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Frequently Asked Questions About Home Appraisals: An Interview with Tom Markoski, West Michigan's Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser

By Tom Markoski

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

I first started my professional practice in 2003. Prior to that time I worked two decades in the Information Systems Development projects for a variety of large employers in the State of Michigan. I was looking to start a business were upon I could use my technology, project, management and computer skills.

My Wife and I just moved into our custom built home and I was intrigued by the methods and process in the real estate industry-specifically the business process and automation opportunities. So, after researching the Appraisal career track, knowing full well the rigorous education and apprenticeship requirements, my appraisal career was born.

What are some common questions people ask you about home appraisals and their answers?

The number one question sorry to say is one asked after the signing of their contract. Buyers will ask: "What are the common issues in the process of buying a home that any home buyer should know"?

Our answer is based on what we already know and we agree with a recent study that confirms what buyers would change if they could (our comment is at the end):
39 percent would change size, price or neighborhood.
56 percent wish they knew more about the financial aspects.
Recent buyers would do more homework in order to make key choices if they had a second chance.

Although nine of every ten buyers went on record stating they felt prepared when they bought their home, in hindsight, 56 percent wish they were armed with more knowledge specifically:
The ins and outs of closing on the house- 22 percent.
Making the offer and negotiating- 19 percent.
Financing a home- 15 percent.

Buyer's found that there are many challenges and acknowledge there are areas for improvement, like:

Locating and financing a new home.
Affordability and home value.
Upfront costs.
Mortgage lending, and paperwork process for a smooth transaction.
Essential tips for the first-time and a self-employed buyer.
How to negotiate the price of a house.
Becoming/made aware of differing neighborhood along with size, and price data and historical trends.
Overall, respondents stated it cost more than expected.
80 percent of buyers considered their home move-in ready, but in reality 76 percent have to or are planning to renovate the home now.
66 percent of recent home buyers sought advice from real estate agents, while 45 percent turned to banks, mortgage bankers and loan officers.

Comment: However, and this is key, no Buyer reported hiring their own third party, independent licensed or Certified Real Estate Appraiser professional, who for a very small fee (when compared to the Mortgage fees, interest and Agent commissions) could have had 99% of the above questions and concerns answered (prior to the purchase contract) without the associated drama or exaggeration from the sales side of the business.

How are home appraisers paid?

Licensed and Certified Appraisers are Realtors too! Exception: we are paid a professional fee for our services. The charge in Michigan for a residence averages 370.00 for a complete appraisal. Additional services are available at the same affordability levels for Real Estate Consulting as well. So as the reader can see, a very affordable option for real estate consumers.

How long does an appraisal take?

Depending on the Scope of Work, anywhere from two days (Urban) to five days (Rural) for residential.

What advice do you have for someone receiving a home appraisal?

My standard checklist which is the identification:
COPY OF Survey of the house and land.
COPY Most recent tax bill or a legal description of the property, plats, surveys, deeds, covenants, HOA documents, floor plans, specifications, inspection reports, detailed list and dates of upgrades and remodels, and energy-efficient green features).
Copies of any recent home inspection reports.
Prior to the day of your site appraisal, please make sure that all areas of your home (Exterior & Interior) are accessible and that your home is as clean and orderly as possible. Once your appraiser has arrived, you should be available to provide documentation and ask and answer questions about your property and be willing to point out any home improvements.

These documents represent proof of ownership and are part of the Appraiser's fact finding and due diligence. By not providing the documentation, this omission will disrupt/delay the Appraisal process.

This just means that Appraiser does not have access to mega databases. Simply stated the industry lags behind the information industry, and some searches are manual (time intensive).

What is the best way for people to reach you and or your company?

We're located at www.treasplc.com

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