An ideal end result of a residential transaction benefits both the buyer and the seller. One of the most important factors impacting the sale is the property value determined by the appraiser, which means accuracy and trust are paramount.
Over the past 45 years as Arkansas residential appraisers, Ferstl Valuation Services has been privileged to play an important role in thousands of real estate transactions. If you’re considering selling or buying a home, there are specific questions you will want to ask the appraiser before accepting a final valuation of the property. All of these questions are important for ensuring that you receive the most fair and accurate appraisal possible. First, find a real estate appraisal firm within the State of Arkansas that has proper credentials, knows the local market, and has plenty of experience evaluating the changing real estate values in the area.
What to Ask an Arkansas Residential Appraiser
Trusting your appraiser and their expertise is key to feeling secure throughout the buying or selling process and ensuring you get the best outcome. Prior to working with any appraiser, ask:
Are you officially licensed or certified?
In Arkansas, there are three categories of appraisers: licensed, certified residential, and certified general. A licensed appraiser is the lowest level of authorization by the state. They are not allowed to appraise any properties valued over $250,000. If the property is above that level, a certified appraiser is needed to evaluate the home’s worth. Additionally, look for appraisers holding the MAI or SRA membership designations from the Appraisal Institute. This means they are recognized by courts of law, government agencies, financial institutions, and investors as having excellent experience in the valuation of commercial, industrial, residential, and other types of properties.
Are you a member of CARMLS?
The CARMLS, or Cooperative Arkansas Realtors Multiple Listing System, is a private database of the homes listed and sold in a particular area. This is a critical resource for any Arkansas residential appraiser.
How well do you know this area?
Just because an Arkansas appraiser has a respectable record and comes highly recommended doesn’t necessarily mean they know the market. Look at the history of the homes they have appraised and see which neighborhoods in which they were located. Ask them specific questions about your neighborhood and weigh their answers against your own knowledge and the advice of other Arkansas appraisers you may be considering.
Have you ever been disciplined by the state?
Appraisers make very important decisions involving transactions with a lot of money on the line. Unfortunately, too many in this field are vulnerable to bribery or other types of abuse, which is why there are state and federally mandated regulations that all appraisers must follow. Appraisers who have been disciplined by state authorities might not have necessarily been guilty of accepting a bribe to skew an appraisal, but have not followed set standards in one way or another, and you must be aware of the circumstances of the infraction. It may be the case that after past disciplinary action the appraiser has since reformed their process, so it would be prudent to ask about this before proceeding.
Making a Decision
Once you choose the property appraiser you would like evaluating a residential property, feel free to ask them about key parts of the property and the appraisal process. These can include questions like:
- When and how is the appraisal fee paid?
- What is the estimated time frame to produce a report?
- What improvements could add value to my home?
It’s also a good idea to ask the appraiser about what they are looking for in their valuation, and once you receive their appraisal report, ask for evidence to support their opinion of value. The regulations established by USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) must be strictly followed throughout the buying and selling process, and it’s important you trust that your appraiser is following these guidelines.
As certified Arkansas residential appraisers, Ferstl Valuation Services has over 45 years of experience across the State, as well as in the neighboring states of Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Our trusted experts follow all USPAP regulations and remain transparent throughout the appraisal process to make sure you are comfortable in buying or selling property. If you have any questions with regard to your property, contact our real estate appraisers in Little Rock at (501) 313.0641 or in our Northwest Arkansas office at (479) 595.0245.