Frequently Asked Questions

Here, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most common inquiries about the real estate appraisal process. If you need additional information, please contact us. We are here to help!

What constitutes a real estate appraisal?

A real estate appraisal is an impartial determination of a property’s value, either in written or verbal format, conducted by a state certified real estate appraiser.

What’s the difference between a valuation and an appraisal?

Valuation and appraisal essentially refer to the same concept: an estimation of a property’s market value.

What distinguishes a property assessment from its appraised value?

A property assessment indicates the value assigned to a property for tax purposes by a governmental authority. An appraised value can vary, representing either a mass appraisal figure or an individual appraiser’s estimation of a property’s value.

Who do you work with as clients?

Mosaic Property Valuations provides valuation services for a wide range of industries and institutions, both public and private. Our client book includes, but is certainly not limited to, financial institutions, law offices, government entities, real estate brokers, wealth managers, and developers. The purpose of our services ranges from mere asset management to complex litigation and specialized valuation. While we respect the privacy of our clients, we can provide references upon request that reflect our experience with your real estate problem.

How can I arrange for an appraisal of my commercial property?

Appraisals can be commissioned by any individual or entity at any time and for any reason, as long as they are not being used for a federally-backed loan. When an appraisal is needed for a federally-backed loan (typically a bank loan), federal regulations stipulate that the financial institution must initiate the appraisal. In these cases, the financial institution is considered the primary client of the appraiser, not the loan applicant. In cases involving property disputes, tax appeals, or other litigation, it is common for lawyers to hire appraisers on their client’s behalf. At Mosaic Property Valuations, we recommend all appraisals for litigation purposes be commissioned by an attorney in order to protect attorney-client privilege.

What will my property appraisal cost?

The costs for commercial property appraisals vary significantly depending on the circumstances. Typically, a commercial property appraisal costs between $1,000 and $5,000. However, it is not unheard of for an appraisal to cost over $10,000 for projects requiring expedited completion or those with complex valuation challenges. Residential appraisals can cost anywhere between $400–$750 depending on location, property complexity, and the intended use of the appraisal.

Who is responsible for the appraisal fee?

Typically, the appraisal fee is paid by the appraiser’s client. In cases involving a loan, the lender is considered the appraiser’s client and will usually be the one paying the appraiser. The borrower may not directly pay the appraiser, but these costs are often included indirectly in the closing costs a borrower pays to a lender. In private transactions, the fee may be paid directly by the property owner or through a representative, such as an attorney.

Will an appraisal change my property taxes?

A private property appraisal used for a transaction, loan, or refinancing does not directly change your property taxes in the United States. However, it can indirectly play a role in any tax appeals. The rules and effectiveness of using a property appraisal to contest your property taxes can vary by jurisdiction, so consider consulting with us at Mosaic Property Valuations about this option first.

When will my property appraisal be completed?

As with the cost, the timeline for completing an appraisal can differ widely. Appraisals that are required for loans are generally completed within 1 to 4 weeks after the appraiser is hired. For more extensive projects, such as those involving Right-of-Way (ROW) acquisitions or legal disputes, the process may extend to 90+ days.

What is your process for real estate appraisals?

Every appraisal is slightly different, especially when working with unique or complex properties. At Mosaic Property Valuations, we pride ourselves on remaining adaptable to our clients’ varied needs. In general, our process involves the following:

  1. Our experts speak with the potential client to get information about the property to be appraised and to provide details about our process, pricing, or timeline.
  2. Once our potential client’s questions are answered satisfactorily, then Mosaic Property Valuations can be engaged to complete the appraisal.
  3. Once engaged, we then strategically designate appraisal tasks to the team members whose knowledge, skills, and experience best suit the situation at hand.
  4. Our team maintains communication with the client every step of the way, ensuring the appraisal is completed within the agreed timeframe.
  5. Upon delivery of the appraisal, the client has the opportunity to ask us questions about our report or engage us in any consulting or auxiliary services as needed.

How do you ensure accuracy in your appraisals?

The accuracy of real estate appraisals, which represent an expert’s opinion on value, is influenced by the uniqueness of each property and the dynamics of the market where it is located. For properties with numerous similar comparables, appraisers can determine value with a high degree of certainty and accuracy. For more unique properties, determining value is more nuanced, blending analytical rigor with professional judgment.

When valuing your property’s unique potential, Mosaic accounts for every detail every time. We are fully equipped to handle more straightforward appraisals, but we specialize in unique and challenging cases. We leverage close to a century of combined industry experience and proven results to provide comprehensive, accurate appraisals.

Whose responsibility is it to provide comparables for my appraisal?

Identifying comparables is the job of the appraiser. At Mosaic Property Valuations, we utilize CoStar and other subscription databases that allow us access to market data, as well as in-office research staff to assist in this work. In addition, we can leverage our data and experience from prior appraisals, as well as lean on our professional network to gain insights from brokers and other appraisers when needed. However, if you are aware of any comparables you would like us to consider, please communicate that to your Mosaic Property Valuations appraiser as soon as possible.

What should I do if my property’s appraised value is lower than I expected?

Ultimately, an appraisal represents a professional’s well-informed opinion as governed by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). Clients often have the option to dispute a valuation.

It is important to note that major revisions to an appraisal are not unheard of, but are extremely rare. At Mosaic Property Valuations, we are open to receiving additional market data that may adjust our initial valuation. However, our comprehensive approach to valuations means it is rarely needed. We also provide consulting and auxiliary services that can help you navigate a variety of different situations once you receive your valuation, from property disputes to tax appeals and more.

What standards or criteria must real estate appraisals follow?

All appraisals performed by state-certified real estate appraisers must comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). In addition, appraisals for lending institutions must comply with the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). Compliance with these regulations is mandated and enforced on a state level, and non-compliance can lead to sanctions and fines.

What is an MAI designation, and is it valuable?

MAI Designated Members are recognized by the Appraisal Institute, an international association of real estate appraisers, for their professional achievement and integrity. An MAI demonstrates significant experience and expertise, both complex and wide-ranging valuation abilities, commitment to ongoing professional development, and adherence to high standards of ethics and professionalism. At Mosaic Property Valuations, our office is led by two MAIs: Senior Managing Directors Arthur L. Schwertz, MAI, ASA, and D. Parker Moring, Jr., MAI.

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