The first and foremost thing is to check whether the appraiser is licensed. For a standard procedure, they must have 2000 hours of experience, and must pass the state exam after taking 90 hours of class room education. Most appraisers will have their business cards, or other marketing tools such as brochures, etc where their credentials will be listed, along with the association they work for.
Now ask some start up questions on the appraiser’s formal education. A qualified person will know the basics of appraisal theories, principals and procedures. Having done that, one can further verify the credentials by logging on to the licensing board for appraisers website in your state.
While most appraisers will have their basis covered in terms of qualification – education and licensing, it is important to inquire about the locality under consideration. Is the appraiser familiar with the homes located in your area? This is the most essential concern as a Florida based appraiser will have little knowledge about home value in Miami, even though he or she is the best in the field. The appraiser must be a local, who has been in the area for a considerable amount of time. This way he or she will understand the true value – emotionally and monetary – of your home.
The next thing to look into is comparable sales. Most appraisers like to over-inflate the value of your home, while others tend to be more conservative and under value your house. In order to keep the balance, an appraiser must take into account comparable sales of the past six months. Anything above or below this 6-month limit will lead to unrealistic numbers.
Make sure that the appraiser uses comparable homes within the correct radius. Remaining within a 2 mile radius will be fine, as any range exceeding that will be risky. However, this consideration will largely depend on your locality but most suburban areas will be estimated within a 2 mile radius.