H. Bruce Jones has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"

H. Bruce Jones is willing to address any inquiries you might have about appraisals or real estate in Kings Mountain and Cleveland County. Don't hesitate to contact us today.

Describe an appraisal
What does an appraiser do?
What would cause me to request services from H. Bruce Jones?
Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?
What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?
Once the report has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is legitimate?
What are the requirements to be a certified appraiser?
Who hires H. Bruce Jones
Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Cleveland County or other areas?
Why do I need a professional appraisal?
What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?
Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection
What is "Market Value?"
Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?
How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?



Describe an appraisal   (Return to top)

An appraisal report is a thought process allowing the appraiser to come to an opinion of value. The appraiser will use a several "approaches," typically three, to arrive at the estimation of market value. One of the methods in use is the Cost Approach, which evaluates what it would cost to replace the improvements to the home, less the depreciation and physical dilapidation, plus the land value. The Sales Comparison Approach involves searching for similar houses nearby and discovering the value based on comparing those houses to the home being investigated. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most accurate and clearest indicator of value for a residence. The Income Approach is mainly used for determining the market value of income-producing properties based on what an investor would pay based on the amount of income a property produce.

What does an appraiser do?   (Return to top)

An appraiser generates a professional, unbiased determination of market value, in the support of real property transactions. Appraisers summarize their professional findings in appraisal reports.


What would cause me to request services from H. Bruce Jones?   (Return to top)

There are a lot of reasons to obtain an appraisal from H. Bruce Jones with the most common reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. A few other reasons for purchasing an appraisal include:
  • To get a loan.
  • To lower your property taxes.
  • To build a case for a homeowner's equity and remove Primary Mortgage Insurance.
  • To fight high property taxes.
  • If you need to take care of an estate.
  • To offer you an edge when purchasing real estate.
  • To figure out the most probable price when listing your home.
  • To protect your rights if your property is being taken by means of eminent domain in a condemnation case.
  • Because a government agency such as the IRS requires it.
  • It's possible you could be involved in a lawsuit - an appraisal will help.
If you need more information regarding the appraisal process, please click here.


Is an appraisal the same as a home inspection?   (Return to top)

Home inspectors do not produce an opinion of value and are not appraisers. A third-party home inspector will judge the structure of the property, from the roof to the bottom. The stereotypical house inspector's report will contain an evaluation of the condition of the house's heating systems, central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof, attic, and accessible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement, and visible structure.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?   (Return to top)

Simply put, it's apples and oranges. The CMA utilizes market trends to generate most of their business. An appraisal utilizes comparable sales that can be verified by public record. Also, the appraisal looks at other factors like condition, neighborhood and construction prices. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." An appraisal delivers a defensible and carefully documented opinion of value.

The credentials of the person behind the report is actually the most significant difference between a CMA and an appraisal. A CMA is created by a real estate agent who may or may not be trained in technical valuation concepts or even have a handle on market trends. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who makes a living out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has something at stake since they get a commission based on the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a flat fee for assignments, regardless of their outcome.

What can I expect to see in my appraisal report?   (Return to top)

The main point of an appraisal report is to let the reader know the value of the real estate in question, and depending on the scope of the report, you'll usually see the following:
  • The client and whose purposes the appraisal is to serve.
  • How the appraisal is supposed to be used.
  • The appraisal's purpose.
  • Precisely what "value" attribute is being reported and what that value means.
  • The effective date of the appraisal.(Sometimes this is in the past or maybe the future for new construction!)
  • Characteristics of the property that have a bearing on the value, including: location, physical attributes, legal attributes, economic factors, the property rights valued, and non-real estate items included in the valuation, such as personal property, items that are more or less permanently installed and even intangible considerations.
  • All known easements, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, reservations, covenants, contracts, declarations, special assessments, ordinances, and the like.
  • Division of interest, such as fractional interest, physical segment and partial holding.
  • What was included in the activity of completing the appraisal.
For a more in depth view of all that goes into an appraisal report click here: Sample Appraisal Report


Once the report has been delivered, what guarantee is there that the value conclusion is legitimate?   (Return to top)

In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must ensure the following:
  • The appraisal used an appropriate analysis of the information.

  • Whether individually or collectively, there were no significant errors contained in the report, nor any relevant details left out.

  • That appraisal services were not conducted in a careless or negligent fashion.

  • That a credible, defensible appraisal report was conferred.
To become a state licensed appraiser, we must meet considerable education and experience requirements that enable us to formulate an unbiased opinion. Likewise, appraisers must abide by a meticulous industry code of ethics and comply with national standards of practice for real estate appraisal. The rules for carrying out an appraisal and documenting its results are guaranteed by enforcement of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).


   (Return to top) Licensing and certification is achieved through classroom study, tests and real world experience. Once licensed, he or she must then engage in continuing education courses so the license stays up to date. To see the specific requirements for any state click here.

Who hires H. Bruce Jones   (Return to top)

Typically, appraisers are hired by mortgage lenders to render a value opinion on a home involved in a loan transaction. Attorneys and CPAs also hire appraisers for divorce and estate settlements.

Where does an appraiser get the information used to estimate values in Cleveland County or other areas?   (Return to top)

Compiling information is one of the primary activities of an appraiser. Data can be divided into Specific or General. Specific data is from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are gathered by the appraiser during an inspection.

General data is collected from a variety of sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide information on recently sold homes that could be used as comparables. To double-check actual sales prices, we look at items in the assessor's office and other public documents that are usually online nowadays. Appraisers routinely need to report when a property is in a flood zone, and that information is retrieved from a FEMA data outlet such as a la mode's InterFlood product.

And last but not least, the appraiser gathers general data from his or her past experience in doing assignments for other houses in the same market.


Why do I need a professional appraisal?   (Return to top)

If you're involved in some sort of financial decision and the value of your home is relevant, you'll want to hire a licensed appraiser. When selling your home, an appraisal assists you in setting the most appropriate price. If you're buying, it makes sure you don't overpay. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Without knowing its real value, wise financial decisions are impossible.


What exactly is PMI and how can I get rid of it?   (Return to top)

PMI is short for for Private Mortgage Insurance. This supplementary policy covers the lender if a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the home is lower than the balance of the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.

The savings from cancelling the PMI required when you got your mortgage pays for the appraisal in a matter of months. H. Bruce Jones stays current with value trends in Kings Mountain and Cleveland County. Contact us today.

Should I do anything in advance of the appraisal inspection   (Return to top)

We begin with an inspection of the property. During this process, we will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. Inside, pick up any clutter and make sure we can access things like furnaces and water heaters. In the yard, trim any bushes so we can be free to get an accurate measurement of outside walls.

To help expedite our work plus ensure a more accurate report, try if possible to have the following items:
  • A survey or plot map of the property and building (if available).
  • List of personal property to be sold with the building.
  • Most recent real estate tax bill and or legal description of the property.
  • Any inspection reports, or other recent reports for termites, EIFS (synthetic stucco) wall systems, septic systems and wells.
  • Any "Homeowners Associations" agreements or, if applicable, condo covenants or fees .

What is "Market Value?"   (Return to top)

In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:

"The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus. Implicit in this definition is the consummation of a sale as of a specified date and the passing of title from seller to buyer under conditions whereby: the buyer and seller are typically motivated; both parties are well informed or well advised, and acting in what they consider their best interests; a reasonable time is allowed for exposure in the open market; payment is made in terms of cash in United States dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto; and the price represents the normal consideration for the property sold unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions granted by anyone associated with the sale."



Does the appraisal belong to the bank or the consumer?   (Return to top)

For mortgage transactions, the lender orders the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. While the buyer pays for the report as part of the closing costs, the lender retains the right to use the report or any information contained within. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the report - it's usually bundled with all the other closing documents - but is not allowed to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.

It's different when it's the homeowner hiring the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these scenarios, the appraiser may stipulate how the appraisal can be used; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not stated otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.


How can I get the most ROI out of home improvements?   (Return to top)

A home's location - what city it is in and even what part of that city - is key to this popular question. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes

As a rule, the best ROI from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. One recent study revealed that putting $20,000 into a kitchen remodel would add about $17,500 to the value of the home - or about an 88% return on investment. Bathrooms were second, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also help the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become atypical for your neighborhood in terms of size.