Choosing a real estate appraiser

Get the most out of your real estate investments.

A real estate appraiser's job is to provide a written estimate of a property's market value, which is calculated using a market analysis of the prices of recent sales of similar properties in the area and the property's physical condition. See these profiles of area appraisers on

Why hire a real estate appraiser?

The most obvious reason for appraising real estate is to prepare for the sale of a property. An accurate appraisal helps the agent and seller determine a competitive price based upon the recent sales of similar properties in the area.

Real estate appraisals are conducted for a host of other reasons as well. Property owners need to know the value of what they own for tax and insurance purposes, to assess their value for rental income, for estate settlement purposes, and when they use property as collateral on a loan.

Because an appraisal provides a critical piece of information, it's important to use a qualified appraising professional. Here are a few tips to help you find one who's right for you.

Check our listings off appraisers or talk with your real estate agent, if you have one. Often, agents maintain a list of preferred vendors, or a list of those with whom they've worked and had successful outcomes.

  • Verify each real estate appraiser's credentials

  • Once you have a few in mind, check their credentials. All real estate professionals are required to pass strict state certifications and licensing. Check to see whether each appraiser is affiliated with professional appraisal organizations such as the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers.

  • Is the real estate appraiser experienced?

  • How long one has been practicing is another good indicator of qualification. Ask the appraiser you are considering whether he or she has experience in your specific area and with homes of comparable size and condition. If you own an older home, you may want to find an appraiser who specializes in older homes.

  • Be present at the inspection

  • You'll want to be there for the inspection not only because an appraiser will need your help to get inside your home, but you also will want to shadow the inspection to ask or answer any questions that may arise.


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