How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser
There are a lot of benefits to becoming a real estate appraiser. In fact, I get asked a lot about how to become a real estate appraiser by the people I come across.
It’s a great job to have, a job I once very much enjoyed, peeking around some of the nicest homes and properties, watching their owner’s eyes light up when they realize how much their beautiful little masterpiece is worth, their beautiful home.
What Does a Residential Appraiser Do?
An appraisal is a completely different profession than being a real estate agent -- just so you can see, real estate agents even go to different schools.
When you want to buy a house, you’ll employ the assistance of an appraiser to give you an actual value of the property -- how much money the house is worth, taking a number of things into consideration such as the surrounding area, local crime rates, state of the home, number of rooms, decor style, etc.
That’s what a residential property appraiser does. That’s what I used to do -- I used to work as a certified residential appraiser. That’s what I’m going to tell you how to become.
I would walk around the home, room by room, noting interior and exterior condition, ensure all violations of health and safety codes were noted, making a 2D diagram of the layout of the property completed with measurements and location of doors, windows and other distinguishing features, and also taking into consideration the local area.
Schools are often an important factor in the price or value of a home, as are things like local shopping spots and other amenities, neighborhood aesthetic appeal, and more.
If you wish to become a residential appraiser, that’s the kind of thing you’ll be doing on a daily basis, giving you an idea of whether or not you’d be the right fit for the job.
How to Become an Appraiser
There are a couple of ways in which you’ll find your entrance into the land of real estate appraisal.
You can do what I chose to do, opting for a mathematics associate’s degree, or you could look towards community colleges and other organizations that allow you to sit a degree in the appraisal of real estate. According to the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), almost every residential real estate appraiser must have at least one associate’s degree.
If you want to advance further in your career, perhaps looking for a more complex form of real estate appraisal or for higher / more advanced positions, you should graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Dependent on the state in which you wish to practice real estate appraisal within, you may even need a bachelor’s degree to allow for complex business transactions. Without that degree, some states also dictate that you can only complete a certain amount of transactions within a given time frame, limiting what you can do.
In short, getting a bachelor’s degree like I did will prove incredibly beneficial for your career. Great subjects to lean towards include computer science, economics, real estate law, business law, finance, and mathematics.
Once you have learned the right kind of degrees you’ll need for becoming a real estate appraiser, you’ll then need to look at the post-graduate training. The USPAP or National Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice requires that budding appraisers log a certain amount of hours of training before they can be certified, using college courses or supervisor training / appraiser education training. There are a number of programs and schools which can help you to achieve these logged hours.
When you’re done with your degrees and training, it’s time for you to sit those exams which is often a daunting part of the process for many, including myself. If you’ve done all the training however, the hours you logged are designed to help you pass those written exams, the exact ones dependent on the specialty you have chosen. You can become a Certified General Real Property Appraiser or a Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser. There are some states which also offer a third option -- Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser.
It doesn’t stop there either -- there’s another point you should definitely know about. If you wish to continue practicing once you’ve learned how to become a real estate appraiser, you’ll need to keep up your training. You will need to maintain the certificates you have acquired, and you will also find that laws or ways of working will change, meaning you’ll need to keep up-to-date with the newest regulations.
How to Be a Successful Home Appraiser
If you want to be successful at your job, you’ll need to be smart and be flexible too. Going back to the BLS and they have suggested you will have many more working opportunities open to you if you complete the training for both commercial and residential property appraisal.
One of the very first things I was told when I asked my mentor how to become a home appraiser (or, to be more precise, how to become a property appraiser) was to keep my options open and grab all the training I could find, and that’s information I’m now passing on to you.