What is a Real Estate Appraiser?

A real estate appraiser, also known as an assessor, is an individual who determines the value of the real estate, including buildings and land, for homeowners, potential homeowners, real estate agencies, or lending institutions. The appraisal value is usually necessary before the real estate can be mortgaged, insured, sold, taxed, or developed. To work as an appraiser, a candidate must meet specific requirements. Here is an overview of appraisers, including what they do, how to become one, and their career outlook.

What They Do

A real estate appraiser determines the value of a property and relays this information to the individual or business that requested it. Their other duties include photographing the property inside and outside, inspecting the property, verifying the property’s legal description, analyzing and comparing similar properties in the area, maintaining current data on the property, and preparing written reports on their findings.

They typically work in the areas in which they live so they’re familiar with properties and different neighborhoods. Appraisers can choose to work as commercial appraisers, residential appraisers, or both. They generally work for the government, although, many work for real estate agencies or banks.

How to Become One

Most appraisers have at least a bachelor’s degree, although the actual experience and education requirements are usually set by the state. Individuals can check with the Appraisal Subcommittee to check the requirements in their state. In some states, a degree is not required and can be replaced with appraiser training. Certification and licensure are required for appraisers who work on federally-related transactions, such as government-backed loans. The Appraisal Foundation also offers appraiser licensing information. The level of credential required depends on the individual’s goals, which may be the following:

  • Licensed Trainee Appraiser
  • Licensed Residential Appraiser
  • Certified Residential Appraiser
  • Certified General Appraiser

The licensed trainee appraiser training is usually for those who wish to become licensed as a residential appraiser. Trainees are typically required to have at least 75 hours of appraiser education. To work as a licensed residential appraiser, a candidate must have the following:

  • 150 hours of appraiser education
  • 30 semester hours of college-equivalent education
  • 2,000 hours of on-the-job training for a year or more

Candidates who wish to appraise one to four-unit residential properties must be certified as residential appraisers, which requires a bachelor’s degree, 200 hours of appraiser education, and 2,500 hours of appraiser experience over at least two years.

To earn the credential of a certified general appraiser, and be able to appraise any property, the candidate must have a bachelor’s degree, 300 hours of appraiser education, and 3,000 hours of appraiser experience over at least two and a half years. With the exception of the trainee, all individuals must have at least 15 hours of study on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and pass an appraisal exam.

Career Outlook

Real estate assessors and appraisers should see a 14 percent employment growth from 2016-to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of a May 2017 wage report by the Bureau, appraisers earned an annual median wage of $60,830.

With the real estate market continuing to grow, this career can provide steady employment for someone interested in this type of work. Working as a real estate appraiser can be exciting work, especially when they can play a role in seeing someone become a homeowner or sell their property at the best possible price.

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