The Scoop on Residential Real Estate Appraisers

Arizona residential real estate appraisers specialize in estimating the values of properties in the Phoenix metro region and other areas of the state. Typically, appraisals are performed when a property is purchased, sold, taxed, insured, or mortgaged. Occasionally, residential real estate appraisals are also required during divorce proceedings. Depending on the nature of the job, Arizona residential appraisers can serve as expert witnesses in court or serve as consultants. In this post, we’ll tell you more about what residential real estate appraisers do and how you can find a qualified appraiser in Scottsdale, Tucson, Flagstaff, Phoenix, and other major areas of Arizona.

About the Residential Appraisal Report

This report includes a description of the property or home and an estimate of its value. Some appraisers use a standard checklist when they evaluate a home and the neighborhood or area where it is located. To estimate the value of the land on which the property is situated, appraisers refer to county sources and sales records for properties in the same area. To estimate the replacement costs of the actual structure, appraisers rely on professional cost estimators and building valuation manuals. Once the appraiser has analyzed the appropriate data, he/she will put together a written report describing the methods by which the market value of the Arizona real estate was determined. A typical residential appraisal report will contain the following information:

  • Property details and side-by-side comparisons with three comparable properties
  • A description of the real estate market as a whole in the area
  • Descriptions of issues that the appraiser believes decrease the property’s value (e.g., the property is difficult to access)
  • Notes about the property’s serious flaws, such as an eroding foundation
  • An approximation of the average time it will take to sell the property
  • A description of the type of area in which the home is located, such as in a development or a stand-alone property

Selecting an Arizona Residential Real Estate Appraiser

In most cases, your mortgage lender will provide or at least recommend a residential real estate appraiser for your Phoenix, Tucson, Scottsdale, or Flagstaff home. However, some lenders allow borrowers to select their own appraiser. Here are five things you should seek out in an Arizona real estate appraiser:

  1. Licensing and certification. Most states have laws that require residential real estate appraisers to be licensed and/or certified in order to practice legally. For example, in Arizona, the Arizona Board of Appraisal handles the regulation and licensing of appraisers. Though licensure and certification do not necessarily guarantee quality, they do indicate that the appraiser meets certain standards and is authorized by the state to conduct real estate appraisals. Avoid residential appraisers that are not certified or licensed.
  2. Get a copy of the appraiser’s license. A trustworthy, quality appraiser will readily supply you with his/her license. Mortgage lenders and loan officers usually request copies of appraisers’ licenses for their records. After you obtain a copy of the license, contact the government agency that issued the license to verify its legitimacy.
  3. Look for professional credentials or designations. For the appraisal industry, the most widely accepted designations are MAI, SRA, and SRPA. To appraise a residential property, your appraiser should have an MAI designation or higher. These credentials are given by the Appraisal Institute. Commonly, the standards set to secure these designations are higher than those required to obtain state licensing or certification.
  4. Find an appraiser with experience working in the property’s area or neighborhood. Ask the appraiser what portion of his/her work is done in the area or neighborhood in which the real estate is located. For example, if the property is located in Scottsdale, it makes sense to seek out a Scottsdale-based appraiser. The more work the appraiser does in the area, the more likely he/she is to have an extensive knowledge of property values in the region.
  5. Ask about the appraiser’s experience working for consumers. Some Phoenix area appraisers have most of their experience working for real estate professionals instead of consumers. Consumers and real estate professionals have vastly different needs, so your appraiser should have adequate experience working with homeowners and homebuyers.
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