Appraisers and assessors of real estate provide a value estimate on land and buildings usually before they are sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed.
Appraisers and assessors of real estate typically do the following:
- Verify legal descriptions of real estate properties in public records
- Inspect new and existing properties, noting the characteristics
- Photograph the interior and exterior of properties
- Analyze “comparables,” or similar nearby properties, to help provide values
- Prepare written reports on the property values
- Prepare and maintain current data on each real estate property
Appraisers and assessors work in localities that they are familiar with so that they know any environmental or other concerns that may affect the property’s value.
Appraisers typically value one property at a time, and they often specialize in a certain type of real estate:
- Commercial appraisers specialize in income-producing properties, such as office buildings, stores, and hotels.
- Residential appraisers focus on appraising properties in which people live, such as single unit homes and condominiums. They only appraise properties that house one to four units.
When evaluating a property’s value, appraisers note the characteristics of the property and surrounding area, such as a view or noisy highway nearby. They also consider the overall condition of a building, including its foundation and roof or any renovations that may have been done. Appraisers photograph the outside of the building and some of the interior features to document its condition. After visiting the property, the appraiser analyzes the property relative to comparable home sales, including lease records, location, view, previous appraisals, and income potential. During the entire process, appraisers record their research, observations, and methods used in providing an estimate of the property’s value.
Assessors value properties for property tax assessments. Most work for local governments. Unlike appraisers, who generally focus on one property at a time, assessors often value an entire neighborhood of homes at once by using mass appraisal techniques and computer-assisted appraisal systems.
Assessors must be up to date on tax assessment procedures. Taxpayers sometimes challenge the assessed value because they feel they are being charged too much for property tax. Assessors must be able to defend the accuracy of their property assessments, either to the owner directly or at a public hearing.
Assessors also keep a database of every property in their jurisdiction, identifying the property owner, assessment history, and characteristics of the property, as well as property maps detailing the property distribution of the jurisdiction.
Appraisers and assessors of real estate held about 80,100 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of appraisers and assessors of real estate were as follows:
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||31%|
|Finance and insurance||6|
Although appraisers and assessors of real estate work in offices, they may spend a large part of their time conducting site visits to assess properties. Time spent away from the office depends on the specialty. For example, residential appraisers tend to spend less time on office work than commercial appraisers, who might spend up to several weeks analyzing information and writing reports on one property. Appraisers who work for banks and mortgage companies generally spend most of their time inside the office, making site visits only when necessary.
Appraisers and assessors of real estate typically work full time during regular business hours. However, self-employed appraisers, often called independent fee appraisers, usually work more than a standard 40-hour workweek, because they must often write reports during evenings and on weekends.
The requirements to become a fully qualified appraiser or assessor of real estate are complex and vary by state and, sometimes, by the value or type of property. Most appraisers and assessors of residential or commercial property must have at least a bachelor’s degree to obtain certification. The entry-level state license category typically does not require a bachelor’s degree. Check with your state’s licensing board for specific requirements for both assessors and appraisers.
Although requirements may vary by state, certified appraisers and assessors of residential or commercial property usually need at least a bachelor’s degree.
College courses in subjects such as economics, finance, mathematics, computer science, English, and business or real estate law can be useful for prospective appraisers and assessors.
Most states set education and experience requirements that assessors must meet in order to practice. A few states have no statewide requirements; instead, each locality sets the standards. In some localities, candidates may qualify with a high school diploma.
Employers generally require candidates to take basic appraisal courses, complete long-term on-the-job training, and work enough hours to meet the requirements for licenses or certificates.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Federal law requires appraisers to have a state license or certification when working on federally related transactions, such as appraisals for loans made by federally insured banks and financial institutions. The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) offers information on appraisal licensing. There is no such federal requirement for assessors, although some states require certification. For state-specific requirements, applicants should contact their state board.
Real property appraisers usually value one property at a time, while assessors value many at once. However, both occupations use similar methods and techniques. As a result, assessors and appraisers tend to take the same courses for certification. In addition to passing a statewide examination, candidates must usually complete a set number of on-the-job hours.
The credential level determines what type of property a person may appraise. The four federal appraiser classifications are as follows:
• Licensed Trainee Appraiser
• Licensed Residential Appraiser
• Certified Residential Appraiser
• Certified General Appraiser
Many states offer a Licensed Trainee Appraiser credential to candidates working toward licensure or certification. Training programs vary by state, but they usually require candidates to take at least 75 hours of specified appraiser education before applying for a job as a trainee.
Many states offer the Licensed Residential Appraiser. With this license, a qualified person may appraise noncomplex one-to-four unit residences with a value of less than $1 million and complex one-to-four unit residences with a value of less than $250,000. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this license:
• 30 semester hours of college-level education
• 150 hours of appraiser-qualifying education
• 2,000 hours of on-the-job training completed over at least 1 year
Being a Certified Residential Appraiser is the minimum requirement to appraise a one to four unit residential property with a loan amount over $250,000. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this certificate:
• Bachelor’s degree
• 200 hours of appraiser-specific qualifying education
• 2,500 hours of work experience completed over at least 2 years
Being a Certified General Appraiser permits a person to appraise real property of any type and any value. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this certificate:
• Bachelor’s degree
• 300 hours of appraiser-specific qualifying education
• 3,000 hours of work experience completed over at least 2½ years (1,500 hours must be in nonresidential appraisal work)
For all of these credentials, except the Trainee License credential, candidates must have the following qualifications:
• Have 15 hours of instruction on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice
• Pass an exam
Unlike appraisers, assessors have no federal requirement for certification. In states that mandate certification for assessors, the requirements are usually similar to those for appraisers. For example, the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) offers the Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE). This designation covers topics that include property valuation for tax purposes, property tax administration, and property tax policy. Applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree prior to obtaining the designation.
For those states that do not require certification for assessors, individual companies often require the candidate to take basic appraisal courses, complete on-the-job training, and meet the work-hours requirements for appraisal licenses or certificates. Many assessors also have a state appraiser license or credential.
Assessors tend to start working in an assessor’s office that provides on-the-job training; smaller municipalities are often unable to provide this work experience. An alternate source of experience for aspiring assessors is working for a revaluation firm.
Both appraisers and assessors must take continuing education courses to keep the license or certification. Exact requirements vary by state and certification.
Analytical skills. Appraisers and assessors of real estate use many sources of data when valuing a property. As a result, they must carefully research and analyze all factors before estimating a value and producing a final written report.
Customer-service skills. Because appraisers must regularly interact with clients, being polite and friendly is important. In addition, these characteristics may help expand future business opportunities.
Math skills. Accurately analyzing real estate data includes such steps as calculating square footage of land and building space, so workers must have good math skills.
Organizational skills. To successfully accomplish all the tasks related to appraising and assessing a property, appraisers and assessors of real estate need good organizational skills.
Problem-solving skills. Appraising or assessing a property’s value may involve unexpected problems. The ability to develop and apply an alternative solution is crucial to successfully completing the appraisal and report on time.
Time-management skills. Appraisers and assessors of real estate often work under time constraints, sometimes appraising many properties in a single day. As a result, managing time and meeting deadlines are important.
The median annual wage for appraisers and assessors of real estate was $54,980 in May 2018.
The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $102,590.
In May 2018, the median annual wages for appraisers and assessors of real estate in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Finance and insurance||$65,300|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||51,260|
Earnings for independent fee appraisers can vary significantly because they are paid fees on the basis of each appraisal.
Appraisers and assessors of real estate typically work full time during regular business hours. However, self-employed appraisers, often called independent fee appraisers, usually work more than 40 hours per week, because they often write reports during evenings and on weekends.
Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate
Median annual wages, May 2018
- Financial specialists
- Appraisers and assessors of real estate
- Total, all occupations
Employment of appraisers and assessors of real estate is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
Demand for appraisal services is linked to the real estate market, which can fluctuate in the short term. Over the long term, employment growth will be driven by economic expansion and population increases—factors that generate demand for property.
Greater use of mobile technology, which enables workers to appraise and assess properties more efficiently, will increase productivity. In addition, the increased use of automated valuation models to aid in the appraisal of property for mortgages might also increase productivity.
Overall job opportunities are expected to be good. Employment opportunities should be best in areas with active real estate markets. Job prospects should be best for those who are able to switch specialties and appraise different types of properties.
|Occupational Title||SOC Code||Employment, 2018||Projected Employment, 2028||Change, 2018-28||Employment by Industry|
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program
Appraisers and assessors of real estate
This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of appraisers and assessors of real estate.
|Occupation||Job Duties||Entry-Level Education||Median Annual Pay, May 2018|
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators evaluate insurance claims.
|See How to Become One||$65,670|
Construction and Building Inspectors
Construction and building inspectors ensure that construction meets building codes and ordinances, zoning regulations, and contract specifications.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$59,700|
Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents
Real estate brokers and sales agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$50,300|
For more information about appraisers of real estate, visit
American Society of Appraisers
For more information about assessors of real estate, visit
For more information about licensure requirements for appraisers and assessors of real estate, visit
The Appraisal Foundation
For a career video on appraisers of real estate, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/appraisers-and-assessors-of-real-estate.htm (visited ).