Appraisers are rarely used to help set prices on residential real estate. They are used extensively by mortgage lenders to set valuations on which to base loans and to set prices on commercial and industrial property.
Using them for homes, condos, and co-ops is kind of overkill. Besides, in my experience more likely than not the appraiser will come in with the wrong market price! Yikes!
That’s not to say that appraisers don’t do a good job. They do. However, they typically only consider comparables—past sales of similar properties. Thus, by nature, their valuations tend to be conservative.
However, sometimes there are special circumstances, as when you have a unique house (it’s round instead of square, comes with a lot of acreage, could have industrial usage value, and so on) and an agent may indicate that an licensed appraiser could be worthwhile.
Appraisers have extensive educational courses in appraisal and usually have served an apprenticeship learning how to correctly appraise property.
But for must properties, a CMA (comparable market analysis) is sufficient. The good news is that virtually all agents offer a CMA for free.