When everything goes smoothly, the home appraisal is just another box to tick on a closing checklist. When the appraisal value is lower than expected, the transaction can be delayed or even canceled. Regardless of which situation you encounter in your home buying, selling or refinancing experience, a basic understanding of how the appraisal process functions can only work in your favor.
One of the most recognized professional organizations of real estate appraisers in America is the Appraisal Institute (AI). It was formed from the merger of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and the Society of Real Estate Appraisers. Founded along with others in the 1930s, the two organizations merged in the 1990s to form the AI. This group awards two professional designations: SRA, to residential appraisers, and MAI, to commercial appraisers. The Institute has enacted rigorous regulations regarding the use and display of these designations. For example, contrary to popular belief, "MAI" does not stand for "Member, Appraisal Institute". According to the institute, the letters "do not represent specific words", and an MAI may not use the words "Member, Appraisal Institute" in lieu of the MAI mark. The primary motive for this rule is to prevent trademark dilution.

Onsite appraisals of antiques or residential contents are usually done to appraise multiple items. The average onsite appraisal of an entire home’s contents or collections generally takes 3-4 hours for the onsite evaluation and typically an equal amount of hours off site for research and report development. This is an estimate only. The time spent on site is dependent on multiple factors (please see preparing for an on site appraisal)

An appraisal is an unbiased professional opinion of a home's value. Appraisals are almost always used in purchase and sale transactions and commonly used in refinance transactions. In a purchase and sale transaction, an appraisal is used to determine whether the home's contract price is appropriate given the home's condition, location, and features. In a refinance, it assures the lender that it isn't handing the borrower more money than the home is worth. 
"What is my house worth?"  These real estate appraisers can answer that and much more all over Pinellas County.  Whether it is appraising your home for a property tax appeal if your property taxes are too high, valuing your home for estate work or a divorce or helping you secure a HELOC, a local appraiser is best.  They obviously also appraise new construction homes as well as existing homes, and can do it for a home listing, before or after a sale.  They use the local MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to gather data on sales and listings and use them to professionally tell you what the price per square foot should be for your home and others in your area.  They also can determine if there's any effect on the value of your home from pending foreclosures, REOs, and other "short sales" in Pinellas County.  A licensed and certified appraiser's estimates of value on residential single family homes, condos, townhouses and more are much better than what you'll find when using an AVM (automated valuation model) or a BPO (Broker Price Opinion).  They can do an appraisal for VA, FHA, conventional, jumbo, and Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac purposes, and routinely provide those reports on URAR, drive-by, and 1004 MC (1004 Market Condition) forms as well as others.
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