A property appraisal is a process for formally estimating the worth of a house or residential property. It provides a current assessment of the home’s value through an examination of factors such as:

  • The property’s size, boundaries, and age
  • Previous records of sales and transactions
  • Whether there any improvements have been made to the home
  • Safety and cost of living in the surrounding area
  • Competition for the home during recent sales transactions

Various other factors may be examined. Of course, there is no such thing as a completely accurate valuation of a home, since many of these factors are subjective. However, appraisals tend to be reliable and are often used during official court matters.

Who Can Conduct an Appraisal?

Anyone can make their own personal estimation or evaluation of a particular home. In order for an appraisal to carry legal significance, it must be performed by a licensed professional. There are appraisers who are certified and specifically conduct appraisals upon request. It is common to hire more than one appraiser for one property in order to obtain different opinions or perspectives on the home in question.

When is an Appraisal Needed?

Appraisals may be needed and sometimes even required in certain situations. Generally speaking, they commonly become a part of legal proceedings that involve:

  • Foreclosure proceedings
  • Issues with property taxes 
  • Boundary dispute
  • Short sales and other types of transactions

For instance, in many types of home sales, a broker may present figures to clients based on their own examinations of the property. If the client wants a second opinion on the house’s value, they can hire an appraiser and compare the figures that are presented from both sides.

Also, appraisals can be useful tools during lawsuits for clarifying issues such as the calculation of damages awards. Hiring an appraiser can often be an effective way to prevent occurrences of real estate fraud.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Appraisal Issues?

Appraisals can be useful tools during any type of real estate transaction. You may need to hire a real estate lawyer if you need advice regarding an appraisal, or if you come up against any legal issues during the appraisal process. Your attorney will be able to determine whether there may be a potential violation involved, and can provide you with legal representation in court if necessary.