Q: We live in Roswell, Georgia, and want to sell our current home so we can buy another, larger one. To help us determine the amount we can afford for a new home, we want to get the appraised value for our current home.

How do we go about finding a good appraiser? What questions should we ask the prospective appraisers to determine if we should use him or her? About how much should we expect to pay for an appraisal and on what is the price based?

A: You could get an appraisal, but you don’t need one. If you’re going to sell through an agent, the agent should be doing the background checking of comparable sales in the past few months.

Invite three agents come through your home and do a comparative market analysis (CMA). They will give you a suggested list price based on the sales price of comparable homes in the area. And, they should give you a marketing strategy for selling your property.

If you still want to hire an appraiser, you can expect to spend about $300 to $400 for the appraisal. Ask your local mortgage lenders for a referral to one of their appraisers.

March 1, 2001.