How to Choose the Right Appraiser for Your Home
Home appraisals are a necessary part of the process of selling a house. Before a lender approves financing for the home, they will conduct an appraisal to determine the value of the property. If the appraised value comes out lower than the agreed sale price, renegotiations may be necessary, or the buyer can decide to get out of the deal. Homebuyers or sellers have no say on who does the home appraisal at this stage – the choice rests on the lender alone.
However, as a homeowner, you might find the need to have your home appraised for various reasons. If you’re thinking of refinancing your mortgage, an appraisal will give you an idea if you have enough equity. If you plan to sell your home, an appraisal can be instrumental in setting the right price for it. It can also help you determine what you can do to increase your home’s value.
A home appraisal report will typically include a description of the property, an overview of market trends, and the reasoning behind the given value. These reports are done by a professional home appraiser
Home appraisers offer objective, unbiased, and impartial opinions of a property’s value. They look at the square footage, the number of rooms, the neighborhood, and other factors to determine how much the home is worth.
How to Choose the Right Home Appraiser
- Property specialization
Just like real estate agents, home appraisers also specialize in a certain type of real estate. Residential appraisers may specialize in single-family homes, condominiums, or apartments, while commercial appraisers are focused on income-generating properties like land, office buildings, shopping centers, and hotels.
If you’re selling your single-family residence, you want to hire an expert in appraising single-family homes, not condominiums. Your appraiser needs to have the appropriate professional experience in order to provide you with a credible report.
Experience is an important factor when it comes to choosing a home appraiser. Look into how long a potential appraiser has been in the business and the number of appraisals they have accomplished in the past year. A professional with at least five years of general appraisal experience is most ideal.
In addition, you also need to look at a potential appraiser’s experience in the area you’re in. They need to be familiar with the neighborhood and the local real estate market.
Other questions that you may want to ask a potential appraiser are:
- Are you self-employed or part of an appraisal company?
- Are you a full-time or part-time appraiser?
- Are you a member of any professional appraiser organization?
When it comes to qualifications, home appraisers can either be licensed or certified. A licensed appraiser, which is the lowest level of certification, can only assess basic properties. Certified home appraisers, on the other hand, are allowed to appraise more complex and valuable properties.
An appraiser may also have a designation from the Appraisal Institute, the largest professional association of real estate appraisers in the United States. Appraisal Institute Designations include:
- MAI Membership Designation
- SRPA Membership Designation
- SRA Membership Designation
- AI-GRS Membership Designation
- AI-RRS Membership Designation
- SREA and RM Membership Designation
- Local MLS membership
Another qualification to look for in a home appraiser is membership in the local multiple listing service (MLS), which is a database of homes for sale and or have been sold in an area. If your appraiser has access to your local MLS, it provides them with a useful resource when assessing your home.
- Disciplinary record
You also want to avoid working with appraisers with not-so-stellar records. These are individuals or companies who may have been sanctioned for cutting corners, not following the expected appraisal standards, providing low-quality appraisal reports, or similar reasons.
To look at a potential appraiser’s record, check the Georgia Real Estate Commission & Appraisers Board’s website.
Ask your potential appraiser for around two to three references that are past or current clients. Contact these references and ask them about their experience with the appraiser and if they were satisfied with the appraiser’s work.
- Ask your agent for recommended appraisers. Your real estate agent has a huge network of contacts that may include contractors, title companies, moving companies, and appraisers. The agent may be able to recommend a trustworthy appraiser that they can vouch for.
- Don’t hire the first appraiser you find. The work of an appraiser can make a huge difference in selling or refinancing your home. That’s why it’s important to talk to several potential appraisers before deciding on the right one. You’ll want to find an appraiser that’s knowledgeable, competent, and qualified.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions. If you’re still unsure about an appraiser’s experience and qualifications, ask away. You don’t want to get a wrong home valuation because of an underqualified home appraiser.
Sell Your Home in Houston County, GA
We at Warner Robins Home Search can help you in all your real estate needs, including finding the right Houston County, GA property appraiser. Get in touch with us today to start.