In the valuation of real estate lenders have several options to obtain an opinion of value on a piece of property. The difference is the scope of work, speed, accuracy and price. Here are some of the differences and benefits.
1.) The AVM or Automated Valuation Model
This is a computer generated product that is based on your homes information in public record. Lenders generally use AVM's for low loan to value home equity lines of credit HELOC's. An AVM is real fast, real cheep and not very accurate. The lender's attitude is if the borrower has good credit, and its a low loan to value transaction, who cares about accuracy! That works sometimes if the lender is responsible and uses it for that purpose.
Problems with AVM's is that they are based on public records. So if you have recently done some modernization or a recent addition, it will not be picked up. Or if the house was recently destroyed in a fire it will not pick that up either.
www.Zillow.com is similar to an AVM and its free, Zillow uses this to sell advertising on their site.
2.) The CMA or Competitive Market Analysis
Another computer generated service, this time performed by a real estate broker or salesman. A sales agent will perform a CMA prior to listing a house to determine the asking price and give the seller an indication of what it will sell for. You can get a CMA free from an agent, they want to list your house.
The problem with the CMA is that sales people want your business. Some sales people tell you whatever they think you want to hear. So how accurate is the value of a CMA?
3.) The BPO or Brokers Price Opinion.
These are used a lot by lenders with REO or "Real Estate Owned" work. REO's include foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, Short Sales and Bank Owned properties.
The BPO is not computer generated and is reported on a form similar to an appraisal. So why use a BPO instead of an appraisal. Lenders use them because they can get a BPO faster and cheeper than an appraisal. Its important to note that BPO's are not an appraisal.
Lenders still worry that the broker's opinion is influenced by a potential listing.
4.) The Appraisal
An appraisal is an opinion of value given by a licensed or certified professional. Most appraisals for lending purposes are used to determine "Market Value".
Market Value is defined as: The most probable price 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 are the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: (1) Buyer and Seller are typically motivated; (2) Both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; (3) A reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; (4) Payment is made in terms of cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and (5) 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.
Licensed or certified appraisers perform their work under the Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practice or "USPAP". These standards determine the "Scope of Work" that will be used to complete the appraisal. USPAP does not require the appraiser to make a physical inspection of the property, however, many appraisals will include one.
The accuracy of an appraisal is in part determined by the "Scope of Work". It is important to note that as the scope of work changes the accuracy of the appraisal changes as well.
Based on a minimal scope of work the appraiser can perform an assignment as a "Desktop Appraisal". For this assignment information about the subject property can be obtained from public records or a prior appraisal. This type of assignment is generally performed for lenders on HELOC work.
The "Drive-By Appraisal" is performed under a different scope of work. Generally used by lenders for HELOC or low loan to value refinances, the benefit of performing a drive by is that the appraiser can see the outside condition and the lender knows the improvements are still there.
Most appraisals for purchases or refinances are performed as what is considered a "Complete Appraisal". With this scope of work the appraiser will perform an on site walk-thu of the subject property to determine its size, appeal and overall condition. The appraisal process will consider "the Sales Comparison Approach" and if applicable "the Cost Approach" and "the Income Approach". The results of the appraisal are reported on a standard form. This type of appraisal provides the most accurate opinion of value.
It is important to note that the appraiser is a disinterested third party and provides their opinion of market value for a fee. The appraiser is not trying to list your house and does not benefit from the outcome of the appraisal. For this reason the FHA, VA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac require appraisals performed by state licensed or certified appraisers.
There are many reasons that property owners will require the services of a professional appraiser. Many will obtain a pre-listing appraisal prior to the sale of a home, its also smart to obtain your own appraisal prior to making an offer to purchase. The IRS often requires "Date of Death" valuations to settle estates. The appraiser is often called as a Expert Witness in a valuation for divorce, partnership, taxation issues etc. All of these require a well supported, professional appraisal that is defensible in court. For these assignments I recommend a complete appraisal with an interior inspection.
Citywide Services provides residential appraisals in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Our appraisers are certified by the State of Illinois. We have experience with all types of residential property and appraise single family homes, townhouses, condominiums as well as small residential income properties. When you need an appraiser in the Chicago area contact Citywide 312-479-5344