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Singleton & Associates, LLC has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Singleton & Associates, LLC is always more than happy to talk to you about any concerns you might have about appraisals or real estate in Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County. Feel free to contact us today.

What is an appraisal?
What does an appraiser do?
What would cause me to need your services?
How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?
My agent performed a CMA for me. Is that the same as an appraisal?
What's in an appraisal report?
After completing the appraisal, what guarantee is there that the final number is valid?
How difficult is it to become certified?
Who engages the services of appraisers?
Where does Singleton & Associates, LLC get the data used to estimate values in Oklahoma County or other areas?
How can a licensed appraiser help me?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Do you need anything from the homeowner in advance?
Define "Market Value"
Who has rights to the appraisal report?
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?



What is an appraisal?   (Back to top)

The procedure of performing an appraisal consists of an investigation which leads to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is figured through the use of a formal process that typically uses the three main "common approaches to value". One of the processes in use is the Cost Approach, which evaluates what it would cost to restore the improvements to the property, minus depreciation and physical deterioration, adding the land value. Another of the methods is the Sales Comparison Approach - which deals with finding a comparison to other similar properties within a close vicinity which have recently sold. Usually, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most accurate indicator of market value of a house. One of the least common approaches in appraising houses is the Income Approach, which is generally used to determine the value of a property based on what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the building.

What does an appraiser do?   (Back to top)

An appraiser provides an impartial and well substantiated determination of market value, often in the context of a real estate exchange. Appraisers show their professional conclusions in appraisal reports.


What would cause me to need your services?   (Back to top)

There are many reasons to get an appraisal from Singleton & Associates, LLC with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Other reasons for getting an report include:
  • To get a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax obligations.
  • To demonstrate a homeowner's acquired equity and remove insurance.
  • To fight high property taxes.
  • To handle an estate.
  • To offer you a negotiating tool when purchasing real estate.
  • To find a reasonable sales price when putting your home on the market.
  • To ensure parties are provided just compensation in eminient domain cases.
  • Government agencies such as the IRS need an appraisal on every home.
  • It's possible you could have to deal with being in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
Click here for a more detailed explanation of the process of getting an appraisal.


How is an appraiser different than a home inspector?   (Back to top)

The appraiser is not a home inspector and does not do a full home inspection. An inspection is a third-party evaluation of the available structure and appliances of a property, from the top to the foundation. Commonly, a home inspection report will explain the amenities and the necessities of the home: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical services, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, exposed insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and other visible structures.

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

To be blunt, it's like comparing broadband and dial-up. The CMA relies on indefinite market trends. An appraisal relies on comparable sales that can be proven by public record. Location and construction costs are also a priority in an appraisal. 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 doing the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a true grasp of valuation methods or the entire market, create CMA's. A certified, Oklahoma licensed professional who bases their livelihood on valuing real estate in and around Oklahoma County is behind the appraisal. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a flat fee for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.

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

The main point of an appraisal report is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and whose purposes the appraisal is to serve.
  • The intended use of the report.
  • The purpose of the assignment.
  • The type of value contained and a definition of that value.
  • The effective date of the appraiser's opinions and conclusions.
  • Pertinent property characteristics, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic factors, the real property interest valued, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible factors.
  • 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.
  • What was entailed in the activity of completing the assignment.
For a more detailed view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


After completing the appraisal, what guarantee is there that the final number is valid?   (Back to top)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • The appraisal contained an appropriate analysis of the information.

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

  • That appraisal services were provided in a careful and cognizant manner.

  • That a trustworthy, supportable appraisal report was conferred.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must satisfy considerable education and experience requirements that train us to formulate an unbiased opinion. Plus, appraisers must abide by a strict industry code of ethics and respect national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for carrying out an appraisal and documenting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Back to top) Licensing and certification is achieved through coursework, tests and real world experience. Once licensed, he or she must then engage in continuing education courses in order to keep the license current. 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, using their services to ensure a home involved in a mortgage transaction is adequate collateral for a loan. Appraisers also provide opinions for legal settlements, tax matters and investment decisions.

Where does Singleton & Associates, LLC get the data used to estimate values in Oklahoma County or other areas?   (Back to top)

Compiling data is one of the primary occupations of an appraiser. Data can be split into Specific or General. Specific data is gathered from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are documented by the appraiser while on site.

General data is gathered from a many sources. To find out about recent sales to be used as "comps", we typically use the local Multiple Listing Service. To verify actual sales prices, we research tax records and other public documents. Flood zone data is available from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood servers.

And last but not least, the appraiser assembles general data from his or her past experience in creating appraisals for other properties in the same market.


How can a licensed appraiser help me?   (Back to top)

An appraisal is a valuable tool whenever your home's value is pertinent 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 commissioning an independent appraisal. For parties settling an estate or divorce, an appraisal from Singleton & Associates, LLC is the best way to ensure assets are split up properly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value is essential to making wise financial decisions.


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

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. It protects the lender in case a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the home is less than the loan balance. Once you reach the point where your home's equity plus the amount you've paid is at least 20% of your loan balance, you can have your PMI dropped.

Did you have less than 20% to put down on your mortgage? Contact Singleton & Associates, LLC today at 405-752-1535 to see if you can cancel your Private Mortgage Insurance payment.

Do you need anything from the homeowner in advance?   (Back to top)

We start with an inspection of the home. 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 we have easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any shrubs and relocate any items that would make it difficult to measure the structure. Indoors, make sure we can easily access appliances like furnaces and water heaters.

You can make the inspection go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • Records on the latest purchase of the property in the last three years.
  • Title policy that lists encroachments or easements.
  • Home inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
  • Brag sheet that lists major home improvements and upgrades, the date of their installation and their cost (for example, the addition of Insulation or roof repairs) and permit confirmation (if available).
  • A bill for your most recent real estate taxes which should also contain a legal description of the property.

Define "Market Value"   (Back to top)

In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair 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."



Who has rights to the appraisal report?   (Back to top)

For mortgage transactions, the lender orders the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. While the buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within. The buyer is certainly entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

The exception to this rule is when a home owner engages an appraiser directly. In these situations, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stipulated otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.


Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?   (Back to top)

The answer to this is different depending upon the location of the home. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes

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 were second, yielding 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also boost the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.