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The Top 10 Things to Ask Before Hiring An Appraiser!

salt lakeA real estate appraiser plays a vital role in any situation that is related to real estate. It could be any type of real estate transaction and can often mean the difference between a good transaction and a bad transaction. This is why it’s imperative you hire a qualified, professional appraiser. Not many people know the difference between an unqualified and a qualified appraiser, which can come back to haunt them in the end. So here is a list of the ‘Top 10 Things You Should Ask an Appraiser’ before hiring them for an appraisal.

1.     What is Your Name and Telephone Number?

Ensure sure you have the appraiser’s name and phone number should the need arise to reach them in the future. In addition, the prefix of their phone number is often an indicator as to whether or not they’re physically located within your local area.

2.     What is Your License (or Certification) Number?

This question lets the appraiser know you mean business and are serious about the related appraisal task. Any credible appraiser will have no problem providing you with this information. If an appraiser refuses or even hesitates to provide this information to you, don’t waste your time and move on to a more forthcoming appraiser.

3.     Where is Your Office Located?

This question will help you get an idea about the geographic competency of the appraiser. An appraiser who has little knowledge or experience in your market area may perform a less than credible report, so you should only hire an appraiser that is familiar with and in touch with your local market.

4.     Do You Work From a Professional Office or Out of Your Home?

There is a myth that appraisers who work from home are less qualified than appraisers who work from an office. This should not be a concern when hiring an appraiser as most often it makes little if any difference whether an appraiser works from home or not. In fact, the most qualified and experienced appraisers often do work out of their home.

5.     Have You Ever Been Disciplined Before?

You need to ask this question in order to find out the disciplinary record of the appraiser. If they have been disciplined, it means they may have cut corners in the past or done something wrong. You should always be wary of hiring an appraiser with a disciplinary record. If you decide to move forward in hiring a previously sanctioned appraiser, then at a minimum you should make sure their license is active.

6.     Are You a Full-time Appraiser?

The appraisal process requires dedication and commitment. In order to get the most credible appraisal report possible, you normally should only hire a full time appraiser as they’re more likely to be aware of continually changing market trends as well as any recent changes in the appraisal industry.

7.     How Long Have You Been Appraising?

Experience and knowledge should be your main points of concern when hiring an appraiser. Basic non-complex properties can typically be handled by appraisers with 5 years’ experience while more complex properties should be handled by appraisers with 10 or more years’ experience.

8.     Are You Licensed or Certified?

“Licensed” and “Certified” are the two types of state issued residential appraisal licenses. “Licensed” appraisers are not allowed to appraise homes valued over $1M nor are they allowed to perform FHA appraisals for lending purposes. On the other hand, “certified” appraisers usually have more experience, training, and education and are more qualified to handle more difficult-complex properties, as well as FHA and VA appraisals for lending purposes.

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

This question will allow you to judge the experience and knowledge of the appraiser. You should only hire an appraiser experienced working with your specific property type as well as one who is familiar with your market area to insure the most accurate appraisal possible. Never hire an appraiser based strictly on the cheapest price as it could end up costing you dearly in the end.

10.     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. I hope you found this helpful and if you have any additional questions, thoughts, or comments please leave them down below. The Aspen Appraisal Group specializes in appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate, date of death, tax appeals, pre-listings, and more throughout the greater Salt Lake area.  For more info contact us at our Salt Lake City office at (801) 260-2828 or our Heber City office at (435) 657-9630.  You can also contact us through our website at AspenAppraising.com.  

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