how to become a real estate appraiser

What does a Real Estate Appraiser do?

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Appraisers and assessors of real estate prepare estimates of the value of a property, such as the land and building or structure. This is typically provided before it is sold, developed, insured, taxed, or mortgaged. Before arriving at the property, an appraiser and assessor of real estate prepares current data and then performs an inspection of new and existing properties.

Watch a video to learn what a real estate appraiser does:

How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor

how to become a real estate appraiser

An appraiser and assessor of real estate typically earn a bachelor’s degree. Coursework includes economics, financial mathematics, computer science, English, and business or real estate law classes. Most states require you to obtain an entry-level state license to practice after earning your degree. However, requirements may vary by state for residential or commercial property and so one should check with his or her appropriate state licensing board.

For those wanting to work for the federal government the does law requires all appraisers to have a state license certificate when working on federally related transactions such as appraisals for federal loans made to financial institutions and federally insured banks. For information on appraisal licensing one should contact The Appraisal Foundation (TAF). This federal requirement does not apply to assessors, though some states may require certification.

An assessor can get information from the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) that offers the Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE) certification. This covers topics like property tax administration, property valuation for tax purposes, and property policy. One requires a bachelor’s degree before obtaining this as well.

Job Description of a Real Estate Appraiser and Assessor

Appraisers and assessors of real estate inspect new and existing properties and verifying legal descriptions given of the property found in public records. They need to take pictures of both the interior and exterior of the real estate property and analyze “comparable” or similar properties to provide its value. He or she prepares and maintains current information on each real estate property and compares written reports on the property value. Appraisers normally value one property at a time. An appraiser may also specialize in a certain type of real estate such as commercial appraisers that specialize in property that produces income like hotels, apartments, office buildings, or stores.

Residential appraisers specialize in appraising homes like condominiums and family houses. He or she is restricted to appraising properties that have one to four units. An assessor would value properties for property tax assessments. They often work in local governments and can value entire neighborhoods at once by using mass appraisal techniques and computer-assisted appraisal systems. An appraiser and assessor of real estate should be skilled in customer service, math, problem-solving, time-management, and be analytical.

Appraiser Career Video Transcript

When a 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 the knowledge that helps them evaluate the 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.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate.

National Center for O*NET Development. 13-2021.02. O*NET OnLine.

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