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Why Should You Appraise Your Home: An Interview with Ed Elkins of Elkins Appraisal Services

By Ed Elkins

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

Ed Elkins became a trainee in the appraisal industry in 1999. Ed became an expert in the Boston and suburban appraisal markets and in 2006 he launched his independent company Elkins Appraisal Services that catered to the real estate industry, the banking industry as well as the discerning homeowner.

Approximately 90 % of the appraisal business is fueled by lender requests for equity lines of credit, refinancing, and home purchases. In addition, individuals, families and/or lawyers may request an appraisal for estate planning, divorce mediation, and estate taxes.

In short, what are some common reasons someone should appraise their home?

Home owners may request an appraisal to estimate the value of their home prior to contracting with a real estate broker or when choosing to sell their home without a broker. Appraisers assist the homeowner in setting listing and offering prices. They also assist in making final decisions to complete a sale or a purchase.

Appraisers help investors inquire or dispose of real estate investments. They help architects determine the economic feasibility of a proposed project.

Appraisers help builders and developers develop the highest and best use of their land.

Lawyers contract with appraisers to help divide property between disputing heirs, partners or clients. They use appraisers for condemnation cases, tax appeals, estate planning and disposal of estates.

How can appraising my home help me if I am thinking of refinancing?

When a homeowner decides to refinance their home, they contact a lender. The lender contacts one of their approved appraisers. The appraiser contacts the homeowner to set up an appointment for an interior inspection. This inspection is a comprehensive review of the entire house and property. Generally it will involve measuring the home, taking interior photos, exterior photos, drawing a detailed sketch, making notes of the quality of construction and condition of the home and property. The entire inspection may take approximately 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the house and the property.

After the appraiser completes the physical inspection he creates a report and sends it directly to the lender. This will take a few days to complete. The lender reviews the report and sends a copy to the homeowner. Although the homeowner receives a copy of the lender's appraisal report, and may have paid for the appraisal, the report itself is the lender's property. The appraiser can only discuss the details of the report with the lender and not the homeowner.

Will appraising my home help me in my search for a home equity loan? Why or why not?

If you are of refinancing or applying for an equity loan and you are not sure you have enough equity or value in your home, then you may want to order your own appraisal. Keep in mind that this appraisal is for your eyes only and will not be accepted by any lender. This process may assist you in your determination of whether an equity loan is feasible.

How are home appraisers paid? (e.g. standard/fixed fee, transportation costs, etc.)

Appraisal fees are usually negotiated with the lender or the individual requesting the appraisal.

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

For further information and consultation, Ed Elkins can be reached at (617) 448 1815, or contacted at or you can email Ed directly at

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