A real estate appraisal career is perfect for those who have an analytical mind, like to work independently, and seek stability in the real estate market.
Appraisals are used for more than lending
Real estate appraisers provide a value estimate on land and buildings, usually before they are sold, mortgaged, refinanced, insured, or developed. The value is based on many factors including current condition, age, space, taxes, neighborhood, future marketability, the selling prices of nearby comparable properties, and others.
Appraisals are most commonly used by lenders requiring valuation estimates before giving out loans. However, real estate appraisals are used in other situations as well, such as:
- Estate planning and estate settlements
- Tax assessment review and advice
- Dispute resolution in divorce, estate settlements, property partition suits, foreclosures, and zoning issues
- Feasibility, land utilization, supply/demand, and market rent/trend studies
- Cost/benefit analysis on future investments
- Expert witness testimony
What do appraisers do?
The real estate appraiser is responsible for:
- Inspecting new and existing properties
- Verifying legal descriptions of real estate properties in public records
- Photographing the interior and exterior of properties
- Cataloging the unique or special aspects of a property
- Analyzing similar properties, or “comparables,” to help determine value
- Compiling written reports on the property values
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.
Choosing appraisal with confidence
A real estate appraisal career has many benefits:
Lucrative – Real estate appraisers make a good salary, above the average for all professions in the U.S. And those appraisers who start their own business (“independent fee appraisers”) have unlimited earning potential as they build a list of clients and control the number of assignments they take on.
Stable – Unlike other careers in real estate that fluctuate with the market, appraisal is a stable profession. Real estate appraisals are needed in all real estate market conditions, are paid regardless of the outcome of the transaction, and are needed in more situations than just buying and selling property.
Diverse – There are many instances a real estate appraisal is needed from validating a loan amount, to estate settlements, to feasibility and land utilization studies. And appraisers can specialize in residential or commercial appraisal. Depending on the specialization, varying degrees of the work is performed in the field instead of an office.
Independent – Real estate appraisers are responsible for conducting their work independently. Those independent fee appraisers run their own businesses and have the freedom to make decisions that affect their business in both the long- and short- term.
Analytical – Real estate appraisers must collect, find, compare, and process data to determine a property value. They enjoy the analytical nature of the work and can communicate their conclusions clearly in written reports.
Flexible – Independent fee appraisers have no traditional workweek. Their schedules are inherently flexible which is especially appealing to individuals with families and strong interests beyond work.
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