The Professional Appraisal: Expertise in Researching Market:
Each and every day professional appraisers are gathering information from many sources to include in the appraisal reports they write. One of the first sources to check is the MLS. This search brings up all the current listings, expired listings, cancelled listings, withdrawn listings, all the sales over the past 5, 10, 15, or 20 years, depending on the archive facilities of the local MLS board. Looking at old MLS data and information can be a valuable resource for confirming: age, size, and details of the property; improvements to a property; and/or missing data from the current listing, if there is one. Next, assessment and/or municipal records are searched for the maps, site plans, site maps, legal description, site size, site configuration, zoning, and/or conforming/non-conforming usages. Next, the property is searched on the internet to determine if there are any adverse factors that may pop-up, such as: the property is listed For-Sale-By-Owner, the property has been a grow-op (marijuana growing location), damaged by fire, flood or other means, been the target of illegal activity, etc. Internet browser maps can focus in on what is in the subject area and what types of properties are adjacent, near, or across the street from the subject property. In some areas, street eye-level images are available to get a good idea of the surroundings. In some centers, appraisers routinely do a title search on the subject property and note any irregularities on their appraisal report.
Once the subject property has been adequately researched, the subject property inspected or viewed, many of the above mentioned research sources are utilized in checking out the comparable sales, before the appraisal report is completed and delivered to the client.