Choosing a Real Estate Appraiser
A professional real estate appraiser specializes in providing opinions of value of various types of properties. The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is responsible for licensing and regulating all Alberta real estate appraisers.
As is the case when selecting any professional, when choosing an appraiser, it is important to be comfortable with your choice.
How Do You Find an Appraiser?
There are more than 600 authorized real estate appraisers and candidate appraisers in Alberta and deciding which one to hire may seem a daunting task. Where do you start?
- Word-of-mouth. Ask people whose opinion you trust if they know of a good appraiser.
- Search the Internet. The Appraisal Institute of Canada’s Web site includes a database of Canadian appraisers who have the designation Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute (AACI) and/or Canadian Residential Appraiser (CRA) and/or Professional Appraiser (P.App). The Web site is http://www.aicanada.ca.
- Ask your real estate professional. Real estate industry members are experienced professionals with excellent knowledge of their industry and your reprsentative may be able to recommend an authorized appraiser. Keep in mind, though, that if you use an appraiser your real estate professonal recommends, your real estate professional may receive a referral fee from that appraiser. Before accepting a referral payment, your real estate professional must advise you of the referral fee and obtain your written consent that he may receive it.
Once you have picked appraisers whose services you want to consider, ask them for an interview. The goal of the interview is to find an appraiser who is going to meet your needs.
Asking questions of the appraisers you interview can help you understand how they might meet your specific needs. Questions you might find useful include:
- Does the appraiser have experience with other properties in your area and/or similar types of properties?
- What industry organizations does the appraiser belong to?
- How long has the appraiser been working in real estate appraisal?
- What education does the appraiser have?
- Area of specialty?
You should also feel comfortable asking more general questions if there is anything you do not know or do not understand about the process of hiring an appraiser and having an appraisal done. Industry professionals understand that not everyone has been through the process of an appraisal before and should be happy to answer your questions.
Even after interviewing a number of appraisers, a couple of further things you can help you make your selection.
Check references. Do not hesitate to ask an appraiser for references. A list of references you can contact to gain information about the quality of services provided by an appraiser is a good indication that previous clients have been happy with the work done.
Ensure you are working with an authorized appraiser. To find out if a real estate appraiser is authorized by RECA to carry out the practice of real estate appraisal in Alberta, you are encouraged to do a licence search on the RECA Web site at www.reca.ca.
How are appraisers certified and licensed?
To be authorized by RECA as an appraiser or candidate appraiser, an individual must first be an active member in good standing of a professional appraisers’ association in Alberta, these associations include the Alberta Association of the Appraisal Institute of Canada, the Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers and the Alberta Assessors’ Association. Each of these associations sets their own standards for education and training required to become a member in good standing. Regardless of which professional organization or organizations an appraiser chooses to belong to, all real estate appraisers in Alberta must be licensed by RECA.
In addition to being required to abide by the Real Estate Act and Rules, appraisal organizations, such as CNAREA, often have their own codes of conduct for their members.