You Need To Know The Difference Between A Home Inspection & an Appraisal

You Need To Know The Difference Between A Home Inspection & an Appraisal

What is a Home Inspection?  What is a Site Visit?  Which One Do I Need?   As real estate appraisers, clients are sometimes surprised at exactly how much of their property we need to see.  Sometimes clients are surprised when we tell them the appraisal will take more than 5 minutes, other times they’re surprised when we tell them it won’t take 3 hours.  Regardless of how long a home inspection or a real estate appraisal takes, we often get questions like:   “So you’re not going to get on your back and squeeze through our crawl space to look for rot?”   “You didn’t bring a ladder?”  How will you get on the roof to see the chimney?”   “How will you make sure our pool is working?  You didn’t bring a snorkel?     While there are a few similarities between the two, and in some places appraisers and inspectors look for the same thing, they ultimately serve very different purposes.   A site visit is only part of a real estate appraisal, while a home inspection can usually be started and finished directly on site.  In this short video, we explain the difference between a home inspection and a site visit.       For more short-and-sweet informative videos, visit our YouTube Channel.    Jonathan Montgomery is the founder and president of the The Real Estate Appraisal Group, and has been a real estate professional since 1998. He has been a broker, an investor, and currently works full-time  as an appraiser.  He enjoys handling real estate appraisals in Washington D.C., Southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia.   #TREAGroup #RealEstate...
The 7 Need-To-Know Housing Styles In D.C.

The 7 Need-To-Know Housing Styles In D.C.

WASHINGTON D.C. – The nation’s capitol.  At the heart of the country, D.C. hosts some of the most beautiful architecture you’ll find anywhere in the world.   As real estate appraisers, we find a lot of variety in D.C.- but we also find a lot of the same.  Whether you want to become an expert on architecture in the district, or you’re just starting a career in real estate- as long as you learn to recognize these seven most common housing designs, you’ll do just fine.     1. Federal Housing Federal properties are as simplistic as it gets in architecture.  Starting to rise in DC in the early 1800’s, federal style houses were both easy and quick to build.  They can be distinguishing from the similar Victorian-style houses popular in DC by their modest scales and low-stoops.  Federal housing properties are usually symmetrical, 1-2 stories tall, and hold 1-2 bedrooms.         2. Victorian If you’ve ever been impressed by the architecture of a row house in Washington D.C., it was most likely a Victorian.  Often found in D.C.’s historic districts, Victorian style houses differ from federal houses in that they often “pop out” of the typical flat-row housing in any way they can- they often have large window boxes or bay-windows.  Curved roof peaks are another give-away.  Victorian style houses are typically 2-3 stories tall, and can house as many as 5 bedrooms in the nicer ones.       3. Tudor Revival Tudor-style homes started popping up in D.C. in the early 1900’s.  Recognizable by their pointed roofs and European (almost medieval) look, Tudor properties often have...
Why Does the Market Love Takoma Park Right Now?

Why Does the Market Love Takoma Park Right Now?

  REAL ESTATE values in Takoma Park have been steadily increasing over the past year. At Dolci Gelati Café on April 8, 2015, two Takoma Park real estate professionals took a break from work to explore why.  Locals Jonathan Montgomery of the Real Estate Appraisal Group and Dan Metcaff of the Finn Family Group took some time to talk about how major changes to the city over the past decade have turned Takoma Park into what it is today.  In this interview, the two discuss how several new local businesses, improvements to the transportation system, the local farmers market, and other things work together to justify the rising real estate values across Takoma Park.       Jonathan:  Now I really wanted to talk about Takoma Park.  So thanks for coming out with me Dan and hanging out with me, I wanted to ask you: why do you think Takoma Park is special?   Dan: I mean, I think it does come down to community….  my parents have always said it’s like a University town without the university.  When I was a kid growing up it seems like everybody was like a labor lawyer or an environmental lawyer.  It’s a great place… we’ve got a lot of parks, and a farmers market, a lot of festivals.  It’s nice for people to be here.   Jonathan: When you tell people about Takoma Park, what do you tell them “you gotta check this out”?   Dan:  I always say the farmers market.  The town is the people, the people are the town.  That’s where you’re going to see them.  Every Sunday, all year round from 10am-2pm....
Do Real Estate Appraisals Expire?  What You Need To Know About Appraisal Shelf Life

Do Real Estate Appraisals Expire? What You Need To Know About Appraisal Shelf Life

To check the expiration date on food, all you (usually) have to do is read the box.  But what about when it comes to real estate?   Let’s get the important stuff out of the way- following most loan guidelines, there is no concrete “expiration period” for real estate appraisals.  However, the word “most” is very important here- without it we wouldn’t have an article. There is no date, but no lender who plans to stay in business would give you a loan based on an appraisal performed 30 years ago- or even 1 year ago.  As a standard, most solid home appraisals are good for between 60-90 days.  This is a good rule of thumb, but it’s not an exact science- there are a few exceptions.   Comparables Lenders want comparable sales that aren’t just similar to the subject property, but also represent a snapshot of the current market.  To keep things up to date, most lenders are reluctant to consider a loan when the comparables sales (comps) are more than six months old.   Appraisal Timeline Based on the fact that comps shouldn’t be more than 6 months old, neither should the appraisal.  Depending on the lender and current state of the market, 90-180 days is usually the oldest appraisal you’ll find lenders willing to accept.  This is known as the “term of validity.“   A Common Exception When the local market isn’t exactly stable, loan underwriters sometimes require appraisals performed within 3 months.  This requirement comes into play more often in a declining market, but lenders sometimes require it for rapidly increasing markets as well. …most of the time though,...
Where Do Appraisers Get Their Information?

Where Do Appraisers Get Their Information?

Let’s say your real estate appraiser just inspected your property…   They walked around the house a bit, measured, looked around while taking notes, shook your hand, and left.  What happens now? Of course, all of the measurements and notes the appraiser took on your home can be verified- they came from your home, after all.  But what about everything else?     Everything the appraiser didn’t get from your house- neighborhood information, comparable sales, market statistics- all this information comes from other sources..  In this quick video, I hope to give you a better understanding of where a real estate appraiser gets all the information needed to properly appraiser your property.      Jonathan Montgomery is the founder and president of the The Real Estate Appraisal Group, and has been a real estate professional since 1998. He has been a broker, an investor, and currently works full-time  as an appraiser.  He enjoys appraising real estate in Washington D.C., Southern Maryland, and Northern Virginia.     #treagroup...