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The Home Appraisal Process: An Interview with Greg Story of A.M. Appraisal Associates, Inc.

By Greg Story

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

A.M. Appraisal Associates was established in 1990's- established by a partnership between Gregory Story and Philip Murphy. We started out as a small residential only appraisal company. We have now grown into a full service multifaceted firm that handles all aspects of valuation services. We have a staff of 8 certified real estate appraisers, of which a majority focuses on residential valuation. Both Phil and I are general certified appraisers, and our function is predominately commercial/industrial; eminent domain and litigation support. I have been personally qualified as an expert witness in a majority Massachusetts court venues; Superior/District, as well as Federal District Court and Federal Bankruptcy Court.

What are the key steps in the appraisal process?

Understanding the market and making sure the client understands that you are being hired for you independent opinion of value, which sometimes does not meet the expectations of the client. The initial step in the appraisal process is to accept the assignment- which may seem obvious, however, the appraiser must have the competency and knowledge based to arrive at a credible opinion of value. Typically a property is inspected both interior and exterior- however, that is not always attainable due to many factors such foreclosure and problem tenants. The second phase of the process is to collect data such as comparable sales and income and expenses that can be utilized in comparing the information between the sales and subject. The final stage of the process is reconciling all of the information into a singular (most of the time) opinion of value.

How should one prepare for a home appraisal?

This is the great misnomer- especially in the world of residential valuation. Many times the property owner's labor furiously over prepping the house for the appraiser, our job is to see beyond any "clutter", as we are valuing the real estate- not the house keeping. Deferred maintenance items, that impact condition such as broken windows, rotting wood, major paint problems- "cosmetic" elements that can be addressed by the homeowner should be considered. However, it does not always impact value.

What home factors have the biggest influence in the price?

Every market is different, what we as appraisers are doing is interpreting how the market will view your house. As a general rule of thumb; kitchen size and condition is critical, bedroom count would not be far behind. Remember- your market will dictate what would be the biggest influence. A common example would be grand waterfront estates- specific markets may demand deep water dock facilities and not having one could severely impact value. In ground pools in some markets are highly desirable, but in urban areas could have a negative impact.

Is an appraisal a one fee service, or is there more to the payment process?

Residential appraisal services would be a one time service fee.

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

www.amconsults.com;
gstory@amconsults.com

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