Many people are familiar with names and advertisements of local appraisers, but not everyone understands precisely what the responsibility of an appraiser entails. Local appraisers perform a very important role in a variety of industries in their communities by accurately determining the property values for land and buildings. The values determined by local appraisers affect property tax rates. Local and County taxes are calculated by a percentage of property assessment values. If an appraised value is too high, the property owners will be liable for an unfair amount of taxes, and if the value is too inflated, they may not be able to pay at all. When an appraised value is too low, the local or county government may be cheated out of funds that can be used toward the government budget. Information reported by local appraisers is also utilized by mortgage companies and financial institutions to determine whether or not to grant a loan request using the home as collateral. Just as with property assessments, the accuracy of appraisals for loan requests is very important. A value that is too low could result in a person being unfairly disqualified for funding while a value that is too high could result in a loss for the financial institution if the borrower defaults on the loan. Local appraisers also perform the important role in valuing homes for sale. Before a home is placed on the market, it is given a fair market value that real estate agents use to determine the asking price. Because the appraiser is an impartial third party with no interest in the sale, his or her evaluation of the homes value can be trusted by the buyer as well. At times, the value of a home may be needed to determine the value of an estate or to set a legal matter. The services of local appraisers are used in these cases in accordance with a court order that instructs the valuation. The results of the appraisal may then be used to determine estate taxes, to settle a judgment for a legal dispute, or to calculate a lump sum pay-off from one spouse to another during a divorce.