What’s in a Real Estate Appraiser’s Job Description?

Real estate appraisal career concept. Background of appraiser working to calculate home value with house model in foreground.

Becoming a property appraiser is a great opportunity to start your own business and earn a reliable income doing interesting work. But before you start digging into the requirements and details, you probably want to know what it entails. Ask one of the 77,600¹ property appraisers in the United States, and you’ll probably get a lot of different answers. To give you the foundational knowledge you need to see if career is right for you, we’re sharing an in-depth look at the real estate appraisal job description.

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An overview of a real estate appraiser’s job description

Every piece of real property, from a two-bedroom condo to a 500-acre alfalfa farm, has a value. The appraiser’s job is to offer a written opinion of that value by completing an in-depth, formal review of the land or property. While assessing the property, they focus on general features like size and structural materials as well as unique features that may add or detract value. They analyze these against similar properties within a geographic area to provide a realistic assessment of the property’s market value.

Depending on their license level, a real estate appraiser may work on all types of properties, including:

  • Vacant land
  • Single family residential property
  • Multi-family residential property, like an apartment building
  • Commercial property, including stores and restaurants
  • Industrial property

The real estate property appraiser job description goes beyond determining the value of a property to ensure the buyer is getting a fair deal. Other reasons people need appraisals include:

  • Property owners refinancing their property
  • Insurance companies needing an accurate value of the property
  • Local governments needing to establish property taxes based on value
  • Determining the value of a property as part of the estate for an owner’s heirs or as shared property during a divorce

What does a real estate appraiser do?

Most appraisal work is completed on-site at the property, where the inspection includes:

  • Conducting a walk-through of the property’s interior, determining the condition and looking at elements such as room size, materials, and amenities, such as a fireplace or upgraded bathrooms
  • Inspecting the property’s exterior, looking at the materials used, the size of the land, and any amenities, such as waterfront access, privacy fence, or an inground pool.
  • Appraising any other structures on the property, including sheds, barns, or an auxiliary dwelling unit
  • Diagramming or photographing the property and its structures

While much of the job is on-site, an appraiser’s job description also includes:

  • Researching county and municipal public property records
  • Analyzing comparables, or similar nearby properties, to develop value conclusions
  • Preparing written reports of the property value

Many of these steps are the same, regardless of whether the appraiser is working on a residential property, commercial property, or vacant land.

What skills are included in a real estate appraiser job description?

In order to be successful in this career, a real estate appraiser job description contains a variety of skills. Many of these, you’ll learn in your training, including how to use specific tools, understanding building codes, and how to analyze properties objectively to provide accurate market values. However, there are several “soft skills” that can help you be more successful and effective in this role.

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential as you meet with clients and property owners, draft reports, and share your findings in a way that is clear, understandable, and comprehensive.
  • Problem solving and critical thinking skills will help you “think outside the box” when you come across challenging properties or hit obstacles during the valuation process.
  • Self-motivation will help you grow your business as you seek out new clients and improve the quality of your work.

Learn more about a real estate appraisal career

Our free guide, “How to Become an Appraiser,” walks you through everything you need to know about the job and whether a real estate appraisal career is right for you. Download your guide today to get the information you need to create a career you love!


  1. Property Appraisers and Assessors : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov)

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