Appraiser Basics: What You Need to Know

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Appraiser Basics_ What You Need to Know

A career as a real estate appraiser has a lot going for it. You have the option of choosing a flexible schedule as an independent appraiser or working regular hours in-house for an appraisal company. You work closely with the lender to ensure that the property is valued appropriately, providing insights that are critical for all parties involved in the real estate transaction.

Job Duties

Your core function as an appraiser is to calculate the value of a given piece of property. You can specialize in residential or commercial real estate or choose to do both, depending on your interests. Determining how much a particular piece of land, a house, or a building costs depends on many factors.

You need a strong understanding of the interior and exterior elements that contribute to the value of the home. You examine each room to see whether they’re in good repair. The exterior of the property and the surrounding land get similar treatment.

You also note the amenities included inside and outside the building. Some features are more notable in your geographic area, so this job requires a deep understanding of local real estate trends. For example, pools might be a relatively rare sight in Maine, but they’re nearly a basic amenity in Arizona. You record the property’s layout and ensure that it’s accurate.

During your inspection, you also look for building, health, and safety code violations. Certain issues may need to be remedied before the transaction can move forward, and you’re the person who gives the borrower and lender that information.

The value of the property doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You also spend time researching local market trends and recent sales to see how much real estate is going for in your area and the comparable properties that have recently changed hands.

How to Become a Licensed Appraiser

You typically go through an apprenticeship program as a trainee so you can learn directly from an experienced appraiser. As well as prelicensing courses that may be required depending on your state. Since you have to think critically and analytically when coming up with a value for the home, you have a lot of skills that you gain through hands-on experience. If you’re the type of person who thrives in this learning environment, you’re going to love being an appraiser.

Continuing education programs, such as Hondros’ appraisal program, help you expand your knowledge at all stages of your new or established appraisal career. The CE and work hours required to take a certified appraiser exam vary from state to state, so check the regulations in your area before you start on this job path.

Working Environment

You split your time between an office and on-site at the property. Since you need to inspect a building’s exterior as well as its interior, you may find yourself in poor weather conditions from time to time. On the plus side, you also find yourself outside when it’s the perfect temperature.

Pay Structure

The pay structure for appraisers can vary depending on the type of company you’re working with, if any, your experience level and your familiarity with the local area. Trainees often get paid a flat hourly rate, with apprenticeships that can last for several years. Once you become a licensed appraiser, your pay usually gets based on your output. The fee for the property appraisal gets split between you and the company you work with. If you’re independent, then the full fee goes to you.

Appraisers have to be skilled in many areas to accurately determine property values. If you like to get hands-on with your work, have a break from the office regularly and enjoy flexing your critical thinking skills, then this career path is a perfect match for you.

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