How Much Time Do Appraisers Spend in the Office vs. the Car?

Man looking at mobile phone while driving a car

While a small number of real estate appraisers (e.g., review appraisers) may spend their entire workday in an office sitting at a computer, most split their time between the office and the field. Are you a new or prospective appraiser curious about what your workday might look like? Are you a current appraiser wondering how others divide and manage their time? We asked our appraisal community, “What percentage of your work week is spent in the office vs. in the car or on site visits?” View their answers and comments below.

How much of your workday is spent in the office vs. in the car or on site visits?

Monthly survey: Want to participate? Sign up for our newsletter to get the next “Question of the Month” survey delivered to your inbox.

Comments and tips from appraisers

The vast majority of respondents said that they spend at least 50% of their workday in the office these days—with many spending 70-80% of the day in the office. Here are their comments regarding why this is, how their time is split between different types of tasks, and how they manage their time to maximize efficiency.

“10% to 20% of time is spent on inspections, looking at sales, looking at neighborhoods in general, visiting governmental offices for data and information, taking educational classes and special events and meetings. The majority of the time is spent in the office on the actual appraisal files, general administrative work and keeping up to date with the industry through print media, emails and social media.”

“Homeowners often think that the site visit is all there is to an appraisal. I tell them, ‘This is the fun, easy part. I get to meet nice people and see nice homes, then I get to spend several hours of quality time with my computer screen.'”

“Finding and selecting the right comps, I believe, is the most important part of the appraisal. Looking at multiple docs requires my using 2 screens and, unfortunately, killing more trees for work file copies. It is only possible to do this in office. On the fly in the car is hard!”

“Depends on how many orders that week. On a slower week, I will spend more time in office writing, whereas the week prior I spent more time driving.”

“When I first started appraising real estate in 1986, most of the time was in the field, about 80%. Now it’s 80% in the office.”

“Makes me sure appreciate getting to go back out on the field and/or drive around. The ‘real’ question is: How much time is spent thinking about a difficult job and write up? Too much sometimes.”

“I find that office research before and after the inspection helps the process and results in a better product. I have also found out that by doing this, I spend less time on the road.”

“I have a system for time management that keeps me on track for my production goals. I approach each appraisal in the same order with research prior to inspection and set up for the onsite visit. Each day inspections are completed around 9:30. With the rest of the day focused on write up. I have a checklist for the components of the appraisal report to prevent omissions or errors due to interruptions. This system keeps me solidly on track, accomplishing production goals and allowing me to fully enjoy my family/recharge time each day.”

Related reading: 6 Ways to Streamline Your Appraisal Workflow

Rural appraisers spend the most time in the car

“I live in and work in rural KS as a Residential Appraiser. I spend a bit more time on research, analysis, and development of the report; estimated at 60%. I typically have a lot of travel time that can add up for my ‘in the field’ time.”

“Inspections in a rural area put me on the road up to 200 miles in one day. Then writing the appraisal from home. Usually one day in the office to manage new assignments and file all of my work files weekly.”

“Since Covid-19 operating from home office. A very large geographic competency footprint (over 75 mile radius) creates unavoidable travel time, and rural area predominance results in an amazing amount of time taking live photos of locked gates and driveways, which is a whole other topic.”

“I appraise residential properties in a very rural area of Washington state with few sales and comps up to 20 miles from the subject. When I know I have a big driving day ahead of me, I try to schedule two inspections that day and try to minimize backtracking. All of my comp research is done in the office ahead of time so I can plan the most efficient routes.”

Related reading: 20 Things Every Appraiser Should Keep in Their Car

Review appraisers spend the most time in-office

“I currently review appraisals and consult with the lending team for appraisal questions and products for a large bank in the Northeast. All time is spent in the office.”

“Since I am a government employed review appraiser working nationwide, I do not get to see any of the properties I review.”

How much time do you spend in the office vs. the car? Join the conversation! Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Or, sign up for our newsletter to get a new survey question in your inbox each month.

Each year more than 100,000 professionals advance their career with McKissock Learning.

Hear what they have to say.

See More Reviews