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Become An Appraiser

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Working As An Appraiser

  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $58,000

    Average Salary

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.

Duties

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.

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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.

Education

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.

Training

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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Appraiser Career Paths

Appraiser
Risk Analyst Senior Credit Analyst Accounts Receivable Manager
Accounts Payable/Receivable Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Owner Service Advisor Team Manager
Assistant Vice President Operations
8 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Program Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Driver Operation Supervisor Branch Manager
Business Development Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager General Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Risk Analyst Senior Consultant Manager And Consultant
Consultant/Marketing Director
10 Yearsyrs
Analyst Finance Analyst Finance Manager
Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Property Manager Communications Director Development Director
Development Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Reviewer Specialist Property Manager
Director Of Property Management
6 Yearsyrs
Owner Maintenance Technician Facilities Manager
Director, Facilities & Operations
6 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Engineer
Estimator Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Appraiser Assistant Vice President
Group Vice President
9 Yearsyrs
Property Manager Tax Preparer Accountant
Management Accounts Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Staff Appraiser Reviewer Attorney
Partner
6 Yearsyrs
Reviewer Assistant Professor Program Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Dispatcher Property Manager
Properties Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Regional Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Analyst Account Manager Account Executive
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Claims Adjuster
Senior Claims Representative
6 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Mortgage Underwriter
Senior Underwriter
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Licensed Appraiser 4.5 years
Damage Appraiser 4.5 years
Tax Appraiser 4.4 years
Staff Appraiser 4.2 years
Property Appraiser 4.2 years
Appraiser 4.0 years
Field Appraiser 3.8 years
Home Appraiser 3.7 years
Land Appraiser 2.6 years
Top Careers Before Appraiser
Manager 6.7%
Owner 6.5%
Estimator 2.9%
Top Careers After Appraiser
Owner 11.8%
Manager 7.2%
Estimator 6.6%
Analyst 4.2%
Consultant 3.2%
Specialist 3.0%
Reviewer 2.9%
President 2.4%

Do you work as an Appraiser?

Appraiser Demographics

Gender

Male

65.2%

Female

32.9%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

18.1%

Black or African American

10.8%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.1%

French

6.4%

Mandarin

5.1%

Russian

3.8%

Portuguese

3.8%

Chinese

3.8%

Korean

2.6%

Carrier

2.6%

Cantonese

2.6%

Swedish

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Cheyenne

1.3%

Danish

1.3%

Dari

1.3%

Thai

1.3%

Nepali

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Italian

1.3%

German

1.3%

Japanese

1.3%
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Appraiser Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.5%

Texas A&M University

8.0%

University of Connecticut

5.7%

Arizona State University

5.7%

Northeastern University

5.7%

University of Florida

5.1%

University of North Texas

5.1%

Florida State University

5.1%

University of Central Florida

5.1%

California State University - Fullerton

4.5%

New York University

4.0%

Illinois State University

4.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.0%

Texas Tech University

4.0%

Texas State University

4.0%

Hondros College

4.0%

University of North Florida

3.4%

Orange Coast College

3.4%

Florida International University

3.4%

San Diego State University

3.4%
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Majors

Business

30.0%

Real Estate

16.7%

Finance

6.7%

Education

5.4%

Accounting

5.0%

Psychology

3.6%

Criminal Justice

3.4%

Marketing

3.1%

Communication

3.0%

Management

2.9%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Economics

2.4%

Political Science

2.3%

Computer Science

2.2%

General Studies

2.1%

Automotive Technology

2.0%

Insurance

1.9%

History

1.8%

Nursing

1.6%

Elementary Education

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.3%

Other

31.2%

Masters

11.0%

Associate

10.0%

Certificate

3.7%

License

1.4%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

1.1%
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Real Appraiser Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Appraiser Cushman & Wakefield of Texas, Inc. Dallas, TX Jul 15, 2016 $100,000
Technical Appraiser/Seaworthiness International Register of Shipping Miami, FL Jul 01, 2015 $81,000
Appraiser Joseph J Blake & Associates New York, NY Oct 02, 2016 $50,000
Jewel and Diamond Appraiser Gemological Appraisal Association, Inc. New York, NY Jan 02, 2010 $50,000
Appraiser American Appraisal Corporation Albuquerque, NM Sep 13, 2016 $36,000
Appraiser Preferred Appraisal Service Pittsburgh, PA Oct 01, 2013 $32,474
Rug Appraiser Abrash Decorative Rugs Dallas, TX Jan 15, 2008 $32,344
Fashion Appraiser Definitely Fantastic Estate Sales LLC West Palm Beach, FL Jan 01, 2012 $31,200

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Top Skills for An Appraiser

  1. Property Appraisals
  2. Real Estate
  3. Total Loss Vehicles
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Inspected single family dwellings *Performed market value property appraisals *Prepared detailed reports reinforcing total market values *Scheduled appointments with clients
  • Analyzed economic and market trends to extrapolate data for use in developing a valuation opinion for commercial and residential real estate.
  • Process specialty valuation reports for total loss vehicles for numerous insurance carriers
  • Delivered outstanding customer service through efficient and accurate claim processing as well as impressive management of expectations.
  • Schedule and conduct appraisal inspection of residential properties.

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Top Appraiser Employers

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Appraiser Videos

How To Become A Trainee Appraiser

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