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Leja Group
Certified Residential Appraiser
Certified Residential Appraiser


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Useful Information about appraisal services.

7  Things an automated or non-appraiser valuation won’t tell you (AVM’s)

Lenders and brokers using Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) and homeowners using “free online home values” to determine the value of a property need to know what those results aren’t telling them.

Whether the house is really there. A computer can’t so much as drive by a house to see if it’s actually located where it’s supposed to be, has four walls and a roof, and really is a four bedroom split level and not a one bedroom shack.


 Whether unique features of a property might add to or detract from market value. So a computer returns an estimated value of $150,000. Did it account for the sewage treatment station next door? The railroad tracks nearby with trains that blow their whistles every night? The school district? The desirability of its tree-lined street versus the next street over?


 How long ago the property was assessed. Many AVMs and free online services rely on public assessment records. In many states, for example, assessments may only be required every three years — the value may be nearly three years old in that case. Some states mandate that an assessed value not increase beyond a certain percentage, even if sales activity indicates the property has appreciated far more. When you use an AVM or free online service, you risk a lower value than reality.


 What makes the comparables comparable. A computer might compare your subject property to another property with similar square footage sold three months ago a quarter of a mile away. Even if that “comparable” property is in a different, less desirable school district, fronts a four-lane, 55 M.P.H. street, and is flood-prone. Or even if the property was sold under duress, such as in a divorce situation, or not at arm’s length, such as to a family member. A computer simply does not know all the adjustments that might need to be made to a “comparable” property’s sales price.


Whether a market is declining. Automated valuations use data from recent, nearby sales. If those sales were completed at the peak of a local housing market, the computer will think the trend is going up. Even if a professional appraiser knows that the overall neighborhood is beginning to experience a downturn. As a lender, don’t get stuck with a property that’s been overvalued by a computer.


 Whether there is a conflict of interest. Free online home values are often farmed out to real estate agents in your area, who use the service to get your listing when you decide to sell. The best way to do that is to impress you with their confidence that they can get a higher price for your property. If they tell you your property is “worth” the high end of what they believe they can sell it for, the theory goes, you’re more likely to sign a listing agreement. With most things, it’s best to “under promise and over deliver” — but the opposite is true when you use a free online home value service.


 What qualifications, designations, experience and education the preparer of the value has. When you work with an appraiser, you can be confident we’re highly qualified, ethical and prepared to complete your assignment professionally and with good judgment. Most of the time, you don’t know the qualifications of whoever is behind those free online values, and they couldn’t compare to an appraiser’s if you did. And if you’re relying on an automated valuation, you’re cheating yourself out of an appraiser’s education, experience and expertise.



                                                          APPRAISAL JARGON – APPRAISAL SERVICES EXPLAINED

Have you heard an appraiser use any of these terms? Did you just hear one of our appraisers use it and you came here to figure out what it meant? We don’t mean to speak a foreign language, but any profession has its jargon. What res ipsa loquitur is to a lawyer and triple witching is to day traders, external obsolescence is to appraisers. Here are some examples of common appraiser jargon and their meanings:



When comparable properties have been identified, the appraiser adjusts the value of the subject property according to differences in living area, acreage, frontage, amenities and the like.  This is where the professional expertise of an appraiser is most valuable.



Personal property that may be on the subject property but which does not figure into the opinion of value in the appraisal report.

Comparable or “comp”. 

Properties like the subject property nearby which have sold recently, used as a basis to determine the fair market value of the subject property.  The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) establish clear guidelines for comparable selection.



An appraisal that is limited to examination of comparable sales and a determination that the property is actually there and has no obvious defects or damage visible from the outside.  Fannie Mae’s form for this type of appraisal is its 2055, so you may hear a drive-by referred to as a “2055.”


Fair market value. 

The appraiser’s opinion of value as written in his or her appraisal report should reflect the fair market value of the property — what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller in an arm’s-length transaction.


Liquidation Value

Liquidation value is the likely price of an asset when it is allowed insufficient time to sell on the open market, thereby reducing its exposure to potential buyers. Liquidation value is typically lower than fair market value. Unlike cash or securities, certain illiquid assets, like real estate, often require a period of several months in order to obtain their fair market value in a sale, and will generally sell for a significantly lower price if a sale is forced to occur in a shorter time period. Liquidation value may be either the result of a forced liquidation or an orderly liquidation. Either value assumes that the sale is consummated by a seller who is compelled to sell and assumes an exposure period which is less than market normal.
* The most common definition used by real estate appraisers is as follows[1]
* The most probable price that a specified interest in real property is likely to bring under all of the following conditions:
* Consummation of a sale will occur within a severely limited future marketing period specified by the client.
* The actual market conditions currently prevailing are those to which the appraised property interest is subject.
* The buyer is acting prudently and knowledgeably.
* The seller is under extreme compulsion to sell.
* The buyer is typically motivated.
* The buyer is acting in what he or she considers his or her best interest.
* A limited marketing effort and time will be allowed for the completion of a sale.
* Payment will be made in cash in U.S. dollars or in terms of financial arrangements comparable thereto.
* The price represents the normal consideration for the property sold, unaffected by special or creative financing or sales concessions.



“Gross Living Area,” the sum of all above grade floor space, including stairways and closet space.  GLA is often determined using exterior wall measurements.


Latent defects. 

A defect on the property that is not readily apparent but which impact the fair market value.  Structural damage or termite infestation might be examples.



A Multiple Listing Service is a proprietary listing of all properties on the market in a given area and their listing prices, as well as a record of all recent closed sales and their sales prices.  Created by and used primary by real estate agents, many appraisers pay for access to these databases to aid in comparable selection and adjustment research.



The value of assets diminishes as their capabilities degrade or more desirable alternatives are developed.  Functional obsolescence is the presence or absence of a feature which renders the property undesirable.  Obsolescence can also occur because the surrounding area changes, making a feature of the property less desirable.



Short for the property being appraised — the “subject property.”


Useful life. 

The time during which a property can provide benefits to its owner.



Short for Uniform Residential Appraisal Report, Fannie Mae form 1004, it is the form most lenders require if they need a full appraisal (that is, with walk-through inspection).


Short for Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, USPAP promotes standards and professionalism in appraisal practice, and is often enacted into law in a state.  It is promulgated by the Appraisal Foundation, a non-governmental entity chartered by Congress to, among other things, maintain appraisal standards.



An inspection that includes a visit to each part of the interior of the house used in estimating value.

The Clark County, Nevada real estate market is always changing.  With the current economic slow- down it takes time and effort  for a Las Vegas appraiser or Henderson appraiser to find the data necessary to form an accurate opinion.  We use a number of data sources to discover the best comparable sales and relevant income information. 

Call Today:  Las Vegas:  702-742-4355   Chicago: 773-642-9781

"By Wojciech Leja"

Service Area

Appraisal Services in Las Vegas

As an Appraisal firm, we cover all of Las Vegas, Henderson, NV and  Chicago, IL  along with it’s surrounding counties including, Will, Lake, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, DuPage and Grundy.

Call us to set up an appraisal 

Chicago: 773-642-9781

Las Vegas:702-742-4355



Appraisal Services in Chicag
Some of the cities and areas we appraise:

Las Vegas, Henderson,Nevada, Chicago,Illinois,  Alpine, Alsip, Altgeld Gardens, Arlington Heights, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Barrington Woods, Bartlett, Bedford Park, Bellwood, Berkeley, Bernice, Berwyn , Blue Island, Braeside, Bridgeview, Broadview, Brookfield, Buffalo Grove, Burbank, Burnham, Burnside, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Chicago, Chicago Heights, Chicago Ridge, Cicero, Clearing,,, Country Club Hills, Countryside, Crawford Countryside, Crestwood, Des Plaines, Dixmoor, Dolton, Dunning, East Hazel, Crest, East Side, Elk Grove Village, Elmwood Park, Elsdon, Englewood, Evanston, Evergreen Park, Fernway, Fernway Park, Flossmoor, Flossmoor Highlands, Ford Heights, Forest Park, Forest River, Forest View, Franklin Park, Glencoe, Glenn, Glenview, Glenwood, Goeselville, Golf, Gross Point, Harvey, Harwood Heights, Hastings, Hazel Crest, Hazel Green, Hegewisch, Hickory Hills, Hillside, Hodgkins, Hoffman Estates, Holbrook, Hometown, Homewood, Hubbard Woods, Indian Head Park, Indian Hill, Inverness, Justice, Kenilworth, Kensington, La Grange, La Grange Park, Lansing, Lemont, Lincolnwood, Lynwood, Lyons, Markham, Matteson, Maywood, McCook, Melrose Park, Merrionette Park, Midlothian, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Norridge, North Northfield, North Riverside, Northbrook, Northfield, Northfield Woods, Northlake, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Oak Park, Oakglen, Olympia Fields, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Palatine, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Park Forest, Park Ridge, Phoenix, Posen, Prospect Heights, Pullman, Richton Park, River Forest, River Grove, Riverdale, Riverside, Robbins, Rolling Meadows, Rosemont, Sag Bridge, Sauganash, Sauk Village, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Schrum, Skokie, South Barrington, South Chicago, South Chicago Heights, South Deering, South Holland, Southmoor, Spaulding, Staples Corner, Steger, Stickney, Stone Park, Stony Island, Streamwood, Summit, Sunny Crest, Sutton, Thornton, Thornton Junction, Tinley Park, University Park, West Pullman, Westchester, Western, Springs, Wheeling, Willow Springs, Wilmette, Winnetka, Worth

"By Wojciech Leja"

Appraisals are an Important Part of Your Home Buying Transaction

A real estate appraisal helps to establish a property’s market value–the likely sales price it would bring if offered in an open and competitive real estate market.

Your lender will require an appraisal when you ask to use a home or other real estate as security for a loan, because it wants to make sure that the property will sell for at least the amount of money it is lending.
Don’t confuse a comparative market analysis, or CMA, with an appraisal. Real estate agents use CMAs to help home sellers determine a realistic asking price. Experienced agents often come very close to an appraisal price with their CMAS, but an appraiser’s report is much more detailed–and is the only valuation report a bank will consider when deciding whether or not to lend the money. See bellow the list of services we provide:
Pre-listing appraisal
Tax assessment
Tax re-assessment
Financial planning, trusts etc
Partnership dissolution
PMI elimination
Retroactive for tax basis, etc. Short Sale
Short Sales
FSBO (for sale by owner)
Tax assessment Appeal review
Field Review
Estate planning
Property Flippers
"By Wojciech Leja"

“Real Estate Owned” or REO

The aftermath of the huge real estate boom that ended in mid-2006 has caused many changes in the real estate market. For example, if an REO home for sale has been on the market over 90 days, then an updated foreclosure appraisal from an independent appraiser is required to determine a sale price. The updated foreclosure appraisal is required to show market conditions that may have changed since the original foreclosure appraisal.
Owners of property in foreclosure present special challenges. The events that may have lead to the foreclosure (i.e., an unaffordable adjustment of the loan payment, the loss of a job, divorce, death, bankruptcy, medical issues, etc.) can put the homeowner on the defensive. Homeowners may be unwilling to allow an inspection of the property. If the property has been abandoned, care of the home may have been neglected for some time. In some cases, the home may have been intentionally damaged. We have the experience and the sensitivity to deal with the special dynamics of a foreclosure appraisal.
When an REO is on the market, the bank can lower the sale price, which can lead to a false impression of home values in that area. Many homeowners, and buyers too, go to websites that employ automated value modeling. You want to know the value of a property, and so you type in an address, and it gives you back a number. Frequently, that number includes transations outside of the normal marketed seller-buyer dynamic. They usually include bank-to-bank transfers and heavily-discounted REOs, and these will distort home values in a neighborhood.
In either case, whether you need a bankruptcy appraisal or a foreclosure appraisal, I can give you a quality, well-researched valuation of the property. Our contact information appears at the bottom of this page.
Please note that our company does not perform  comp searches or look-ups, which would make an assignment contingent upon a predetermined value. Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice do not allow for these types of assignments.

By "Wojciech Leja"

Foreclosure Appraisals

The foreclosure process is a long and complicated one. When a property is in foreclosure and mortgage payments hit the 90- to 120-day late mark, a lender typically requires a foreclosure appraisal. A foreclosure appraisal gives the lender the current value of the property.
This information could also be useful to the homeowner when in negotiations with the lender during the foreclosure process. Homeowners, banks and lenders need to know the difference between “fair market value” and “quick disposition value” in order to determine the potential equity or charge-off liability of the property. I can provide phased appraisal views of fair market value. In other words, the appraisal can show what the house is worth if properly marketed compared to As-Is, As-Repaired and/or Short Sale conditions.
Foreclosures are rapidly increasing, leaving banks and lenders with more and more REOs (Real Estate Owned — A property becomes an REO when the bank or lender has completed the foreclosure process and the property is completely owned by the bank or lender). Banks and lenders must then sell the foreclosed properties.

"By Wojciech Leja"

Bankruptcy Appraisals 

The process of a bankruptcy requires the debtor to create an expense report illustrating the net worth of their assets. In order to get a true reading of the value of their property, an appraisal is necessary. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to get the appraisal.  The bankruptcy process has several deadlines. Missing one deadline may postpone the court date and delay resolution. It is important to order a bankruptcy appraisal as soon as possible. We will work with your schedule to complete the report well before any deadlines. A simple call to us will keep the process on schedule and complete the requirements necessary for resolution.

By 'Wojcech Leja"

Divorce appraisals

Divorce appraisals can be a somewhat touchy situation. Most divorces are hard, it’s nothing anybody wants to go through. So the separation of the house and finances makes it a rough time. When we go to the homes of people who are getting a divorce, we’re really sensitive. We know it’s none of our business,but sometimes they start telling us the stories about what led up to the divorce and why they are splitting up. When that happens, we like to be a comforting ear. Of course, we never initiate conversations of such a personal nature.

When we are performing a divorce appraisal, we’re not there to hurt anybody or to take sides. I just want to help you out quickly and get you through the process. Someone is always asking me to raise or lower the value so that the other person doesn’t get what the house is really worth.

We try to be sensitive to everyone’s feelings during this difficult time, but we ignore such requests. Showing the house is a significant step in the divorce process. For some, it’s when it finally hits them, that this is for-real. They are separating their assets, and that’s a big moment. It means; “It’s really over.” It can also be a hostile situation if the other spouse comes in while I’m doing my job.
we have to maintain my objectivity and integrity in a divorce appraisal. We try not to input the divorcing homeowners’ comments into the valuation. We completely focus on what kind of house it is and work to establish an accurate valuation for the property.
Our initial contact usually comes from one side of the divorce, either the homeowner or their attorney. Usually, the homeowner wants to get this service done quickly and quietly, while the other party is not around. Or, the other person has moved out and this is the final stage of the settlement. In either case, we are discreet and sensitive to their needs.
Once the appraisal is completed and payment is received, we  submit the appraisal to the attorneys. Therefore, it is helpful if both legal-counsels are advised of this service prior to my site visit.

"By Wojciech Leja"

The Leja Group  has been providing appraisal services for commercial, rental properties and home appraisals in Chicago area for over 10 years.

Now we have increased our appraisal services into Henderson and Las Vegas Nevada area

 Certified  -  Experienced  -  Trusted

Las Vegas:  702-742-4355  Chicago: 773-642-9781

We are well-equipped and experienced in various areas of appraisal services.
Our professionally staffed, full-service office can provide the client with personal assurance that the project or assignment is handled proficiently and expeditiously.
In an ever-changing real estate market, experience is key to providing all of our clients’ needs. The company’s President has 10 years of residential valuation experience and his associates possess 10+ years of experience.

By"Wojciech Leja"
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