What Should You Look for in an Appraiser?


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Welcome back! Today we are joined by John Reeves of Absolute Appraisal. We hire John from time to time to help us with appraisals for many of our sellers, so we wanted to introduce him to you today and have him answer a few questions you may have about what appraisers do.

John has been a licensed appraiser for 12 years and has helped us with many appraisals over the years.
 Agents hire him because his forte is to help us to determine where the sale price should be set. He's an independent appraiser who works for sellers and buyers, which is different from a bank appraiser who works for banks.

Below is some of the most common questions people have about the appraisal process.

What is an appraiser?
An appraiser is a real estate professional who specializes in providing opinions of home value (appraisals). Professional appraisers have taken courses and been supervised during their training period. State licensed and certified appraisers must pass a test and have completed basic education and continuing education. Most states also require a period of supervision, usually 2,000 hours before being able to do appraisals "on your own."

What do appraisers really do?
When an appraiser inspects a home, the inspection is really the "tip of the iceberg" of the work they do. Before going to the house, they should research public records information, get a plat map, check the zoning and flood data, and print out sales and listings of similar homes. During the inspection, it is important to make a drawing of the home and other improvements such as a swimming pool and make notes on physical characteristics such as floor coverings and built-in appliances.

After completing the inspection, an appraiser selects comparable sales and listings and contact the real estate agent for more information on the sales terms, condition of the home, reconcile conflicting information from different data sources, and write up the report.

When do you need your own appraiser?
When getting a mortgage loan, the lender selects the appraiser. Property owners, buyers, and sellers, or their attorneys, often hire their own appraisers to determine a fair sales price.

What should you look for when hiring an appraiser?
Consider the purpose of the appraisal and the type of property, and hire an appraiser with experience in the property type, geographic area of the property, and other similar purposes.

We'd like to give a big thanks to John for joining us today. If you have any further questions about the appraisal process for John, you can give him a call at (703) 967-5636 or send an email to john.r.reeves@verizon.com.

If you have any other questions about real estate, you can always give me a call at 703-963-5500 or send me an email at
janet@thegreshgroup.com. I look forward to speaking with you!

What Are People Looking for in Their Next Home?

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Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent
I recently read the report called "The Housing Satisfaction Gap." What's interesting about this report is that it shows what features people have in their current homes, and what they would look for if they decided to buy a new home. It's a good indicator of what buyers are looking for in the market. In the report, there were 7 things that stood out as the features people are craving the most in a new home. Here they are:

1. Energy efficiency - Is your home green? Having energy-efficient appliances and utilities is one of the main things home buyers are looking for.

2. Renovations - People are looking for updated homes, with newly built add-ons and features that add value to the home.

3. Updated kitchens - everybody wants that beautiful upgraded kitchen with modern new appliances

4. Age-friendly design - Many people are looking for a forever home where their family can grow together and a home accommodates them as they grow older.

5. Privacy - Privacy comes in many forms, whether it is a secluded backyard, a balcony, or simply a greater distance between neighbors.

6. Safe neighborhood - This is kind of a no-brainer. Safer neighborhoods help to put more value in your real estate purchase as well.

7. Storage space - It is a fact that Americans love to shop. What they want is enough space to store their acquisitions in a safe and organized place

If you are thinking of renovating or selling your home, keep these things in mind. If you have any questions about what you should be doing to prepare your home, give me a call and I'd be happy to meet with you. Hope to hear from you soon!

Is Your Tax Assessment too High?

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Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent
Spring is right around the corner, and you know what that means: Tax Season. If you haven't gotten it already, the county will be sending out a property tax assessment for the property you own. They will tell you how much they think the property is worth, so they can tax you accordingly.

Is this the same thing as an appraisal? No. An appraisal is done by the bank, and is a detailed single property valuation. Assessments are based on large numbers of sales that are analyzed to determine values for large groups of similar properties. With an appraisal, you want to get the highest figure possible to increase the sale price of your home.

For a property tax assessment, you want the number to be as low as possible, so you don't have to pay as much in taxes. The reality is that these assessments could be inaccurate, and you might be getting taxed more than you should be.

If you think your property tax assessment is wrong, whether it's too high or too low, give us a call. We can help you go through your options, which can include filing an appeal against the county's assessment. Any appeal has to be done in a timely manner.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!