How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser

Real estate appraisers are professionals who use their expertise in assessing real estate, and determining its value by employing specific conditions and measuring standards. They are people who were and currently are in great demand due to their unique skills and expertise in the real estate field. Insurance firms, federal agencies, tax assessment companies, real estate agents and firms, lawyers, museums and private collectors are some of the entities, who require the services of these experts.

Appraisers may even provide other services to their clients, such as home buying, home selling, real estate negotiations, etc. Due to the many requirements that lead to property appraisals, appraisers have the option of specializing in diverse fields. If you are planning to become a real estate appraiser, you need to possess a basic understanding of how the real estate and property business works, and what are the various operational aspects.

Types of Real Estate Appraisers

Appraisers are responsible for assessing not only residential property, but also commercial and agricultural holdings. Some people hire or take assistance from a personal property appraiser to evaluate the value of their vehicles, art, jewelry, antique furniture and collections.

The services of business appraisers are utilized in order to assess and determine the value of businesses, and all its assets which most importantly comprises its brand name. A professional from the real estate appraisal field ought to be a good communicator and possess high analytical thinking qualities. He should be capable of drafting concise and lucid reports for his clients.

Becoming a Real Estate Appraiser

As in any other profession, there are certain steps for becoming an appraiser. Licensing is required in most of the cases, particularly for the appraisal to be formally recognized as legal and valid by the federal government or any financial institution. Getting the related certification requires a certain number of hours to be spent in classroom training at a real estate appraisal school, and the capability to get through the real estate exam successfully.

In the USA, prospective appraisers are at least required to possess a bachelor’s degree to be considered eligible for this profession. However, it is possible to become an appraiser even without possessing a bachelor’s degree, provided tantamount college credit hours have been obtained.

There is no particular requirement for the field of study, however, those who plan to take up this as a career option mostly choose subjects like economics, business or finance. These subjects are somehow related to the field of real estate, and serve as a good background that will help in precisely determining market valuations for property.

The needed classroom time may depend upon the state and region of residency. In some states, there is a possibility of deputizing the need of classroom time for an equivalent correspondence or online degree programs. However, the course needs to be recognized by the ‘board in charge’ of certifying real estate appraisers in a particular area.

The course generally includes topics on real estate law, local federal aspects, related ethics, and some other factors regarding the real estate industry. After the completion of the course, the next step is taking the appraisal exam. Generally, taking the exam is easier for individuals who have gained significant knowledge in the course.

The exam is normally held at particular times in a year, or may be administered on demand, depending on the state. If you need more information regarding the exam and other requirements, you need to inquire with the regional real estate licensing board.

After the completion of all requirements, you need to complete the paperwork which includes an application form. In some cases, you would also be required to pass through a criminal background check. While dealing with paperwork, ensure that you include all information regarding test results, real estate course certificate, and other related documents.

The earnings of real estate appraisers largely depend upon the clients, expertise, experience, specialty, market reputation, and the level of professionalism. The annual earnings may range from $30,000 to even $300,000.

Real Estate Appraiser Job Description

There are innumerable work profiles in the job market, making it difficult for a candidate to choose the right career. The key in making the right career decision lies in understanding your interests and doing a thorough analysis of the concerned career. Real estate is a booming field and a real estate appraiser is an integral part of this sector. His primary task is evaluating the price of a property after doing thorough research. Accurate value of a property is required during purchase or sale of property, or during mergers, for application of loans, etc. The job also comes with huge responsibility on some occasions, the testimony of an appraiser is required in court hearings to evaluate and confirm the value of a property in matters of dispute.

Where does he work?
Real estate appraisers work for real estate companies, in mortgage firms, insurance companies, banks or work privately.

What are his duties?

  • The chief duty of the concerned person is appraising a property. To accomplish this task, he has to inspect the property and evaluate factors like construction and plan of the property.
  • He should keep himself abreast with the trends that govern the real estate market.
  • After evaluating all the factors he has to prepare reports; the reports generally include photographs, description of the concerned property, blueprint of the property and the final assessment of the valuation.
  • To determine the exact value of the property he can scrutinize public records of loans and leases.
  • During the inspection process he also has to consider the impact of neighboring structures, like commercial establishments or educational institutes, on the value of the said property.
  • To determine the exact value of the property he should consult realtors, property owners and contractors to gain required information concerning the property.

What are the educational qualifications to become one?
The requirements to become a real estate appraiser are not very stringent, although the licensing procedure that is mandatory in appraising federally governed transactions is quite strict. The following three licenses are widely accepted – the State Licensed Appraiser license, the Certified General Real Property Appraiser license, and the State Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser license. The State Office for Real Estate Appraisers (OREA) manages the licensing procedure and also conducts the necessary examination. The candidates working to get a license have to complete internship at real estate companies, or with independent appraisers, or financial institutes; this is a part of the licensing procedure. There are many colleges and educational institutes that offer courses in real estate appraisal. It is important that you become a licensed appraiser, as you will have the authority to validate any property.

What additional skills should I have to be successful in this field?
The desirous candidate should have strong command over mathematics and logic. The appraisers are expected to have sound knowledge of accounting, management principles, human resources and word processes. The appraiser should have the ability to solve complex problems, and at the least should have documenting skills to describe the property with all its landmarks.

How much can I expect to earn?
We cannot provide an accurate salary figure as the pay is influenced by plenty of factors, including the state of working and the type of appraising, that is, private or public. Commercial appraisers can expect to earn around $85,000 per year. Work experience of the person can influence the salary figures to a huge extent. State appraisers are entitled to get benefits in the form of sick leaves and health plans.

What are the future prospects in the field?
The scope of the concerned field is a factor you should pay keen attention to. Most appraisers specialize in a particular type of evaluation or climb the ladder to become senior appraisers or real estate analysts. After sufficient years of experience, appraisers can also become consultants.

Becoming a real estate appraiser is indeed tough; it demands hard work from the candidate along with expertise in many concepts, especially in mathematical evaluation and in the understanding of business terms. The desirous candidate should also be ready to travel as his work requires him to visit and inspect the land property. The career is suitable for you if you have it in you to become an appraiser.

 

Real Estate Appraiser Salary

An appraiser is a professional whose prime responsibility is to assess the present real estate market conditions and find out the value of the property to be dealt with. The value finalized can be used for purposes such as loans, mortgage, home buying, home selling, etc. The salary range largely depends on the amount of work they do, location, and the type of property, whether commercial or residential.

Commercial Appraiser

Those specializing in commercial real estate appraisal focus on evaluation of commercial property. Commercial appraisers possessing a work experience from one to four years can expect a pay starting from about USD 36,000 to USD 62,000 yearly. Those with an overall experience of five to nine years can earn anywhere between USD 49,000 to USD 71,000. After 10 to 19 years in the industry, the salary range goes up to USD 50,000 to USD 95,000. Over 20 years of experience in property assessment can get you around USD 62,000 to USD 101,000.

The states of New York and California show the pay range to be around USD 52,000 to USD 106,000 and USD 59,000 to USD 95,000 per annum, respectively. States like Georgia and Texas also have a good earning potential from about USD 46,500 to USD 92,500 and USD 41,000 to USD 92,000 annually. Coming to the city-wise classification, New York City can offer about USD 70,000 to USD 144,000; Dallas also has a considerable earning scale from USD 49,000 to USD 141,500 per year. On the other hand, real estate appraisers in Miami are considered to get a yearly pay ranging from USD 50,000 to USD 105,000.

Residential Appraiser

These appraisers deal with residential properties or houses for evaluation and price assessment. One to four years of experience in real estate appraisal can make you eligible for a salary ranging from USD 28,000 to USD 49,000. The salary range rises from USD 28,000 to USD 49,000 for those possessing five to nine years experience. Those having a work experience of 10 to 20 years can expect to be paid anywhere up to USD 73,000 per annum. Professionals with over 20 years of expertise can even earn up to USD 98,000, if not more.

California and Florida are reported to be the highest paying states for residential real estate appraisers. The pay scale in these two states ranges from USD 48,000 to USD 88,000 and USD 42,000 to USD 85,500 respectively. The pay range in Maryland and Illinois starts from USD 25,000 and USD 37,000 respectively, and scales up to USD 78,000 per annum. In Seattle, the salary ranges anywhere between USD 42,000 and USD 132,000 per year. In cities like Phoenix, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, the highest pay is approximately USD 74,000 annually.

These are just a few determinants of the real estate appraiser’s salary. For trainees, the annual remuneration can range anywhere between USD 23,600 and USD 45,000. If you are wondering how to get into this field, you basically require a bachelor’s degree, a certification in real estate appraisal, and a state license for practicing the job.