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Choosing a Certified General Appraiser or a Realtor for Your Property Appraisal: Which One is Right for You?

December 7, 2023 - Kristen Halbur

When it comes to determining the value of your property, whether for buying, selling, refinancing, or other purposes, it's crucial to rely on the expertise of a qualified professional. Two common choices for property appraisal are certified appraisers and real estate agents or brokers. While both can provide valuable insights, there are key differences between the two.

Certified General Appraiser

A certified general appraiser must meet state educational and experience requirements. Although these requirements vary slightly from state to state, they generally include holding a bachelor’s degree, completing 300 hours of approved appraisal courses, completing a comprehensive state exam, and accumulating thousands of hours of appraisal experience under a certified general appraiser.

Appraisers are bound by a strict code of ethics, which requires them to provide an unbiased and objective assessment of a property's value. They have no financial interest in the property's sale, which ensures their evaluations are impartial and reliable.

Appraisers use a systematic approach that includes a thorough analysis of market data, property conditions, and other relevant factors. They consider comparable sales, cost, and income data to provide a well-rounded appraisal. Many lenders, as well as various legal and financial institutions, require a certified appraisal for mortgage loans and other financial transactions.

Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Real estate agents and brokers are licensed to facilitate property transactions. Their education and training primarily focus on marketing, sales, and negotiation. Realtors and brokers have extensive local market knowledge and experience. They often have their fingers on the pulse of neighborhood trends, recent sales, and buyer preferences.

Realtor or broker appraisals are often less expensive than certified appraisals; certified appraisers typically charge higher fees due to their extensive training and certification. For homeowners seeking a general estimate of their property's value, a Realtor or broker can provide a cost-effective solution.

Engaging a Realtor or broker for an appraisal can streamline the property valuation process, especially when you're already working with them on a real estate transaction. It can be more convenient to have a single professional handle both the transaction and the appraisal. Realtors and brokers can often provide quicker turnaround times for property valuations.

In conclusion, while certified general appraisers offer unparalleled expertise in property valuation, there are circumstances where a Realtor or broker appraisal can be a good fit. Realtors and brokers bring extensive market knowledge, cost-effectiveness, convenience, and practical advice, particularly when you're looking to sell your property or obtain a general estimate of its value. The choice between a certified general appraiser and a Realtor or broker should depend on your specific needs, the nature of the transaction, and your budget.