Although there are many appraisers in the market, finding dependable appraisal services that can provide great value can be a daunting process. If the past is anything to go by, most banks and lenders do not hire the best appraisers and this often leads to various internal failures. Statistics have also shown that most appraisal issues can be directly linked to the appraiser’s knowledge and competence. There are several other reasons why you should put more thought when ordering appraisal services. Since you end up paying for the service, it is only right you get value for every penny spent. Here are a few insights including things to look for and questions to ask.
Contact and Credibility
This is a no brainer. When ordering appraisal services, you should ask for a name, telephone number and license certificate number for future reference. Asking for a license lets the appraiser know you are serious about the credibility. If they find it intimidating or fail to provide a satisfactory answer, you should flag it as a possible reason to avoid any appraisal services from them. It is advisable to order from certified appraisers as opposed to licensed individuals. A licensed appraiser is the lowest level for most states and some lenders like FHA do not accept them. However, states like Arizona consider licensed appraisers the best kinds so check the requirements for your state.
When ordering appraisal services, you are basically looking for a qualified appraiser who is knowledgeable about your local market. This is why you should know where their office is located. If they are traveling hundreds of miles to reach your home, they probably have a limited knowledge of your area. Even worse, they may not have the credibility and competence to find jobs in their residential towns. Ask whether they work in an office or from home. Studies have shown that appraisers working as a group deliver better results as they are able to share information and increase their respective knowledge in the field.
Experience and Qualification
How long has the appraiser been practicing in your area? Do they have access to the local Multiple Listing System (MLS)? These are very important questions to ask your appraiser. Only competent licensed individuals have private access to the local MLS. If they do not have access, they are probably from another state or simply incompetent. There’s no nationwide MLS and each state has a different system to suit their unique situation. Ask the appraiser how long they have appraised property similar to yours.
Qualification is another important aspect to look at. Appraisers can be designated after passing the government minimum test. Ask your appraiser if they have any designation such as an IFA, MAI or SRA. Designated appraisers have two to three times more knowledge in the field.
There are various other things to look for when ordering appraisal services. Individual fees, discipline status, communication, and representation are all important. Since the government insists that no one is allowed to influence the appraiser, there is one thing you can do; qualify your bank and pre-screen who they hire. You can ask the bank about their hiring process to determine if they have competent appraisers. Never settle for appraisal services from an appraiser you do not believe is knowledgeable or competent enough to provide quality property assessment.
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