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Working as an Appraiser

An appraiser evaluates real estate properties to establish their market value. They conduct extensive research from various sources and data and then analyze the data to develop the value. Appraisers can conduct appraisals for many reasons such as insurance, tax, sales, purchases, investment, mortgage, or loan purposes.

Appraisers have the choice of specializing in the appraisal of either residential property or commercial property. They can work in insurance firms, government, agencies or be self-employed. A successful appraiser should have excellent communication skills, , analytical skills, and be detail-oriented.

The role of an appraiser is typically a full-time role. They work 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5. They work in an office setting, although they may be required to travel to visit properties half of the time.

What Does an Appraiser Do

Appraisers and assessors of real estate provide an estimate of the value of land and the buildings on the land usually before it is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed.


Appraisers and assessors of real estate typically do the following:

  • Verify legal descriptions of real estate properties in public records
  • Inspect new and existing properties, noting the characteristics
  • Photograph the interior and exterior of properties
  • Analyze “comparables,” or similar nearby properties, to help provide values
  • Prepare written reports on the property values
  • Prepare and maintain current data on each real estate property 

Appraisers and assessors work in localities that they are familiar with so that they know any environmental or other concerns that may affect the property's value.

Appraisers typically value one property at a time, and they often specialize in a certain type of real estate:

  • Commercial appraisers specialize in income producing property, such as office buildings, stores, and hotels.
  • Residential appraisers focus on appraising property in which people live, such as single family homes and condominiums. They only appraise properties that house one to four units.

When evaluating a property's value, appraisers note the characteristics of the property and surrounding area, such as a view or noisy highway nearby. They also consider the overall condition of a building, including its foundation and roof or any renovations that may have been done. Appraisers photograph the outside of the building and some of the interior features to document its condition. After visiting the property, the appraiser analyzes the property relative to comparable home sales, including lease records, location, view, previous appraisals, and income potential. During the entire process, appraisers record their research, observations, and methods used in providing an estimate of the property’s value.

Assessors value properties for property tax assessments. Most work for local governments. Unlike appraisers, who generally focus on one property at a time, assessors often value an entire neighborhood of homes at once by using mass appraisal techniques and computer-assisted appraisal systems.

Assessors must be up to date on tax assessment procedures. Taxpayers sometimes challenge the assessed value because they feel they are being charged too much for property tax. Assessors must be able to defend the accuracy of their property assessments, either to the owner directly or at a public hearing.

Assessors also keep a database of every property in their jurisdiction, identifying the property owner, assessment history, and characteristics of the property, as well as property maps detailing the property distribution of the jurisdiction.

How To Become an Appraiser

The requirements to become a fully qualified appraiser or assessor of real estate are complex and vary by state and, sometimes, by the value or type of property. Most appraisers of residential or commercial property must have at least a bachelor’s degree to obtain the entry-level state license category. Check with your state's licensing board for specific requirements for both assessors and appraisers.


Although requirements may vary by state, appraisers of residential or commercial property usually must have at least a bachelor’s degree.

College courses in subjects such as economics, finance, mathematics, computer science, English, and business or real estate law can be useful for prospective appraisers and assessors.

Most states set education and experience requirements that assessors must meet in order to practice. A few states have no statewide requirements; instead, each locality sets the standards. In some localities, candidates may qualify with a high school diploma.


Employers generally require candidates to take basic appraisal courses, complete long-term on-the-job training, and work enough hours to meet the requirements for licenses or certificates. 

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Federal law requires appraisers to have a state license or certification when working on federally related transactions, such as appraisals for loans made by federally insured banks and financial institutions. The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) offers information on appraisal licensing. There is no such federal requirement for assessors, although some states require certification. For state specific requirements, applicants should contact their state board.

Real property appraisers usually value one property at a time, while assessors value many at once, but both occupations use similar methods and techniques. As a result, assessors and appraisers tend to take the same courses for certification. In addition to passing a statewide examination, candidates must usually complete a set number of on-the-job hours.

The credential level determines what type of property a person may appraise. The four federal appraiser classifications are as follows:

    • Licensed Trainee Real Property Appraiser

    • Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser

    • Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser

    • Certified General Real Property Appraiser

Many states offer a Licensed Trainee Real Property Appraiser credential to candidates working toward licensure or certification. Training programs vary by state, but they usually require candidates to take at least 75 hours of specified appraiser education before applying for a job as a trainee.

Many states offer the Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser. With this license, a qualified person may appraise noncomplex one-to-four unit residences with a value of less than $1 million and complex one-to-four unit residences with a value of less than $250,000. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this certificate:

    • 30 semester hours of college-level education

    • 150 hours of appraiser-qualifying education

    • 2,000 hours of on-the-job training completed over at least 1 year

Being a Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser is the minimum requirement to appraise a residential property with a loan amount over $250,000 or any other type of residential property even if the loan amount is less than $250,000. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this certificate:

    • Bachelor’s degree

    • 200 hours of appraiser-specific qualifying education

    • 2,500 hours of work experience completed over at least 2 years

Being a Certified General Real Property Appraiser permits a person to appraise real property of any type and any value. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this certificate:

    • Bachelor’s degree 

    • 300 hours of appraiser-specific qualifying education

    • 3,000 hours of work experience completed over at least 2½ years

For all of these credentials, except the Trainee License credential, candidates must have the following qualifications:

    • Have 15 hours of classroom instruction on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice

    • Pass an exam

Unlike appraisers, assessors have no federal requirement for certification. In states that mandate certification for assessors, the requirements are usually similar to those for appraisers. For example, the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) offers the Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE). This designation covers topics that include property valuation for tax purposes, property tax administration, and property tax policy. Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree prior to obtaining the designation.

For those states that do not require certification for assessors, the hiring office usually requires the candidate to take basic appraisal courses, complete on-the-job training, and meet the work-hours requirements for appraisal licenses or certificates. Many assessors also have a state appraiser license or credential.

Assessors tend to start working in an assessor's office that provides on-the-job training; smaller municipalities are often unable to provide this work experience. An alternate source of experience for aspiring assessors is through a revaluation firm.

Both appraisers and assessors must take continuing education courses to keep the license or certification. Exact requirements vary by state and certification.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Appraisers and assessors of real estate use many sources of data when valuing a property. As a result, they must carefully research and analyze all factors before estimating a value and producing a final written report.

Customer-service skills. Because appraisers must regularly interact with clients, being polite and friendly is important. In addition, these characteristics may help expand future business opportunities.

Math skills. Accurately analyzing real estate data includes such steps as calculating square footage of land and building space, so workers must have good math skills.

Organizational skills. To successfully accomplish all the tasks related to appraising and assessing a property, appraisers and assessors of real estate need good organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Appraising or assessing a property's value may involve unexpected problems. The ability to develop and apply an alternative solution is crucial to successfully completing the appraisal and report on time.

Time-management skills. Appraisers and assessors of real estate often work under time constraints, sometimes appraising many properties in a single day. As a result, managing time and meeting deadlines are important.

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Average Salary$39,758
Job Growth Rate7%

Appraiser Career Paths

Top Careers Before Appraiser

7.5 %

Top Careers After Appraiser

13.3 %

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Average Salary for an Appraiser

Appraisers in America make an average salary of $39,758 per year or $19 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $50,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $31,000 per year.
Average Salary

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Santa Rosa, CA
Salary Range52k - 104k$74k$73,793
Anchorage, AK
Salary Range48k - 68k$58k$57,645
Seattle, WA
Salary Range41k - 75k$56k$56,150
Phoenix, AZ
Salary Range38k - 70k$52k$51,809
Madison, MS
Salary Range39k - 60k$49k$48,861
Littleton, CO
Salary Range38k - 60k$48k$48,162

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Appraiser Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Appraiser. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Appraiser Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Appraiser resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Appraiser Demographics



64.8 %


31.4 %


3.9 %



84.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

6.8 %

Black or African American

4.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


53.3 %


9.5 %


5.7 %
See More Demographics

Appraiser Education


29.7 %
6.9 %



48.6 %


14.6 %


12.1 %

Top Colleges for Appraisers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition

6. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Maryland - Baltimore County

Baltimore, MD • Public

In-State Tuition

9. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. Baylor University

Waco, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
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Top Skills For an Appraiser

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 19.5% of appraisers listed appraisal reports on their resume, but soft skills such as customer-service skills and problem-solving skills are important as well.

  • Appraisal Reports, 19.5%
  • Customer Service, 8.0%
  • MAI, 7.7%
  • Company Policies, 6.0%
  • Market Research, 5.6%
  • Other Skills, 53.2%
  • See All Appraiser Skills

Best States For an Appraiser

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an appraiser. The best states for people in this position are California, Alaska, Nevada, and Washington. Appraisers make the most in California with an average salary of $66,028. Whereas in Alaska and Nevada, they would average $57,235 and $55,836, respectively. While appraisers would only make an average of $55,425 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Appraiser Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Appraiser Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Washington

Total Appraiser Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Appraiser Employers

1. Property Damage Appraisers
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2. Harris County Appraisal District
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3. Cushman & Wakefield
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4. State of Florida
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5. Travelers
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6. Bank of America
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Appraiser Videos

Updated October 2, 2020