What Is an Appraiser?
An appraiser is a practitioner who has the knowledge and expertise necessary to estimate the value of an asset, or the likelihood of an event occurring, and the cost of such an occurrence. Ideally, an appraiser acts independently of the buying and selling parties in a transaction in order to arrive at the fair value of an asset without bias.
Appraisers are useful when attempting to attach a value to items such as jewelry, art, gems, family heirlooms, and real estate. Because of the lack of liquidity in these assets and the necessity to rely on comparisons to estimate their value, investors tend to hold an appraiser's work in high regard.
How Appraisers Operate in the Real Estate Market
In most instances, an appraiser will spend their time determining the value of one piece of property at a time. Building up their expertise in making their assessments often leads appraisers to specialize in a particular area of real estate. For example, a commercial appraiser could focus on the market for office buildings, hotels, retail locations, and other properties that include an income generating quality.
Meanwhile, a residential appraiser would focus on those properties where individuals and households are domiciled. This can include condominiums and single homes. Typically a residential appraiser works with properties with no more than four housing units. Larger scale properties, such as multiunit apartment buildings, would likely be classified as a commercial property for the purposes of an appraiser.
In the course of evaluating a property, an appraiser is expected to be alert and take notice of aspects and characteristics of the property, as well as the surrounding area, that could affect the value. This can include assessing the overall noise levels of the area, proximity to sources of recurring loud disturbances such as an airport or a railroad line, as well as the view offered by the property. Obstructions by neighboring buildings, for instance, could reduce the value of a property.
The general condition of the building and grounds will also be taken into consideration. For example, the status of the foundation and the condition of the roof may require repairs and renovations. In addition to the building itself, the land that it stands on can also play a factor in the analysis. It is common for an appraiser to take photographs of the property, both inside and out in order to document its condition.
The appraiser will collect their information and then compare the property in relation to comparable properties that have been sold recently, as well as taking into account prior appraisals of the same property. These and other factors will be used to determine an estimated value for the property.