When you are considering purchasing a property; either for investment or personal use you will need to hire a real estate appraiser. If you are financing the purchase through your credit union or another financial institution will most likely be required to hire a real estate appraiser to perform an appraisal on the property. This is because your Credit Union wants to ensure that your dream home doesn’t become a nightmare and that the purchase they are financing is really worth the amount loaned.
In the best case scenarios the appraisal is returned indicating that the fair market value of the home meets or exceeds the sales price. The problem comes in when the appraisal indicates that the fair market value of the home is less than the sales price. In the latter case, the prospective buyer would either need to drop the deal or renegotiate the sales price with the seller.
As you can see, it is critically important that you find a reputable and competent real estate appraiser. That one appraisal can easily make or break a deal. Even if you are not financing the purchase through a lending institution it is still worth the effort to insure that the property you are investing in is really worth the amount of the purchase. If you should hire a less than competent real estate appraiser you find out the hard way later on that the property you purchased was not really worth the amount that you paid.
Real estate appraisers perform an evaluation of a property and then provide a written evaluation after consulting standardized checklists and comparing the property in question to county land value sources and sales information on nearby similar properties. The estimation of replacement costs is also taken into consideration. Finally, real estate appraisers must be able to verify legal land descriptions. As you can see, there is quite a bit of work involved in performing a competent real estate appraisal and it is important that each step be performed accurately.
You real estate agent will most likely be able to suggest a real estate appraiser but this does not necessarily mean this is the right person for the job; it merely means this is the person they most often work with. To get the job done right you need to find a real estate appraiser who is able to perform a completely objective evaluation.
Look for someone who has been formally trained and who possess a license with the state real estate commission to perform such appraisals. Also look for someone who possesses adequate experience in performing real estate appraisals and who is knowledgeable about the local real estate market. Some states require real estate appraisers to have experience as a real estate agent and to hold a current real estate license; even if your state is not one of these it may be a good idea to look for someone with these qualities anyway because they probably have their finger on the pulse of the local real estate market.
Like real estate agents, appraisers commonly specialize in certain types of real estate. Some specialize in commercial properties while others work only in residential properties. Some appraisers even specialize in only high end or luxury properties. Many consumers find it beneficial to select a real estate appraiser who specializes in the specific type of property they wish to have appraised. Finally, don’t forget to ask for references and/or recommendations from any real estate appraiser you consider.