A real estate appraiser has an essential role in almost all types of real estate matters, be it a tax appeal, divorce, bankruptcy, estate settlement, purchase, and more.

The concluded final value provided by the appraiser can be the deciding factor of a tax appeal’s approval or disapproval, a purchase transaction’s closing or failure, and the success or failure of any relevant situation.

Therefore, utilizing the services of a seasoned appraiser is crucial for all matters regarding real estate.

If you’re facing a real estate matter and require the services of an appraiser, the following questions should help narrow down your selection when hiring an appraiser:

  • What is your name and telephone number?
  • Make sure you have this information should the need arise to reach the appraiser in the future. The prefix within their phone number may also indicate whether or not they’re geographically located within your immediate area.
  • What is your license (or certification) number?
  • This lets an appraiser know you’re serious about the job at hand. A licensed or certified appraiser should never hesitate to provide you with their license or certification number when asked, and if they do, then don’t waste your time and move on to the next appraiser.
  • Where is your office located?
  • Hiring an appraiser from out of the area can be a mistake as the appraiser may not have the experience necessary working in your locality. You want to make sure any appraiser you hire is familiar with your market area so don’t hesitate to ask them additional “local” qualifying questions.
  • Do you work out of your home or a professional office?
  • Honestly, it doesn’t truly matter whether an appraiser works out of their home or from an office. So the answer to this question should never be the decisive factor in your selection as quite often the most experienced and qualified appraisers do work from their homes.
  • Have you ever been disciplined before?
  • Disciplined appraisers may have cut corners in the past so you should always be wary of hiring appraisers who may have been sanctioned in the past. If you decide to move forward in hiring a previously sanctioned appraiser at a minimum you should check to make sure their license is active.
  • Are you a full time appraiser?
  • It can be difficult for part-time appraisers to keep up with continually changing market trends, let alone remain dedicated to the cumbersome appraisal process. As such, you should only consider hiring full-time appraisers or at a minimum very experienced part-time appraisers.
  • How long have you been appraising?
  • Experience and knowledge should be your key points of concern in hiring an appraiser and the appraisal process. Standard and non-complex properties can typically be handled by appraisers with 5 +/- years’ experience while more difficult-complex properties should be handled by appraisers with 10 +/- years’ experience.
  • Are you licensed or certified?
  • “Licensed” or “Certified”; these are the two types of residential appraisal licenses. “Licensed” appraisers typically cannot appraise homes exceeding $1M in value and are not allowed to perform FHA appraisals for lending purposes. Conversely, “certified” appraisers usually have more experience, training, and education than “licensed” appraisers and typically are more qualified to handle more complex properties as well as FHA and VA appraisals for lending purposes.
  • Have you ever appraised properties of this type in this area?
  • It is recommended that you hire an appraiser who is experienced working with your specific property type and who is also familiar with your local area to ensure the most accurate appraisal possible. Don’t assume all appraisers are the same and hire an appraiser based strictly on price. It could end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
  • Are you a member of the local multiple listing service (MLS)?
  • The MLS database provides invaluable information on the majority of homes that have either recently sold or that are currently listed for sale in your area. If the appraiser you’re considering hiring doesn’t have access to the local MLS, you should immediately seek another option.