Buying a home is a major purchase and savvy customers want to save money in any way they can! Many fees in your home transaction are negotiable, but one you definitely shouldn’t skimp on is the home appraisal.

An appraisal differs from an inspection in that it doesn’t only identify potential problems with the home, but also establishes the home’s market value in the context of neighboring properties.

Modern consumers are more aware of the importance of appraisals in the home purchase process. Such evaluations can help establish a fair asking price for buyers and allow sellers to realize a full profit from the sale.

A quality appraisal is useful for buyers, sellers, agents and lenders alike because it can discover problems before the sale is concluded and buyers have no recourse. These professionals offer reliable information on existing amenities and the value of installed upgrades. They can also advise sellers on inexpensive updates that offer a substantial return on investment such as modern fixtures and doors, fresh paint, or crown molding.

Why Should You Get an Appraisal

The appraisal is drafted using standardized reporting practices that present the information in a clear, organized way. This document will legally identify the property, establish fair market value, and compare the home against three other properties.

The investigation will uncover flaws and identify any necessary repairs as well as carefully inspect the floors, walls, and interior systems like electrical and HVAC.

The appraiser with evaluate the overall health of the real estate market to estimate the potential sale time and draft a statement about area.

How to Find a Qualified Appraiser

In many cases, the lender will select an appraiser to evaluate the property. This can sometimes cause problems when lenders take the cheapest or first bidder. Consumers are welcome to look up the appraiser assigned to their home by visiting the National Registry of Appraisers.

If you want to hire a professional of your own choosing, be sure you do your research. Always check the credentials of local appraisers by reviewing the licensing board information. You’re looking for a valid license that is in good standing and appraisers with a minimum of 5 years experience, though 10 is preferable.

What is this individual’s reputation? Check the Better Business Bureau for complaints and ask for referrals from friends or real estate agents. Once you’ve narrowed the list down to several candidates, give each of them a call and ask lots of questions!

Good Questions to Ask

Address and Phone Number

Get the basic contact information for each appraiser, where their office is located, and what service areas they typically work in. You want to know what areas they’re most familiar with, to make sure they understand your particular real estate market.

How Long Have You Been in this Business?

When it comes to choosing an appraiser, the longer they’ve been in business, the better. Look for something with 5-10 years of experience. They’ve developed an eye for catching problems and seeing patterns that newer appraisers typically haven’t mastered. They will also understand how to identify homes truly comparable for correct valuation.

What Areas Do You Work In?

Geographic competence is an important industry term referring to an appraiser’s level of expertise within a specific area. If they don’t live and work in, or very near, where your home is located, it’s very likely they aren’t the best fit for the job.

Appraisers unfamiliar with your area won’t know local real estate trends or have access to local MLS sales data, which is a necessary tool for creating a valid appraisal.

If you’re not convinced of their geographic competence, ask specific questions about your neighborhood, like typical problems they run into, average selling price and days on the market, etc.

What Are Your Credentials?

Ask for their licensing or certification number. A qualified appraiser will be able to provide you this number without any issue. Beware of any potential hire that can’t or won’t provide you with this information.

Ask to see their resume. This document outlines their education and experience, and will help you determine if they are qualified to conduct the appraisal. Look at what types of properties they’re familiar with and if they have any additional certifications or professional designations.

Ask if they belong to a professional organization. Membership in a trade organization requires additional classroom hours in addition to mastering the basics of principles, procedures, theory, ethics and law. Participants are required to follow a code of conduct and ethics and face fines or expulsion if they violate the code. They also have real time access to current information and industry updates.

Ask for testimonials. Testimonials from satisfied clients will help you determine if the appraiser in question has a professional reputation for honesty and integrity.

What Educational Requirements Have You Met?

It’s important to check what educational requirements an appraiser has met. All licensed professionals must complete mandatory continuing education to keep their license in good standing. This ensures they are up to date with the latest methods and practices, and aware of important, ever-changing regulations.

In Texas, there are four designations for appraisers:

  1. Appraiser Trainee – trainees are studying and working under the sponsorship of a Certified Residential or General Appraiser. They might be assigned to evaluate your property, but work under supervision.
  2. Licensed Residential Appraiser – These professionals are authorized to perform appraisals on non-complex 1-4 unit residential properties valued below a million dollars.
  3. Certified Residential Appraiser – These professionals are authorized to appraise 1-4 unit residential properties of any complexity or value.
  4. Certified General Appraiser – Certified general appraisers are authorized to assess all types of federally and non-federally related real property regardless of complexity or value.

Visit the Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board website for more information or to file a complaint.

How Much Will It Cost?

Reputable appraisers will charge a flat rate or hourly fee for their services. Most appraisals take two to three hours and can cost between 300 and 450 dollars.

If your lender has ordered the appraisal, expect to possibly pay management fees as well.

The Best Bang for Your Buck

Congratulations on buying a home! This is a huge milestone in anyone’s life and you want to be sure you’re making the best possible choice for your money.

Ensuring a home is up to code and par is an incredibly important step in the purchase process. Hiring a professional appraiser can help you identify the value of your future home and alert you to any problems that might be lurking under the surface.

At Whitestone Acquisitions, we specialize in buying properties as-is. If you’re ready to sell your home but don’t want to deal with the stress and time constraints of a traditional sale, we can help! We buy homes in Dallas, Houston, and Cleveland.

If you’re interested in a pain-free home sale that can be concluded in as little as ten days, please give us a call at 844-207-8857 or visit our website.