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Indianapolis Appraisal Blog

January 12th, 2015 2:43 PM
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July 30th, 2014 5:06 PM

Just thought I would post a link to the Indiana License Search page where you can search and verify licenses in Indiana. It's always a good idea to verify an appraiser's license (or any licensed professional) prior to hiring them for an job. If you dig even more, you can find out if there have been any actions against their license.

Please call me if you would like an appraisal in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area.


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February 17th, 2014 8:52 AM
Did you know that it is impossible to tell if a home is a a condo simply by looking at it?  Many realtors, owners and lenders confuse what constitutes a condo versus an attached PUD. Both can look very similar and a condo can even be detached from other homes altogether. Ways to really determine if a home is a condo is to look at its title work, the project's Covenants and Restrictions/other documentation or by looking at a full legal description. Many times a condo will have Horizontal Property Regime (HYPR) somewhere in its legal description or some other wording describing a condo. The legal description may also say something like "1/16 interest in common areas" which may also be an indicator that it is a condo. While it may or may not impact value conclusions in an appraisal report, it is always good to know exactly what you own.

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July 4th, 2012 4:03 PM

Myths about "free" online home values

While surfing the Internet or watching television, you may have seen that there are websites that can give you the "value" of your home for free. Don’t fall for it! Only a professional appraiser can reliably give you an opinion of the fair market value of your home at any given time.

Many websites that promise a "value" for your home are referral services for real estate agents looking for people thinking about selling their homes. (That’s the biggest reason people want to know how much their house might be worth, after all.) We’re all for entrepreneurship, but what you get out of the deal isn’t a "free home value." Instead, it’s a consultation with a real estate agent who will tell you what the home could sell for if you hire the agent. It’s "free," but "free" in the sense that you can get a "free" three–day, two–night vacation if you agree to sit through a sales pitch first. It’s likely to be inflated, since the agent wants your business and promising a higher value might help convince you to hire them.

Some sites use your address and other information to connect to a database of recent sales in your neighborhood. They then use that information to guess what your home might be worth. Sometimes they tap into your county assessor’s information, if it’s available online. Most of the time, you’ll notice they ask what you paid for the house and when you bought it. Usually this means they’re going to take that figure, multiply it by how much the "average" home in your metropolitan area has appreciated since you bought it, and give you that figure. In any case, it’s unreliable.

A professional appraiser will:

  • look at recent sales as well as similar properties still on the market and asking prices
  • consult with real estate professionals and other appraisers to see what the market in your neighborhood – not just your metropolitan area – is doing
  • make careful, professional adjustments based on dozens of possible factors.

No computer can do that, let alone for free. To know the true market value of your home, you need a professional appraiser. You can learn more about our services for homeowners online at

Anthony Akins
Indianapolis Appraisals
14350 Mundy Dr, Ste 800 #242
Noblesville, IN 46060
(317) 809-1252 (317) 809-1252

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Posted by Anthony Akins on July 4th, 2012 4:03 PMLeave a Comment

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February 12th, 2011 5:18 PM

Unless you are an appraiser or involved in the real estate industry, you likely have not heard of the term USPAP.  Believe me, until I started in this business many years ago, I had absolutely no idea of its meaning.

What is USPAP?

USPAP, which you might hear pronounced like "YOOS-pap," is the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. USPAP is published and maintained by the Appraisal Standards Board (ASB) of the Appraisal Foundation, a non-governmental entity charged by Congress with promulgating appraisal standards.

USPAP is revised periodically, usually every year. It begins with a list of Definitions, and a Preamble defining the mission. It then declares a set of general Rules governing all disciplines of appraisal practice: The Ethics Rule, the Competency Rule, the Scope of Work Rule, the Jurisdictional Exception Rule, and the Supplemental Standards Rule. It then sets forth 10 appraisal Standards, each containing a number of Standards Rules. Each Standard covers in detail the different tasks an appraiser might perform in the course of developing and reporting an appraisal ("Real Property Appraisal Development"; "Real Property Appraisal Reporting"; "Business Appraisal, Development"; etc.). It includes a number of Statements on those 10 appraisal Standards, some retired, which are used to clarify or supplement the Standards. It also includes Advisory Opinions dealing with the application of the USPAP in various scenarios, such as "When does USPAP apply in valuation services?" and "Clarification of the client in a federally related transaction," which describe real-life problems and how they would be governed under the Rules and Standards of USPAP.

Every appraiser is charged with knowing and following USPAP, usually by operation of state law, and must complete Continuing Education periodically to relearn the basics and become familiar with new Advisory Opinions and annual changes to USPAP.

So, if you need an USPAP compliant appraisal in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area, please call one of our Indiana Certified Appraisers and we will be happy to assist you. Call anytime at 317-809-1252.

Tony Akins - Indiana Certified Appraiser

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Posted by Anthony Akins on February 12th, 2011 5:18 PMLeave a Comment

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January 9th, 2011 3:13 PM

Spring will be here soon. Here are some basic home maintenance tips:


Anthony Akins
Indianapolis Appraisals
14350 Mundy Dr, Ste 800 #242
Noblesville, IN 46060
(317) 809-1252 (317) 809-1252

Home Maintenance: Spring

A key to protecting the investment you’ve made in your home is by following a regular maintenance schedule.  By performing preventative maintenance on an on-going basis, you’ll avoid many of the big ticket repair items that can lower the value of your home. 

Here are some helpful checklists for monthly and fall maintenance.


  Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector.
  Check the filters on your heating and cooling systems.  Be sure to clean and change according to the manufacturer’s schedule.
  If you have a humidifier or an electronic air filter, check these as well. 
  Check faucets for drips.  Check plumbing for leaks.


  Check furnace air filters each month during the heating season.  Clean or replace as necessary.
  Inspect fireplace, wood stove and chimneys.  Have each clean and serviced as needed.
  When heating season is complete, shut down and clean furnace humidifier.  Close the furnace humidifier damper on units with central air conditioning.
  Check air conditioning system and clean or replace air filters.  Have system serviced as need (recommend every 2 to 3 years).
  Check and clean dehumidifier as necessary.
  Where possible, turn off furnace and fireplace pilot lights.
  Ensure sump pump is operating properly.  Check to be sure discharge pipe is connected and allows water to drain away from the foundation.
  If applicable, have well water tested for quality.
  Examine foundation walls for cracks, leaks or signs of moisture.  Repair as required.
  Check paint on outside walls and fence.  Repair and paint as necessary.
  Check level of any exterior steps or decks which may have moved due to frost or settling.  Re-level as necessary.
  Check and clean out gutters and downspouts. Repair loose joints and ensure secure attachment to your home.  Clear any obstructions and make sure water flows away from your foundation.
  Remove any debris from drainage ditches and culverts.
  Prune and fertilize landscaping as necessary.

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Posted by Anthony Akins on January 9th, 2011 3:13 PMLeave a Comment

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June 21st, 2010 2:21 PM

Just click on the link below to see home value trends in Fishers, Indiana. The information was gathered from the Broker's Listing Cooperative which is called a Multiple Listing Service in other parts of the country. The data represents the average sale price per month of homes located in Fishers for 2010.

View Fishers, Indiana Home Value Trends

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June 21st, 2010 1:20 PM
Three approaches to value
There are three ways to determine the value of anything, and each plays a part in property appraisal.

The most widely-used and accepted in residential practice is the sales comparison approach.  This approach bases its opinion of value on what similar properties in the vicinity have sold for recently, with appropriate adjustments for time, acreage, living area, amenities and so on.  It is these adjustments where the expertise of the professional appraiser becomes necessary -- no computer can tell you how much or little to mark up for a fireplace without knowing the neighborhood or even talking to Realtors and recent buyers in the area about how important that amenity is in that particular location.

Another approach is the cost approach.  How much would a property cost to replace, that is, rebuild, minus "accrued depreciation," that is, depreciation that has occurred since the property actually was built?  The cost approach includes concepts like "economic life" and "effective age" that are mostly of use in determining the value of special use properties, special purpose properties or properties where subsequent structural improvements greatly impact value.

The third approach to value is called the income approach.  Some properties generate income for their owners -- the most obvious examples being rental properties such as apartment buildings, non owner-occupied houses and duplexes and the like.  The rental income an owner might reasonably expect from a property is part of its value.  For a purely owner-occupied residential property, this may not be applicable, but it can be important if the property is to be rented out or used otherwise to generate income, such as a storage facility, cell tower rental and office building.

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Posted by Anthony Akins on June 21st, 2010 1:20 PMLeave a Comment

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June 9th, 2010 1:49 PM

There are many reasons why you may need an appraisal of your Indianapolis home. Here are just a few of them:

Every year, countless people in the United States buy, sell or refinance their own slice of the American Dream.  Most, if not all, of these transactions include a simple line item for an appraisal.  It has become an understood and accepted part of a real estate transaction.  "Let's bring in the expert and make sure we're not spending too much on this property."

But is this the only reason to get an appraisal? Are there other times when the services of a certified, licensed, independent real estate professional might come in handy?  You bet.

One of the most important issues involved in purchasing a property is developing an opinion of what it's worth so that you can make an informed offer to purchase.  A professional appraisal report performed by a qualified, state-licensed appraiser can provide you with an objective, third party opinion of a property's current Market Value.  And for the small price of this service, you can give yourself "peace of mind" prior to making an offer to purchase that you're offering a fair price for the property. 

If you need to consolidate bills, have a college tuition to pay, or just want to tap into the equity of your home, you'll need a new loan, which oftentimes requires a new appraisal of the property.
Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI is the supplemental insurance that many lenders ask home buyers to purchase when the amount being loaned is more than 80% of the value of the home. Very often, this additional payment is folded into the monthly mortgage payment and is quickly forgotten. This is unfortunate because PMI becomes unnecessary when the remaining balance of the loan - whether through market appreciation or principal paydown - dips below this 80% level. In fact, the United States Congress passed a law in 1998 (the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998) that requires lenders to remove the PMI payments when the loan-to-value ratio conditions have been met.

Many appraisers offer a specific service for home owners that believe they have met the 80% loan-to-value metric. For a nominal fee, the appraiser can provide you with a statement regarding the home value. Some will even take the next step and help you file a challenge with your mortgage company. The costs of these services are very often recovered in just a few months of not paying the PMI.

A divorce can be a particularly traumatic experience for both parties and is often further complicated by the difficult decision of "Who gets the house?".  In most divorce cases, the Court won't usually force the parties involved to "buyout" the other party's interest but it may however order the sale of the home so each party gets an equal share of the equity.  Regardless of the situation, it's a good idea to order an appraisal so both parties are fully aware of what the true market value is.

If the parties want to sell the home, they'll have a better idea of what price to set.  And on the flipside, if a "buyout" is the chosen option, both parties will feel like they've gotten a fair assessment.
The loss of a loved one is a difficult time in life and settling an estate from a death, or probate, often requires an appraisal to establish Fair Market Value for the residential property involved.  The ethics provision within the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) binds us with confidentiality, ensuring the fullest degree of discretion.

Unlike many wealthy individuals, the majority of Americans do not have dedicated estate planners or executors to handle these issues.  Also, in most cases, a home or other real property makes up a disproportionate share of the total estate value.

Here too, an appraiser can help.  Often the first step in fairly disposing of an estate is to understand its true value.  Where property is involved, the appraiser can help determine the true value.  At this point, equitable arrangements can more easily be arrived at among disputing parties. Everyone walks away knowing they've received a fair deal.

We understand the stress involved with an employee relocation.  We take great care in establishing a convenient appointment time for the appraisal inspection. During our thorough inspection, we encourage relocating employees to provide input on the positive attributes of their property along with information about any recent sales or listings in their neighborhood that they want considered.

Before you decide to sell your home, there are several decisions to be made. First and foremost: "How much should it sell for?"  But don't forget there may be other equally important questions to ask yourself such as "Would it be better to paint the entire house before we sell it?", "Should I put in that third bathroom?", "Should I complete my kitchen remodel?"  Many things which we do to our houses have an effect on their value.  Unfortunately, not all of them have an equal effect. While a kitchen remodel may improve the appeal of a home, it may not add nearly enough to the value to justify the expense.

Whether you choose to sell your home on your own or use the assistance of a real estate agent, a professional appraisal can help you make a better educated decision when determining your selling price.

Unlike a real estate agent, an appraiser has no vested interest in what amount the house sells for.  It's easy for them to step in and give you the information to help you make your decision.  Appraiser fees are based on efforts to complete the report and not a percentage of the sales price. So seeking a professional appraisal can often help homeowners make the best decisions on investing in their homes and setting a fair sales price.

Please contact one of our Indiana Certified appraisers if you need an appraisal in the Indianapolis area.

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Posted by Anthony Akins on June 9th, 2010 1:49 PMLeave a Comment

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June 1st, 2010 5:04 AM

Whether you are getting an appraisal in the Indianapolis area from one of our Indiana Certified Appraisers or from an appraiser across the country, appraisers will typically use similiar techniques when appraising your home. So what exactly is an appraisal?

A home purchase is the largest, single investment most people will ever make. Whether it's a primary residence, a second vacation home or an investment, the purchase of real property is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it all off.

Most of the people involved are very familiar. The Realtor is the most common face of the transaction. The mortgage company provides the financial capital necessary to fund the transaction. The title company ensures that all aspects of the transaction are completed and that a clear title passes from the seller to the buyer.

So who makes sure the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid? There are too many people exposed in the real estate process to let such a transaction proceed without ensuring that the value of the property is commensurate with the amount being paid.

This is where the appraisal comes in. An appraisal is an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receives - for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. To be an informed party, most people turn to a licensed, certified, professional appraiser to provide them with the most accurate estimate of the true value of their property.

The Inspection
So what goes into a real estate appraisal? It all starts with the inspection. An appraiser's duty is to inspect the property being appraised to ascertain the true status of that property. He or she must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure that they really exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the proper square footage and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses one, two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a cost approach, a sales comparison and, in some cases of  rental properties, an income approach.

Cost Approach
The cost approach is the easiest to understand. The appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. Why would you pay more for an existing property if you could spend less and build a brand new home instead? While there may be mitigating factors, such as location and amenities, these are usually not reflected in the cost approach.

Sales Comparison
Instead, appraisers rely on the sales comparison approach to value these types of items. Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. They know the traffic patterns, the school zones, the busy throughways; and they use this information to determine which attributes of a property will make a difference in the value. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties which are ''comparable'' to the subject being appraised. The sales prices of these properties are used as a basis to begin the sales comparison approach.

Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), the appraiser adjusts the comparable properties to more accurately portray the subject property. For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home. If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to valuing the property. In this case, the amount of income the property produces is used to arrive at the current value of those revenues over the foreseeable future.

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or ''bidding wars'' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than the property is actually worth. The bottom line is: an appraiser will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.

As you can clearly see, there is a lot that goes into an appraisal and choosing the right Indiana appraiser from the begginning is very important. If you need an appraisal in the Indianapolis area, please feel free to give us a call anytime at 317-809-1252 or email at

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Posted by Anthony Akins on June 1st, 2010 5:04 AMLeave a Comment

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