4 Areas for Appraisers to Focus Their Professional Efforts in 2021

Female property appraiser with file folder stands outside a single family home

The appraisal profession is aging. According to the 2020-2021 Appraisal Income Guide, more than 15% of certified general appraisers indicate they will retire in the next 6-10 years. This presents an opportunity for those who are considering upgrading their license level to certified general, as the demand for certified general appraisers is almost certain to increase in the coming years.

As for new appraisers, there’s a general consensus across all license levels that strict education requirements make it extremely difficult to enter the profession. However, the AQB recently scaled back on requirements for those entering the profession, potentially making it easier for new appraisal licensees to pursue their career goals.

Whether you’re a newbie trying to break into the game or a seasoned appraiser looking to stay competitive, keep reading for advice on where to focus your professional efforts this year.

Opportunities for future appraisers

In a recent survey, active appraisers across the nation chimed in on where they see the greatest opportunities for newbies in the profession. They advise new appraisers to focus their professional efforts in the following four areas.

1. Seek out analytical opportunities and embrace technology

Appraisers who leverage technology tools to streamline their process and make their workflow more efficient are able to complete more appraisals per month. According to the 2020-2021 Appraisal Income Guide, across all license levels, average income is proportional to the number of monthly assignments completed.

2. Consider focusing on commercial, rural and agricultural opportunities

Certified general appraisers (a.k.a. commercial appraisers) have the highest income potential across license levels, with an average income of $87,685. To learn more about rural and agricultural opportunities, check out our article, Farm Appraisal: A Profitable Yet Challenging Field.

3. Seek out non-lender work

Non-lender niche specialty areas like litigation support and divorce and estate appraisal can be very lucrative. However, it can be tricky to break into this type of work. Here’s some advice on how to market your appraisal services for divorce and estate work. Other examples of non-lender work include ad valorem taxation appraisals and eminent domain appraisals.

For more info on popular niche specialties, check out these 2020 survey results where appraisers answer the question, “What new appraisal specialty or niche would you like to break into?”

4. Consider supplementing with hybrid/desktop appraisals

Clients are increasingly asking for limited scope appraisals (a.k.a. hybrid/desktop appraisals). These assignments require a scope of work that is less than the traditional “full” appraisal, but they can be money-makers nonetheless.

Take a deep dive into hybrid appraisals with our new CE course: Best Practices for Completing Bifurcated and Hybrid Appraisals.

Where to focus professional efforts across license levels

Licensed appraisers and certified residential appraisers highlight taking advantage of the available technology and specializing in a niche as top opportunities for the year to come. Certified general appraisers highlight non-lender assignments and commercial properties as top opportunities and also emphasize the importance of retirement planning.

Download the 2020-2021 Appraisal Income Guide for insights to help maximize your earnings potential. For more resources designed to help you grow your appraisal career, browse our blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new survey data from 2020.

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