Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions we receive from lenders, lawyers, commercial real estate professionals and also those unfamiliar with the process of a real estate appraisal.  For additional help, please call our offices and we will be happy to address your questions directly.

Q: What is an appraisal?

A: An appraisal is a process that leads to an opinion of value. This opinion or estimate is reached through a formal process that normally considers what we, at RRA, refer to as the three ''common approaches to value'' that include: 1) The Cost Approach - Cost of improvements, less physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. 2) The Sales Comparison Approach – Comparing your property to other similar properties that have recently sold. The Sales Comparison Approach is normally the most accurate and best indicator of value for an owner user property. 3) The Income Approach – Estimates what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the property. This is an important approach when evaluating income-producing properties.

Q: What is an MAI and why do I need an MAI appraisal?

A: MAI (Member Appraisal Institute) is a designation granted to appraisers by the Appraisal Institute which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The MAI Designation behind the appraiser’s name is indicative of an advanced knowledge strengthened by rigorous education and ethical conduct second to none.  An appraisal prepared by an MAI is the most sought-after appraisal in the real estate industry. The MAI designation is respected by courts, lending institutions, government agencies, corporations, and other individuals desiring the highest quality of appraisal services. The Appraisal Institute has been the world’s leading organization of real estate appraisal professionals for more than 75 years, with over 25,000 members and 91 chapters throughout the world. The MAI designation is held by appraisers who are experienced in the valuation of commercial property, and who advise clients on important real estate investment decisions. Appraisers holding the MAI designation have met rigorous requirements relating to education, testing, and experience. Furthermore, MAI appraisers are tested on their demonstration of knowledge, understanding of the overall appraisal process, and ability to solve the difficult issues associated with many types of property. Some of the requirements for becoming an MAI may include:
  • Standards and ethics coursework
  • Eight weeks of lower level appraisal coursework
  • Four weeks of upper level appraisal coursework
  • 4,500 hours of specialized field experience
  • Credit for a demonstration appraisal report on an income-producing property
  • 16-hour comprehensive examination
The state-certified appraiser has not been through the rigorous training acquired by those holding the MAI designation. Those clients who use the services of an MAI generally tend to feel more comfortable in their commercial real estate valuation decisions. When you’re looking for reliability and confidence, only choose an appraiser that knows what they’re doing – choose an MAI.

Q: What areas of Florida do you normally cover?

A: RRA primarily covers the Metro Orlando area and Central Florida including Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Osceola, Sumter, Citrus, Marion, Polk and Brevard counties.  However we have experience appraising properties throughout the state from Miami to Pensacola and will provide services anywhere in the state at the clients request.
Q: How long does an appraisal take?

A: Time to complete the appraisal varies with the complexity and the work load in the office.  Nevertheless, a specific completion date is promised to the client at the time the fee is agreed upon. Typically an appraisal takes anywhere from 2-5 weeks to prepare. 

Q: How much do you charge?

A: When RRA and the client agree upon a scope of services and after an initial review of the property is conducted a firm fee proposal is made in writing and agreed upon.  An appraisal may run anywhere from $800 to $10,000 depending upon the size and complexity of the property and appraisal problem and scope of services.

Q: What is the source of market data you use to arrive at value?

A: There are a variety of sources including access to public records via property appraiser Websites.  RRA is also a licensed subscriber to real estate data services including CoStar Comps and CoStar Property and and also survey data provided by CBRE, Cushman and Wakefield and Moody’s.  We also maintain contacts with active commercial and industrial brokers and leasing agents that provide the most current sales, listings and rentals.

Q: Are you qualified in “Eminent Domain” matters?

A: Yes, previous to forming RRA, I was the chief review appraiser for the Seminole County Attorney’s office and have reviewed over 500 takings for road widening projects, retention ponds, drainage easements, etc. I also authored the Property Acquisition Manual for the County. I have participated in over 40 meditations and was also designated as the Seminole County representative for all County eminent domain trials.  As an independent fee appraiser I have also appraised several road projects, and have testified in circuit court.  RRA recently appraised a 9 parcel taking for the Lake Mary Public works department with all 9 parcels being acquired at my appraised value.