When do you need an Appraisal

Every year, countless people in the United States buy, sell or refinance their own slice of the American Dream. Most, if not all, of these transactions include a simple line item for an appraisal. It has become an understood and accepted part of a real estate transaction. ''Let's bring in the expert and make sure we're not spending too much on this property.''

But is this the only reason to get an appraisal? Are there other times when the services of an independent real estate appraisal firm such as HAMMER APPRAISAL might come in handy?

PMI Removal

Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI is the supplemental insurance that many lenders ask home buyers to purchase when the amount being loaned is more than 80% of the value of the home. Very often, this additional payment is folded into the monthly mortgage payment and is quickly forgotten. This is unfortunate because PMI becomes unnecessary when the remaining balance of the loan - whether through market appreciation or principal paydown - dips below this 80% level. In fact, the United States Congress passed a law in 1998 (the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998) that requires lenders to remove the PMI payments when the loan-to-value ratio conditions have been met.

HAMMER APPRAISAL can provide an accurate and professional appraisal to ameliorate this situation. The costs of these services are very often recovered in just a few months of not paying the PMI.

Pre-Sale Decisions

Before someone decides to sell a home, there are several decisions to be made. First and foremost: ''How much should it sell for?'' But first there may be other equally important questions to ask: ''Would it be better to paint the entire house first?'' ''Should I put in that third bathroom?'' ''Should I complete my kitchen remodel?'' Many things which we do to our houses have an effect on their value. Unfortunately, not all of them have an equal effect. While a kitchen remodel may improve the appeal of a home, it may not add nearly enough to the value to justify the expense.

HAMMER APPRAISAL can step in and help make these decisions. Unlike a Realtor, we have no vested interest in what amount the house sells for. Our fee is based on our efforts, not a percentage of the sales price. So seeking a professional appraisal can often help homeowners make the best decisions on investing in their homes and setting a fair sales price.

Estate Planning, Liquidation or Divorce

The loss of a loved one is a difficult time in life. Likewise, a divorce can be a particularly traumatic experience. Sadly, these events are often complicated by difficult decisions regarding the disposition of an estate. Unlike many wealthy individuals, the majority of Americans do not have dedicated estate planners or executors to handle these issues. Also, in most cases, a home or other real property makes up a disproportionate share of the total estate value.

Here too, HAMMER APPRAISAL can help. Often the first step in fairly disposing of an estate is to understand its true value. Where property is involved, we can help determine the true value. At this point, equitable arrangements can more easily be arrived at among disputing parties. Everyone walks away knowing they've received a fair deal.

There are other uses for real estate appraisals. We are always looking for ways to put their expertise to work for home owners and the people who support them.