Real Estate Appraiser Job Description
Before a real estate property can be sold, taxed, insured, or mortgaged, a real estate appraiser has to estimate its value.
Many factors are taken into consideration when appraising a piece of property. During the initial site visit, real estate appraisers have to evaluate may different criteria. Is the property close to a noisy highway? How soon will the roof or siding need to be replaced? What is the condition of the foundation? The answers to these and other questions are factored into a property’s valuation.
After visiting the site, real estate appraisers conduct research using government databases and other public records. They look at comparable home sales, previous appraisal records for the property, future developments in the area, and other factors that can impact the present and future value of the real estate.
With all of the information in place, the appraisers prepare reports that include a description of the property, and an explanation for their assessment. Because property owners and real estate agents aren’t always happy with the assessments, real estate appraisers have to be able to back up their reports with relevant facts and other information.
Since the variables differ depending on the type of property they’re appraising, most real estate appraisers choose to specialize in one type of real estate. Common specialties include residential, commercial, rental, and agricultural properties.
Work Environment and Schedule
Real estate appraisers split their time between their office and the properties they’re appraising.
The amount of time that appraisers need to spend in the field depends largely on the type of appraisals they specialize in. For instance, real estate appraisers normally appraise many properties a month, and spend considerable amounts of time in the field. Commercial appraisers, on the other hand, may spend weeks at a time in the office analyzing information for a single property. Their time in the field is less frequent.
Most real estate appraisers work independently, regardless of whether they’re self-employed or part of a large practice. This can be a lonely occupation for some people, while others enjoy working alone.
Real estate appraisers often have to work more than 40 hours a week. Their schedules are often at the mercy of their clients, who may need to meet on nights or weekends.
How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser
The level of education required to become an appraiser depends on the type of appraising you want to do. A bachelor’s degree is required to appraise commercial real estate, but only an associate’s degree is required to appraise residential properties.
Real estate appraisers come from many different academic backgrounds, but a strong background in math, business, computer science, or economics can be very helpful.
In addition to the education requirements, all real estate appraisers have to earn a state license in order to practice. The licensing requirements vary depending on the type of certification you want to earn.
Becoming a Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser will allow you to appraise residential properties over $250,000, or any property if the loan amount is less than $250,000. To get this certification, you must:
- Have an associate’s degree.
- Attend 200 hours of appraiser training in a classroom setting.
- Have over 2,500 hours of work experience over a minimum of two years.
To sell commercial real estate, you will need to become a Certified General Real Property Appraiser. To earn this certification, you will need to:
- Have a bachelor’s degree.
- Attend 300 hours of appraiser training in a classroom setting.
- Have over 3,000 hours of work experience over a minimum of two and a half years.
While you’re working on meeting the certification requirements, you can be employed as a trainee. In most cases, you will need to attend at least 75 hours of appraiser training before you will be considered for a trainee position.
There are currently 77,800 real estate appraisers in the United States, with 2,220 new real estate appraiser job openings created each year.
Real Estate Appraiser jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Real Estate Appraiser Salaries
Real Estate Appraiser salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most real estate appraisers make between $34,700 – $68,800 per year, or $16.70 – $33.07 per hour.