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  • Writer's pictureKrystal Schware, PA CREA

Is An Appraiser Better Than A Data Collector or a 'Value Acceptance?'

You may hear the question, "Why should an appraiser drive to and look at properties instead of a third-party person or a PDC/property data collector?" The answer is simple and important. Because the appraiser is the expert. Certified and licensed appraisers are experts in inspecting and arriving at an opinion of value for real estate and they are the most qualified party to distinguish relevant characteristics as well as determining those which are irrelevant.

Recently, PDCs, minimally trained 'property data collectors', have been ruled permissible by the governing powers that be to take the 'inspection'/on-site portion of the job away from the trained professional appraiser. These PDCs typically disguise themselves as appraisers. To become an appraiser, it takes years of hard work, a college education, a minimum two-year apprenticeship, continuing education, successfully passing multiple appraiser-specific courses, and meeting standards and regulations to become certified or licensed. Appraisers must uphold these standards and do continuing education for life to remain certified or licensed. Currently, you can enroll in training to become a PDC for only $69 and watch 2.5 hours of pre-recorded videos. (BUT WAIT! THEY EVEN OFFER COUPONS TO GET IT CHEAPER!) That's it. Can you really become a trained professional in any professional field in 2.5 hours? Does that build public trust?

Sometimes you or a loved one may be granted what is called an appraisal waiver, now known as a 'value acceptance.' This catchy phrase will be made to sound fantastic and as if you've hit the jackpot. But what this really means is, if you opt to allow the appraisal waiver, you waive your opportunity to have a professional appraiser look at the property. A computer or a person behind a desk gives you to ok in its place. This means no valuation expert ever visits the house. You are making a huge investment based on computer programs that have been proven faulty and inaccurate. (Remember Zillow's failure and having shut down their own real estate sales/purchasing venture because their Z-estimates were so far off? Yikes! No thank you.) Of all the fees associated with a home purchase, the appraisal is one of the lowest in the cost spectrum to you yet it yields protection to your wallet and your family's financial future. Protecting you and your investment is not a recommended place to try and cut corners.

Do you wish to leave your largest investment to chance? Of course not. Protect yourself. Ask who will be doing your appraisal inspection. If they are not an appraiser, you have the right to request a real appraisal and a real appraiser. If they refuse, you can opt to do your own appraisal outside of the transaction. Yet, this real estate professional would personally be one to question the integrity of anyone denying my right to an appraisal to protect my investment.

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