How to Choose a Real Estate Appraiser - Six Critical Questions You Must Ask

by Mack Mitzsheva

Investing in or buying a piece of property can be a financially savvy move. Regardless of how perfect the property appears at first blush, however, it's always prudent -- even mandatory for home loans and insurance policies -- to have a professional appraiser examine the property and give you a solid appraisal. An appraiser estimates the value of real property. There are six critical questions you should ask an appraiser before hiring him to appraise the property.

Verify whether the appraiser is state licensed or certified by requesting to see his credentials. Most states require appraisers to be a certified general real estate appraiser or a certified residential real estate appraiser.

Check with the agency that issued the certification or license to make sure the license or certification is current. Also, check to see if the credentials have been revoked or if any other disciplinary or legal action has been taken against the appraiser.

Ask the appraiser if he has experience in appraising the type of real estate for which you need services. For example, if the appraisal is for residential property, inquire about the experience level the appraiser has when it comes to homes. If he has experience in appraising only commercial property, he may not be the right appraiser for you.

Question the appraiser about the area where the property is located. Your goal is to find out whether the appraiser is familiar with recent home sales in the area, applicable zoning laws and other local information that may impact an appraisal.

Request that the appraiser explain to you his methodology for arriving at an appraisal. Appraisers have different styles. Your intent is to identify his way of determining the value of the property. Request a written breakdown of the checklist he uses to arrive at his conclusions.

Obtain references from the appraiser and check them. See what past clients have to say about the quality of her work and if they would use her services again or recommend her to someone else. Also check to see if the appraiser has a website or belongs to any professional associations.

Tip

  • Use a person trained as an appraiser to obtain the best appraisal for the property. Avoid taking an appraisal from a real estate agent unless that agent also has training as an appraiser.

Warning

  • Avoid an appraiser that won't give you references or show you his credentials. That might be a sign of a scam artist out to take your money and give you a bogus appraisal.

About the Author

Mack Mitzsheva is a tax lawyer, personal finance expert and the author of the forthcoming ebook, "10 Best Places to Work Online." Mitzsheva is also a social media entrepreneur with five successful sites under her belt. Always innovative, Mitzsheva is currently developing a cutting-edge budgeting app for newlyweds.

Photo Credits

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