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FAQ (old)

We have created a repository of information detailing topics that are important for people new to the appraisal industry!  We’ve focused on general questions, considerations for renovating and updating, appraiser lingo, and many other subject matters. Please contact us if you still have more questions!

[content_band style=”color: #333;” bg_color=”#dde2ff” border=”all” padding_top=”1px” inner_container=”true”][feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”info-circle”] General [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What is the Association of Georgia Real Estate Appraisers (AGREA)?” open=”false”]The Association of Georgia Real Estate Appraisers (AGREA) was initiated to address the needs and issues of the appraiser community here in the State of Georgia.  We promote respect and profitability as well as build professional networking opportunities for Georgia Real Estate Appraisers.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Who is AGREA?”]As a member YOU are AGREA, YOUR actions are AGREA, YOUR inactions are AGREA, what YOU do or don’t do will make all of the difference. GET INVOLVED!  Advocate for your own livelihood.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Is AGREA incorporated as a nonprofit?”]AGREA is not a nonprofit. The cost and time involved in incorporating and properly maintaining the organization, per nonprofit requirements, would affect the productivity of the association.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Who is on the Board?”]We have an Executive Committee, although the rest of the positions of the Board are under development.  Also, there are committees being formed that are dedicated to making the organization run smoothly. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Is this primarily an Atlanta group?  How would I, as a rural Georgia appraiser, benefit?”]AGREA is not primarily an Atlanta group.  Although most of the administrative management of AGREA is done in Atlanta, we are looking for appraisers in rural areas to host networking events to further dialogue about today’s issues.  AGREA can be as large, as wide spread and as much of a voice in the financial market as YOU make it.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Where is AGREA located?”]AGREA is located at 3355 Lenox Road NE Suite 750 Atlanta, GA 30326.  Please look at the Contact Us page for more information.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Why is AGREA needed in today’s market?”]We, as a group, need to take a stand in telling AMCs and lenders what our minimum fees are.  AMCs will keep “scope stuffing” (the act of adding further requirements without increasing payments such as the MC form, more comps, additional listings, pending sales, etc.) along with obtaining a higher portion of the appraisal fee while lenders will continue to be unconcerned with appraisers not receiving a fair allotment since, ultimately, a completed report is still submitted.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Is AGREA part of the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers or any other national organization?”]AGREA isn’t a member of a national organization, although we do participate with The Network of State Appraiser Organizations as we connect with other nation-wide entities when supporting movements for national changes to benefit the future of the appraisal industry.  Moreover, AGREA is focused on Georgia real estate appraiser issues and being a political voice within the State of Georgia.[/accordion_item][/accordion][feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”users”] Membership [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Who should join?” open=”false”]Individuals who are interested in being proactive about the future of their careers, those who realize that it takes more than just complaining about what’s wrong, professionals who are tired of appraisal fees decreasing while mandated compliance and time required to complete a report escalate. Discussions are significant, but actions get the job DONE! [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”I’ve joined AGREA, now what?”] Call or e-mail AGREA.  Ask what you can do, how you can be a part of the organization, and not just listed as a member.  You’re a member!  Let your voice be heard! [/accordion_item] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Who should become a networking host, committee member or chairperson?”]Those who can dedicate 2 – 4 hours per month to making major changes within the industry and want to meet key persons who influence our profession.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How do I become a networking host, committee member or chairperson?”]Send an e-mail  to describing the position you are interested in.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What are the responsibilities of a networking host?”]AGREA will schedule with the venue and notify members in the area.  As host, you will attend the event, greet members as they arrive, present yourself, distribute AGREA name tags and introduce the attendees to one another.  Estimated time required would be 3 hours per month.  This will provide you opportunities to meet appraisers in your local area.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What are the responsibilities of a committee member?”]Assist the chairperson in researching issues that affect AGREA members.  Estimated time required would be 3 hours per month. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What are the responsibilities of a chairperson?”]Meet once a month to discuss upcoming events, membership needs, member relations, educational events, HVCC changes, and appraiser related legislative news.  A chairperson must offer ideas, large or small, that can help affect change for Georgia appraisers.  Estimated time required would be 4 hours per month.[/accordion_item][/accordion][feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”ticket”] Events [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Why should I network and know what other appraisers are doing in their businesses?”]Networking and having open dialogue with members will encourage appraisers to stop looking at each other as competition! Knowing your industry associates are fed up with low fees and scope stuffing will prompt a different response when nominal payments are proposed by Appraisal Management Companies.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What is Piedmont Park – AGREA Family Day?”]This is an event opportunity to come out and enjoy a day at the park with other appraisers and their families.  Offered are field activities, light snacks and beverages for all to enjoy!  It’s the weekend – time to relax![/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What is the purpose of the Networking events?”]Simply an opportunity to come out after work and meet other appraisers in your area within an informal environment.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What is a round table and why are round table discussions limited to 20 people?”]It is an opportunity for appraisers to communicate their successes as well as voice their frustrations and concerns that affect their businesses.  Likewise, professionals can discuss their experiences that possibly cover similar issues to address or learn from. The 20-person limit is needed to keep all participants involved, focused and undistracted by side conversations.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What is AGREA Community Activity – Project Open Hand?”]AGREA is big on community service.  Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides Comprehensive Nutrition Care™ for a diverse population of men, women and children with unique nutritional needs.  Duties include preparing or delivering meals for less fortunate individuals.  It is extremely humbling to spend time serving a good cause for the benefit of others.  Just a few hours can make a great impact![/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Will AGREA have events in other areas?”]Yes, please suggest a location and note if you are willing to host in the Contact Us form.  Events are based on the interest of AGREA members.[/accordion_item][feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”puzzle-piece”] Advertising Space [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What advertisers can be listed on the AGREA website?” open=”false”]Anyone!  Preferred advertisers would provide services or products directed toward helping appraisers in their businesses.[/accordion_item] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How do I get listed?”]Complete the form located on the Contact Us tab.[/accordion_item] [/accordion][/content_band] [content_band style=”color: #333;” bg_color=”#dde2ff” border=”all” padding_top=”1px” inner_container=”true”][feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”warning”] Permits [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What is a permit?  Do I need copies for my appraisal?” open=”false”]Permits ensure renovations, add-ons, and updates are completed correctly as well as in accordance with the minimum of current building standards.  Before the appraisal occurs, be sure to provide updated copies of the permits to the appraiser to reduce any confusion so as to ensure an accurate assessment of the property is executed.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Are permits necessary?” open=”false”]If contemplating on working without a permit, consider the long term implications.  Appraisals, loans, and selling of property will all be delayed in addition to encountering several issues.  It is recommended to obtain all required permits before revamping a property, otherwise there is a high possibility of harming your property’s marketability.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What if copies of the permits can’t be located?” open=”false”]If not having copies of permits results in problems with the appraisal report, it is highly advisable to attempt to locate the missing permits yourself.  Sometimes, permits can be misplaced, however, in order to achieve the top dollar for your property, these documents are necessary.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What if part of my property isn’t permitted?” open=”false”]If part of your property isn’t permitted, try to have up to date records including: when an extension was added, who built it, estimates for how much it would cost to permit the space, and if selling, how potential buyers have reacted.  This information provides a well- rounded view and can help the appraiser make his/ her accurate assessment.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Why didn’t I receive a higher valuation during my appraisal when my add-on was permitted?” open=”false”]Even if permitted, some add-ons and conversions are not highly marketable and may not augment value to the property.  For instance, a garage conversion to living space could provide 400 more square feet, yet eliminating a garage is often a negative for value.  More livable space does not always equal a higher comparable so take these into consideration during your appraisal, renovation, and home-selling process.[/accordion_item][/accordion] [feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”bar-chart-o”]Comparable Properties [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What are comparable properties?  How does the appraiser select these?” open=”false”]Appraisers often look at homes in your neighborhood that are similar in size and age.  They are selected through various searches including local MLS reports and public records.  Ask to know which comparables the appraiser has used and if you discover significant discrepancies, work with your real estate agent to find more accurate comparables.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How can I find comparables?” open=”false”]Before beginning with an appraiser, review the high and low sale prices in your neighborhood. Check listing websites such as the National Association of Realtors to see the average and median prices in your area.  This will provide an estimate for where your property currently sits as well as generate ideas for improvements that could increase your appraisal value. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What if comparables don’t tell the whole story?” open=”false”]While looking at comparables, appraisers sometimes do not know information relevant to the comparables sale.  For example, a neighbor with a similar home may have needed to move quickly with dropping the home price considerably.  If there are instances similar to this, let the appraiser know in order to get a better and more accurate value for your property. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How does my neighborhood affect my appraisal and comparables?” open=”false”]When getting an appraisal, the comparable homes and neighborhoods are considered.  If there is a large amount of foreclosures, this will be taken into account of your appraisal.  To combat this scenario as best as possible, it is most beneficial to maintain updates and structure to bring the most feasible value to your home.  Conversely, appraisers consider the school locality, shopping districts, access to public transportation, and parks in the area.  These are considered desirable and can increase a home’s value.  Point these items out to ensure your appraiser is aware! [/accordion_item][/accordion] [feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”refresh”]Property Updates [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Do I need to do updates before an appraisal?” open=”false”]Remember, an appraisal is an accurate estimate of both the exterior and interior of your property.  Consider maintaining your landscaping, trimming shrubs, and removing dead plants and trees.  Similarly, look further at the exterior of your home and consider ways to update or preserve it’s paint, shutters, etc. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”If I decide to do updates, what should I do?” open=”false”]Don’t spend a lot of time and money on updates that won’t yield a strong return for your money.  The best options for this are revitalizing interior paints, carpets, lighting and plumbing fixtures.  If you have upgraded and sustained these consistently, you should be fine, but if there’s the one bathroom that looks like you stepped back in time, consider some simple revamps. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What are some common updates I can do?” open=”false”]An economical upgrade is your property’s fixtures.  Small changes like switches, faucets, light fixtures, etc can make a significant difference.  Fixtures are inexpensive and can help add to the appraisal value. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Do I need to update my home’s heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical?” open=”false”]Internal workings (HVAC, plumbing, electrical systems) are taken into consideration in an appraisal.  Keep records of updates to these systems and show to your appraiser to achieve the maximum appraisal value.  If these are slightly dated, but in general working order, you shouldn’t encounter negative appraisal results.  However, if they are in disrepair, these conditions could have a negative impact on your appraisal report. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How can I maximize my home’s square footage during an appraisal?” open=”false”]When having an appraisal or attempting to sell your home, consider removing large bulky furniture.  Such massive objects can really make the area feel and look small, even in an over sized room.  To maximize on your capacity, place huge pieces in storage and show the appraiser just how spacious your home is!  Simply removing a large hutch can give a room the feeling of more space! [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How can I ensure the appraiser knows about all of my updates?” open=”false”]One great step to take before an appraisal occurs is to make a list of updates on your home.  This measure enables the appraiser to have accurate information, especially since some revamps may be hard to visually date. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Should I stage my home for an appraisal?” open=”false”]While staging during the selling process of a home is sometimes important and even necessary, there is no need to do this for the appraiser.  Keep in mind that while trying to sell the home, you want to make the potential buyers have an emotional response with the property.  This is not true of an appraiser. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”If I have an older home, should I update it so the style is contemporary?” open=”false”]It is unnecessary to change features that are common for the home’s age and area, for instance, a Victorian home with 1 bathroom.  This is standard for that time and similarly the aging neighborhood it sits in.  However, a 1 bathroom suburban home would be considered outdated.  There’s no need to completely renovate unless you are already in the market to do so. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What if my property has experienced water damage?” open=”false”]Appraisers will look for signs of moisture, water leaks, mold and mildew.  If there is a basement or a leaky roof, make sure to have these issues repaired before the appraisal in order to get the maximum appraisal value.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Why didn’t the appraisal report include our hot tub or above ground pool?” open=”false”] An important note for an appraisal is personal property.  While you don’t plan on moving your hot tub to your next home, the appraiser won’t consider it as part of this property unless it is permanently affixed.  Consider decking an above ground pool, providing a permanent foundation to a shed or outdoor structure, and removing potted plants.[/accordion_item][/accordion] [feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”fire-extinguisher”]Remodeling [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Should I renovate my home for an appraisal?” open=”false”]If considering a large renovation within the $15,000 to $20,000 cost range to increase your appraisal value, consult with a professional first.  If a home has depreciated due to market values, you might break even by doing this renovation, but you also might not.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What renovations add value to my home?” open=”false”]The best renovations to affect the home value is to begin with the kitchen and bath as these are the most important areas to be updated when trying to sell the home.  Subsequently, wood floors, landscaping and enclosed garages also drive up the appraisal value. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How would adding another bedroom affect my home’s value?” open=”false”]Adding a bedroom can drastically increase a property’s value, so consider ways your home could add another bedroom.  To be deemed as a bedroom, a room needs an entry-way, window, and closet. Think of unused space in your home where you could add more bedrooms.  Simple ways include splitting large bedrooms into 2 smaller rooms; re-purposing an office; or even eliminating vaulted ceilings.  Taking such steps can escalate the property’s value and be well worth the effort. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”One of my bedroom’s isn’t labeled as one in the appraisal report?  Why?” open=”false”]It’s important to know about your home’s bedrooms.  A lot of homeowners will have a very large closet or “bonus” room that they have used as a bedroom.  If there is no entry-way, window, and closet, then this room cannot be considered a bedroom. Research your local zoning requirements to see if there are ways to add low cost fixes to your home, if you are in this situation. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Will adding a finished basement improve my home’s value?” open=”false”]When adding more space to your home, it’s better to think above ground than below.  While many people love their finished basement, this area isn’t included within the overall square footage, whereas a finished attic would, in turn, add more to the home value. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What are the worst renovations for my return on investment?” open=”false”]Before renovating, it’s important to consider the return on investment of your remodel.

  1. Office– On average, a home office renovation will cost almost $30,000 with the return being as small as 45%.  If contemplating anyway, then consider something that could easily be turned back into a bedroom, or when selling, label it a den to avoid reminders of…work!
  2. The overdone Master Suite– While a nice updated master suite can entice buyers, make sure not to go overboard.  It is often that many potential buyers don’t want a hefty price tag associated with the bulky luxury.
  3. The Sunroom– The sunroom, or any add-ons, must feel the same as the rest of the home and have its own heat source to increase the square footage of the property.  With that being said, the average sunroom addition is around $75,000 and you might get a return of 48%.
  4. A bathroom addition– Adding square feet for a bathroom is the same as a sunroom!  Expansions are expensive!  A mid-level bathroom addition will easily cost upwards of $30,000 with a 53% return on investment.  The best solution for an additional bathroom is to reconfigure your current floor plan!
  5. A detached garage– An independent structure can cost over $90,000 and will only return 54% of the investment.  While buyers want a garage, if the home has one, convert it back to a garage, or simply clean it out! [/accordion_item]
[accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”How can I make my home more energy efficient?  Will this increase my home’s value?” open=”false”]When upgrading your home, consider revitalizing in terms of energy efficiency.  Replacing current windows with insulated energy efficient ones will increase the home’s curb appeal and value.  Installing insulation will also be viewed as a value add.  It will reduce the heating and cooling costs and renew the home.  When with the appraiser, make sure to point out the energy efficiency updates.  Items such as controls on water heaters, low flow shower heads, and energy star appliances will also add to the home’s value. [/accordion_item][/accordion] [feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ icon=”briefcase”]Business Notes [/feature_headline][gap size=”20px”][accordion id=”my-accordion”] [accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Where is a good place to learn about appraisal rules and reports?” open=”false”]A good resource before ordering an appraisal is to look at the Uniform Residential Appraiser Report (URAR) from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  This report provides an overview of what appraisers look for while preparing a report.  Going outside of this outline for repairs and updates probably won’t be beneficial. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”When a loan is used, what information is needed for an appraisal report?” open=”false”]When working with an appraiser, he/she must report all offers, listings, rentals, and sales in the past year.  If the house is under contract, the appraiser must have a copy of the purchase agreement with any addendum to the contract.  This information is necessary for the appraisal report if a loan is needed.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”I’ve heard of the $500 rule, but what is it?” open=”false”]Always keep in mind the $500 rule when working with appraisers.  Homes tend to be appraised in $500 increments meaning slight damage can reduce the value of your home by a much larger impact.  This reiterates that it’s important to work on the small repairs and updates before the appraisal date.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What is a home’s effective age?” open=”false”]Effective age is also important to keep in mind when working with an appraiser.  Effective age is the appraiser’s estimate of the physical condition of the property.  The effective age can be shorter or longer than the actual age of the building.

For example, a building that is 35 years old, with some simple upgrades and paint, the effective age is 15 years!  Likewise, updating could make the effective age appear older even than the 35 years![/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”Should I walk around with the appraiser?” open=”false”]During the appraisal, it’s important to not hover over the appraiser as you would want him/her to be as comfortable as possible.  Consider crating pets and adjusting the temperature.  If it’s hot out, and the air conditioning isn’t on inside, the appraiser might think there is an issue with the heating and air system.

One option is to have your real estate agent walk through the property with the appraiser.  He/She can point out updates, have comparables in mind, and discuss the differences within the home versus the neighborhood. [/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”my-accordion” title=”What last minute steps should I take before obtaining an appraiser?” open=”false”]Keep in mind, last minute items can have a negative influence on an appraisal such as pet toys, litter boxes, ashtrays, and un-crated pets.  The removal of these objects will indicate to the appraiser that there are no potential odor issues in which could possibly have an impact on the value. [/accordion_item][/accordion][/content_band]