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Appraisal FAQs

  • What is an appraisal?

    • The process of developing an opinion of value SUPPORTED BY DATA.​

  • What is the difference between an APPRAISAL and a COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS?

    • Appraisal

      1. Conducted by a licensed or certified appraiser who must adhere to specific appraisal standards and guidelines.​

      2. A formal, comprehensive valuation supported by research and analysis, including an inspection of the property.

      3. Includes an in-depth analysis of the neighborhood, comparable sales and market trends.

      4. A LEGALLY recognized document that carries significant legal weight in real estate and financing transactions.

    • Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

      1. Is conducted by a real estate agent.

      2. It is an estimate of value to guide clients in setting an appropriate price for sale of a property.

      3. Uses recent similar sales in the local market.

      4. It is NOT legally binding in a court of law or with financial institutions for lending purposes.

      5. CANNOT be used for settling estates or for tax purposes.

  • What happens during an inspection?

    • The appraiser interviews the property owner, gathering information about the property like the age of buildings, and the types of improvements made.  The appraiser measures all buildings, and takes photographs, both inside and outside.​ The appraiser asks a lot of questions, but it is meant to gather as much information possible in order to establish a reliable indication of value for your property.

  • How long does it take to do an inspection?

    • Depending upon the complexity of the assignment, it can take from 1/2 hour to 2 hours or more.​

  • How does an appraiser establish the value for my property?

    • The appraiser can use up to 3 different methods for establishing value. Those methods includes the Cost Approach, the Sales Comparison Approach, and the Income Approach to value. If more than one of these methods is utilized, the final reconciliation of value is established by determining which method(s) best determines a reliable value. 

  • Can any appraiser value my property?

    • It is important to seek out a licensed or certified appraiser that has COMPETENCY in your geographic location AND the unique improvements you have. Belle Terra Valuations has the competency to appraise unique agricultural and rural residential properties.​


  • How long does an appraisal take?

    • Depending upon the complexity of the assignment and current workload, it can take between 7-21 days after engagement to conduct inspection, research and develop the report. If your timing is more critical, Belle Terra is always willing to discuss the possibility of meeting your specific deadlines.​

  • What is an effective date of an appraisal?

    • The date upon which the value of the property is determined. In most cases, it is established as the date of inspection. In other cases, however, it can be a retrospective date, such as the date of a loved one passing. ​

  • Are appraisers licensed?

    • Absolutely, yes. Appraisers need to be either licensed or certified within the state they are practicing in order to provide appraisal services. Appraisers need to adhere to state and federal regulations and they need to fulfill continuing education requirements.​


If you'd like to discuss any of these questions in further detail, or you have other questions not answered here, feel free to contact us.

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