Top 7 Things To Look For in Qualified Appraisers
By Hisham Labanieh
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Real Estate agents and loan consultants will often go through countless appraisers trying to find one they can depend on and use on a regular basis. One may ask why is it so difficult to find a reliable appraiser? There are likely to be many answers, but perhaps one major reason is that with the real estate boom of the late 90's and early 2000's many new appraisers came onto the market. Those appraisers often lacked the proper training, experience, and work ethic. This article serves as a guide in finding the right appraiser, one whom you can forge a long-term working relationship with.
- Is the appraiser licensed in the state where the appraisal(s) will take place? You will be surprised to learn how many appraisers work without having the proper license/certification. Banks will always reject appraisals performed by unlicensed appraisers.
- Ask the appraiser about his background. Has his license ever been suspended? Has he been placed on probation? Is his license currently active or has it expired? These are all very important questions to ask and one must not be shy about asking those questions.
- Are appraisal reports completed by a licensed appraiser or some staff member who merely does data entry and has no appraisal knowledge? Just as it is important for the appraiser to make a personal inspection of the property, it is even more important that the appraiser is the person responsible for completing the report.
- What is the turnaround period for appraisal reports? A turnaround for appraisal reports is the amount of time it takes the appraiser to prepare the report from the time of inspection. A turnaround period of greater than 3 days is considered too long, especially given the current market situation. A turnaround period of 3 days is acceptable, however, a turnaround of 24-48 hours is ideal.
- How much does the appraiser charge for his services? Appraisal fees should be no more than $350 for Single Family Residence or Condominium units. Some appraisers will try to get away with charging as much as $400, however, by paying more it does not necessarily translate into getting a better product. Appraisal reports are completed according to strict USPAP guidelines, therefore, all appraisal reports are created in the same format and using the same information. It's just that some companies will try to get away with charging you more. Truly innovative companies will take advantage of today's technology and can offer you a more superior product at a better and more competitive price.
- Does the appraiser take advantage of today's technology? Online ordering helps shave valuable time and innovative websites allow clients to order online, track orders, and even print reports directly from the website. Today's technology has made the appraisal process completely digital, from placing orders online to taking digital pictures during the inspection process, to the completion and publication of the appraisal reports.
- How credible and reliable are statements made by the appraiser? This is the hardest part in deciding whether or not you will be able to trust the appraiser with your work, however, your first instinct is always the best. What I have learned is that truly reliable and credible appraisers will always stand by their work. Look for companies that offer you guaranteed results and will always stand by promises made to you. Companies who offer you a money back guarantee if reports are not completed in a timely manner are a great way to go. Their work is usually consistent and are likely to go the extra mile to keep you happy.
Hisham Labanieh is a California licensed appraiser and owner of First Choice Appraisals [http://www.thefirstchoiceappraisals.com/], a leading real estate appraisal company in Southern California. He contributes to his blog regularly at The First Choice Blog [http://www.thefirstchoiceappraisals.com/FCA_Blog]. He has worked in the real estate industry for many years and has an extensive background both in real estate appraisals as well as financing.
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Article Submitted On: February 16, 2008