Choosing an appraisal firm to handle your sensitive commercial and residential valuation needs in Massachusetts is an important decision. When considering lending money, or working with a third-party that will rely on your appraisal, it’s critical to ensure that the valuation is accurate, credible, and reliable. A faulty or biased report has the potential to setback your operations, result in missed opportunities, and damage your reputation. Read on to gather some essential advice for selecting your next appraiser.

Local Market Experience

When it comes to selecting an appraiser, it’s critical to consider, and ask questions about the appraiser’s years of experience in the market surrounding the subject property. Each market is unique and has demand and economic factors that can differ greatly from areas just a few miles away. This is one of the most common issues we see in reviewing appraisals conducted by firms that are less experienced, and either don’t have access to complete property data, or are not as skilled in interpreting complex data sets. It’s best to select an appraisal firm with local market knowledge in each of the markets you service to increase efficiency, and save time in having to select a new company every time you need an appraisal across Massachusetts.

A Strong Reputation

Ask for references from previous clients to get honest feedback on how the appraisal firm conducts business and treats its customers. If they’re not willing to share references, you can be certain that they’ve had problems satisfying prior clients. It’s common in the appraisal business to find valuations professionals that have attitude issues and place little emphasis on ensuring a positive experience. There isn’t as much competition in the appraisal field as other real estate sub-industries, which can lead to complacency and a reliance on hand-fed orders from appraisal management companies (AMCs).

Online review sites such as yelp.com can sometimes be helpful, but regular valuation clients are accustomed to industry-standard poor service, and won’t take the time to leave reviews and ratings. Excellent customer service is not the norm in the valuations industry. It’s your best bet to request, and call, at least three references.

Accuracy and Reliability

Another important aspect to consider, an extension of reputation, is the accuracy of reports, and the reliability of their service. The best way to determine their performance is by seeking referrals, as well as asking to see sample reports (redacted), to get an idea of their level of detail, and the quality of their comments and adjustments. Sometimes you must take the leap and place an order; when the report comes in, don’t hesitate to carefully evaluate and scrutinize the report for the level of diligence and accuracy of the details it contains. It’s okay to have the report reviewed by a third-party with experience in appraisals. Your first experience with an appraisal firm will also give you all the information you need to learn how promptly they perform, and their degree of customer service.

Making a Choice

If you take the time to ask questions, check on referrals, and carefully review your first reports, you’ll greatly increase the quality and reliability of your reports. Once you’ve found a Massachusetts appraisal firm that places your needs first, and follows through with quality valuations that are delivered on time, you’ll have a reliable long-term source of expert property value estimates.

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