How Do I Become a Real Estate Appraiser?

If you’re interested in real estate, you may find yourself asking the question, “How do I become a Real Estate Appraiser?”

A real estate appraiser assesses features of real property, including the land itself and any houses or other buildings on that land, to determine the approximate value of the property. A real estate appraisal may be necessary for purposes of insurance, taxation and development, as well as when the property is to be sold or mortgaged. A real estate appraiser usually specializes in either residential properties or commercial properties, including office buildings and retail spaces.

Real estate appraisers commonly appraise a single property at a time, taking into consideration all factors to develop the most in-depth and accurate estimate possible. Some factors that real estate appraisers include in their assessments are the condition of a building, including the foundation and any renovations, and any distinctive features of the area. Real estate appraisers then put their findings and estimate into a written report. The final appraisal usually reflects consideration of the past value of the property and comparable values, such as the sales and leases of similar homes in the same or a similar location. Real estate appraisers may also include photographs of both the interior and exterior of the property to illustrate the property’s condition and unique features.

Some real estate appraisers are self-employed. Others work for banks, mortgage companies, real estate firms, insurance companies, or state or local governments. Real estate appraisers usually work out of an office but must also visit the property they are appraising. The amount of time spent doing field work versus office work varies depending on the appraiser’s work environment and whether the appraiser specializes in commercial or residential properties.

To be a real estate appraiser, a candidate should develop excellent analytical skills, including mathematics, reasoning and the ability to carefully research relevant information. Tight deadlines can arise, making time-management, organization and problem-solving skills important for success in this career. Real estate appraisers must also interact well with people, since they have to meet clients and may work or network with loan brokers and bank or mortgage company personnel.

Aspiring real estate appraisers must earn an associate degree to meet the minimum college-level education requirements for certification. The exact program of study isn’t specified, but courses in mathematics, economics, architecture, finance, computer science, real estate law, English and the liberal arts can help prepare a student for a career as a real estate appraiser. Most entry-level real estate appraisers begin their career with a bachelor’s degree, which is usually necessary for candidates seeking to become commercial real estate appraisers.

To obtain the necessary licensure, certification or registration in their state, aspiring real estate appraisers must complete a number of hours of field experience and take a state examination. Some states offer a trainee license for candidates beginning on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced real estate appraiser. The Appraisal Qualifications Board offers three types of certification: Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser, Certified General Real Property Appraiser and Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser. Continuing education is required to hold a license or certification.

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