What Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate Do
Appraisers and assessors of real estate provide a value estimate on land and buildings.
Although appraisers and assessors of real estate work in offices, they often spend a large part of their day visiting properties. Most work full time during regular business hours.
How to Become an Appraiser or Assessor of Real Estate
Most appraisers and assessors must be licensed or certified, but requirements vary widely. To obtain a certification, appraisers of residential or commercial property usually need to have at least a bachelor’s degree. For assessors, most states set education and experience requirements that they must meet in order to practice.
The median annual wage for appraisers and assessors of real estate was $57,010 in May 2019.
Employment of appraisers and assessors of real estate is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment opportunities should be best in areas with active real estate markets.
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 75,100 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of appraisers and assessors of real estate were as follows:
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||32%|
|Finance and insurance||7|
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.
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 2019|
Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators evaluate insurance claims.
|See How to Become One||$66,540|
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||$60,710|
Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents
Real estate brokers and sales agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$50,730|
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Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/appraisers-and-assessors-of-real-estate.htm (visited ).