A home appraisal is an unbiased report on the worth of a house in the fair market, performed by a trained and licensed or certified individual. Appraisals are needed to ensure the homebuyer, the home seller and the mortgage lender receive the accurate and true value of the real estate in question.

In most residential property transactions you are able to choose your real estate agent and your lender, but you cannot choose your appraiser. Instead, the appraiser must be chosen by your lender to provide a level of independence from the buyer and seller.

In order to ensure that appraisals are impartial the Appraisal Independence Requirements, or AIR, prohibits a lender’s loan production staff from having direct contact with—or influence upon—any appraisers.

To reduce the risk of violating AIR many lenders now hire appraisers via appraisal management companies. These companies work with many residential appraisers in order to cover a more diverse housing market and to reduce the risk of improper influence.