How many people ask this question when they buy or sell a home?

Here is a great article that I thought had great information for anyone buying or selling a home.

Real Estate News-Diedre Wollard

When you are getting ready to sell your home, dealing with inspections and appraisals is part of the process. Your home is now a product that is being sold and needs to be evaluated. Many people think that appraisals and inspections are essentially the same thing but there are some key differences. If you’ve ever watched “Antiques Roadshow” on PBS, you’re already familiar with the concept of an appraisal on personal property. The idea is similar in the realm of real estate valuations. Each property is unique, and the appraiser relies on his or her general expertise and specific research to arrive at an opinion of value.

An appraisal provides valuable information for the buyer and the seller, but the appraiser’s primary mission is to protect the lender. Lenders don’t want to own overpriced property and that’s why the appraisal takes place before the lender grants final approval of the buyer’s loan.

The Appraisal Process

Appraisers use a variety of factors in their decision making. They weigh the location of the home, its proximity to desirable schools and other public facilities, the size of the lot, the size and condition of the home itself and recent sales prices of comparable properties, among other factors. Appraisers aren’t interested in whether or not the house is clean but they do notice signs of neglect such as cracked walls, chipped paint, broken windows, torn carpets, damaging flooring and inoperable appliances.

Federal law requires states to establish minimum standards and licensing practices for real estate appraisers. In California, for example, trainees must take several courses, pass an examination and complete 2,000 hours of supervised experience.

If the buyer is applying for a mortgage that will be insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the appraiser must survey the physical condition of the home and disclose potential problems to the buyer. No such obligation exists for non-FHA mortgages.

If a home receives an appraisal lower than the purchase price there are some ways the purchase can still go through. The seller can reduce the purchase price, the buyer could make a bigger down-payment, or if it’s a question of needed repairs, a separate escrow account can be set up to fund those repairs.

How Is An Appraisal Different From An Inspection?

An appraisal isn’t a substitute for a professional home inspection in fact they have some key differences. The appraiser formulates an opinion of the property’s value for the lender, while the inspector educates the buyer about the condition of the home and its major components. The appraiser is primarily focused on the value of the home whereas the inspector keys in on the home’s condition with an eye toward both existing and potential future problems.

Halloween Costumes

Trick or treat!  It’s that time again.  Time to carve your pumpkins, visit haunted houses, and figure out what to do about a costume.  That’s right, it’s October and Halloween is on the way.

Let’s start with the pumpkin.  You have several options here.  You can carve a face (jack’o’lantern) or a design.  I prefer the design technique, but it’s important to use a stencil if you are like me, and were not graced with artistic talents.  You can find tips and designs here: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/halloween/mpatterns.htm.  You can use the seeds to make a great holiday snack.  Here’s a recipe for over-roasted pumpkin seeds: http://homecooking.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/r/blv310.htm.

It’s also a fun time of year to take the kids to a haunted house/hayride/etc.  Here are some places near Arlington: http://www.festivals-and-shows.com/haunted-houses-in-virginia.html

And as far as costumes, always the hardest part for me, you can go to places such as a Spirit Halloween Store (5857 Leesburg Pike, Ste. B. in Falls Church, VA) which have huge selections of ready-to-go costumes, or you can make your own costumes.  Here’s some ideas for home made costumes: http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/halloweentheme/a/091399.htm.

Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!

Claudia webb RE/MAX Allegiance
Northern Virginia Real Estate