Abra, Inc. has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Abra, Inc. is more than happy to handle any questions you might have about appraisals in Nassau County. Feel free to contact us today.

What is an appraisal?
Describe what an appraiser does
What would cause me to request services from Abra, Inc.?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What's in an appraisal report?
Once the report has been completed, what guarantee is there that the value indicated is legitimate?
How difficult is it to become certified?
Who engages the services of appraisers?
Where does Abra, Inc. get the data used to estimate values in Nassau County or other areas?
What can a full appraisal do for me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal appointment
What does "Market Value" mean?
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?



What is an appraisal?   (Back to top)

The appraisal process is an evaluation that leads to an opinion of value. There are three "common approaches to value" which helps the appraiser come to this opinion or estimate. One of the three is the Cost Approach - which is how much capital would be required to replace the improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, then adding the land value. Another of the approaches is the Sales Comparison Approach - which involves finding a comparable analysis to other similar nearby properties which have recently sold. Usually, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most definite indicator of market value of a home. One of the least common approaches in appraising residential properties is the Income Approach, which is mainly used to determine the market value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the capital produced by the building.

Describe what an appraiser does   (Back to top)

An appraiser provides a professional, unbiased determination of market value, in the support of real estate exchanges. Appraisers reveal the details of their expert findings in appraisal reports.


What would cause me to request services from Abra, Inc.?   (Back to top)

There are a lot of reasons to purchase an appraisal with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for purchasing an appraisal report include:
  • To get a loan.
  • To reduce your property taxes.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove insurance.
  • To contest inflated property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To give you an edge when purchasing a home.
  • To determine a reasonable price when listing your home.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS require an appraisal on every property.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
For a more extensive description of the appraisal process click here.


What is the difference between an appraisal and a home inspection?   (Back to top)

Home inspectors do not figure out an opinion of value and are not appraisers. An inspection is a third-party investigation of the available structure and electrical and mechanical systems of a property, from the roof to the bottom. The standard house inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the condition of the house's heating system, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and accessible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?   (Back to top)

Frankly, it's like comparing broadband and dial-up. The CMA utilizes market trends to create most of their business. Appraisals use similar sales which are valid resources. In addition, the appraisal checks other factors like condition, area and replacement costs. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.

But the largest differentiator is the person behind the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a true grasp of valuation methods or the entire market, write CMA's. A certified, Florida licensed professional who bases a career on valuing properties in and around Nassau County is behind the appraisal. Further, the appraiser is an unbiased voice, with no vested interest in the value of a home, unlike the agent, who gets a commission based upon the value of the home.

What's in an appraisal report?   (Back to top)

Each appraisal should indicate a supported estimate of value and must clearly state the following:
  • The client and other intended users.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • The type of value reported and a definition of the value reported.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.
  • Relevant property attributes, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic attributes, the real property interest valued, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, items that are more or less permanently installed and even intangible items.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • The scope of work used to complete the assignment.
For a more comprehensive look at the work that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the report has been completed, what guarantee is there that the value indicated is legitimate?   (Back to top)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • That the information analysis contained in the appraisal was suitable.

  • That significant errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.

  • That appraisal services were done in a careful and cognizant fashion.

  • The final appraisal report was transparent, credible and not easily discredited.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must fulfill considerable education and experience requirements that enable us to formulate an unbiased opinion. Likewise, appraisers must abide by a meticulous industry code of ethics and observe national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for working up an appraisal and communicating its results are insured by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Back to top) Regulations regarding licensing and certification vary from state to state. However, licensing and certification is commonly associated with many hours of classroom study, tests and experience working under a supervisory appraiser. Once an appraiser is licensed, he/she must then complete continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who engages the services of appraisers?   (Back to top)

Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's typical client, requesting their services to ensure a home involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.

Where does Abra, Inc. get the data used to estimate values in Nassau County or other areas?   (Back to top)

One of the primary things an appraiser does is to assimilate property data. Data can be divided into Specific or General. Specific data is from the property itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is collected from a many places. To research recent sales to be used as "comps", we typically go to the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is available from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood servers.

And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other properties in the same market.


What can a full appraisal do for me?   (Back to top)

An appraisal is a valuable tool anytime the value of your home is relevant to a financial decision. When selling your house, an appraisal assists you in setting a price that maximizes profit and reduces time on the market. When buying, be sure you're not overpaying by getting an independent appraisal. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (Back to top)

PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. This additional policy guards the lender in the event a borrower doesn't pay on the loan and the value of the home is less than what the borrower still owes on the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.

The money you keep from dropping the PMI required when you got your mortgage pays for the appraisal in a matter of months. Abra, Inc. is a name you can trust when it comes to value trends in Yulee and Nassau County. Contact us today.

Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal appointment   (Back to top)

We begin with an inspection of the property. During this process, the appraiser will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. Is there anything you can do to help? Yes there is! First, be sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house (gates aren't locked, etc). Trim any landscaping and relocate any items that would get in our way while we measure the structure. Indoors, make sure the appraiser can easily access appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

The following items, if available, will help your appraiser to provide a more accurate appraisal in a shorter period of time:
  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if readily available).
  • List of personal property to be sold with the home.
  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.
  • Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
  • A copy of the current listing agreement and broker's data sheet and Purchase Agreement if a sale is "pending".

What does "Market Value" mean?   (Back to top)

In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:

"The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: the buyer and seller are typically motivated; both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; payment is made in terms of cash in United States dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."



Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (Back to top)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner hiring the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, the appraiser may state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stipulated otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


I want to get more for my house. Where should I spend money renovating?   (Back to top)

This really depends on where the home is. For example, if you live in a cold region, insulated windows can be a real plus. But they aren't as attractive in a warm-weather climate.

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms are right up there with kitchens, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also increase the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.