What is a Real Estate Appraiser?

Also known as: Commercial Real Estate Appraiser, Residential Real Estate Appraiser, Certified Real Estate Appraiser.

A real estate appraiser is someone who estimates the value of land and the buildings on that land, before it is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured or developed.

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What does a Real Estate Appraiser do?

Real estate appraisers work in localities that they are familiar with, and are usually aware of any environmental issues or other concerns that may affect the property's value. They typically value one property at a time, and they often specialize in a certain type of real estate, like commercial or residential.

Real estate appraisers typically do the following:

  • Verify legal descriptions of real estate properties in public records
  • Inspect new and existing properties, noting unique characteristics
  • Photograph the interior and exterior of properties
  • Use “comparables,” or similar nearby properties, to help determine value
  • Prepare written reports on the property value
  • Prepare and maintain current data on each real estate property

When estimating a property’s value, appraisers note unique characteristics of the property and surrounding area, such as a noisy highway nearby. They also consider the condition of a building’s foundation and roof or any renovations that may have been done. In addition to photographing the outside of the building to document its condition, appraisers might also photograph a certain room or feature. After visiting the property, the appraiser estimates the value of the property by considering things such as comparable home sales, lease records, location, view, previous appraisals, and income potential. During the entire process, appraisers meticulously record their research, observations, and methods used in calculating the property's value.

What is the workplace of a Real Estate Appraiser like?

Although appraisers of real estate work in offices, they spend a large part of their day in the field, conducting site visits. Most work full time during regular business hours. Time spent in the field versus in the office depends on the specialty. 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 when necessary.

Real estate appraisers 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, including writing reports during evenings and on weekends.


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