Whether you’re trying to sell your home or trying to refinance it, at some point in your life, you’re going to need to know how much your house is actually worth.
In order to get an accurate number, you’ll need to hire an appraiser to come in an take a look around.
Before you simply hop on the internet and hire the first person who shows up in your search engine results, take a few minutes to read this article.
We’re sharing everything you need to know about finding the right appraisal company for your home.
What Does an Appraiser Do?
First of all, let’s clarify what exactly an appraisal is and what an appraiser does.
In short, an appraisal is an estimate of your home’s fair market value. An appraiser is a trained, licensed professional whose job is to objectively determine the value of your home.
When they inspect your home, appraisals take a number of characteristics into account, including:
- Square footage
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Lot size
- Observable condition of the property
It’s important to note that a home appraisal is different from a home inspection.
Appraisers will make note of any obvious damage or issues with the home. But, unlike inspectors, they don’t test the heat, air, plumbing, or of the home’s other internal systems.
You also don’t need to do a ton of deep cleaning before the appraiser shows up. They’re focused on the conditions of the physical condition of the home. Unmade beds or dirty dishes in the sink won’t decrease your home’s value.
How to Find an Appraisal Company
The process of finding an appraisal company is fairly simple. However, you’ll want to take the following steps to ensure you find a qualified appraiser who will give you a fair estimate of the value of your home.
Check Their License
Once you’ve found a couple of candidates, do some research to make sure they’re licensed or certified. At the bare minimum, all potential appraisers should be State-Certified Residential Real Estate Appraisers.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a copy of an appraiser’s license. Once you have a copy, check with the agency that issued it to make sure it’s active and the appraiser is in good standing.
You can also check out the national registry for the Appraisal Subcommittee to find out whether or not an appraiser is registered and able to perform appraisals.
Ask About Their Experience
In addition to being licensed, an appraiser should also have experience working in the area where your home is located.
The more experience they have in that particular location, the better their knowledge of the property value will be.
They’ll also understand the influence of variables like school districts and fire departments on the overall value of your home.
Ask for References
It can be hard to decide if someone is a good fit for you if you just pick the first person who shows up online.
Try talking to a lender, accountant, or attorney to find out which appraisal company or appraiser they’ve used before.
If you’re selling your home, your real estate agent can also be helpful in recommending an appraiser. Not working with an agent yet? If you live in the Fergus, Ontario area, click here to get in touch with a great team.
If there isn’t anyone you know personally who can give you their opinion on an appraiser, then the internet is your next best option. Check out review sites to find out whether any of the appraisers you’re considering have any complaints against them.
Set up an Interview
Before you hire an appraisal company, make sure you meet with the appraiser to ensure they have the right qualifications. This also gives you a chance to make your expectations clear and understand the appraisal process better.
Don’t be afraid to question a potential appraiser and get as much information as you need to make an informed decision. Some questions you should ask during the interview include:
- Will I receive a preliminary report?
- What qualifies you to appraise my home specifically?
- Do you belong to an appraiser society? Is it one that requires members to pass a test?
- How do you handle issues that fall outside of your specialty?
- What will your final report look like?
Look for an appraiser who is personable and willing to answer your questions thoroughly. Avoid anyone who brushes off your concerns or isn’t clear about how they make their decision about a home’s value.
How Much Will an Appraisal Cost?
You’ll also want to ask for details about their compensation and report turn around. Don’t forget to clarify what’s included in your appraisal either.
The fee for a residential appraisal typically costs between $300 and $500, although it can cost up to $1,000 depending on the specific property being appraised.
Ask what you’ll get for that fee during your interview. After an appraisal, you should typically get a multi-page report that includes the following information:
- A description of your property
- The date the appraisal took place
- The purpose and intended use of the report
- Information about the appraiser’s methods and assumptions
The report should also comply with your specific state’s legal requirements.
What Happens Next?
Once you’ve found an appraisal company you’re comfortable with, you’ll have to sign a service agreement.
This agreement will clarify the specific services the company will provide for you. It will also give you an estimate of how long the appraisal will take and let you know how they’ll be paid.
Most appraisal companies will require at least part of the total payment up front, but policies vary from place to place.
After you’ve made any required payments and agreed on a date for the appraisal, you’ll be all set!
Find an Appraiser Today
To help fast-track your search for the right appraisal company, check out our free search tool today.
We make it easy for you find the most-qualified people in your area!
Interested in selling your home for cash now that you have an idea of what it’s worth? Check out this post for tips on finding the perfect local cash buyer.