Questions to Expect from Appraisal Clients and How to Invest in Preparation

When clients are looking to hire real estate appraisers, they often have a list of questions in mind to find the best fit for them and the property to be appraised. They want someone with appraisal experience who can calculate their property's fair and accurate value. The questions might be related to previous appraisal experience, business background, and opinions about the property. Answering these questions to the client’s satisfaction establishes trust and confidence between the client and the appraiser. It lays the foundation of the client-appraiser relationship. Here are some questions that professional appraisers can expect from their clients:1. How many years of professional experience do you have in conducting appraisals?

This is probably one of the first questions appraisers can expect from their clients. All clients want to know whether their appraiser is skilled enough to determine the correct value of their property. They want to know whether the appraiser has experience with similar properties. For instance, if someone has experience with agricultural farms, but the client is looking for someone to appraise residential property, it might not be a good fit. Appraisers have to be able to articulate and sell their area of expertise and their competence with specific types of properties. 

2. Which certifications and professional designations do you have?

Clients may ask this question to know the appraiser’s professional training and expertise. Some appraisers have certification from the Appraisal Institute, which offers rigorous ethical and academic training. Other designations include SRA (specialty in residential properties), AI-GRS (Appraisal Institute - General Review Specialist), AI-RRS (Appraisal Institute - Residential Review Specialist), and MAI (Member Appraisal Institute), a designation held by professionals who have passed through and met rigorous requirements and possess wide-ranging expertise in property types. Having a certification or designation gives appraisers a more trustworthy footing amongst clients and is often required by certain institutions and for certain types of appraisals. Appraisers are obliged to answer this question honestly. Further, they should be prepared to have those certifications ready if the client asks to see them. 

3. What are the areas of your service?

Clients are usually looking for someone who has experience working in specific geographical locations and neighborhoods. They want someone familiar with that area, and the market trends and property values in that neighborhood. Sometimes an out-of-state appraiser collaborates with a local appraiser for calculating the correct value of the property. Appraisers must disclose if they are familiar with the area, and, if not, they can inform the client how they will overcome any perceived limitations. If the appraiser does not have a state license in the state of the property to be appraised, they must let the client know how they will be working on getting a temporary one. 

4. Can I get some references from your previous clients?

Sometimes the client might ask appraisers for some references from previous clients. Appraisers can share testimonials on their websites, Facebook, or other social media pages. Positive testimonials from prior clients establish trust and imbue the appraiser’s work with legitimacy.  When asked this question, appraisers should be ready to share those testimonials with clients. Additionally, they should remember to get a testimonial from each client they have worked with whenever possible. 

5. Have you appraised a similar property before?

There are several kinds of properties like residential, industrial, commercial, retail, agricultural, and so on. Often, appraisers do not have expertise in all of them. Therefore, this question can prove critically important. Most of the states have appraisal certification competency rules according to which appraisers are obliged to disclose their previous experience and lack of knowledge before accepting an appraisal engagement. Besides that, if the appraiser feels that something is beyond their expertise and knowledge at any point of time during the appraisal process, they must stop working on that assignment immediately. This is done to prevent any inaccurate or unreliable results. 

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