Hiring A Real Property Appraiser

Update - 04/15/2013

We were contacted by Steven Coull, CEO of CNAREA and asked to update this post in order to reflect what he says are certain inaccuracies. His comments are at the end of the post below.

There may come a time in your home owning experience that you will need to engage the services of a real estate appraiser to assess the current market value of the home you wish to purchase or are in the process of selling or refinancing.

When obtaining a mortgage, your bank or mortgage broker will typically manage ordering an appraisal due to the fact that most lenders have a list of appraisers they approve of. However, you may require a property appraisal for personal reasons like divorce proceedings, insurance dealings, taxation disputes or when doing home renovations.

Regardless of whether you are responsible for ordering the report or not, it never hurts to understand in greater detail the purpose and education of the professional that carries the pivotal task of assign a current market value to your home.

Real property appraisers are engaged by a diverse range of clients to provide a professional opinion or consultative valuation services on the quality, value, or utility of a specific property. They are depended upon to make prudent judgement and independent decisions and they must be skilled in gathering and evaluating facts and a variety of data sources that are needed for comparisons and analysis.

When hiring an appraiser, especially for mortgage purposes, your number one requirement should be accreditation, says one industry veteran.

Their are two accrediting organizations : AIC and CNAREA. AIC is widely recognized and every lender will accept someone with an AIC Membership. CNAREA is not as widely recognized and there are still quite a few lenders who will not accept a CNAREA report.

Members of the Appraisal Institute of Canada ( AIC), undergo a university based program of study, and complete an Applied Experience Program to earn their designations. Once granted, Designated Appraisers are licensed to use the following designations:

AACI™ – Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute: An AACI™ designated member may undertake any real property assignment where they have demonstrated competence with the real property type and the geographic and market influences that impact value.

CRA™ – Canadian Residential Appraiser: A CRA™ designated member may undertake a residential real property assignment where they have demonstrated competence with the residential property type and the geographic and market influences that impact value on residential dwellings containing not more than four self-contained family housing units or an individual undeveloped residential dwelling site.

DAR (Designated Appraiser Residential) – This designation identifies a member who is qualified to perform appraisal and consultation assignments of residential type properties consisting of no more than four housing units. Requirements for this designation include three thousand hours of full time appraisal experience, over a minimum of two years, and the successful completion of the required Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers educational program or its equivalent.

These designations are symbols of recognition for completion of a rigorous pathway to designation that the bearer has demonstrated sound competence in the provision of professional appraisal services.

Our experts recommend keeping the following points in mind when hiring an appraiser:

  • Pay attention to the number of years the appraiser has been in business
  • Be sure to hire an appraiser who specializes in the type of property you want appraised. Not all appraisers are sufficiently experienced in all types of property and the lack of experience could negatively effect the valuation.
  • Ask for references.
  • Curtis Cossey, President and CEO of CDC Consulting advises checking with the Better Business Bureau as not many appraisal companies are BBB accredited.

Finally, if you are obtaining an appraisal personally but are considering using the appraisal for mortgaging purchases in the near future, perhaps for the purpose of a refinance, consult with your mortgage broker or bank before ordering it.

As previously mentioned, most lenders have a list of preferred Real Property Appraisers and will downright refuse an appraisal from a firm that is not on the list. In addition, some will only except an appraisal that is physically ordered by one of their representatives, even if it’s from an appraiser on the list. Although incredibly valuable, appraisals can be quite costly so be sure to consult your lender before personally shelling out for one that may not be usable when the time comes.

DAR is widely accepted by all major lenders. There are only very few lenders left who don't know about CNAREA and the DAR. AIC do not undergo a university based program of study but only 6 or 7 distance learning courses administered by UBC. The qualifications necessary to become a DAR are far in advance of those for CRA. All CRA's are not used by many lenders. They must be on the lenders approved list. Many are not. DAR's are now the appraisers of preference due to work quality. Please call me in the future if you want information about appraisers, the profession, or CNAREA. -- Steven Coull CEO


As the company’s first employee, Jennifer has been a Licensed Mortgage Associate since 2004, but her current role is not focused on mortgages. She is the resident blog writer and…

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