A real estate appraiser estimates the value of a single building or piece of land. His or her job is similar to that of an assessor, who instead considers the values of several properties at once. An appraiser may specialize in either commercial or residential property.
He or she will be called upon to appraise a property before it is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed. After visiting a site and observing its characteristics and the characteristics of the location, the appraiser analyzes the property compared to comparable homes.
- Median earnings for appraisers and assessors are $51,850 (2016).*
- 81,000 people work in this field (2016).*
- Local governments and real estate companies employ most appraisers.
- Almost a quarter of them were self-employed.
- Most jobs are full-time positions.
- Real estate appraisers have an excellent job outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment to grow faster than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026.
*The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report separate employment figures for appraisers.
A Day in a Real Estate Appraiser's Life
To find out what it's like to work as a real estate appraiser, we looked at job announcements posted on Indeed.com.
- "Gather, verify, and analyze data on residential properties including, but not limited to, measuring structures, physically inspecting the exterior and interior of buildings, photographing property, analysis of market sales, and noting architectural quality and intended use of the property"
- "Assist or conduct internal or in-house appraisals and valuations"
- "Keep abreast of current real estate market conditions and their effect on the apartment and commercial real estate markets in assigned geographic area"
- "Assist in the construction of financial models including discounted cash flow"
- "Responsible for data management including collection, verification, and analysis of sales, pending sales and listings, as well as maintaining other information required for the valuation process"
- "Maintains property records by indicating any changes in the property"
- "Be a team player that wants to be a part of something bigger than just his/her job"
- "Prepares and defends division in informal and formal appeal proceedings with assistance as needed from senior appraisers and manager"
How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser
You will likely need a bachelor's degree to work as a real estate appraiser because most states require one for licensing. Course in economics, finance, mathematics, computer science, English, and business or real estate law will prepare you for this career.
A license issued by the state in which you work is required if your job includes appraising properties for transactions that involve federally insured banks or financial institutions. The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) sets minimum standards for education, experience and examination requirements that each state must follow when issuing licenses. There is more information about the AQB's standards on The Appraisal Foundation website.
What Soft Skills Do You Need?
In addition to a bachelor's degree and a state-issued license, you will also need these soft skills, or personal qualities, to succeed in your job:
- Listening Skills: To meet your clients' needs, you must understand what they are telling you.
- Critical Thinking: The ability to compare various alternatives when making decisions or solving problems is essential.
- Reading Comprehension: You must be able to understand written documents.
- Writing Skills: A big part of your job will be writing reports.
- Verbal Communication: You will need to be able to clearly convey information to clients.
What Will Employer Expect From You?
Job announcements on Indeed.com reveal that employers are looking for the following qualities when hiring workers:
- "Exceptional analytical and narrative writing skills"
- "Lifts (up to 50 pounds), and carries items necessary to complete an inspection"
- "Ability to handle multiple priorities and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment"
- "Strong technical skills including proficiency in the use of electronic communications and document exchange via the Internet"
- "Ability to perform detailed work with a high degree of accuracy"
- "Strong math and analytical skills"
- "Ability to handle reasonably necessary stress"
Is This Occupation a Good Fit for You?
Should you become a real estate appraiser? A self assessment will let you learn about your interests, personality type, and work-related values so that you can decide if this career is a good fit for you. Individuals who have the following traits are best suited for this occupation:
- Interests (Holland Code): ECR (Enterprising, Conventional, Realistic)
- Personality Type (MBTI Personality Types): INTJ, ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ
- Work-Related Values: Independence, Support, Achievement
Occupations With Related Activities and Tasks
|Description||Median Annual Wage (2016)||Minimum Required Education/Training|
|Assessor||Estimates the values of entire neighborhoods of homes||
|Individual states set minimum requirements|
|Tax Examiner||Checks tax returns for accuracy||$52,060||Bachelor's Degree|
|Auditor||Checks an organization's financial records for signs of mismanagement||$68,150||Bachelor's Degree|
|Cost Estimator||Figures out the approximate cost of completing a project||$61,790||Bachelor's Degree or Extensive Experience in Construction|