Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

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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