5 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Appraiser

Did you know that only Real Property appraisers are licensed by the states? 

Here are five simple questions to ask when hiring an appraiser that will help you to determine whether that appraiser is qualified to take on your appraisal assignment.

Are you accredited by a professional appraisal society that tests its members?

Anyone can hang out a shingle and identify themselves as an appraiser. Accredited members of professional appraisal societies are required to complete formal appraisal education and are bound by a code of ethics and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).  

The three major appraisal societies are:    The American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, and the Appraisal Association of America

What is your tested area of specialty?

A tested appraiser has demonstrated a deep understanding of a specific property type. Appraisers often appraise property outside of their specialty, but it is worth asking how they approach an assignment that includes those properties. In some cases, appraisers will hire experts or collaborate with other appraisers who possess the needed expertise to ensure competency.

Are your appraisal reports written in compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)? 

You want a “yes” answer to this question.

There is no such thing as a “USPAP Certified” appraiser. USPAP is a document promulgated by The Appraisal Standards Board of The Appraisal Foundationand authorized by Congress as the source of appraisal standards and appraiser qualifications. Accredited appraisers in the American Society of Appraisers are required to take the 15 hour course for accreditation and to remain current by taking update courses along with other forms of continuing education to maintain their accreditation with ASA.

Have you taken a USPAP update course within the last 2 years?

The Uniform Standards of Appraisal Practice are updated every 2 years. The requirement for taking update courses vary among the three major appraisal societies, but the appraiser must use the most current USPAP edition for each appraisal assignment.

What are your fees and how are they determined?

Typically appraisers fees are based on an hourly rate, some appraisers are willing to work for a flat fee. Never hire an appraiser whose fees are based upon the appraised value of the property or any form of “contingency fee.” There is an inherent conflict of interest in these arrangements, and accordingly the IRS will not accept an appraisal performed using those types of fee structures.