A truly outstanding commercial appraisal firm can be hard to find. It’s not that there are few outstanding firms, but more due to the fact that the needs of users of commercial appraisal reports vary from project to project. It’s not enough to just find a competent appraiser, you’ll want a firm who is outstanding at completion of appraisal assignments related to your current needs.
In this article, we’re providing a list of five characteristics you should look for when selecting an appraisal firm for your next project. Then, we’ll follow up with some additional things to consider, ensuring you have not only found an outstanding firm, but one with the specific knowledge and experience to deliver a report that will meet all of your needs and expectations.
1 . Experience
An outstanding appraisal firm will have a breadth of experience. When evaluating experience, there’s more to consider than the number of years a firm has been in businesses. Of course, you’ll want to find out how long an appraisal company has been in business and compare their answers to those you get from other firms. But you also need to be sure to ask specific questions about a firm’s recent experience with your property type and the type of appraisal you are requesting.
Ask about other recent appraisals the firm has completed in your market area for the same purpose. Experience is about the appraisers’ knowledge of and exposure to your property type, as well as the appraisers’ insight into the market in which your property is situated.
2. Effective Communication
Effective communication is an essential characteristic of an outstanding firm. You want a firm that is not just good at imparting information in the form of an appraisal report. Find a firm that will:
- Keep you informed as to the progress of the appraisal process
- Ask questions whenever they arise,
- Respond to your inquiries throughout the assignment term quickly
- Will work with any third-party reviewers or lenders in helping them make the best use of your commercial appraisal.
Many appraisal projects have stalled because the appraiser has failed to properly communicate his/her needs, or the appraiser has not done so in a timely manner.
Accuracy throughout the appraisal process is integral to the development of a credible value opinion. Accuracy is a product of good research and interview habits, an outstanding infrastructure and access to the most credible and accurate data sources.
From spelling a client’s name correctly, to reporting the building size, condition and locational characteristics of a property, accuracy is the only assurance that the most credible value estimate is achieved. Accuracy should be a foremost concern throughout the appraisal process, and it will benefit you to question any potential appraisers about their data sources and research habits.
The fewer assumptions an appraiser makes, the more credible the assignment results will be. In addition, if there are assumptions in a report, knowing how they will affect the report is vital. The appraiser should clearly:
- Discuss any assumptions made
- How they potentially impact value
- What happens if they are later proven to be false
If an appraiser is too willing to make assumptions about your property, it may be because he/she does not have access to, or truly value credible property and market information. Appraisal firms that utilize only the most credible data sources and who know how to locate accurate and pertinent information are the firms that deliver the most exceptional results.
Many factors contribute to a firm’s reliability. Reliability includes:
- Being on time for appointments such as a site inspection
- Answering emails or phone calls in a timely manner
- Delivering a completed, credible commercial appraisal report as agreed
- Addressing reviewer or client inquiries after the appraisal report is delivered.
Reliability also relates to the performance of an appraisal firm. Can the firm you are considering giving your assignment to actually deliver what you need when promised? Do they have the ability to competently gather all of the required data necessary to complete a report that will meet your needs?
Being reliable also means that the appraisal firm can competently and efficiently manage all aspects of the appraisal assignment with no glitches, delays or errors that will cost you time and potentially, money. Make sure to ask about any prospective commercial appraisal firm’s processes and policies regarding timeliness, thoroughness, and communication. Hire a firm that gives you confidence they understand and take reliability seriously.
Integrity is about understanding and meeting the needs of the client, ensuring the client understands the appraisal conclusions, working with the client throughout the appraisal process and beyond to guarantee complete satisfaction.
A firm with integrity will make things right and address any issues that arise during and after the appraisal process and will exhibit all the characteristics we’ve previously discussed and will give you the confidence that you’ve engaged the best firm for your particular appraisal project. You want a firm with integrity because it means they understand your needs, deliver a completed commercial appraisal report that meets those needs, and stands behind the report.
You Should Work with an Outstanding Appraisal Firm
An outstanding appraisal firm is a firm that has abundant experience, effective communication, accuracy, reliability, and the integrity evidenced by adhering to the facts while delivering credible assignment results every time. An outstanding appraisal firm is a team of individuals with specialized skills and experience which will leave you confident that you have engaged the best and that your time and money have been well spent.
Here at Standard Valuation Services, we strive to provide outstanding service to each of our commercial property owner clients. We will walk with you and ensure your complete understanding every step of the way during the entire appraisal process. Contact SVS today for a free consultation on your commercial property appraisal needs.