Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

How to Select a Real Estate Appraiser
January 7th, 2015 1:24 PM

Clients who are outside my Greater Portland, Oregon appraisal service area often ask, “How do I select a real estate appraiser?”  My answer is that not all appraisers are the same and that you should select carefully.  This is because value opinions reported in appraisals are extremely important with the potential to affect the lives and wealth of the people who use them. 

Homeowners typically cannot choose the appraiser when buying a house or refinancing; that task is usually the responsibility of the lender or an appraisal management company.  However, when obtaining an appraisal for setting a list price for your property, when purchasing a property from a friend, in the event of a divorce or a death in the family, or for any reason other than a loan, homeowners must select the appraiser.  Here is a list of ways to narrow the search for a home appraiser.

  1. Experience in the property type and location of the home being appraised is important.  I recommend asking prospective appraisers the following three questions.  “How often do you appraise in my neighborhood?”  “How long have you appraised in my neighborhood?”  “Have you appraised any properties similar to mine?”


  2. Active involvement in or designation from professional organizations like the Appraisal Institute or National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers are good indicators of appraisers who hold themselves to high standards in their profession.  Less than half of all real estate appraisers belong to a professional organization.  Searching for an appraiser from the website of these organizations is a good way to begin your search for an appraiser.


  3. Distance traveled to the subject property can be a good indicator of competence.  Appraisers who must travel a long distance might be qualified, but these appraisers would likely have to work harder to maintain competency than an appraiser who lives in or near your community.


  4. Appraisers are accustomed to providing work samples to prospective clients and typically have work samples on hand that they have permission to disclose or have blacked out any private information to satisfy appraiser confidentiality rules.  You may not be an expert at recognizing a less than credible appraisal, but comparing work samples from appraisers can show the level professionalism and care that is put into the product.


  5. Check to make sure that your appraiser is licensed or certified and does not have any disciplinary actions.  Your state appraiser licensing board can help, or you can search the Appraisal Subcommittee National Registry.  Note that not all disciplinary actions will show on the Appraisal Subcommittee site, so it is a good idea to check with your state.

Once you have weighed all of the above, consider the appraisal fee and the turn-time.  Hire the appraiser that impresses you the most overall. 

Did I leave anything out, or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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Thanks for reading,


Very useful information as always. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Frank Greenburch on January 7th, 2015 1:38 PM
Thank you Frank for your support of our appraisers.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on January 7th, 2015 1:41 PM
Good stuff, Gary. One other thing is to search the appraiser's website and/or blog to see if the appraiser might have any relevant information or data that would indicate he/she knows the current market. Of course having seemingly good information online does not translate into good service or work, but sometimes it can be a clue. Additionally, searching a bio online or the appraiser's LinkedIn profile can give a clue into the appraiser's experience, knowledge, insight, and professional affiliations. Someone can request a resume of course, but that is usually more common for attorneys to do. All things considered, most people seem to want to know if the appraiser is experienced, the deadline can be met, and if the appraiser is going to provide good service.

Posted by Ryan Lundquist on January 7th, 2015 2:51 PM
Thank you Ryan for all of that additional information. Those are more great tools for finding an appraiser that is right to appraise your home.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on January 7th, 2015 2:56 PM
One thing that a prospective client may want to ask an appraiser is if they have access to local data sources. In my own area we have a data group that most of the appraisers belong to that collects data from its members on the appraisals they do in order to get physical data on the homes that have sold. Our local MLS did not have square footage for a very long time (and even now that it is required the info. is sketchy) so the only way to get accurate square footage was to ask the appraiser who did the appraisal for the sale. This data was collected and distributed to its members who pay a fee. Most out of town appraisers do not want to pay for this because in addition to getting physical data on homes you also have to contribute data and they probably don't do enough local work to justify the cost. It is very difficult to provide a credible appraisal in our area unless you use this data source so it is important to know that the appraiser has the best data sources for the area they work in.

Posted by Tom Horn on January 7th, 2015 3:07 PM
Thank you Tom. Access to data is a great question to ask appraisers and it looks like access to data is quite difficult in your area. Thank you very much for the insight. I will be sure to suggest that one to my clients as well when they are looking for a real estate appraiser.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on January 7th, 2015 3:12 PM
I agree completely Gary, having someone appraise your property that is experienced, even with decades of appraisal experience is not enough. You need to hire someone that is experienced in your local market. Ultimately, you need to find someone that is experienced in your market and understands the local housing nuances and local trends. Great article, keep up the great work!

Posted by Tim Packard on January 7th, 2015 5:37 PM
Thank you Tim. I'm glad that you pointed out decades of experience is not enough. I have noticed that some appraisers who have been appraising for a very long time have not kept up with the times or may no longer care as much about the craft.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on January 7th, 2015 5:42 PM
Very good post, from my own experience I often have property owners only ask about the fee. I always caution them on selecting by fee only. In the end whether they use one appraiser over another it really has very little impact on the either appraiser. Its impact greatly affects the property owner as they will be making major decisions based on that information.

Posted by John Tsiaousis on January 22nd, 2015 4:29 PM


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