Why Home Appraisals May Be Wrong: 5 Possibilities

While there are many challenges, in terms of effectively selling a house, it must be recognized, most potential buyers, are only able to afford, buying a home, by taking advantage of acquiring a mortgage! We often discuss the need to assure, a potential buyer, possesses a quality credit rating, in order to qualify, as well as have proven, a responsible approach to taking care, of his personal finances, and obligations. However, one potential, stumbling block, which is often overlooked, is whether the subject property, will be assessed, for a high – enough, price, so a lending institution, will often the most favorable loan! Unfortunately (but the reality is), the appraisal process and procedure, is far from perfect, containing flaws, which sometimes creates, undesirable challenges and/ or obstacles! This article will briefly examine 5 of these possibilities, which might negatively impact, a potential transaction.

1. Price higher than what the market, indicates: There are times, when a buyer, either because he doesn’t know the marketplace, or loves a particular home, offers considerably more than what the market, might dictate. When the lending institute assesses the house, it shows a lower value, and thus, the LTV, or loan – to – value, ratio, creates resistance to obtaining the best terms, or, even, the loan, at all. A prepared buyer understands this, and, if he stills wants the house, should put considerably more down, so it doesn’t become a negative factor!2. Wrong “comps”: There are times, when an appraiser, improperly, under – values, a subject property, because he, either uses the wrong properties, to compare the home, to, and/ or, is not fully familiar with the local real estate market. Beware if the assessment compares a Colonial style house, to Capes, etc. Look closely at the characteristics of all properties, and, either the buyer, and/ or his real estate agent, should help, guide the assessor, to the most appropriate houses.3. Appraiser doesn’t know local market: Every real estate market has certain specific characteristics, and, in some cases, there may be several micro – markets, even within a local area. If the appraiser isn’t familiar, he may compare a house in a more desirable market, to one, in a less valuable one. Remember the edict, Location, location, location!4. Errors: Check carefully, to discover and learn, if there are any errors, involved, in describing the features, etc, of the subject home (yours). Typical areas to check, include, conditions described (windows, doors, HVAC, bathrooms, kitchens, patio, deck, etc). Has the appraiser subtracted when he should have added, etc? Remember, if you believe there’s an error, you have the right to contest it!

5. Inaccuracies: Is lot size, properly listed? Has only the size mentioned, even if one lot, is fully usable, when another is not? Have any of the competitive (“Comps”) properties, overlooked the condition of another home, and its impact, etc.While the appraisal process is important and essential, potential homebuyers should beware, they are not necessarily accurate or complete. Either, you or your agent, should contest any inaccuracies!

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring - Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing - A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) - This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

  • It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
  • Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
  • Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
  • It may provide the business with access to more capital.
  • It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.

It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?