#1) Are you licensed in this State?
A key question to ask, prior to hiring an appraiser, is whether or not he or she is licensed. Also find out what type of license the appraiser has. Trainee? Standard License? Certified? General License? Two of these levels, Licensed and Certified Residential Real Estate Appraisers, may appraise real estate subject to limitations regarding the type of property and value. A Certified General Real Estate Appraiser is a comprehensive level of licensure which qualifies the appraiser to appraise any and all types of properties. A Trainee may need to have the appraisal signed by a standard/certified/ or general license.
#2) Do you have experience with my type of property?
Professional appraisers value property with independence and objectivity. Look for an appraiser who has experience in appraising properties similar to the property you want appraised. You can do this by reviewing the appraiser's job history, resume or other information which shows his or her work experience.
#3) Do you have experience in my community?
Though an experienced appraiser should theoretically be able to appraise property anywhere, if he has the proper market data sources and is familiar with your community, his or her job will be easier and potentially more accurate
#4) How long have you been a licensed appraiser?
#5) Can I have a copy of your resume and references?
Check references or recommendations from financial institutions and government bodies for whom the appraiser has performed appraisal services.
#6) What market data sources do you use?
This question is important! Deriving an accurate market value for your property is not simply based on the appraisers experience and knowledge. It's also based on his market data, that is the sources he uses to come up with 'comps' that is comparable sales. A good appraiser will have in-house at least two data sources...one from public records and the other from MLS (Mulitple Listing Service). The latter is what real estate agents utilize, and serve as a necessary 'cross-reference' to the standard public records information. If the appraiser says he 'doesn't need' another source beyond public recods (such as MLS), we suggest using another appraiser!