Summarized below is a description and explanation of the real estate appraisal fees charged by this company.
Flat Rate – In most situations the real estate appraiser can predict how much work will be required and will bid the proposed assignment. In these cases, a flat fee or a bid will be quoted for the entire assignment and all appraisal work involved.
This fee is based upon the property information as stated by the intended user (the client) of the report, the complexity of the assignment, the anticipated time needed to complete the assignment, the intended use of the report and preliminary investigation by the appraiser. If the property information turns turn out to be inaccurate, the appraiser will advise the intended user that the original fee quote must be changed.
The flat rate includes all expenses typically incurred in the preparation of the appraisal report – any consultation, litigation preparation or court testimony required after completion of the initial appraisal report will be billed on an hourly basis.
Retainer – This is the amount of money the real estate appraiser will request for a down payment in order to start the appraisal assignment. The request for a retainer is a standard procedure – the actual amount of the retainer can vary from assignment to assignment. The retainer is non-refundable. The retainer is the minimum estimate of fees for the appraiser to accept and start the assignment. The balance of the appraisal fee will be due upon receipt of the appraisal report.
Hourly Rate – Experienced, certified and licensed real estate appraisers in this area charge from $100 to $400+ per hour. Although this may seem high, the office overhead, support staff, computers, rent and other supplies can be expensive and usually increases over time.
In addition, a portion of the appraiser’s day is spent on continuing education, reading appraisal and real estate publications and updates, researching new sales, viewing new listings at open houses, managing the office, taking phone calls, etc. which are not chargeable to any client though they help the appraiser do a better job for his clients. An appraiser who is better educated, highly skilled, efficient, who hires knowledgeable support personnel and who maintains efficient business machines and systems must charge more per hour for his/her time – the end product is usually better and less expensive.
The typical real estate appraiser working on an hourly basis often nets about the same as an independent skilled building tradesman in the Santa Barbara area.
Contingent Fee – It is a violation of the appraiser’s license and the Uniform Standards of Professional Practice (USPAP) to take an assignment on a contingency fee basis.
Engagement Letter – When the basic details of the proposed real estate appraisal assignment are agreed upon verbally, the client will be sent an engagement letter summarizing the proposed assignment for their approval and signature.