Desktop Appraisals - Palm Beach Appraiser: TruValue Real Estate Services

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Desktop Appraisals
TruValue Real Estate Services has the resources and processes to deliver your desktop appraisal needs. In today’s market, the combination of an inspection with a desktop appraisal has been enthusiastically received by clients and regulators alike.

Looking for speed, accuracy, and compliance without the expense of a field appraisal?

Occasions can arise that put a homeowner in need of a home appraisal. Prospective home buyers, as well, have the need for an appraisal when they've found a home they'd like to buy. Having an appraisal in hand can also help a homeowner set an appropriate selling price. Several different types of home appraisals exist. A convenient, increasingly popular and inexpensive type of home appraisal is the desktop appraisal.

Desktop appraisals of homes are limited in scope and are performed using only online information. Also, desktop appraisals of homes must be done by licensed or certified real estate appraisers. The appraiser uses data from public records and compares a home to others listed by local real estate agencies. A desktop appraisal of a home also looks at recent sales of other homes similar to the one being appraised.

Full or Desktop Appraisal. What’s Best for You?

The answer is pretty straight forward; a full appraisal includes a site visit in which the appraiser walks the property first-hand whereas a desktop does not. All other aspects of the appraisal are the same; the form, the methods to value, comps, etc.

Where it gets a little fuzzy is when you need to know which service is better suited for your appraisal needs. This depends on a few things including what you are using the appraisal report for as well as certain features of the real property to be appraised.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks to the Desktop appraisal service first.

Benefits of a Desktop Appraisal

Faster – Without the need to schedule a site visit, the appraisal report can be completed and delivered much faster, usually within 24 hours after being ordered.

Cheaper – Since the appraiser doesn’t need to spend time traveling to the property, performing the site visit, and then travelling back, the cost for a desktop is a good bit lower than a full appraisal.

Can Be Just as Accurate – For a desktop appraisal, the accuracy of the data available to the appraiser determines how accurate the final report will be. If tax records, photos and any other supporting documentation provided by the client accurately represent the property, then the desktop service is usually just as accurate as a full appraisal.

Drawbacks to a Desktop Appraisal

No Measurements – For a desktop appraisal the appraiser is relying on the county tax records for calculation of living area and square footage, unless other documents are provided. These records can often be inaccurate, especially is additions or multiple stories exist.

Unseen External Influences – Without seeing the property site first-hand, there could be possible external influences nearby that the appraiser might not locate with just a desktop appraisal. Is there a poor view from the back yard? A stone quarry nearby that causes excessive noise? Does a nearby landfill pollute air quality? These would be impossible for the appraiser to discover without a first hand view of the site.

Photos Must Be Provided – We always request that the client send us photos of the property for a desktop assignment; unless of course they tell us to just “assume” a certain condition. This sounds easy enough but most people aren’t photographers nor do they know what angles an appraiser is looking for. In general, we need photos of all sides of the home, the street both ways, the view from 360 degrees around the lot, then interior photos of all rooms that show floor to ceiling. This can be a lot for a homeowner to do and often the photos still do no quite “work” for our needs.

High Variation Market Areas – Markets that have a great deal of variation between properties pose a unique problem for a desktop appraisal. This would include neighborhoods with all custom builders, very old neighborhoods with a mix of ages and styles, areas with few sales, and unique properties.

So with that covered, here is a list of times when a Desktop appraisal WOULD be appropriate and should be considered for all the reasons listed.

When is a Desktop Appraisal Most Appropriate?

Tract Homes – Neighborhoods built mostly by big name “brand” builders such as DR Horton, Morrison, Meritage, Lennar, etc. usually prove to be perfect candidates for desktop appraisals. This is due to the fact that build quality, age and styles are usually very similar amongst all the comparable sales.

Acting Listings – Houses that are currently listed for sale on the market by a Realtor are also good candidates for a desktop appraisal. A real estate agent has already performed a good deal of due diligence confirming listing information, taking photos and checking for any possible errors with public records.

Newer Homes – Recently built homes generally have all their public information accurate and up to date, given that they were just constructed. If anything is in question, the builder can always be contacted to confirm.

Condos – Likewise, condo associations usually keep very good records. I’ve also noted that county records are much better at listing accurate living area for condos than they are for single-family homes.

Investment and ARV – Another situation that lends itself well to desktop reports are investment or “After Repair Value” appraisals. In the first situation the property is usually in poor condition so seeing it first hand isn’t completely necessary. Furthermore, investors like Realtors have performed their due diligence and confirmed much of the property’s information already. The ARV appraisal is performed making a “Hypothetical Assumption” that certain repair, renovations or remodeling has been performed. This type of work doesn’t really require a first-hand view of the property either since we are assuming that it will look totally different.

Characteristics and Prices

A typical desktop appraisal for a home runs no more than two pages in length. In fact, the desktop appraisal form resembles the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report (URAR), Form 1004, used in Fannie Mae appraisals. Blocks on the desktop appraisal form also include three recently sold comparison homes (usually called "comps"). Standard full home appraisals can run from $350 to $550, while most desktop appraisals cost between $200 and $275.

Acceptance and Accuracy

Desktop appraisals are becoming more popular as a way to quickly obtain home appraisals. Many lenders are also becoming more accepting of desktop appraisals as sufficient for certain home loan types. Desktop appraisals also comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the appraisal quality control standard. Desktop appraisals are also considered to be more accurate than real estate broker price opinions (BPOs) of real estate.

Considerations

Desktop appraisals are often used by lenders for home equity line of credit applications. Remember, a desktop appraisal isn't meant to be as detailed and as accurate as a full URAR home appraisal. If you need a home appraisal to dispute an over-assessment by your municipality, a full appraisal could be more useful. Lastly, ensure that any real estate appraiser conducting your desktop appraisal has a good working knowledge of your home's particular real estate market.

TruValue’s Desktop Appraisal with an Inspection is an ideal solution for more complex and/or diverse markets.

Today’s Lenders and Private Users want property valuations that offer the confidence of a field appraisal that are cost effective.

Increased regulatory oversight and credit risk policies have put restrictions on the use of non-appraisal valuations. A product was needed to fill the gap between an AVM or BPO and a Field Appraisal. Enter TruValue’s Appraisal Desktop - with or without an Inspection.

TruValue's Desktop Appraisals are a timely and affordable home valuation that is completed by an appraiser in adherence to Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices (USPAP); perfect for home equity lenders or personal use clients to use in instances where a full appraisal is not required by law.

The TruValue Difference

TruValue prides itself on producing the most accurate and timely appraisals possible by:

  • Using Intelligent Quality Control, our pro-active quality control process that leads to more one-touch appraisals
  • Organizing customer service around you, with a single point of contact – no more being transferred from person to person
  • Being singularly focused on residential real estate valuation and your success

TruValue offers a Residential Appraisal Review Report as part of its suite of residential appraisal products. To learn more about TruValue’s appraisal services, contact us today at 561-568-5515.


When you order an appraisal report from us, you can expect. . . .

  • Prompt response to your initial inquiry: We will give you personalized information for your particular appraisal need. Just tell us your situation and we will make suggestions. Do you want to sell your home quickly or for the highest value?
  • Quick turnaround time: Typically 2-3 days from the date the request is received. If you've chosen to receive a copy of your appraisal or consulting report via the Internet (EDI), you'll receive it within MINUTES of its completion.
  • Appraisal and consulting reports formats to suit YOUR needs: When it comes to appraisal and consulting, "One size does NOT fit all!" We offer a variety of report types and delivery methods. We can deliver your report attached to a standard email, or notify you of an Internet site to download your report, the MINUTE it's completed!
  • Quick response to follow-up questions: Our reports are clearly written, understandable, and meet or exceed the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice that governs the appraisal practice. If you have any questions regarding your appraisal, after you've read the report, we encourage you to email or call us!

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