Illinois Appraisal Blog

By Randall J. Phillips

Homes in foreclosure and homes that have reverted to your institution's ownership present special appraisal challenges. At Phillips Appraisal, Inc., we're more than ready and able to help.

rightFor a property in foreclosure, you may need to know the difference between fair market value and "quick disposition" value, to know your potential charge-off liability. At Phillips Appraisal, Inc., we have experience in both providing snapshots of fair market value for our mortgage lending and servicing clients as well as "quick sale" forecasts that understand your timeline.

Owners of property in foreclosure, of course, present special challenges. They may be unwilling to allow an inspection of the property. If they have abandoned the property already, they may have neglected care of the home for some time -- or worse, caused damage. We have the experience and training to deal with the special dynamics of a foreclosure appraisal, and you should not hesitate to rely on us.

For a property that has already reverted to Real Estate Owned, you likewise will be interested in a quick disposition. But you may want to know and compare three values: As-is, as repaired, and "quick sale." These represent the value of the property without any work done to it, with the work required to make the property marketable to full market value commensurate with competing properties in the area, and, somewhere in-between, with minimal investment in repairs -- selling the property quickly, probably as a "fixer-upper." Again, we understand your timeline and the unique circumstances of an REO property, as well as the special information you'll need -- competing listings, market trends, and the like.

Please browse our website to learn more about our qualifications, expertise and services offered.

Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.

Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:37 AMLeave a Comment

By Randall J. Phillips

The Federal Reserve has recently reiterated that "financial institutions must have an effective, independent real estate appraisal and evaluation program," and that appraisers performing reviews should "have the knowledge and expertise to assess compliance with the Federal Reserves appraisal regulations and guidelines."Here at Phillips Appraisal Inc., we provide appraisal review services that are independent, qualified, professional and square with the Federal Reserve's guidelines.

rightAppraisal reviews "should determine whether the appraisal or evaluation is appropriate for the transaction, the risk of the transaction, and whether the process by which the collateral valuation is obtained ensures independence and quality," the Fed says.They "should also indicate whether the appraisal or evaluation report is consistent with the engagement letter, which sets forth the scope of the appraisal assignment."The Fed also notes that "some banks supplement routine reviews with post-funding evaluations of appraisal quality for some of their higher-risk or greater-value transactions as a control to assist in detecting valuation problems."

In addition to conforming our work to the forms and guidelines of our review clients, there are four Fannie Mae forms that are generally used for review services, and we can prepare an appraisal review on any of them. They include an appraisal "desk" review, a "field" review, a "short" form and a "narrative" form. Here at Phillips Appraisal Inc., we are experienced in all types of appraisal reviews, review procedures and the responsibilities of review appraisers.

left We understand what makes a quality appraisal and what the most common deficiencies are, especially in our home market. At the same time, we are professional enough to recognize that our competitors in our market are capable of doing a good job! The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) govern appraisal reviews as well as appraisal reports, and you can count on us to ethically evaluate appraisal reports performed by others. Those others may be reviewing our work, too!

In short, here at Phillips Appraisal Inc., you can rely on our independent judgment, because we offer professional, objective, ethical appraisal review services for our clients.Browse our website to learn more about our qualifications, expertise and services offered.

Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.

Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:35 AMLeave a Comment

By Randall J. Phillips

More and more homeowners today are choosing to sell their homes FSBO (For Sale By Owner) and foregoing the help of a real estate agent. Selling your home by this method can end up saving you a potential “hefty” commission (industry average is 5-7% of the home’s selling price). Plus many FSBO sellers feel that they have more control in the process of selling their home since they’re in essence making all the rules.

rightAccording to the National Association of Realtors, over 70% of all homebuyers now use the Internet to search for homes so if your house isn’t on the internet, it should be. And that’s where we can help. Using my websites’ Online Property Presentation feature, I can provide you with a great marketing tool to get your home on the web in front of potential buyers.

Here’s how it works. You order an appraisal from us via our website. Once the report is complete, I can publish a summary page of the appraisal to my website (with your permission, of course). A unique webpage URL is created for your property address that you use in all aspects of marketing your home to potential buyers. Your webpage is displayed as a beautiful Flash-animated listing brochure – just like what actual real estate agents use to market their listings. Your webpage will also include:

  • A prominent display of your contact information so potential buyers know how to reach you
  • A Property Details and Property Highlights area to display information like community and/or neighborhood demographics, school district, your home’s unique amenities, and any other features about your home you want to highlight
  • A detailed summary of our complete appraisal report and a link for your potential buyers to download it
  • A link to download an online location map so prospects can see your exact property address
  • An impressive virtual tour of all the photos of your home contained in our appraisal report
  • An e-mail link for potential buyers to send your webpage to a friend

You know your home better than anyone. And you know what features to highlight and what features you might want to downplay. So let us help you get the exposure your home deserves.

Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.

Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:31 AMLeave a Comment

By Randall J. Phillips

Appraising is an always changing profession. Commonly, it seems, appraisers are asked to supply additional information or have steps added to their research. They do this extra work to ensure the end user gets the most useful analysis that can be achieved. To keep up with the always changing requirements, Phillips Appraisal, Inc. is constantly researching new tools and improving processes in order to increase efficiency so we can do more work for our customers. At Phillips Appraisal, Inc. we know that time is important to everybody, so we've listed a few tips you can do to lower turn times whenever you order an appraisal from Phillips Appraisal, Inc.:

  1. Fast Real Estate Appraisal - IllinoisOrder your appraisals electronically. When you order online, you automatically receive e-mail confirmations that the request was received, and fast, secure .PDF format report delivery. This is the single biggest time saver available to both of us! We don't have to retype information from a fax, and you don't have to wonder whether we received the order.

  2. Complete and accurate subject property data is crucial. There's nothing like being one number off on the street address to unnecessarily delay an appraisal assignment. And if you have a tax parcel number, plat map number, subdivision name or anything else that uniquely identifies the property, please pass it along. We even welcome lists of recent sales from the area — though be advised that professional appraisers must always do their own due diligence on comparable sales, and ours may be different from yours.

  3. Be sure to tell us about the unique characteristics of this property. It's relatively easy to appraise a cookie-cutter home. What takes time is analyzing how characteristics unique to a property contribute to or detract from what otherwise would be a property's market value. Let us know up front when ordering your report if there are unique details of the home or surrounding area -- for example, it's recently had an addition built on, it's subject to zoning restrictions, and it's susceptible to flooding. These are things we'll find out on our own anyway, and knowing them as early as possible makes your report arrive without delay.

  4. What are you doing to make the homeowner of the home aware of what to expect? One of the most inefficient steps of the appraisal process is setting an appointment with the current homeowner. Many current homeowners are understandably uncomfortable with the notion that an outsider wants to come in their home, look around, and take abundant notes. One common belief is that they should make the place spotless before the appraiser comes by, thinking that will increase the appraised value. So they reschedule the inspection until they can get around to cleaning.

    Coming directly from you -- a trusted party with whom they already have a business relationship -- some information about the appraisal process, who we are, and especially that dusting and polishing won't make a significant difference in their home's value, will help move the process along for everyone. Please feel free to point them to our website, where we have several pages of relevant information for homeowners and others describing the appraisal process. Tell them to call us if they want to become familiar with our staff and services. And tell them it's in their interest to set the appointment as soon as possible!


  5. Use our website to track your report's status. Phone and fax tag are a thing of the past with up-to-the-minute status updates available online, anytime, 24/7. As we complete each important milestone in an assignment, that information is available instantly to you online. It's never been easier to keep track of your report's status.
Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.

Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:29 AMLeave a Comment

By Randall J. Phillips

Finalizing a divorce involves many decisions, including "Who gets the house"? There are generally two options regarding the house - it can be sold and the proceeds divided, or one party can "buy out" the other. In either case, one or both parties should order an appraisal of the residence. Divorce appraisals require a well supported, professional appraisal that is defensible in court. When you order an appraisal from us, you are assured that you will get the best in professional service, courtesy, and the highest quality appraisal. We also know how to handle the sensitive needs of a divorce situation.

divorce appraisal in IllinoisAttorneys and Accountants rely on our values when calculating real property values for estates, divorces, or other disputes requiring a value being placed on real property. We understand their needs and are used to dealing with all parties involved. We provide appraisal reports that meet the requirements of the courts and various agencies.

As an attorney handling a divorce, your needs oftentimes include an appraisal to establish fair market value for the residential real estate involved. Often the divorce date differs from the date you order the appraisal. We are familiar with the procedures and requirements necessary to perform a retroactive appraisal with an effective date and Fair Market Value estimate matching the date of divorce. The ethics provision within the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) binds us with confidentiality, ensuring the fullest degree of discretion.

Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.

Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:26 AMLeave a Comment

By Randall J. Phillips

Most localities determine your property tax burden based on an ad valorem assessment of the property's value. Sometimes, as a property owner, you get an unwanted surprise in the mail telling you your taxes are going up, and sometimes it may seem as though your assessment is too high.

leftOften, matters like this can be resolved with a phone call. However, if after discussing your assessment with your local taxing authority you still feel as though your property was overvalued, a professional, independent, third-party appraiser is often your best bet in proving your case. That's where we come in.

There are as many different procedures for appealing assessments as there are property taxing districts, so it's important to enlist the help of a professional appraisal firm that's experienced and trained in the ins and outs of your particular jurisdiction.

Please note: It makes sense to do your own research before determining whether to go forward with a property assessment appeal, especially before you make the decision to hire a professional appraiser. However, according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), we are not allowed to take "shortcuts" -- i.e., your research -- and use it on its face as part of our independent evaluation. When you hire us for an assessment appeal, you're commissioning an independent, third-party professional appraisal report. As such we do our own evaluation, beginning to end. If you're right that your property has been overvalued, an independent report such as ours will be even more persuasive than any other evidence you can marshal on your own. But it depends on our ability to do the work independently.

Sometimes, you will have a hearing on your assessment appeal and will need for the appraiser you've hired to testify on your behalf. Be assured that at Phillips Appraisal, Inc., we are able to professionally and persuasively testify at appeal hearings. Browse our website to learn more about our qualifications, expertise and services offered.

Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.

Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:24 AMLeave a Comment

January 15th, 2014 12:20 AM

By Randall J. Phillips

Working with a real estate agent to sell your house? More than likely, they'll provide you with a comparative market analysis (CMA) that displays selected sale homes in your local area. It's a customary starting point in deciding your home's listing price. This is a vital (and very logical) step if your interests are to maximize profit and minimize your time on the market.

Illinois home appraiserHowever, it's also advantageous to have a third-party's objective opinion prior to signing the Listing Agreement, even if you have been working with an experienced agent.

Many people are surprised when they find out that the market value of their home is much more than they thought, so investing in a professional appraisal actually allowed these people to get several thousand dollars over what they thought they'd get for their home. Others have an over-inflated opinion of their home's estimated value and an appraisal helped them to decide on a realistic price for their home in order for it to sell. Overpriced homes will not attract serious buyers, which means you squander time and (not to mention) money and are left with no offers. Each month that your home is still on the market is another month you have to pay the mortgage.

Which home improvements add value?

In addition to "how much?", there may be other important questions to ask yourself prior to listing your property. Should we paint the whole house before we sell it... Would it help to put in that third bathroom... Should I complete my kitchen remodel... Virtually any project will influence value in some way. Unfortunately, not all of them have an effect commensurate with their cost. A kitchen remodel may improve the appeal of a home, but it might not justify the costs you'd pay.

Need help making some of these important decisions? We're here for you. Phillips Appraisal, Inc. appraisers have no vested interest in what amount the house sells for, unlike an agent. Our appraisal fees are based on efforts to finalize your report, and not a percentage of your home's sale price. So please consider ordering an appraisal from Phillips Appraisal, Inc.. When it comes to investing in your house and deciding on a fair price to sell at, we'll help you make the sharpest decisions.

Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.


Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:20 AMLeave a Comment

By Randall J. Phillips

When you're considering investing in rehabilitated residential property, you're making a smart choice. Real estate values have been climbing at the same time demand for homes has been increasing — an impressive combination.

Illinois home appraisalOften, people and companies that sell rehabilitated real estate buy a dilapidated property, put a lot of money and sweat equity into it to make it attractive to a buyer, and then reap the reward when the property is sold for a lot more than the original buyer paid for it. There's nothing wrong with this; on the contrary, it makes more housing available at a time when it's in demand. And as noted, it's often a good investment choice for the eventual buyer.

But before you invest in a rehabilitated property, you should obtain a professional appraisal, from an appraiser with your interests in mind. Normally an appraisal will need to be performed on behalf of the lender, by an appraiser working closely with sellers, brokers and agents. Too often lately homes are "flipped" for considerably more than they were recently paid for without any substantial improvements to justify the higher price. You'd be the one left holding the bag — shouldn't you have someone on your side making sure your money is being invested wisely?

It's easy to protect yourself. Hire a professional appraiser to ensure the property has had the improvements put into it that justify the asking (or agreed upon) price. If you're buying more than one property at a time from the same buyer, it's even more important to have them appraised by a professional working for you, instead of another party to the transaction. There are cost effective ways to protect yourself in an investment into many properties. We perform "drive-by" appraisals, sanctioned by housing giant Fannie Mae, which can be more cost effective than a full appraisal with an interior inspection. When combined with the expertise of a licensed home inspector, you should be able to buy with confidence that everything is as represented by the seller.

It's smart to always have an inspection done before closing on a property. It's equally important though to obtain an opinion of value from an appraiser. An inspector will tell you if everything that is present in the structure is functioning properly, what repairs may need to still be done, and whether there are any safety or soundness issues with the property. An appraiser can translate that into dollars. As rehabilitated, is the property worth what it's selling for? If something unexpected happened and you needed to sell right away, would you be able to recoup your investment?

As an investor, you need and deserve to know. Protect your interests with the help of a professional appraiser.

Contact Us for any questions you may have about any residential real estate appraisal, or for appraisal consulting.

Posted in:General
Posted by Randall Phillips, SRA on January 15th, 2014 12:16 AMLeave a Comment