The Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Appraiser

san diegoA real estate appraiser plays a significant role in nearly every situation that involves real estate. It can be a tax appeal, purchase, estate settlement, divorce, bankruptcy, and more. The role of the appraiser can never be downplayed, since they can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful transaction. Therefore it is vital that that you hire a ‘qualified’ appraiser for whatever the need may be. There are a lot of things you should consider before hiring an appraiser, and below is a list of the ‘Top 10 Questions You Should Ask before Hiring an Appraiser’:

1. What is Your Name and Telephone Number?

You will need to know this information should you need to contact the appraiser in the future. In addition, their phone number prefix may indicate whether or not they’re located within your local area.

2. What is Your Appraisal License Number?

This lets an appraiser know upfront that you’re serious about the task at hand. An appraiser should have no concern about providing you with this information, and if they do, pass and move on to a more forthcoming appraiser.

3. Where is Your Office Located?

Hiring an appraiser from outside of your area can often be a big mistake as there’s a good chance they may not have the knowledge necessary to complete a credible assignment. You need to ensure the appraiser is familiar with your marketplace so don’t hesitate to ask a few “local” questions in order to test their knowledge of your area.

4. Do Your Work Out of Your Home or A Professional Office?

Most commercial appraisers work out of a professional office however; a large majority of residential appraisers prefer to work from their home since it’s more convenient and they have no need for a large office. Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether a residential appraiser works from home or from an office, as quite often the most experienced and qualified residential appraisers do work from their homes.

5. Have You Ever Been Disciplined Before?

It is important to know about the disciplinary record of the appraiser before hiring them. Disciplined appraisers may have cut corners in the past so you should always be wary of hiring appraisers who have been sanctioned in the past. If you do hire an appraiser who’s been sanctioned at some point in the past then at a minimum you should ensure their license is active.

6. Are You a Full Time Appraiser?

It is important to know whether an appraiser works full time or part time. 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. Generally, you should only work with full time appraisers.

7. How Long Have You Been Appraising?

An appraiser’s experience and knowledge should be your main concern when hiring an appraiser. We recommend hiring an appraiser with 5+ years’ industry experience for basic and non-complex properties and a 10+ year veteran for more complex and difficult properties.

8. Are You Licensed, Certified or General?

It is important to understand the difference between Licensed, Certified, and Certified General appraisers before hiring. A licensed appraiser cannot appraise FHA homes, homes valued above $1M and normally more complex residential properties. A certified appraiser can typically appraise any type of “residential” property between 1-4 units as they require additional education, experience and training which most often makes them a better choice for your residential needs. Certified General Appraisers are quite different from residential appraisers in that there are generally no restrictions on the type of properties they can appraise. Certified General Appraisers have a significant amount of additional training and experience than most residential appraisers and their reports are typically more subjective in nature.

9. Have You Ever Appraised Properties of this Type in this Area?

It’s critical that you hire an appraiser experienced with your property type and experienced with your market area to ensure the more accurate appraisal report possible. Never assume appraisers are all the same and never hire someone simply because they were the cheapest, as this could cost you dearly in the long run.

10. Are You a Member of the Local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?

It’s important that you hire an appraiser who is a member of the local MLS. The MLS collects data of all of the local homes currently listed for sale as well as homes that have recently sold, which is critical information required for the appraisal process. If you’re talking with an appraiser who doesn’t have local access to the MLS, hang up, and move on to an appraiser who does!

I hope you found this helpful and if you have any additional questions, thoughts, or comments please leave them down below.

IRR San Diego specializes in both commercial and residential appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate, date of death, tax appeals, pre-listings, and more throughout the greater San Diego area. For more info contact us at (858) 259-4900, visit our website at IRRSanDiego.com, or email us @ eschneider@irr.com.

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One Response to The Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Appraiser

  1. Braden Bills says:

    I think it’s important to hire an appraiser, especially in the case of a divorce. If you know the values of everything, then the settlement will be much easier. Thanks for sharing!

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