How To Choose The Right Home Appraiser For Your Property?

Real estate agents planning on staging the for sale house

When you’re involved in real estate transactions, whether buying or selling, obtaining a home appraisal is a crucial step. However, the importance of home appraisals extends beyond these scenarios. There are numerous other situations where a home appraisal proves beneficial or even essential. To make the most out of this process, it’s imperative to know how to find a qualified home appraiser. In this article, we’ll delve into the significance of home appraisals and guide you on how to find a reliable home appraiser for your property.

A home appraiser doing home appraisal for a home buyer

What Is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is a professional evaluation of a property’s value, conducted by a licensed appraiser. This process is crucial in real estate transactions, ensuring that the property’s price is fair for both the buyer and the seller. The appraisal takes into account various factors, including the home’s condition, location, and comparable sales in the area.

The primary purpose of a home appraisal is to determine the market value of a property. Lenders require an appraisal before approving a mortgage to ensure the loan amount does not exceed the property’s worth. This protects the lender from lending more money than the house is worth and protects the buyer from overpaying.

What Do Home Appraisers Look For?

Home appraisers examine several key aspects of a property to determine its value:

  1. Location: The neighborhood’s desirability, proximity to schools, shopping centers, and public transportation significantly impact the appraisal.
  2. Condition of the Property: The appraiser assesses the home’s overall condition, including the state of the roof, foundation, windows, and doors. They also check for any damage or necessary repairs.
  3. Size and Layout: The square footage of the home and the layout of the rooms are important factors. Larger homes with well-designed layouts generally appraise higher.
  4. Age of the Property: While older homes can have charm and character, newer homes might have modern amenities and less wear and tear.
  5. Upgrades and Improvements: Recent renovations, new appliances, and other upgrades can increase a home’s value.
  6. Comparable Sales: The appraiser looks at similar homes in the area that have recently sold, considering their sale prices to help determine the home’s market value.

Home Appraisal vs. Home Inspection

While both a home appraisal and a home inspection involve a thorough examination of a property, they serve different purposes. An appraisal determines the market value of the home, while an site inspection evaluates the home’s condition.

  • Home Appraisal: Focuses on the value of the property, considering market trends, location, and physical condition.
  • Home Inspection: Provides a detailed report on the home’s current state, identifying potential issues or necessary repairs. It’s usually conducted before the finalization of a sale to ensure the buyer is aware of the property’s condition.
Young couple thinking of getting a home appraisal service for them to purchase a house

When to Get a Home Appraisal?

There are several scenarios when getting a home appraisal is essential:

Buying Real Estate 

Lenders require an appraisal to ensure the loan amount is appropriate for the property’s value.

Selling Real Estate 

Sellers often get an appraisal to set a fair market price and attract potential buyers.

Looking for Financing 

Homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgage applications need an appraisal to determine the property’s current value.

Settling a Divorce 

An appraisal helps divide property equitably during divorce proceedings.

Filing for Bankruptcy 

An appraisal provides an accurate value for the property in bankruptcy cases.

Property Tax Assessment 

Homeowners can use an appraisal to dispute property tax assessments and potentially lower their tax burden.

Two home appraisers conducting site inspection

How to Find a Good Home Appraiser

Understand the Role of an Appraiser

Before diving into the selection process, it’s important to understand what an appraiser does. An appraiser is a licensed professional who evaluates your property to determine its fair market value. They consider factors such as the property’s condition, location, and market trends. This valuation is essential for mortgage lending, insurance, taxation, and investment purposes.

Verify Credentials and Licensing

Ensure the appraiser you choose is licensed and certified. In the United States, appraisers must be licensed by their state’s regulatory body. You can verify an appraiser’s credentials through the Appraisal Subcommittee’s National Registry. This step ensures that the appraiser has the necessary training and adheres to industry standards.

Look for Experience and Specialization

Experience matters when it comes to property appraisal. An appraiser with years of experience will likely provide a more accurate valuation. Additionally, consider their area of specialization. Some appraisers specialize in residential properties, while others focus on commercial or industrial properties. Choose an appraiser with experience relevant to your specific type of property.

Check Professional Affiliations

Appraisers who are members of professional organizations, such as the Appraisal Institute or the American Society of Appraisers, often adhere to higher ethical standards and continuing education requirements. Membership in these organizations can be a good indicator of an appraiser’s commitment to their profession.

Read Reviews and Get Recommendations

Online reviews and recommendations from friends, family, or real estate professionals can provide valuable insights into an appraiser’s reliability and quality of work. Look for appraisers with consistently positive feedback and a reputation for thorough, accurate appraisals.

Interview Multiple Appraisers

Don’t settle for the first appraiser you find. Interview multiple candidates to compare their qualifications, experience, and fees. Ask about their appraisal process, turnaround time, and how they handle discrepancies or disputes in valuation. This will give you a better understanding of what to expect and help you make an informed decision.

Compare Fees

While cost shouldn’t be the sole factor in your decision, it’s important to understand the fee structure. Appraisal fees can vary based on the complexity and size of the property. Ensure you get a detailed breakdown of the fees and what services are included. Beware of unusually low fees, as they may indicate a lack of experience or thoroughness.

Assess Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial throughout the appraisal process. Choose an appraiser who is responsive, willing to answer your questions, and provides clear explanations. Good communication ensures that you understand the appraisal report and can address any concerns promptly.

Review Sample Reports

Ask potential appraisers for sample reports. Reviewing these reports can give you an idea of their thoroughness, clarity, and attention to detail. A well-documented and easy-to-understand report is essential for making informed decisions based on the appraisal.

Trust Your Instincts

Finally, trust your instincts. If something feels off during your interactions with an appraiser, it’s best to keep looking. You need to feel confident in the appraiser’s abilities and comfortable with their professionalism.


Choosing the right home appraiser for your property is a critical step in any real estate transaction, whether you’re buying, selling, refinancing, or dealing with legal matters. A qualified appraiser provides an accurate and unbiased assessment of your property’s value, ensuring you make informed decisions. By understanding the role of an appraiser, verifying credentials, considering experience and specialization, checking professional affiliations, and reviewing feedback, you can select the best appraiser for your needs. Effective communication and thoroughness in the appraisal report are key factors to ensure a smooth process. Trust your instincts and take the time to find a reliable appraiser to safeguard your investment.


What is the difference between a home appraisal and a home inspection?

A home appraisal determines the property’s market value, while a home inspection assesses its physical condition. Both are crucial, but they serve different purposes in real estate transactions.

How often should I get a home appraisal?

You should get a home appraisal when buying or selling property, refinancing a mortgage, settling a divorce, filing for bankruptcy, or disputing property tax assessments.

Can I choose my own home appraiser?

Yes, you can choose your own appraiser, especially if you are a seller or refinancing. However, lenders typically select the appraiser when you are buying a property with a mortgage.

How long does the home appraisal process take?

The on-site inspection usually takes 1-2 hours, but the full appraisal report can take several days to a week to complete, depending on the appraiser’s workload and the complexity of the property.

What should I do to prepare for a home appraisal?

Ensure your home is clean and accessible, make any necessary repairs, and provide the appraiser with information about recent upgrades or renovations to help them accurately assess your property’s value.

A professional appraiser in his office

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