5 Questions To Ask Your Appraiser

questions | ask your home appraiser

Hiring an appraiser is an important part of the real estate process, but how do you find the right one? To get an accurate and thorough appraisal, you’ll want to hire a qualified, reputable appraiser. Different appraisers have different experience, qualifications and knowledge.

When the appraisal is done for a home mortgage, you don’t have the opportunity to choose your own appraiser, however any reputable appraiser is glad to address questions and concerns. Although you cannot try to influence the value in an appraisal, you can ask the following questions before hiring an appraiser or letting them appraise your home:


1. Are You Familiar With The Area?

A qualified appraiser knows the area they are appraising in, and has done appraisals here before. Even good appraisers can sometimes provide inaccurate appraisals because they are not familiar with your city or neighborhood.


2. Are You Licensed Or Certified?

Residential appraisers can be licensed, certified or a general certified appraiser. A general certified appraiser is typically a commercial appraiser but is certified for all residential appraisals as well. A certified appraiser is certified the higher level of state authorization for residential appraisers, while a licensed appraiser is the lowest level of certification a state can give. A certified appraiser can appraise all residential properties regardless of complexity and commercial properties under $1,000,000.


3. How Long Have You Been Appraising?

While everyone has to start somewhere, do you really want to be part of their training process? If an appraiser is relatively new, keep in mind that a full-time appraiser may have more experience in your local area or type of property than someone who has just began appraising. Don’t use this question as the only indicator of whether to hire.


4. How Long Have You Been Appraising?

It is not crucial that your appraiser live in your area, but you certainly don’t want to find out after the fact that their office is located in another state. Appraisers need to be well informed about the particulars of the specific location and distinctions of the property.


5. When Will The Report Be Ready?

Lenders are required, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to tell borrowers they can have a copy of the appraiser’s report, as well as any other documentation the process generates. Because you are required to see this information at least three days before closing, it’s important to know when the appraisal report will be ready.


After asking these questions, you probably have a good idea of whether or not you want to hire the appraiser you are interviewing. Here are a few additional red flags to look out for:

  • Do they look/act like a professional?
  • Did they answer any questions with “I don’t know”?

Keep in mind, even if this is an appraiser your lender has chosen, you can still decline services. If this is the case and you let the appraiser know you are not going through with their appraisal, you’ll need to call the lender (or your real estate agent) and let them know the reason why you declined the appraiser so they can send someone else out to complete the appraisal. However, if you decline services of an appraiser who has already come to your home, there may be a cancellation fee involved.


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