Why and When You Need a Real Estate Appraiser

The Coyle Group - Money HousesA real estate appraisal is one of the most critical parts of the real estate process. The appraisal benefits everyone involved in a real estate transaction including a buyer, seller, investor, trustee, heirs, and more. Although it may not be required in every situation it should always be considered as one of the first steps you take when the sale or division of real estate is involved.

An easy definition of a real estate appraisal would be; “the process of estimating the fair market value of your home or property at any given point in time.”

The following are common situations in which real estate appraisals are often needed:

  • You’re applying for a loan against a property as part of a refinance or equity line of credit on your existing home
  • You’re applying for a home loan against a property you’re planning to buy
  • You need to know the retrospective or historical value of a property as of the date of one’s passing for estate purposes
  • You’re going through a divorce involving the division of real estate
  • You’re going through bankruptcy in which a home or property value is needed by the courts as part of the settlement process
  • You’re a homeowner looking to lower your property taxes because the county has over-assessed your property
  • You’re a realtor or FSBO looking to establish current fair market value for list purposes

What to Look for in an Appraiser

The first thing you should check is an appraiser’s qualifications including their certification and/or licensure. Every state requires that real estate appraisers be licensed in their state of residence. You should avoid working with any appraiser who is unable or unwilling to provide you with their license information.

Here are a few other items you should look for when hiring an appraiser:

  • Reputation is a valuable tool in choosing a good appraiser. Although the lender will usually select their own appraisers for most lending situations, in other cases it’s always best to ask for referrals from someone you know and trust. You should also always check online to see if the appraiser you’re looking to hire has any reviews worth noting.
  • Is the appraiser willing to walk you through the appraisal process including going over the final report with you and answering any questions you might have.
  • Professional, experienced, and geographically knowledgeable should be the key hiring factors you look for in an appraiser and NOT cheap and fast. Appraisers must also be impartial and give their honest, unbiased opinion of the value of the property without favoring one “side” or the other. Any conflict of interest should be revealed and dealt with upfront and in some cases the appraiser may have to refer you someone else to avoid any possible conflicts.

An appraiser’s fees are usually based on their level of expertise and experience in the industry as well as the complexity of the assignment. Considering the importance of an appraisal, you should never use the appraisal fee as the main determining factor as far as which appraiser to work with, as that could cost you dearly in the long run.

I hope you found this helpful and if you have any additional questions, thoughts, or comments please leave them down below.

The Coyle Group, LLC is one of the most well-respected and sought after appraisal firms in the greater Philadelphia area specializing in residential and commercial appraisals for divorce, bankruptcy, estate, date of death, tax appeals, pre-listings, and more. For more info contact us at 215-836-5500, http://www.thecoylegroupllc.com, or email us at mcoyle@coyleappraisals.com.



  1. Thank you for the post Coyle Group. I agree that there are many reasons to need an appraiser, most are very important, and everyone should be careful who they select. An inexperienced appraiser can cost thousands.

    • Thanks, Gary. All too often people select their appraiser based on the amount that they charge…and you know as well as I do, this is a profession where you get what you pay for. The upfront savings could cost thousands in the long run.

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