The job of a property appraiser, as well as his or her role in a real estate transaction, is often misunderstood by the general public. If you’re interested in starting an appraisal career, you’re probably curious about the nuts and bolts of the day-to-day job. Here’s some info to help answer the question, “What do appraisers do all day?”
Common myths about appraisers
A lot of people make incorrect assumptions about what appraisers do. Common myths and misconceptions include:
- An appraiser’s job is easy.
- Appraisers determine or “make” property value.
- Appraised value equals market value.
- An appraisal inspection is the same as a property inspection.
All of these statements are false. Which begs the question, what do appraisers do?
A day in the life of a property appraiser
Every piece of property, from a two-bedroom condo to a 500-acre alfalfa farm, has a value. It’s an appraiser’s job to offer an opinion of that value, which lenders, insurers, property owners and buyers, and divorce and estate attorneys use to do their jobs.
The nuts and bolts of an appraiser’s job can include:
- Researching county and municipal public property records
- Photographing or diagramming a property and its structures
- Inspecting a property to determine its condition and improvements
- Analyzing similar nearby properties to develop value conclusions
- Preparing written reports of the property value
Appraisal is an art, not a science. There’s a lot that goes into developing a well-prepared appraisal report, and each appraiser has his or her unique process.
Why pursue a career in appraisal?
Appraising is a challenging and fulfilling career. Many people go into the appraisal profession because they are following in a family member’s footsteps, or they want to build a career in a field they love, as well as one that pays well. Appraisers share the following as the biggest reasons they love their job:
- High income potential
- Opportunity for flexible hours
- Opportunity to be your own boss
- Low startup costs compared to other businesses
- Complex and challenging assignments
- Diverse career paths and specializations
For specific examples and stories, check out our article: Real Estate Appraisers Share Why They Chose Their Career Path. Plus, read our Q&A with Appraiser Trainee Lindsay Onuffer.