What is an appraiser?
An appraiser is a professional who provides expert evaluation of property values. This involves conducting a detailed examination of properties, such as real estate or assets, and offering a comprehensive and informed evaluation of their worth. This job function is especially valuable, given that property values have direct implications on various facets of the economy, including the property market, tax system, and investment opportunities. An accurate and reliable appraisal of property not only ensures fair transactions but also fosters market stability.
The field of appraising serves a broad range of sectors, including real estate, finance, and insurance, among others. Depending on the specific sector, the focus of appraisal can vary drastically, ranging from a residential building’s market value to the potential selling price of an antique piece of art. Appraisers play an integral role in helping organizations and individuals understand property values, ensuring informed decisions are made pertaining to property acquisition, sale, investment, and insurance. Their role goes beyond mere valuation, acting as an important instrument in the complex rhythm of property- and asset-infused industries.
Duties and responsibilities
An appraiser’s primary job is to estimate property values. This involves conducting detailed examinations of properties, studying key aspects like the construction, condition, and location, as well as considering external factors like market trends and records of previous sales. They are responsible for recording the physical characteristics of properties and noting any improvements or damages. Once a comprehensive examination is complete, they provide a detailed report that includes not only the estimated value of the property but also the methodology used for appraisal.
These professionals stay informed about local trends and issues that have a potential impact on property values, including changes in zoning or regulations, economic conditions, and environmental concerns. They are also tasked with verifying legal descriptions of properties, working in collaboration with a public records office. Their job extends beyond the immediate processes of appraisal to encompass a larger understanding of the dynamics affecting property values.
Considered a fieldwork-oriented profession, an appraiser’s job often involves travel to different locations. With a combination of office work and on-site inspections, their work environment can be quite varied. They can be seen inspecting properties, taking photographs, and making notes. Usually, the office work involves research, report writing, and data analysis. Depending on the industry and the type of appraiser – real estate, personal property, or machinery and equipment – the work setting can range from residences, commercial properties, and industrial facilities to auction houses and art sales.
Although physical exertion is not typically associated with the profession, this role still requires certain levels of physical mobility and stamina. They may occasionally encounter situations demanding mild physical activity, such as walking around large properties, climbing stairs, or accessing enclosed spaces like attics or basements during inspections.
Typical work hours
Appraisers often follow a standard 40-hour work week, though the nature of work can sometimes require flexibility. On certain days, they might need to work during evenings and weekends to accommodate clients’ schedules or conduct inspections under specific conditions. In general, they can manage their schedules to some extent, especially those who are self-employed.
Due to the technical and research-centric aspects of the profession, the job might involve additional hours beyond the usual work schedule. Appraisal reports require detailed scrutiny and precise calculations, and meeting deadlines often requires work outside the traditional scope of regular hours. Overall, their work hours can vary and largely depend on the number and frequency of appraisals they handle.
How to become an appraiser
This career guide section outlines the steps to become an appraiser. The key steps focus on obtaining formal education, passing essential qualifying examinations, gaining hands-on work experience, and acquiring necessary licenses and certifications.
Step 1: Complete your high school education
This is your preliminary step toward becoming an appraiser. A high school diploma or equivalent is a minimum requirement for this job. Besides basic education, high school provides a foundation in communication and problem-solving skills crucial for this career.
Step 2: Pursue a bachelor’s degree
While it’s not necessary for all types of appraisers, getting a bachelor’s degree can increase your chances of employment. Degrees in fields such as business, economics, finance, or real estate can be particularly helpful in understanding the various parts of the role.
Step 3: Complete prelicensure education
After formal education, the next step is to complete a specific amount of coursework in appraisal methodology. These courses are tailored to educate you on the principles and procedures of appraisal. The Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) of the Appraisal Foundation determines the number of course hours needed.
Step 4: Pass the exam
The next important step is completing the Uniform Appraiser Examination. This examination tests your knowledge of property types, market analysis, laws and regulations related to appraisals, and much more. Passing this exam signifies that you’re ready to apply your knowledge in the field.
Step 5: Gain work experience
Before getting licensed or certified, you must accumulate a specific amount of work experience under the supervision of a qualified appraiser. This time varies depending on the appraisal specialty and the level of license or certification you intend to obtain.
Step 6: Apply for the appraiser license or certification
After meeting the required educational qualifications and work experience, you can apply for a license or certification with your state’s real estate appraiser board. You’ll need to provide documentation verifying your academics and on-the-job training.
Step 7: Maintain and upgrade your credentials
After acquiring the license, you must keep it active by fulfilling the continuing education requirements set forth by the AQB. As you gain more experience and knowledge, you might want to upgrade your credentials to a higher level, which can expand your career opportunities.
Step 8: Take online courses
Whether you’re an aspiring appraiser looking to launch your career or a seasoned professional seeking to enhance your skills, we’re here to provide you with comprehensive and practical training in the art of appraisal.
These courses are designed to equip you with the knowledge and expertise required to assess the worth of various types of properties accurately.
- Knowledge about real estate is absolutely essential in this profession, and this Udemy course, Fundamentals of Analyzing Real Estate Investments, will help you learn how to evaluate a wide array of properties.
- Throughout this Coursera Business Analytics course, you will learn how to effectively analyze data.
- To excel in this profession, you must be able to effectively communicate your findings with others. Udemy’s Communication Fundamentals course will help you improve your communication and better communicate with a vast amount of personalities.
How much do appraisers make?
Compensation for appraisers varies by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Factors unique to this job, such as specialization areas (like real estate or fine art), certification level, and the complexity of the tasks performed can also significantly impact their salary.
Highest paying industries
- Securities and Financial Activities – $100,550
- Insurance Carriers – $81,480
- Federal Executive Branch – $77,690
- Land Subdivision – $76,820
- Local Government – $71,100
Highest paying states
- California – $96,220
- New Jersey – $94,810
- Oregon – $91,780
- Connecticut – $91,430
- New York – $90,320
Types of appraisers
Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for appraisers. This section will provide an in-depth understanding of the scope this field offers, helping aspiring professionals identify the path most suitable for their interests.
Real estate appraisers
In the realm of property assessment, real estate appraisers are critical. They assess residential and commercial property values based on location, features, and market conditions. Important for sales, insurance, and tax purposes, it’s a career that demands attention to detail and a good understanding of real estate market trends.
Personal property appraisers
This segment of appraiser roles involves assessing the value of movable property. From antiques and collectibles to machinery and equipment, professionals in this category determine worth based on condition, rarity, and other features. Both private individuals and organizations hire these appraisers for purchasing, insurance, or selling purposes.
These professionals evaluate the entire worth of a business entity. This value could be sought for sales negotiations, merger evaluations, or for potential investment decisions. A sound understanding of a particular industry, accounting principles, and market status is required for those who choose this specialization.
Art and antique appraisers
This niche career demands knowledge of art, antiques, and collectibles. Their role will involve assessing the value of art pieces ranging from paintings and sculptures to antique furniture and rare collectors’ items. Auction houses, museums, collectors, or artists themselves often seek their expertise.
Gem and jewelry appraisers
Determining the worth of precious stones and fine jewelry is the key role for professionals in this line. They consider factors such as cut, carat weight, clarity, and color of gemstones, along with the design and craftsmanship of jewelry pieces. Their services are typically hired by jewelry stores, pawnshops, estate sales, or private individuals for insurance or sale purposes.
Top skills for appraisers
In this section, we explore the professional world of appraisers. Here are some important traits and skills they should cultivate:
An appraiser needs to analyze different types of information with precision, including market data, property specifications, and prior sales information. This helps in developing accurate and reliable value estimates.
Knowledge of the real estate market
For those specializing in properties, understanding the real estate market dynamics is essential. This includes keeping current with trends, pricing in different neighborhoods, legal regulations, and environmental factors affecting real estate values.
Attention to detail
The value of property or art pieces can greatly depend on small details. Potential discrepancies in property descriptions or subtle signs of artwork restoration can greatly affect an asset’s value. This requires a meticulous approach to observation and reporting.
Findings must be effectively communicated to clients. This involves clearly explaining the process used to determine the asset’s value, and being able to defend the estimated value, especially when working with contentious assets like real estate properties or antiques.
Clients, courts, and other interested parties rely heavily on the appraiser’s impartiality and honesty. Biased or unethical behavior can severely damage their credibility and may lead to professional and legal consequences.
Appraiser career path options
If you’re starting your career as an appraiser, you have a bright future ahead of you. Since the role typically requires mastery of nuanced valuation techniques, as you gain experience, you’ll be presented with opportunities to specialize in specific areas such as residential, commercial, or industrial real estate.
With a few years under your belt, you may pursue a senior role, handling larger and more complex projects. Additionally, as you build your reputation and track record, freelance opportunities or consultancy work may arise, offering more flexibility. Many professionals eventually run their own appraisal companies, bringing other appraisers under their guidance.
On the other hand, you may choose to use your expert knowledge and eye for detail in a different direction. Transitioning to a related field, such as a real estate agent, mortgage advisor, or insurance underwriter, can be a natural progression, leveraging your existing knowledge. Likewise, roles within governmental organizations are also common, assisting in determining the value of properties for tax purposes.
Similar job titles
Appraiser position trends and outlook
The tremendous growth in commercial transactions and residential development projects has increased the need for professionals who can accurately estimate property values. Rapid technological advancement has been a prominent trend in the appraisal occupation recently.
Modern technologies have strengthened efficiency and precision. The usage of drone technology, for instance, empowers appraisers to survey properties and their surroundings without physically visiting the sites. Software applications also aid in maintaining more precise records and instant updates on constantly changing marketplace trends. The growing concern around sustainability has increased the demand for sustainable real estate appraisal. Therefore, value consideration of energy-efficient features in property assessment has gained importance, making this role even more critical in real estate transactions.
Employment projections for appraisers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for appraisers and assessors of real estate is projected to grow 4 percent through 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The overall demand will be driven by economic expansion and population growth, both of which are anticipated to result in more real estate transactions.
Appraiser career tips
Understand the market
Ensure you keep updated with the latest factors impacting property values in different areas. This includes understanding neighborhood profiling, awareness of the implications of local and international economies, the effects of interest rates, and more. Regularly reading trade papers and subscribing to relevant industry newsletters can help you stay updated.
Continual professional and academic growth
To excel further in your career, consider pursuing further academic qualifications, certifications, or training courses. These can give you an edge in the highly competitive market.
- Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser
- Certified General Real Property Appraiser
- Master’s in Real Estate
- Diploma in Property Appraisal
Viewing a situation from different perspectives will mean you can better determine an accurate value for the property. This often intersects with negotiation skills, as you may need to defend your valuation in a convincing manner.
Build a professional network
Networking is still one of the most effective ways of progressing in your career. Regularly attending industry events and seminars and being an active member of appraiser-specific professional associations can be beneficial. It can help you stay in touch with industry trends and provide opportunities for mentorship and career development.
- The American Society of Appraisers (ASA)
- The Appraisal Foundation (TAF)
- The Appraisal Institute
- National Association of Real Estate Appraisers (NAREA)
Where the appraiser jobs are
- Altus Group
- Cushman & Wakefield
- New York
Top job sites
- LinkedIn Jobs
What skills are beneficial for an appraiser to have?
They need exceptional attention to detail as they often analyze numerous properties and assets with varying characteristics. They also need excellent communication and customer service skills to interact with clients and explain their findings. Analytical skills and a solid understanding of business, economics, and market trends are also important. Proficiency in database software and geographical information systems (GIS) is also beneficial.
What are common tasks for an appraiser?
Common tasks often involve inspecting properties to observe their condition, verifying property features by comparing them to public records, and using comparable market analysis to estimate property value. Preparing written reports on property values, taking photos of the property, and detailing any noteworthy characteristics are also common tasks.
What is the work environment of an appraiser?
They typically split their work time between a main office and field visits for property evaluations. Fieldwork can include visiting a variety of property types, such as residential homes, commercial buildings, or land parcels. Office work generally involves analysis, report writing, and client communication.
What qualifications are needed to become an appraiser?
Qualifications typically involve a bachelor’s degree in finance, real estate, economics, or business. Additionally, specialized training or certification may be required depending on the location and type of appraisal work. For example, real estate appraisers in the United States need licensure or certification, which involves coursework and an examination.
Is there demand for appraisers?
Yes. There is a consistent demand, particularly in the real estate sector. Growth in the housing market and financial sector often drives this need. It’s also worth noting that they are needed in various other sectors as well, such as insurance, art, and antiques, where establishing the value of assets is required.
Is appraisal a suitable career for those who prefer working alone?
Yes. Those who prefer working alone may find the appraisal career suitable. While there is interaction with property owners and clients, a large part of the work, such as research, analysis, and report writing, is often done independently.
What are the challenges that appraisers face?
They often face challenges tied to market fluctuations and their field’s varying standards and regulations. Keeping updated with changing market conditions, technology, and laws governing appraisals in their respective fields can be demanding. There can also be pressure related to accuracy, as financial decisions often rely heavily on appraisal values.
What is a typical day like for an appraiser?
A typical day might begin with administrative tasks such as checking emails and scheduling appointments for property visits. The rest of the day might be spent on property inspections, taking photographs, making notes on the property’s specifics, and speaking with property owners. Later, back in the office, they would correlate their findings, conduct research, and create comprehensive reports detailing their valuation assessment.
How can an appraiser maintain their skills?
Continuing education and professional development is critical to maintain and enhance their skills. Keeping up to date with changes in legislation, methodology, and technology affecting the appraisal field is also very important. Participation in industry networks and professional organizations can provide resources for growth and learning.
What is the difference between an appraiser and an assessor?
Both appraisers and assessors estimate property values, but they do this for different reasons. Appraisers generally determine a property’s value for purposes like sales, mortgages, or insurance. Assessors, typically employed by local governments, calculate property values for taxation purposes. Assessors work more with collective data and broader market trends, while appraisers focus on specific property details.
How does an appraiser handle disagreements over valuation?
When disagreements over valuation arise, they rely on their skills, knowledge, and the data they have gathered to justify their assessment. It involves explaining the factors and comparative market data used to arrive at their appraisal value. However, they must also be open to checking their work and considering any valid points or data brought by the disagreeing party.