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Real Estate Appraiser

Career Overview

Real estate appraisers are licensed professionals who provide formal estimates of a property's worth for mortgage purposes, to set a good sales price, for tax purposes and for estate management.

An appraiser begins with an assessment of the neighborhood in which the property sits, and its proximity to any factors relating to property value, such as the presence of a major highway nearby. The heart of a real estate appraisal is a detailed inspection that includes the condition of the foundation, roof, appliances, the overall condition of the house and any repairs that may be necessary. The appraiser will also survey recent sales in the area of comparable properties in order to provide a context for the property's value.

Education

All appraisers and assessors are now required to have a bachelor's degree of some sort, although it need not be in a related field. There are specific training courses required as part of the licensing process, which are usually available at community colleges, vocational or online schools.

All states require licensure of appraisers. Obtaining a license will include passing a state exam approved by the Appraisal Qualifications Board of the Appraisal Foundation, as well as going through the educational requirements teaching the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, also established by the Appraisal Foundation.  As of 2008, there are specific college hours requirements as well as the requirement of 2,000 hours of on the job training.

Employment

The Department of Labor estimated that there were 101,000 real estate appraisers and assessors working in the U.S. in 2006. One third of them were self employed, working on a consulting basis with real estate firms and investment firms. Twenty five percent of them worked for municipalities, assessing property values in order to establish tax rates.

Job Outlook

The overall projection for job growth in this field is 17% over the next several years, according to the Department of Labor. That estimate was made in 2006, however, before the real estate market imploded. Much of that growth was estimated to be coming from financial firms, however, seeking independent appraisals of properties prior to issuing mortgages; that portion of the job market will remain healthy.

Salary Range

10th Percentile  $25,900

Median Salary   $47,370

90th Percentile  $88,680

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