Frequently Asked Questions

What does a real estate appraiser do?

An appraiser provides an opinion of value of real property (essentially those parts that are attached to premises or buildings). This value is typically as of a specific date, typically in the present or past, and occasionally a hypothetical future date.

What are some questions to ask potential appraisers?

  1. Are you licensed or certified? Certified requires more experience, schooling and testing.
  2. How much experience do you have?
  3. How much experience do you have in the area or neighborhood(s) of this property or properties?
  4. If there is anything unusual or unique about the property, have you encountered something similar before?
  5. And of course, how long will the process take and what is the cost?

How do I get ready for the appraiser?

Having information you think is relevant to value of the property, such as remodeling including dates or costs; or conversely defects that affect value, including contractor estimates for repair. This information can be very useful. Additionally any permits particularly for newer construction and/or additions is appreciated if available.

As far as "preparing" the property, we are not realtors so it is not necessary to for us to take photos so the property will "show well". However, being able to access and view all areas of the improvements easily will allow us to do the best possible job for you.

Where does an appraiser get the data used to estimate values in our area?

An appraiser uses various sources - local MLS, discussion with local realtors including those involved in comparable sale transactions, public records, inspection of the subject property, exterior inspection of comparables and the neighborhood. Other sources might possibly include developers, contractors, and city building departments or other governmental agencies.

What is the difference between an appraisal and a comparative market analysis (CMA)?

An appraisal is performed by a licensed or certified appraiser. A CMA is typically performed by a realtor and is usually less detailed. While a realtor may do an excellent job, their work would not be acceptable for most lending purposes and for estate or other valuation purposes required by a government entity.

Who actually owns the appraisal report?

In the case of an appraisal for conventional lending purposes, typically the lender owns the appraisal report, even if you pay for it. For an estate, gift, divorce or other "private" appraisal, that we be discussed and established prior to accepting the assignment. Typically for an estate it would be the executor and heirs, for a divorce the party contacting our firm. If you are working with an accountant or attorney, it might be wise to discuss this with them.