by Fenella Pearson (email) 11/28/11
Former Norwalk City Council member and real estate appraiser Nora King had a busy fall thanks to late October storm and municipal election a week later.
"We are the first that are called after a storm," says King, owner of the appraisal firm Nora King & Co., adding that the appraiser's job is a heavy responsibility. Banks and insurance companies want to know the extent of damage and the cost of repair, especially if a property is for sale.
Estimating storm damage is just part of the job description of a licensed real estate appraiser. His or her main task is establishing a value for a property by comparing it to similar properties that have sold in an area. This information helps real estate agents set a sale price and helps banks and other lenders determine loans and mortgages.
"An appraiser's job is to remain independent and develop an opinion based solely on factual market date," King says. An appraisal can help sellers steer clear of low-ball offers on their home, especially in tough markets, she says. Appraisers are trained to look beyond a home's furnishings and neatness, although tidying up will make their job easier.
King has insights into what adds value to a home. “When we appraise a house we look at the general condition and whether it has been kept up-to-date,” she says. "Renovated kitchens are a worthwhile investment." But she has a warning for those considering adding a wine cellar, a pool or a fancy barbeque. “We place very little value on these upgrades,” she said.
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