience and training.

Here at Sycamore Realty Group, Inc., we are ready and able to perform your condemnation/eminent domain appraisal. Browse our website to learn more about our qualifications, expertise and services offered.

Divorce Appraisals

 

Divorce Appraisals

Finalizing a divorce involves many decisions, including "Who gets the house"? There are generally two options regarding the house - it can be sold and the proceeds divided, or one party can "buy out" the other. In either case, one or both parties should order an appraisal of the residence. Divorce appraisals require a well supported, professional appraisal that is defensible in court. When you order an appraisal from us, you are assured that you will get the best in professional service, courtesy, and the highest quality appraisal. We also know how to handle the sensitive needs of a divorce situation.

Attorneys and Accountants rely on our values when calculating real property values for estates, divorces, or other disputes requiring a value being placed on real property. We understand their needs and are used to dealing with all parties involved. We provide appraisal reports that meet the requirements of the courts and various agencies.

As an attorney handling a divorce, your needs oftentimes include an appraisal to establish fair market value for the residential real estate involved. Often the divorce date differs from the date you order the appraisal. We are familiar with the procedures and requirements necessary to perform a retroactive appraisal with an effective date and Fair Market Value estimate matching the date of divorce. The ethics provision within the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) binds us with confidentiality, ensuring the fullest degree of discretion.

FHA, USDA and VA

Howard and Larry are Indiana state certified and on the FHA Roster of approved residential appraisers.  This means that we are qualified and approved by the FHA to do appraisal reports for house loans underwritten by them. A certain amount of the continuing training our staff at Sycamore Realty Group, Inc. completes deals strictly with decoding the FHA's documentation and their rules and procedures.

An FHA loan is insured by the Federal Housing Administration, a federal organization within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). None of the funds are provided by the FHA. What the FHA does is ensure that the loan is insured in case the borrower defaults on his or her loan obligations. The FHA and their loan programs are created to help low-to-moderate income purchasers by easing credit requirements. Remember, the FHA is different from the VA appraiser panel in that the lending organization can select the appraisal company.

The rates on FHA loans are generally market rates, while down payment requirements are lower than for conventional loans. The loan programs that the FHA offers are extremely useful to buyers with less starting income.
 

Some Myths and Realities About Real Estate Appraisals and Appraisers

 

Some Myths and Realities About
Real Estate Appraisals and Appraisers

Myth: Assessed value should equate to market value.
Reality: While most states support the concept that assessed value approximate estimated market value, this often is not the case. Examples include when interior remodeling has occurred and the assessor is unaware of the improvements, or when properties in the vicinity have not been reassessed for an extended period.

Myth: The appraised value of a property will vary, depending upon whether the appraisal is conducted for the buyer or the seller.
Reality: The appraiser has no vested interest in the outcome of the appraisal and should render services with independence, objectivity and impartiality - no matter for whom the appraisal is conducted.

Myth: Market value should approximate replacement cost.
Reality: Market value is based on what a willing buyer likely would pay a willing seller for a particular property, with neither being under pressure to buy or sell. Replacement cost is the dollar amount required to reconstruct a property in-kind.

Myth: Appraisers use a formula, such as a specific price per square foot, to figure out the value of a home.
Reality: Appraisers make a detailed analysis of all factors pertaining to the value of a home including its location, condition, size, proximity to facilities and recent sale prices of comparable properties.

Myth: In a robust economy - when the sales prices of homes in a given area are reported to be rising by a particular percentage - the value of individual properties in the area can be expected to appreciate by that same percentage.
Reality: Value appreciation of a specific property must be determined on an individualized basis, factoring in data on comparable properties and other relevant considerations. This is true in good times as well as bad.

Myth: You generally can tell what a property is worth simply by looking at the outside.
Reality: Property value is determined by a number of factors, including location, condition, improvements, amenities, and market trends.

Myth: Because consumers pay for appraisals when applying for loans to purchase or refinance real estate, they own their appraisal.
Reality: The appraisal is, in fact, legally owned by the lender - unless the lender "releases its interest" in the document. However, consumers must be given a copy of the appraisal report, upon written request, under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Myth: Consumers need not be concerned with what is in the appraisal document so long as it satisfies the needs of their lending institution.
Reality: Only if consumers read a copy of their appraisal can they double-check its accuracy and question the result. Also, it makes a valuable record for future reference, containing useful and often-revealing information - including 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 vicinity.

Myth: Appraisers are hired only to estimate real estate property values in property sales involving mortgage-lending transactions.
Reality: Depending upon their qualifications and designations, appraisers can and do provide a variety of services, including advice for estate planning, dispute resolution, zoning and tax assessment review and cost/benefit analysis.

Myth: An Appraisal is the same as a home inspection.
Reality: An Appraisal does not serve the same purpose as an inspection. The Appraiser forms an opinion of value in the Appraisal process and resulting report. A home inspector determines the condition of the home and its major components and reports these findings.