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How Your Home Is Appraised: An Interview with Eli Pascon of ValueQuest

By Eli Pascon

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

ValueQuest is an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) providing appraisal management services for multiple lenders. We manage a large panel of appraisers who in turn will perform appraisals once the order is placed by the lender. This entails all aspects of the order process, from order placement to report delivery to appraiser payment saving the lender time and money. By ordering the appraisal through an AMC, we assure the lender that they are in compliance with the provisions set forth by The Dodd-Frank Bill and HVCC (now retired). Our number one client is Norcom Mortgage, right here in Connecticut. We provide appraisal management services for them not just in CT but also in the following states and district: DC, FL, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT.

In most cases, who typically orders a home appraisal?

Anyone looking for a valuation of their home whether it be for a loan, estate, divorce settlement etc. If you are ordering an appraisal to obtain a loan, you would be working with a loan officer (LO) or broker. The LO/broker would then place the order with the AMC contracted by the lender as their agent. For example, Norcom has a contract with ValueQuest AMC. You the homeowner cannot obtain your own appraisal for the purposes of a loan, as this would be out of compliance.

What types of appraisals would a homeowner order?

ValueQuest deals strictly with residential appraisals, no commercial. These can be single family, condos or multi-family (2-4 units only) and can either be a full interior inspection or exterior only, also known as a drive by appraisal. The latter is seldom used these days due to tighter lending guidelines.

Can you outline the major steps in the appraisal process from start to finish?

a. Appraisal Assignment - the scope of work is defined and intended users identified.
b. Appraisal Development - the appraiser will conduct an interior/exterior inspection of the subject dwelling, gather sales and market data, research what public data is on file for the subject and do a drive by inspection of comparables.
c. Appraisal Report - the appraiser will analyze all data gathered and report his/her findings on the appropriate appraisal form depending on type of property and appraisal requested.
d. Appraisal Review - appraisal report undergoes a review process.
e. Delivery of Report - report is delivered to all appropriate parties.

When you're inspecting a house, what are the basic areas you cover and some of the main things you're looking for?

When the appraiser inspects a home, he or she views what is readily observable from foundation to roof. It is not home inspection as done by a licensed home inspector and should not be considered as one. The appraiser is observing a home for its overall condition, functionality and overall amenities. The appraiser will also look for any functional, physical or external obsolescence that may affect marketability and livability of the subject dwelling.

What does the inspection report include and when it is usually available?

The report will include a thorough description of the subject, its neighborhood and current market trends. The comparable sales developed will be analyzed and adjusted accordingly for any differences. The report is usually made available to us 48-72 hours from inspection.

Is there anything that most homeowners or homebuyers don't understand about the appraisal process?

Sales price does not always equal market value. This is a very key concept to understand. A property can be listed for sale for any given amount but unless there is ample market data to support its sales price, it may not be its market value.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

but we don't deal with the public directly. Here in Connecticut, it would be best to contact someone at Norcom Mortgage.

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