Real Estate Appraisals in California – Learn the basics in less than 3 minutes.

If you plan on buying a house at some point in your life, you will have to get an appraisal of the property you buy, so It’s best to understand appraisals before you get one.

What is an appraisal and who can perform one?

An appraisal is an impartial, and unbiased process by which the appraiser provides a fair market value of your real estate property.  Appraisers come to this conclusion by doing a very thorough inspection of your house and gathering information and taking pictures. They also use comparables of homes recently sold in your area that have similar conditions as your real estate property.

What is the role of the appraiser?

The appraisals role is to be objective in the valuation in order for all the parties involved in the transaction, whether it is a refinance process or a transfer of title by sales to get a fair deal.

What requirements do Appraisers have?

In California as well as in any other state, appraisers must be licensed or certified to provide appraisals to lenders that are federally regulated.

Where can you find a licensed Appraiser in California?

Simple, if you go to the Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers and do a search on their website, you’ll be able to find one

Why is getting an appraisal important?

If you are planning to buy a new house and need a mortgage to finance your purchase, you’ll need one because the lender will establish a “Loan to Value of the house ratio” that can not be exceeded. If you are refinancing, the same is true.

What types of appraisers are there in California?

There are 4 types of appraisers in California. These are the following:

  1. California Appraiser Trainee License: With this license, they can complete inspections and appraisal reports under the direct supervision of a certified appraiser. They must be 18 years old, and complete 150 hours of qualifying appraisal specific education courses that aren’t more than five years old.
  2. California Residential Appraiser License: It’s the first level of licensing for appraising real property that doesn’t need to be supervised. With this credential, the appraiser is able to appraise non-complex one to four family residential units that are less than a million dollars ($1,000,000), complex one to four family residential units that are less than $250,000 and other real estate properties that are less than $ 250,000.
  3. California Certified Residential Appraiser:  With this credential, they can appraise all types of non-complex one-to-four family residential property without a limitation on transaction value and other types of real property having a transaction value of less than $250,000.
  4. California Certified General Appraiser License: He or she is able to appraise any type of property – commercial or residential – with no value limit.

Who owns the appraisal?

Whoever ORDERS the appraisal, owns it. If your lender orders it, they own it even if you pay for it. The appraiser will not have permission to share the appraisal with you without permission of the lender. Keep that in mind!

How much does it cost to order an appraisal?

The typical range for the cost of an appraisal varies between $335 & $470.


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