10 Appraisal Competencies Every Property Appraiser Should Master

Close-up of a real estate appraiser's hands writing notes on a clipboard outside a residential property

Whether you’re a new appraiser or a seasoned appraiser looking to grow your income, you probably want to know, “What appraisal competencies do I need to master in order to maximize my success?” To help you out, we’ve put together a list of ten key things you should strive to do well as a property appraiser, plus resources you can use to hone your skills in each area.

Key appraisal competencies

Manage business expenses

Since many appraisers are self-employed and operate as small businesses, money management skills are key. According to our recent survey, appraisers who are experts at managing their business expenses earn approximately $35,000 more per year than those who struggle to maintain their expenses. To increase your competency level, follow these “12 Expense Management Principles for Appraisers.”

Manage your time

Time management skills are also key when it comes to maximizing your appraisal income. Our study showed that appraisers who excel at time management earn approximately $14,000 more per year than appraisers who lack discipline in this area. For time-saving tips from experienced appraiser Joshua Walitt, read our post, “6 Ways to Streamline Your Appraisal Workflow.”

Keep up-to-date on industry trends

As a property appraiser, an important part of your job is keeping up with the latest industry updates and the state of the real estate market. To stay up-to-date, we recommend you follow and/or subscribe to reliable appraisal news sources, talk with fellow appraisers and other real estate professionals, and take high-quality continuing education classes.

Free Guide: Are you investing in yourself and your career? Learn more in our free guide, The ROI of Professional Development for Appraisers.

Market your appraisal business

When you’re focused on running your own business, it’s hard to find time for things like social media and email marketing. Yet marketing and networking are super important for bringing in new clients and growing your business. For helpful tips, read this article titled “Promoting Your Appraisal Business on Social Media.”

Obtain clients / solicit business

Top earners in the industry consistently obtain new clients and are pros at soliciting business. According to our recent survey, appraisers who are experts at finding new clientele earn over $47,000 more per year than appraisers who fail at obtaining new clients. For advice in this area, check out these “6 Ways to Market Your Appraisal Business (Besides Word of Mouth).”

Adopt new technology

In a recent monthly survey, our appraisal community identified “adopting new technology to increase your efficiency” as the best way to earn more money as an appraiser. The more efficient you are, the more appraisal reports you can complete. Tech tools like laser measuring devices, appraisal business software, market analysis tools, etc. can make your life easier and grow your business—while still maintaining quality.

Manage client expectations

To build strong client relationships, this Appraisal Buzz article explains that it’s important to manage expectations by explaining the appraisal process upfront and clarifying what appraisers do and don’t do. For useful advice on how to work smarter with your AMC partners, check out our post, “Top 10 Tips for Working with AMCs.” Find more tips and insights in our post written by seasoned appraiser Steven W. Vehmeier, “Clients and AMCs Say the Darndest Things.”

Apply USPAP across multiple property types

USPAP compliance is essential. To succeed as a real estate appraiser—and avoid disciplinary action—you must be competent in applying USPAP across multiple property types. Stay up-to-date and elevate your expertise with this year’s USPAP courses.

Meet client turnaround times

Meeting deadlines is a simple but powerful way to bolster your reputation as a reliable appraiser and earn repeat business. When working with AMCs, be sure to complete orders quickly (within 24–48 hours) after the appraisal inspection, since many AMCs will score you on this metric. Whether you’re working with lenders, AMCs, or private clients, be sure to manage your time wisely and be realistic when committing to client turnaround times. Don’t accept an assignment that you can’t complete on time. Plus, consider using these tips to maximize your efficiency.

Write reports

Accurate report writing is key to maintaining your professional reputation and earning repeat business, as well as avoiding appraisal errors and violations. Make sure your appraisal reports are accurate, easy to read and understand, and that all information is relevant and factual. Remember, you are responsible for ensuring that factual data is reliable and that analysis is both supported and documented. To improve your report-writing skills, review these “25 Common Errors in Appraisal Reports.”

In addition to these ten appraisal competencies, other skills you may want to focus on include the ability to:

  • Stay current on changes to laws and regulations
  • Understand and apply sales comparison and data verification techniques
  • Perform appraisal reviews

It pays to be an expert

How much more can you earn by mastering the skills outlined above? Here’s a look at how an appraiser’s level of expertise in each area influenced their annual income, on average, according to our December 2020 survey.

Now more than ever, it’s important to invest in yourself and your career. Top earners in the appraisal industry are those who have mastered most of the appraisal competencies outlined above. For resources to help you sharpen your business skills, browse our appraisal blog and professional development courses. For a more in-depth look at how expertise in key appraisal competencies pays off, download your free copy of the 2020-2021 Appraisal Income Guide.

Free Download: Appraisal Income Guide

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