Should I Hire a Company that Specializes in House Appraisals?

You're wondering about house appraisals and home market value, but don't know from whom to seek advice. Is it necessary to hire a company that specializes in evaluating and appraising residential real estate?

It depends.
Why do you want a house appraisal?

Curiosity? Matrimonial separation or divorce? Re-financing? Or are you thinking about a major renovation project and want to know if it would be financially worthwhile? Or are you thinking about listing your home for sale? Property evaluations are performed for a multitude of reasons.

For all but one reason, though, it's probably a good idea to hire a specialist. A report prepared by a certified appraiser may be relied upon to a greater degree for legal, financing and investment purposes. You'll be charged a flat fee of a few hundred dollars for a typical home, more for larger or more complex properties.

For Canadian real estate, a member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC), which grants the distinguished Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute (AACI) and Canadian Residential Appraiser (CRA) designations, is who you should consider hiring.

An ideal resource for American property appraisal service is The American Society of Appraisers (ASA).

However, if you're considering ...

Listing Your Home For Sale

... an experienced realty agent is certainly capable of performing a home market evaluation sufficient for this purpose. As a matter of fact, they'll employ the same basic methodology used by an accredited appraiser. It's called a Comparative Market Analysis

And with the possibility of a listing and a sale, the agent will probably not charge a fee, except of course, for the sale commission.

To obtain an estimate of your home's market value, determine your reason and make a choice. But unless you're seriously contemplating listing your house for sale, I implore you to not take advantage of an agent's honest willingness to serve by seeking a free property evaluation from them. No one appreciates working for free, unless it's a volunteer charitable situation. Pay them for their assistance. It's only fair.

If you're considering selling your home - with or without an agent - check out my book The Happy Agent. Learn how house appraisals are performed, how to prepare your home for market, including basic staging and light renovation, how to advertise, how to handle showings and open houses like a pro, how to successfully negotiate an offer - and when it's time to throw in the towel and hire a professional.

When you consider the huge potential savings in real estate commission, the investment of a pittance of your time and money could prove quite worthwhile. At the very least, you'll be encouraged to try it alone. Remember - knowledge is power.

Available virtually everywhere print and e-books are sold.

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