Selecting an appraiser

Beware of the trainee appraiser

The a sour truth about the appraiser business is about to be exposed. You should be very selective about your appraiser, just as you would your doctor. Appraisers are not all the same and if you are seeking a quality appraisal you must select an appraiser that fits your needs. The skill level of the appraiser is important.

The best appraisers have good judgment, common sense, and significant experience. All you have to do is drive the freeway, noting people with driver licenses, and you will see that those attributes are not bestowed on everyone equally.

Data is far easier to come by today for the appraiser. However, applying that data is where the talent comes in. Just about anyone can fill in an appraisal form; that part does not take an appraiser.

Often, unscrupulous senior appraisers will use new or trainee appraiser licensees to do their appraisals. They run an appraisal shop – allowing new licensees to do the work, be paid low, while the senior appraiser collects the lion’s share of the fee.

As long as the junior appraiser is supervised, and by supervised we mean the senior appraiser comes to the job and views the comps, then this method is reasonable. However, this is generally NOT how it works. Typically the senior appraiser will simply send out the junior appraiser into the field on his/her own with little or no guidance.

The junior appraiser then locates and selects the comparables, inspects the subject home, and completes the appraisal. The senior appraiser then “sometimes” will inspect the appraisers work, but not always.

So, while you have hired a big name senior appraiser, and paid dearly for it, you have been given a junior appraisers work. Similar to a driver license, just because one passed the test and now has an appraiser license does not mean they know how to be an appraiser… that takes years of “on the job” appraiser experience, common sense, and years of mentoring under a knowledgeable senior appraiser.

A consumer should not be shy when talking to an appraiser or ordering an appraisal. One should ask the appraiser all the necessary questions about how he acquired the appraiser license.

  • Years licensed as an appraiser
  • Level of appraiser license
  • Number of homes appraised
  • Full time or part time appraiser
  • Who the senior appraiser is that reviews the appraisal

Make certain the person you talk with is the person that comes to the job and is the person who is the appraiser you meet. If it is a junior appraiser be mindful that this trainee appraiser or junior appraiser should have the senior appraiser with them.

The end result will be a more accurate, properly addressed appraisal with properly selected comparables and an overall better quality appraisal.

Try to locate an appraiser with at least 5 years full time experience when you choose a real estate appraiser.

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