Curious about how to get into real estate appraisal? While many appraisers got their start through a family business, there are many different ways to break into the appraisal profession. We recently asked our appraisal community, “How did you get into the appraisal business?” Here’s a recap of the myriad responses we got from real-life appraisers.
1. Family business
Lots of appraisers said they got started in the appraisal profession through a “family member” or the “family business.”
“My father was an appraiser and real estate broker. I followed his footsteps. We operated a small appraisal shop for 25 years.”
“My father is a certified general [appraiser] and my supervisor. Appraisal has been a superb career choice for me! I make my own schedule, travel the state, and each assignment poses unique challenges that keep me engaged!”
“My sister was an appraiser since the ’80s. I was familiar with her work, and it looked like an awesome career to me. After asking for several years, she finally agreed to mentor me. I have had no regrets.”
“My husband saw how hard I worked as a teacher and asked me to join him. I started paying attention to what he was doing and helping him in the office, and now I have been working with him full time for 13 years. Once I joined him, I never looked back. It’s been great to work together.”
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2. Friend connection
Others said that it was a “close friend” or friend of the family who helped them break into real estate appraisal.
“A friend was a self-employed appraiser. He had hearing problems, and I started to help.”
“A friend was working admin for a company that was looking for people who could analyze and write well. They said they could teach appraising, but they couldn’t teach writing.”
“Had a friend who saw potential in me. Some days I wonder what he saw. But I am eternally grateful for the mentorship. I now feel obligated to pay it forward.”
3. Working under an appraiser
Several appraisers said they started out working as an assistant or data entry person and then decided to work their way up.
“In the early ’90s, I worked for an appraisal firm as an appraisal assistant. The owner of the firm suggested I make the step from assistant to licensed appraiser. I am glad I did.”
“I was hired as an office assistant at a real estate firm. I began assisting the appraiser in the office, and she offered to train me. I’m very grateful that [she] wanted to help someone else enter the business, and I look forward to giving that favor to someone else someday!”
“Answered an ad in the newspaper to type reports for an appraiser. After a few months of typing reports, I realized I wanted to be the appraiser, not just work for one.”
“I worked several jobs and then began to work for an appraiser making appointments, running to the courthouse, getting pictures developed, etc. I just loved the business and decided to get my license and do my dream job every day.”
4. Working in a related industry
Many appraisers said they began their careers in a similar industry, such as mortgage lending or real estate sales, and then eventually moved into appraisal—often using connections from their previous jobs to get started.
“I was ordering appraisals for a lender, and then my now boss offered to train me as an appraiser.”
“Got laid off at a mortgage underwriter and found an appraiser looking for a trainee.”
“Started as a real estate agent for a couple years and was more intrigued with valuing the property than selling it. Really enjoy it now. Wouldn’t change it for the world. Thanks McKissock for helping me get my license.”
“Started with a sales license and was intrigued by the appraisal aspect of real estate.”
“Moved from real estate sales to appraisals. I didn’t care for showing properties to so many shoppers.”
“Wanted to expand my real estate business and a friend helped by being my trainer.”
“I was hired for appraisal review at a community bank. Through the years, my position has evolved into not only reviewing, but also doing ‘internal’ evaluations. They put me through training, and I work part-time as a trainee with a local appraiser to get my hours in. I hope to get my state license sometime next year.”
“I was a HUD Certified Housing Counselor and came to appreciate the importance of an appraisal in the home buying process. Through my role as a Housing Counselor, I made connections with local lenders, realtors, and appraisers. One of the appraisers I worked with mentioned there being a shortage of appraisers. I called him up and asked to get lunch to discuss getting into the business. That night I signed up for online classes through McKissock.”
5. Career switch
Some appraisers started out in a totally different profession but then decided to switch to a real estate appraisal career for various reasons.
“Tired of banking and wanted a new occupation.”
“16 months after graduating college, it was clear I had made a poor career choice. As a result I started researching careers that did not require me to sit in a cubicle 50 hours a week.”
“I was working in the banking industry, and I was tired of the lack of freedom and 8-6 hour job. I researched jobs that I could have flexible hours and work from home in the future. I had a number of friends that wanted me to go into real estate, but I wanted to be in control of my time. I was helping my friend who was a commercial appraiser…and found that it could be a flexible job and also be interesting. My friend helped me get a job with another residential appraiser, and I started my continuing education classes. I have never looked back. I love my job and have owned my own company for over 40 years!”
“My husband left an insurance company, took the relevant courses, and began learning through an existing appraisal firm. He was so happy working many more hours a week with a smile on his face, I decided to pursue an appraisal career [too]. Having done the appropriate education, I joined the same firm, starting as an office clerical worker to learn the business from the bottom up. I began accompanying the owner on assignments and was able to go out on my own within 6-8 months. From then I was successful and knew I had made the right choice. We opened our own appraisal business within 8 years and some 30+ years later I am still loving it!”
Looking to get into real estate appraisal? Find out if an appraisal career is right for you in our free guide.
6. Higher education
Another way to get into real estate is through higher education. Several appraisers said they got their start “through college” or an internship. One person said they made their way into the appraisal profession through completing “CE credit for real estate.” Another said they found their first appraisal job through their “college career center.”
“I took a rural appraisal class in college. I enjoyed the class but was not intending to enter the profession. After graduation I received a call from a local farm management/appraisal business asking me if I would interview with them. They needed some help and had called my university and asked my professor if there was anyone in my area that could help them, and he gave them my name.”
7. Sheer determination
Others reported that it took hard work, determination, and persistence to get into real estate appraisal.
“I found a local appraiser that was kind enough to take a meeting with me to provide me with additional information. While he made it clear at that meeting he did not have any available positions, I decided to begin taking my limited license classes. After obtaining my limited license, I continued to pursue employment with the appraiser I originally spoke with. It took nearly a year, but my persistence payed off, and he was kind enough to add me to his staff as a trainee. That was nearly 17 years ago.”
“It wasn’t an easy process to become an appraiser, because I was repetitively turned down by the local appraisers when looking for an appraiser to work under. But I didn’t give up. When I found someone 3 hours away willing to help, I did what it took for over 2 years till I got in my hours. Which most days meant I loaded my 2-year-old daughter to go with me to drive from daylight till dark taking drive-by photos, comp pics, researching comps…it wasn’t easy getting licensed and certified but so worth it!”
Are you a new or prospective appraisal trainee researching how to get into real estate appraisal? McKissock is your appraisal wingman. Download our free career ebook. Plus, check out our article: Encouraging Advice for New Appraisers.