In the United States, the most common usage relates to real estate and personal property appraisals, while the term is often used to describe a person specially appointed by a judicial or quasi-judicial authority to put a valuation on property, e.g. on the items of an inventory of the Tangible Property of an Estate (IRS law) of a deceased person or on land taken for public purposes by the right of eminent domain. Appraisers of imported goods and boards of general appraisers have extensive functions in administering the customs laws of the United States. Merchant appraisers are sometimes appointed temporarily under the revenue laws to value where there is no resident appraiser without holding the office of appraiser (U.S. Rev. Stats. § 2609).[1]
Also, ask the agents to call the listing agents of pending sales to try to find out the actual sales price of those properties. Listing agents do not have to disclose the sales price, but many are happy to help out because they could find themselves in the same situation. You can always ask if the agent thinks your price will appraise if the agent refuses to divulge the pending price.
Itemize your improvements. Jot down the repairs and updates you’ve made over the years, when you did them and how much they cost. Remember the items that an appraiser might not notice, like a new roof or insulation—and even minor items like a new kitchen sink count too. Please note that improvements do not represent a dollar for dollar increase in value, but every little bit helps!
These appraisers also perform valuations on commercial property ranging from single to multiple tenant office buildings, shopping centers, retail, industrial, malls, hospitals, health care facilities, warehouses, and hotels to multi-family apartment buildings, co-ops, senior housing, condominium developments, and even vacant land, agricultural, and golf courses.  Regardless of the property type or local zoning, they'll determine the highest and best use of the project and assess the value using the actual or projected cash flow from the property's rent roll and financial statements, using both cap rates for capitalizing year one net operating income (NOI) and discounted cash flow (DCF) of multiple future income streams.  If you're a commercial lender, investor, builder, contractor, architect, or agent, you'll want to use these appraisers to conduct a feasibility analysis of any income producing real estate project you may be considering.  They can also help consult on construction costs and projected absorption rates.  They generally produce a commercial narrative appraisal when engaged for any commercial assignment.
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