What Does a Real Estate Appraiser Do?
If you're analytical and enjoy looking at houses in detail, here’s a way to get paid to do what you love.
Real estate appraisers, also called real estate property appraisers or real property appraisers, provide an unbiased estimate of the value of a piece of land and the buildings on that land. This typically happens when the property is about to change hands.
Appraisers prepare a financial estimate of a property, and they research issues that could influence its value, including size, age and architectural style. They also look at lot characteristics, such as utility connections and driveways.
They compare their research against similar properties. They provide their findings to real estate owners and managers, as well as those who sell, invest in or lend money for real estate.
Appraisers typically evaluate one property at a time, and they often specialize in a certain type of real estate, such as residential or commercial properties.
A related job is real estate assessor, who looks at whole neighborhoods to assess value to determine tax values. An assessor is typically an elected official.
Just like the real estate market, a real estate appraiser’s job prospects follow the local market. As the population grows in a particular area, so does the need for appraisers.
- Visit individual properties, noting overall condition
- Go through the property room-by-room and walk around the outside as well
- Check the legal description in the public record and make sure it matches reality
- Maintain thorough knowledge of real estate law and local market conditions
- Take photographs of a property, including exterior and interior images
- Compare property to others in the surrounding area
- Prepare reports that explain assessment results and methods used
How To Become a Real Estate Appraiser: FAQs
What are steps to becoming a real estate appraiser?
Real estate appraiser is one of SkillPointe's top jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree. Still, any job worth doing is going to take some effort! Requirements to become an appraiser vary by state and even by city. First, investigate the requirements where you want to work, but keep these general steps in mind.
In some cities and states, only a high school diploma or equivalent is required. In other states, an associate or bachelor’s degree may be required.
In general, most prospective appraisers take a 12-month training course that includes instruction and on-the-job training. In some states, this may include becoming an appraiser trainee.
The Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) sets national course criteria. Even in a state that has different rules, the courses must meet or exceed the AQB's minimum standards.
After completing the course, assessors must pass an exam and work a set number of hours to earn a state license. In some states, the trainee must work with a supervisor or mentor before taking this step.
In most states, appraisers are certified and licensed. The Appraisal Foundation is a helpful resource for understanding the laws where you want to appraise property. The site maintains a list of state appraiser regulatory agencies. Check your state's licensing board for specific certification requirements. Above all, remember even where licensing and/or certification is not required, earning these credentials will likely increase your salary and will certainly increase your client's confidence in your abilities.
There are four federal appraiser classifications that require specific training and education and determine what type of property an appraiser can assess:
- Licensed Trainee Appraiser
- Licensed Residential Appraiser
- Certified Residential Appraiser
- Certified General Appraiser
The last three also require that candidates receive instruction on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) and pass an exam. USPAP sets performance and ethical standards for the appraisal profession, which includes both real estate and personal property appraisal.
Continuing education is required to maintain licenses and/or certification, but as with everything else in this realm, the rules vary. For example, in Georgia, appraisers are required to complete 14 hours of approved continuing education courses during each one-year renewal period. More hours are needed for a two-year renewal.
Are there any other qualifications to consider?
A valid driver’s license is necessary so an appraiser can easily visit various properties. Many appraisers own their own businesses and set their own hours.
For an inside view of what it’s like to do this job, check out this video of a real estate appraiser describing why and how he got into this line of work.
What’s the job outlook for real estate appraisers?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4% growth in demand for this role from 2020 to 2030.
What skills and qualities would make someone a good fit for this job?
Most successful real estate appraisers share these traits:
- Great listening skills
- Strong ability to analyze data and compare options
- Good problem-solving skills
- Excellent writing skills
- Good interpersonal skills and enjoy interacting with clients