Titan Appraisal Service has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

Titan Appraisal Service is always willing to reply to any concerns you might have about appraisals in Olathe and Johnson County. Feel free to contact us today.

Describe an appraisal
Describe what an appraiser does
What are the reasons I would need a real estate appraisal?
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?
What does the appraisal report contain?
Once the report has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the final number is veritable?
What goes into an appraiser's certification?
Who employs appraisers?
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Johnson County or other areas?
Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?
Define "Market Value"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?



Describe an appraisal   (List of questions)

An appraisal is an evaluation leading to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a few "approaches," typically three, to arrive at the estimation of market value. One of the processes in use is the Cost Approach, which finds what it would cost to replace the improvements to the house, minus age and physical dilapidation, adding the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves finding similar properties in the vicinity and discovering the value based on comparing those homes to the property being investigated. The Sales Comparison Approach is commonly the most definitive and clearest indicator of value for a house. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is of most importance in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the money produced by the property.

Describe what an appraiser does   (List of questions)

An appraiser provides an objective and well substantiated assessment of market value, often in the context of a real estate exchange. Appraisers illustate their professional findings in appraisal reports.


What are the reasons I would need a real estate appraisal?   (List of questions)

There are a lot of reasons to get an appraisal from Titan Appraisal Service with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for ordering an appraisal include:
  • To obtain a loan.
  • If you would like to reduce your property tax burden.
  • To show a homeowner has 30% equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To fight improperly assessed property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To offer you a leg-up when purchasing real estate.
  • To determine a reasonable property value when listing your home.
  • To protect your rights if your property is being taken by means of eminent domain in a condemnation case.
  • Because an official agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will definitely help.
If you need more information regarding the appraisal process, please click here.


How is an appraisal different than a home inspection?   (List of questions)

Home inspectors do not come to an opinion of value and do not do appraisal reports. An inspection is a third-party investigation of the accessible structure and appliances of a house, from the roof to the bottom. Generally, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the necessities of the house: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical functions, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural integrity of the home such as the attic, exposed insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.

Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?   (List of questions)

To be blunt, it's night and day. The CMA relies on indistinct market trends. The appraisal depends on specific proven comparable sales. Location and architectural values are also precedent in an appraisal. All a CMA does is generate a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

But the most significant factor is the person creating the report. Real estate agents, who may not have a true grasp of valuation methods or the entire market, generate CMA's. The appraisal is produce by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to collect only a flat sum for work they perform, regardless of their outcome.

What does the appraisal report contain?   (List of questions)

The main point of an appraisal document is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and whose purposes the appraisal is to serve.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraiser's opinions and conclusions.
  • Relevant property characteristics, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights in question, and non-real estate items included in the appraisal, such as personal property, trade fixtures and even intangible considerations.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • The scope of work used to complete the appraisal.
For a more in depth look at what goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the report has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the final number is veritable?   (List of questions)

In communicating an appraisal report, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
  • The appraisal contained analysis of the data.

  • That substantial errors of omission or commission were not committed individually or collectively.

  • That appraisal services were done in a careful and cognizant manner.

  • That a believable, supportable appraisal report was communicated.
To become a state licensed appraiser, there are strenuous education requirements as well as real world experience that must be attained. In addition, appraisers must stick to a stringent industry code of ethics and comply with national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The tenets for working up an appraisal and documenting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (List of questions) Licensing and certification requires coursework, tests and real world experience. Once an appraiser is licensed, he/she is required to take continuing education courses so that the license doesn't expire. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who employs appraisers?   (List of questions)

Commonly, appraisers are employed by lenders to estimate the value of property involved in a loan transaction. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.

Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Johnson County or other areas?   (List of questions)

One of the most important tasks an appraiser performs is to gather property data. Data can be categorized as either Specific or General. Specific data is collected from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specific data are gathered by the appraiser while on site.

General data is collected from a number of sources. To look up recently sold homes to be used as "comps", we typically go to the local Multiple Listing Service. Tax records and other courthouse documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is available from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood service.

And most importantly, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


Why should I hire a licensed appraiser?   (List of questions)

Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. If you're selling your house, an appraisal will help you determine the most appropriate price. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. A home is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Don't make decisions in the dark with a professional appraisal.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (List of questions)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This additional plan covers the lender in the event a borrower is unable to pay on the loan and the market price of the home is lower than what is owed on the loan. You can have your PMI dropped once you've achieved 20% equity in your home through appreciation and principal payments.

Did you secure your mortgage with less than 20% down? Contact Titan Appraisal Service today at 913-568-1695 to see if you can save money by removing your Private Mortgage Insurance premium.

Does the appraiser need anything from me in advance?   (List of questions)

The first step in most appraisals is the home inspection. What this entails is the appraiser, after setting up an appointment, personally going through the home - recording the layout of the rooms, taking photos and documenting the general status of its amenities. Inside, pick up any clutter and make sure we can get to things like furnaces and water heaters. On the outside, trim any landscaping so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.

You can make our visit go faster and improve the accuracy of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
  • Any information on the purchase of the property for the last three years.
  • Title policy that describes encroachments or easements.
  • Any "Homeowners Associations" agreements or, if applicable, condo covenants or fees .
  • Locate copies of the current listing agreement, broker's data sheet and, in the event of a pending sale.
  • Most recent real estate tax bill and or legal description of the property.

Define "Market Value"   (List of questions)

In real estate appraising, Market Value is commonly defined as:

"The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: the buyer and seller are typically motivated; both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; payment is made in terms of cash in United States dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."



Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (List of questions)

In most real estate transactions, the appraisal is ordered by the lender. While the buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these situations, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can do whatever they want with the appraisal.


Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?   (List of questions)

The added value of a particular amenity truly depends on the local market. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes

No matter where you go, however, renovating a kitchen is almost always a safe investment. One recent study revealed that putting $20,000 into a kitchen remodel would add about $17,500 to the value of the home - or about an 88% return on investment. Bathrooms are right up there with kitchens, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also boost the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.