How to pick a good real estate appraiser in Houston?

Ever tried searching for a real estate appraiser in Houston over the internet? Now here’s a warning, you might possibly go completely nuts, looking at online reviews of the so-called, self-proclaimed “5 Star” real estate appraisers in the Houston area. Here’s why, because they are all stating pretty much the same things, claiming credentials from institutes, accolades from their communities and making lofty promises of precision, timely completion and what not. Makes you wonder, how difficult it is spotting the ‘real deal’ from the ‘time wasters’.
Well! Fret not, for the simplest approach is always the most logically effective solution. In other words, when dealing with a complicated situation, one must break it down and approach it one piece at a time. The problem we’re dealing with here is picking out good Houston real estate appraisers in Houston. Let’s start with Piece No 1.

State Certification

Check if the appraiser is listed and certified with TALCB. The Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board(TALCB) is mandated to teach, train, certify and even discipline (to a certain extent within the law) Real Estate Appraisers registered with it.

It’ll probably save you a ton of money and hassle, not to mention shield you from fraud if you authenticate the appraiser’s credentials here on this website. Plus, there’s a lot more in the website, you’ll find quite enlightening. Moving on to the piece no 2.

Understanding the Appraiser Types

It would be useful to know the types of Appraisers, there are officially, and determining then which works for your specific requirement or property classification. Now, as per the official version, there exist 4 kinds:

a.Appraiser Trainee: Working entirely under the supervision of a superior certified appraiser.
appraiser. In effect, they’re just training and have no real credentials to function as yet.

b. Licensed Residential Appraiser: Authorized to appraise non-complex residential 1-4 unit properties with a transactional value of less than $1,000,000.

c. Certified Residential Appraiser: Certified to appraise 1-4 unit residential properties without regard to the transaction value

d. Certified General Appraiser: Certified to appraise all types of real property without consideration of the complicatedness or transaction value.

Be sure to check that the appraiser nominated is certified and authorized to appraise as per your property type and/or transaction value. Moving on to piece no 3.

Background Check

Let’s say the appraiser you’ve picked basis word of mouth, reading out platinum reviews online or just plain old gut feeling, turns out to be a TALCB License Holder. But that shouldn’t limit you from checking if they are, what they claim to be. In the interests of consumer fairness, TALCB provides online, what is termed as the National Registry of appraisers. As per notification from the TALCB, this allows scrutinizing an appraiser for:
a. Individual work experience and credentials
b. Any investigations or noted complaints regarding their past assignments
c. Nationwide search based on the license number


Appraisal Fees

Now, the final piece of the puzzle which of course is an important decision making factor, while picking out an Appraiser. And it does get a little problematic working out how much you should shell out for the appraisal. Simply because it depends on a few things like the reason for the appraisal, Location of the Property, Layout, Age etc. It may cost more in rural locations where appraisers are scant. But regardless, to give you an idea, home buyers, in general, paid anywhere between $375 – $500 last year for appraisals.
Regardless, the fee must be specified precisely, in fixed dollar amount or an hourly rate before the appraisal starts. Any negotiation to fix the appraisal fee in terms of a percentage of the appraisal value should be seen with suspicion. Any Appraiser even hinting it is acting unethically and cannot be trusted with an objectively trustworthy appraisal.