An appraiser determines the value of property, such as automobile, real estate, or personal claims. They are usually called when one reports damage, injury, or decreased coverage or when buying or selling merchandise or property. The primary goal is to provide monetary value to merchandise, damage, property, or compensation for clients or companies. Common areas of practice include real estate, automobile, and healthcare industries.
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How to Become an Appraiser
You can become an appraiser with an associate’s degree, however for more advanced positions a bachelor’s degree is preferred. Degrees can vary pending on the type of area you want to focus on; examples may include finance, business, real estate, or auto body. Many states also require appraisers to get licensed in the state in which they reside or have a certification to practice. Be sure to research your state’s requirements.
There are also many associations and organizations related to different appraisal specialities that provide networking and learning opportunities. An example is the Appraisal Institute, an association of professional real estate appraisers.
Job Description of an Appraiser
Real estate appraisers are probably the most abundant in this industry, they are responsible for assessing commercial or residential property that individuals want to sell or buy. They assess square footage, amenities, land, and anything associated with the value of the property involved. Automobile companies also hire appraisers to determine damages to vehicles caused by an accident. These appraisers often travel to the involved vehicle and take pictures and assess how much the insurance company should pay for repair costs for the damages. Other appraisers work in the healthcare industry for insurance companies or doctor’s offices processing medical claims from doctors and hospitals and determine what will be covered and what will not be covered.
Appraisers work outside and are traveling most often to various locations within their community. Hours can vary and may be required to work evenings and weekend to accommodate request by clients. Many times they are at the mercy of the claimants schedules. They can work for government or state agencies, insurance carriers, or other enterprises that require appraisals.
Appraisers must work well under pressure, problem solve, and be analytical thinkers. They must also be detailed oriented and have strong written and verbal communication skills. Many times appraisers have to write or communicate their findings in reports or to the claims adjuster seeking information for compensation request.
Appraiser Job Posting
Let’s look at a job description posted by the Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:
- Perform the full scope of work associated with the more difficult appraisals of real property to include land and improvements.
- Perform evaluations to include site specific appraisals, cost estimates, gross appraisals and real estate planning reports for natural disasters and emergency projects to support acquisition, exchange, and real property disposal.
- Perform fee, assessment, etc., of properties that vary in size from a portion of one acre to thousands of acres, and from individual lots to hundreds of lots.
- Prepare narrative appraisal reports for projects, and urban and rural properties to include agricultural, commercial, industrial, residential and special use.
- Resolve conflicts or disparities between values or the methods for determining value.
This position was posted to run 12/14/2018 until 12/13/2019 with a salary range of $73,375 to $95,388 per year on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Appraiser Career Video Transcript
When property is being sold, bought, or evaluated for a loan or estate, someone who does not have an interest in the transaction must consider its value. A real estate appraiser provides that objective analysis. The appraiser inspects the property, considers its location, and does research. He or she might interview people who have a connection to the property and examine public records. Both the condition of the property and recent sales of similar properties are factored into the calculation. The appraiser takes pictures of the outside and inside of the property too, then a written report is prepared.
This is a job for people who enjoy getting away from the desk, to inspect property and conduct research. But an ability to develop a clear written report is also important. Some appraisers are salaried employees of banks, insurance companies, or other financial institutions. Others are independent contractors. For example, the heirs of a property owner might commission an appraisal when the owner dies, to re-set the value of the property for tax purposes.
Some vocational schools offer courses in real estate appraisal, but most people working as appraisers have additional experience in fields that give them knowledge that helps them evaluate property. For example, it helps to know about building and construction materials, or the history of a neighborhood. Real estate appraisers are licensed in most states. They take a National Uniform Appraiser Examination, which is offered monthly.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators.
The career video is Public Domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.