Cleveland Home Appraiser Appraisal Industry & Trends

I Have a Home Inspection Report, Why Do I…

A Home Inspection is For You. An Appraisal is For the Bank.

A lot of people think the home appraisal and a home inspection are the same. But that is not the case. The simplest way to remember the difference is to think:

The home inspection is for the buyer.

The home inspection is a three hour, in-depth, tour of the house the buyer takes with the home inspector, after making an offer that was accepted by the seller. The water pressure, temperature, electrical outlets and most every component of the house is tested. The home inspection should help answer: do I want this house? What will I have to repair or replace and when? Am I buying a lemon/money pit or is this house in the condition I expected when I made the offer?

The home appraisal is for the bank.

Unlike the home inspection, the home appraisal is mandated by the lending institution. If you're paying cash for a house and there is no lending institution, or mortgage, then there is no need for an appraisal. The home appraisal will help the bank answer: is the house worth what my borrower(s) are paying? Are other similar houses in this area selling for the same amount? If the loan goes into default, can we sell the house for what we are owed?

Appraisers Determine Value. Inspectors Determine Condition.

Generally speaking the appraiser is more concerned value of the property well home inspectors are primarily concerned with the condition of the property. Real estate appraisals develop valuation of the market value of the property. At Fast Appraisals, a Cleveland Home Appraisal Company, our team prepares hours worth of research before the certified home appraiser sees the property. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have even been able to do many of our appraisals without going into the home at all, offering a drive-by appraisal (an exterior inspection only) and a desktop appraisal as contactless home appraisal options. Read "Alternative Appraisals: Curbside Appraisals, Drive-By Appraisals, Desktop Appraisals, Hybrid…" for more details. Once the preliminary research is done and nearby comparable sales are identified, our licensed appraisers only spend about 30 minutes doing an inspection inside the home - primarily to confirm the on-line records, make sure the square footage is accurate on the assessors site, take measurements of the house, take photographs and take note if there are any safety issues that might be of concern.
Remember, home appraisers are hired by the lender, or the mortgage company, and not by the buyer. The appraiser's job is to prepare an accurate valuation, based on comparable sales in the area, so that the lender, or mortgage company knows what the collateral of the loan is worth. Similarly, if you were to lend a friend $15,000 and use a diamond bracelet as collateral, should your friend not pay you, a jewelry appraisal can be done to tell you if you could sell the diamond bracelet for the $15,000 you are prepared to lend.

Home Inspectors Do Not Determine Value and Home Appraisers Do Not "Test" House

Home inspectors do not do any research before arriving at the property and generally have no training or interest in what you're paying for a home. Unlike good home appraisers who are well-versed in the intricacies of unusual value fluctuations in the Cleveland property market, home inspectors care about one thing - the condition of the home. A home inspection typically takes between three and four hours and has a hand-on inspection. They look at everything involving the structure of the house such as walls, ceilings, roofs, attics, foundations, windows, drainage, plumbing. The home inspector prepares an inspection report to include the condition of all the components in the home including water pressure, temperature, function of appliances function of windows and doors, function of the water heater the furnace… The inspector gets into crawl spaces and attics, tests each electrical outlet, faucet, appliances, temperature of refrigerator, and more. A good home inspector will have a tool belt full of tools to diagnose temperature, moisture and electrical current while a home appraisers brings a camera, a notebook and some measurement tape, which even now can be done electronically. We take pictures and crunch the numbers in the office - sending the appraisal report to the lender to continue the underwriting process.

Appraisals are Required by Lenders. Inspections are for Buyer's Peace of Mind.

So if you’re buying a house, first you'll put an offer on the house you want to buy. Then, you'll have a brief window of time to get an inspection and use those results to rescind your offer or negotiate the purchase price if substantial deficiencies were uncovered during the inspection process.  The inspection is purely optional and not required by the lender. However, once you have determined you are buying the house and moving forward with the Purchase Agreement, the lender requires the appraisal. Hopefully, that answers the question we get asked all the time:
"I Have a Home Inspection Report, Why Do I Need an Appraisal?"
If you need an appraisal for a property valuation to a tax appeal, a divorce, an estate valuation, a private-party sale, or for any other purpose, contact the appraisal team at Fast Appraisals, a Cleveland Home Appraisal Company.
Alternative Appraisals Cleveland Appraisal Industry & Trends

Alternative Appraisals: Curbside Appraisals, Drive-By Appraisals, Desktop Appraisals, Hybrid…

Due to COVID-19, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Accepting Alternative Appraisals Until May 17th, 2020

On March 23rd the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, released a rule directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow alternative appraisals as a result of the coronavirus outbreak through May 17th, 2020.  (FHFA News Release)
"To allow for homes to be bought, sold, and refinanced as our nation deals with the challenges of the coronavirus, the Enterprises will leverage appraisal alternatives to reduce the need for appraisers to inspect the interior of a home for eligible mortgages" the news release reads.
The FHFA failed to define what "alternative appraisals" specifically are, leaving most in the industry to assume the concept is clear enough and that an appraisal without an interior inspection is the safest measures for both the home owners and the appraisers.  Alternative appraisals could be either drive-by appraisals, desktop appraisals, hybrid appraisals or a curbside appraisal.  At Fast Appraisals our team of Cleveland home appraisers has been efficiently delivering alternative appraisal products for years. They typically have a much faster turn-around time and cost less so are usually the preferred valuation approach for tax appeal appraisals and appraisals needed for probate, estate valuation or divorce.

Alternative Appraisal Products Safer for Coronavirus Concerns and Include Appraiser's Expertise - AVMs Do Not

An alternative appraisal report, like a desktop appraisal, drive-by appraisal or curbside appraisal is prepared with the same comparable sales data and adjustments to derive at the market value as a complete appraisal - however in a drive-by appraisal the exterior photos are taken from the street and in a desktop appraisal the photos are pulled from online resources available to appraisers - in both cases, no physical contact is made with the customer. In a curbside appraisal, the appraisers at Cleveland Home Appraisals coordinate with the customer to use FaceTime on the company tablets to get a clear picture of the interior and exterior of the home. Our appraisers offer virtual appraising with the FaceTime app for customers that have iPhones, iPads, Zoom or another videotelephony service they can use to connect with our appraisers. The contact person walks around house, directed by the appraiser while the appraiser takes screenshots. Our appraisers include screen shots from the FaceTime appraisal in the alternative appraisal report that can help justify relevant adjustments made.   The customer can also include photos or other elements that can be verified if they feel more information is needed to assist the appraiser in calculating the most accurate market value.

AVMs Not Considered Evidence-Based Alternative Appraisal Products

AVMs, an automated valuation model, does not include the expertise and knowledge of an appraiser and although they can be used by lenders to get a quick idea of market data, they do not incorporate on site property inspections, exterior property inspections or a licensed/certified appraisers expertise of the nuances in each town and city in our Greater Cleveland Akron area.  AVMs are likely not included as an "alternative appraisal" product because of their lack of accuracy and the availability of more accurate, evidence-based, market valuations by a licensed/certified appraiser with the more accurate alternative appraisal products like desktop appraisals, drive-by appraisals and curbside / virtual appraisals.

Cleveland Home Appraisals Offers Reliable Appraisal Alternatives

Since the coronavirus concerns have shaken-up the industry, mortgage lenders and stakeholders are encouraged to move forward, with prudence, to use reliable  " appraisal alternatives." Although many Cleveland and Akron area appraisers may not be equipped to offer these appraisal alternative products, the appraisers at Cleveland Home Appraisals are experienced and proficient at fast turn-times and reliable valuations whether you choose a desktop appraisal, drive-by appraisal, hybrid appraisal, curbside appraisal or any modification of a virtual appraisal without physical contact.  Call our appraisal team at  216-932-4663 or fill out our appraisal order form to request a quote and turn around time.
Cleveland Home Appraiser Corona Virus Precautions Appraisal Industry & Trends

Our Home Appraisers Take Precautions for Coronavirus Pandemic

At Fast Appraisals, we are committed to the needs of our customers including, but not limited to, homeowners, mortgage professionals, and other real estate professionals. During these uncertain times, we realize that it is crucial to continue serving our Greater Cleveland and Akron community.

Home Appraisals Considered Essential

Per the Ohio governor's orders, real estate appraisal professionals are considered an essential party to financial institutions and the community.  At this time, we are pleased to inform our customers that Fast Appraisals will remain open during normal business hours. Like many others, we're taking guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which recommends cleaning, disinfecting, hand washing, and avoiding close contact with others.

Maintain Safe Distances and Allow for Quick Home Appraisal

Our staff is committed to taking the precautionary measures to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all. We ask that upon the arrival of an appraiser to your property, you remain at least 6 feet away in distance and allow for a quick and easily accessible inspection. Please note that some of our staff members may choose to wear disposable gloves or face masks.
We are always available to service properties while they are unattended. If you do not feel comfortable with the appraiser entering your home while you are there, we would be happy to make arrangements for the appraiser to enter and move in a timely manner with minimal contact to any surfaces.

Contact Free Method of Home Appraisal: Drive-By and Desktop Appraisals

Also, please remember that we do offer other product types such as drive-by and desktop appraisals which allow for a contact-free method of appraising. Please consider requesting these product types in the event that you would like to contract for our services.
As always, we are happy to accommodate our customers and look forward to working with you. If you would like to request any special accommodations, please call our office to discuss at 216-932-4663.
Thank you to all of our wonderful customers for your continued support.
Home Appraisal Ohio Home Sales Appraisal Industry & Trends

Home Appraisers Near Me; Know Values as Ohio Home…

Home Appraiser Near Me; What is Your Home Worth?

Are you living in your home and not sure what the market value of your house is? Do you understand how local sales of houses effects your property value? Home value plays a critical role to understanding your property taxes, and may play a role in determining when to move or downsize. To start, a home appraisal is used to find the current value of your home, and can be considered as evidence to contest your property taxes in the event you feel the county has assessed your home’s value too high. The value of your house shifts based on a number of variables, including home improvements done on the house, damage done to the house, the conditions of the areas you live in, etc. This is why it’s important to keep in mind when your last home appraisal was, and to question ‘is there a reliable home appraiser near me?’

Home Appraiser Near Me; How Local Property Sales Affect Your Home Value

One of the conditions that affect your property value is the perceived benefits of the city where you live. This is based on a variety of things, one being if the status of the housing market. According to a article, home sales in Ohio are rising while nationally sales have been dropping. “The Ohio Association of Realtors said Thursday that April sales hit their best-ever pace and shattered a high set two years ago, based on seasonally adjusted annual figures. The monthly sales rate was up 3.3 percent from April 2017 and marked a 1.8 percent gain from March of this year.” Despite the market for housing in Ohio excelling, another article on also claims that Cleveland is still one of the more affordable areas. “The 10 most affordable metros in the country are mainly in the Rust Belt, with six in Ohio, three in Pennsylvania, and one in upstate New York. In these areas, a house costs between two and 2.7 years of income — that is, four or five times less than in the least affordable metros.” These different market variables further enforce the need for home appraisal.

Home Appraisal Near Me; Cleveland Area Fast & Fair Home Appraisal

If you’re looking for ‘a dependable home appraiser near me’,  we’re proud to fill that role. At Cleveland Home Appraisals, our team of professionals will give you a fair evaluation of your home’s value. We have a reputation for being experts in our communities with many of our home appraisers having decades of experience and knowledge in the more mainstream suburbs like Medina, North Olmsted, Parma and Wickliffe to the more complicated areas like Ohio City, Tremont, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and more. If you are in need of a home appraisal, contact us, fill out our order sheet for a residential appraisal or call 216-932-4663 today.

Bankruptcy Appraisal better than Redfin or Zillow Appraisal Industry & Trends

Bankruptcy Appraisals: Certified Home Appraisal vs. Realtor Valuation or…

Over the years Fast Appraisals, a Cleveland home appraisals company, has been performing a steady increase in bankruptcy appraisals, or a residential property appraisal to determine the valuation of residential real estate when filing a bankruptcy.  Many home owners that find themselves in financial duress mistakenly assume that a bankruptcy isn’t a viable option if they have equity in their home, but a good bankruptcy attorney will review your options, have you order a legitimate home appraisal from a licensed, certified home appraisal company like Fast Appraisals, and in some cases you could be surprised.

Certified Bankruptcy Appraisal vs. Realtor Valuations and Zillow

The value in a certified home appraisal by a licensed residential appraiser is the most reliable valuation and trends lower than a valuation from a Realtor or home-valuation sites such as Zillow or Redfin. When a real estate broker is selling a home they have financial incentives to get the most they can for the home owner, so their valuation tools assume the highest price based on highest quality, the most home up-dates, the freshest paint, the most curb appeal and all the cosmetic bells and whistles. Valuation websites, like Zillow and Redfin, are financed by Realtor advertising and also motivated to show a high valuation to the home owner, enticing them to consider selling and therefore contacting a Realtor, who in turn pays for the ad placement. Neither of these sources are taking into consideration the reality that your home may have some deferred maintenance – peeling paint, dated kitchen appliances, worn carpet, unreliable HVAC system, front steps in need of replacement, etc. Make sure your bankruptcy attorney isn’t relying on one of these sometimes over-valued methods and order a certified appraisal report for your bankruptcy.

Why Zillow, Redfin & Other Valuation Websites Are Not Enough

  1. bankruptcy appraisal not zillow
    Zillow Great for Advertising Revenue NOT Reliable Valuations in Bankruptcy Filing

    Check the house statistics. Many of the valuation websites have erroneous data on square footage, number of beds and baths, year built, etc.

  2. Check recent sales. What your house is worth typically depends on what houses, similar to yours – meaning comparable in age, size, number of beds and baths, location, style of house and condition of house, have sold for in the past 6 – 12 months.  If the recent sales are further away than a few miles or in far better condition than your home, these houses would typically not be considered in the valuation of your home.
  3. Remember how these sites make money – advertising! Real estate brokers advertise to sell their homes and acquire new clients. Promoting higher values encourages more activity and Realtor engagement.
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