Eight Tools Every Appraiser Needs

Appraisal, Blog, Real Estate

8 Tools Every Appraiser Needs

Most professions come with a hefty price tag to get started. You have to rent space or buy inventory, or purchase equipment that comes at a high cost. What if there was a career where you could be your own boss, work the hours you please, and was inexpensive to enter? Welcome to a great new career – real estate appraisal!

Real estate appraisers find that, after initial educational costs to get started, it is inexpensive to stay licensed. This is because continuing education requirements are minimal and costs for those classes are low. In today’s online world, classes are available at hours convenient for you. And an added plus, annual state renewal fees are similarly affordable.

What equipment does a real estate appraiser need to own?

  1. A Decent Camera

Sure, you can use the camera on your phone. But many appraisers find that they prefer an actual camera, digital of course, to snap the high number of photos they need in a day. Today’s residential appraisals require 20-40 photos per report and having a camera with good resolution is inexpensive – certainly under $100. You may want to carry a back-up camera in your car, along with extra batteries at the ready.

  1. A Decent Car

Go for something sturdy that looks adequate. Depending on your location it needs to can get you down gravel or dirt roads – possibly through snow. Four or all-wheel drive vehicles could be a plus.

  1. A Cell Phone

Yes, we know, you already have a cell phone…so you are undoubtedly in good shape there. Staying in touch with home, clients, and homeowners is essential.

  1. A Clipboard

Yep, it’s that simple. If you want to take hard copy notes in the field, you can do it the old-fashioned way.

  1. A Laptop Or I-Pad

Believe it or not, this is optional! It’s true that most appraisers are pretty well mobile, and may well want a laptop rather than a desktop PC. Some appraisers take all their notes digitally, and there are plenty of webinars, tutorials, and Facebook pages to help you learn the ropes.

  1. Pens And Pencils; And A Stylus If You’re Mobile

OK, now this is getting pretty basic. But an appraiser can, unbelievably, get pretty specific about what writing utensils they use. Why? Have you ever tried using a pen in sub-zero temperatures? Some use freeze-proof pens or default to a pencil. Of course, if you choose to go completely mobile, you’d be needing a stylus instead.

  1. Measuring Devices

There is a lot of discussion among appraisers on how to best measure a house. Old school tape measures are still in use. Of course, the difficulty here is to have something holding the “other end” of the tape. If you’re measuring a home’s exterior, there are actually ground stakes available to anchor that far end. Laser measurers are widely popular, from the top-of-the-line Disto to less-expensive and reliable Bosch. These devices shoot a laser point to the opposite end. So, choose one that advertises a laser point that can be seen in strong sunlight! Measuring “wheels” are inexpensive and available at a national hardware store for under $30. Make sure you get one that is inches/feet and not metric!

  1. Appraiser Software

This is likely to be provided by the company who trains you. Many are cloud-based and therefore accessible from everywhere, making working in your car, at home, or in the office possible without carrying zip drives or hard drives.

That’s it! What a great profession that offers minimal start-up expense. So what are you waiting for? Take a look at appraisal as your next profession for a low-cost option to a new career.

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