In the words of Confucius, “the cautious seldom err.” Many people do not take the time to find a qualified, educated, certified appraiser. Often times, appraisers are randomly found in the yellow pages or online.
So how do you determine who is a good appraiser? The following will address some areas to question when looking for an appraiser.
Qualification of Appraiser: Every appraiser has a qualification sheet that provides background on his/her properties, education, and licenses. 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 home. The Federal Housing Administration does not accept appraisals from “licensed” individuals, only “certified” appraisers.
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. Many appraisers service more than 3 counties; thus, it’s important you find an appraiser who will focus on your appraisal needs and specializes in your market area.
Years of Experience: The appraisal profession is difficult to get into and takes about 5 years of working with a variation of properties, good education, and a good mentor to be a successful. Many who are in the industry themselves recommend an appraiser who has 10 or more years’ experience. Another thing to watch out for regarding experience are part-time appraisers. Being that a part time appraiser has full time jobs, 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.
Experience in the type of property you need appraised: An appraiser may have a license to do all residential or commercial type properties; however, this does not mean they have experience in all types. If you were going to have brain surgery would you want a glaucoma surgeon to do your surgery? No. Apply the same logic when hiring an appraiser. They all went to school for the same thing but specialized in something different through experience.
Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from real estate agents, attorneys, lenders, or accountants. Ask for appraisers who have proven to be reputable. This reference does not relieve you from doing your own personal research on the appraiser.
Fee: Not all products are the same and not all fees charged will be the same. Commercial real estate differs from residential real estate. Keep cost in mind however, don’t let it over shadow the fact that experience Matters. Fees are set by the individual appraiser based on quality, experience, expertise and the type of home. Don’t always be quick to let an “expensive” appraiser go for a “cheap” one. The saying, “You get what you pay for” still applies in this situation.