General Questions

What is an appraiser?

An appraiser identifies and provides a value for various types of property. A real estate appraiser specifically provides the market value of a property to be used in real estate transactions.

What is the importance of a professional real estate appraisal?

The job of the professional appraiser is to determine property values by gathering, analyzing, and applying information. It is important to have a professional appraiser to ensure that there is an impartial third party in the lending process, protecting real estate buyers from overpaying for property, as well as protecting lenders from over-lending to buyers.

What are appraiser qualifications?

Most states require all real estate appraisers to be state licensed, state certified, or have fulfilled rigorous education and experience requirements. Real estate appraisers must adhere to strict industry standards and a professional code of ethics formulated by the Appraisal Foundation. To see the specific requirements for any state, click here.

How long does an appraisal take and how much does it cost?

Most states require all real estate appraisers to be state licensed, state certified, or have fulfilled rigorous education and experience requirements. Real estate appraisers must adhere to strict industry standards and a professional code of ethics formulated by the Appraisal Foundation. To see the specific requirements for any state, click here.

Where does the appraiser get the information needed to complete the appraisal?

The appraiser gets his or her information from a wide variety of sources, including the local Multiple Listing Service, local tax assessor’s records, local real estate professionals, county courthouse records, private public record data vendors, interviews with sellers and buyers, appraisal data co-operatives, his or her own personal knowledge, or office files from previous appraisals. The quality, reliability, and credibility of each piece of information is considered by the appraiser.

What does the appraiser look for?

Typically, an appraiser needs to document the condition of both the interior and exterior of the property. The appraiser will document the layout, all features, the degree of modernization, any updates, and the overall quality of construction. This information will help to assist the appraiser throughout the valuation and comparison process.

What is an appraisal report?

An appraisal report is a document that clearly states the kind of value being determined, such as fair market (used for taxes), replacement (used for insurance coverage), and liquidation (used for bankruptcy or business dissolution), describes the property being valued, includes the appraiser’s qualifications, and the property’s comparable sales.

What can I do if I'm not happy with my appraisal?

Good appraisers won’t mind doing a reconsideration of value. They will focus on gathering more data and returning it back to you in a timely manner. However, if an appraiser agrees to change the value with no hesitation, that is not the appraiser you want! As pleasing as it may sound at the time, this can cause enormous problems down the line for both you and your appraiser.

Choosing the Right Appraiser

Qualifications

Every appraiser has a qualification sheet that provides background on his/her properties, education, licenses, and certifications. You want to make sure that your appraiser is a state-certified appraiser.  A certified appraiser is the highest level of authorization by a state. Licensed appraisers aren’t allowed to appraise complex or expensive properties. The Federal Housing Administration does not accept appraisals from licensed individuals, only certified appraisers.

Years of Experience

Appraising is a difficult profession to get into. It takes an appraiser about five years of education and working with various properties in order to be successful. Many who are in the industry themselves recommend an appraiser who has 10 or more years of experience. Additionally, be wary of part-time appraisers. Being that a part-time appraiser has another full-time job, many will accept an assignment for quick cash regardless of their knowledge of the area or the current market trends. A full-time appraiser will be knowledgeable on current on the industry standards.

Market Knowledge

You should look for an appraiser that knows your market area extensively.  An appraiser from another county may not be as knowledgeable as a local appraiser. It’s important you find an appraiser who will focus on your appraisal needs and specializes in your market area.

Reference

Ask for recommendations from real estate agents, attorneys, lenders, or accountants. Ask for appraisers who have proven to be reputable. Remember that this does not relieve you from doing your own personal research on the appraiser.

Price

Ask for recommendations from real estate agents, attorneys, lenders, or accountants. Ask for appraisers who have proven to be reputable. Remember that this does not relieve you from doing your own personal research on the appraiser.