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Frequently Asked Questions about Home Appraisals: An Interview with Eliott Schultz of Eliott Schultz Appraisal Services

By Eliott Schultz

Tell Us ABout Eliott Schultz Appraisal Services:

I have been an independent appraiser serving the Antelope Valley and surrounding areas for about 23 years. I provide appraisals of residential properties for many purposes including lending, bankruptcy, divorce and estates.

My mission is to provide unbiased opinions of value in a timely manner and at a reasonable fee.

Common Home Appraisal Questions?

Question: Do appraisers use just a straight price per square foot method?

Answer: No; the problem with such a method is that different properties have different amenities, condition and are of different sizes. Therefore although a price per square foot for the area may give a general idea, it can also be misleading depending on the individual property and what is around it.

Question: Why does an appraisal cost so much, you were only at my house an hour?

Answer: Like any research based profession, the house inspection is just a part of the appraisal process. It allows us to get a better idea of what we are appraising. There are also many hours spent researching other sales in the area, market trends, writing reports and of course normal business cost. The appraisal is typically one of the smaller cost in a real estate transaction but the fees to the appraisers have been mostly unchanged in the past 10 or more years and in many cases are lower.

Question: Why don't they send out a local appraiser for my property?

Answer: This has been an issue for a while now and frankly it comes down to money. The lenders and their agents(the appraisal management companies they hire) are under pressure to get the appraisals as fast and cheap as they can. This sometimes creates situations where no local appraiser wants to work for that fee or can get the report back fast enough so they bring somebody in from out of the area who may not have the proper resources or knowledge for the local market.

Question: Can I have a copy of the appraisal that you did for my lender?

Answer: Yes and no; The appraiser is not allowed to send you a copy of the appraisal or really talk to anybody but our client about the appraisal. The client is the lender or their agent and under the confidentiality rules of the uniform standards of appraisal practice we are not allowed to disclose most information about an appraisal we do. The lender is however required to give you a copy of the appraisal if you paid for it.

What is the Payment Method for a Home Appraisal?

That depends on who is ordering it and why. If an estate or attorney is ordering the appraisal it is they who pay. The lenders usually pay us directly or through the appraisal management company they hire as their agent. The fee is negotiable typically although most appraisers have minimum fees and then based on the difficulty, time necessary, distance, needed turn time and extent of the report the fee is adjusted.

How Long Does an Appraisal Take to Complete?

Generally it depends on the difficulty and time necessary to complete the research and write the report. It could also been affected by the amount of work already on my desk. I typically spend about 45 minutes at a property and then about 8-10 hours doing research and writing for the report but that can vary again depending on distance and difficulty of the property.

Advice for a Homeowner Receiving an Appraisal?

Do not worry about the house being perfect. The appraiser is not counting dust bunnies . We are more interested in the condition and overall care shown in the house. My advise is do repairs, paint if needed, earthquake strap your water heater, get your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in place. Curb appeal is important as a first impression. DO NOT count on an appraisal as a home inspection as we are not going to check many things a home inspector does, nor as thoroughly. If you are buying a house get an independent home inspection.

What Services do You Offer?

I provide appraisals for homeowners, attorneys, estates and lenders for a variety of purposes. I also offer a home measuring service to homeowners and real estate agents.

Contact Info:

I am available at my office in Palmdale at 661-947-7420 or on my website or my email I try to respond as quick as I can.

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About The Author

Eliott Schultz, I.F.A., owner/appraiser has been a California State Certified...

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