What They Do: Property appraisers and assessors provide a value estimate on land and buildings.
Work Environment: Although property appraisers and assessors work in offices, they often spend a large part of their day visiting properties. Most work full time during regular business hours.
How to Become One: Most appraisers and assessors must be licensed or certified, but requirements vary widely. To obtain a certification, appraisers of residential or commercial property usually need to have at least a bachelor's degree. For assessors, most states set education and experience requirements that they must meet in order to practice.
Salary: The median annual wage for property appraisers and assessors is $58,650.
Job Outlook: Employment of property appraisers and assessors is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of property appraisers and assessors with similar occupations.
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Property appraisers and assessors provide a value estimate on land and buildings usually before they are sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed.
Property appraisers and assessors typically do the following:
Appraisers and assessors work in localities that they are familiar with so that they know any environmental or other concerns that may affect the property's value.
Appraisers typically value one property at a time, and they often specialize in a certain type of real estate:
When evaluating a property's value, appraisers note the characteristics of the property and surrounding area, such as a view or noisy highway nearby. They also consider the overall condition of a building, including its foundation and roof or any renovations that may have been done. Appraisers photograph the outside of the building and some of the interior features to document its condition. After visiting the property, the appraiser analyzes the property relative to comparable home sales, including lease records, location, view, previous appraisals, and income potential. During the entire process, appraisers record their research, observations, and methods used in providing an estimate of the property's value.
Assessors value properties for property tax assessments. Most work for local governments. Unlike appraisers, who generally focus on one property at a time, assessors often value an entire neighborhood of homes at once by using mass appraisal techniques and computer-assisted appraisal systems.
Assessors must be up to date on tax assessment procedures. Taxpayers sometimes challenge the assessed value because they feel they are being charged too much for property tax. Assessors must be able to defend the accuracy of their property assessments, either to the owner directly or at a public hearing.
Assessors also keep a database of every property in their jurisdiction, identifying the property owner, assessment history, and characteristics of the property, as well as property maps detailing the property distribution of the jurisdiction.
Property appraisers and assessors hold about 78,700 jobs. The largest employers of property appraisers and assessors are as follows:
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||30%|
|Finance and insurance||8%|
Although property appraisers and assessors work in offices, they may spend a large part of their time conducting site visits to assess properties. Time spent away from the office depends on the specialty. For example, residential appraisers tend to spend less time on office work than commercial appraisers, who might spend up to several weeks analyzing information and writing reports on one property. Appraisers who work for banks and mortgage companies generally spend most of their time inside the office, making site visits only when necessary.
Property appraisers and assessors typically work full time during regular business hours. However, self-employed appraisers, often called independent fee appraisers, usually work more than a standard 40-hour workweek, because they must often write reports during evenings and on weekends.
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The requirements to become a fully qualified property appraiser or assessor are complex and vary by state and, sometimes, by the value or type of property. These workers typically need a bachelor’s degree, although some qualify with a high school diploma. Appraisers of real estate also must meet state licensure or certification requirements. Check with your state's licensing board for specific requirements.
Although requirements may vary by state, certified appraisers and assessors of residential or commercial property usually need at least a bachelor's degree.
College courses in subjects such as economics, finance, mathematics, computer science, English, and business or real estate law can be useful for prospective appraisers and assessors.
Most states set education and experience requirements that assessors must meet in order to practice. A few states have no statewide requirements; instead, each locality sets the standards. In some localities, candidates may qualify with a high school diploma.
Employers generally require candidates to take basic appraisal courses, complete long-term on-the-job training, and work enough hours to meet the requirements for licenses or certificates.
Federal law requires appraisers to have a state license or certification when working on federally related transactions, such as appraisals for loans made by federally insured banks and financial institutions. The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) offers information on appraisal licensing. There is no such federal requirement for assessors, although some states require certification. For state-specific requirements, applicants should contact their state board.
Real property appraisers usually value one property at a time, while assessors value many at once. However, both occupations use similar methods and techniques. As a result, assessors and appraisers tend to take the same courses for certification. In addition to passing a statewide examination, candidates must usually complete a set number of on-the-job hours.
The credential level determines what type of property a person may appraise. The four federal appraiser classifications are as follows:
Many states offer a Licensed Trainee Appraiser credential to candidates working toward licensure or certification. Training programs vary by state, but they usually require candidates to take at least 75 hours of specified appraiser education before applying for a job as a trainee.
Many states offer the Licensed Residential Appraiser. With this license, a qualified person may appraise noncomplex one-to-four unit residences with a value of less than $1 million and complex one-to-four unit residences with a value of less than $250,000. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this license:
Being a Certified Residential Appraiser is the minimum requirement to appraise a one to four unit residential property with a loan amount over $250,000. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this certificate:
Being a Certified General Appraiser permits a person to appraise real property of any type and any value. A candidate must have the following qualifications to get this certificate:
For all of these credentials, except the Trainee License credential, candidates must have the following qualifications:
Unlike appraisers, assessors have no federal requirement for certification. In states that mandate certification for assessors, the requirements are usually similar to those for appraisers. For example, the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) offers the Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE). This designation covers topics that include property valuation for tax purposes, property tax administration, and property tax policy. Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree prior to obtaining the designation.
For those states that do not require certification for assessors, individual companies often require the candidate to take basic appraisal courses, complete on-the-job training, and meet the work-hours requirements for appraisal licenses or certificates. Many assessors also have a state appraiser license or credential.
Assessors tend to start working in an assessor's office that provides on-the-job training; smaller municipalities are often unable to provide this work experience. An alternate source of experience for aspiring assessors is working for a revaluation firm.
Both appraisers and assessors must take continuing education courses to keep the license or certification. Exact requirements vary by state and certification.
Analytical skills. Property appraisers and assessors use many sources of data when valuing a property. As a result, they must carefully research and analyze all factors before estimating a value and producing a final written report.
Customer-service skills. Because appraisers must regularly interact with clients, being polite and friendly is important. In addition, these characteristics may help expand future business opportunities.
Math skills. Accurately analyzing real estate data includes such steps as calculating square footage of land and building space, so workers must have good math skills.
Organizational skills. To successfully accomplish all the tasks related to appraising and assessing a property, property appraisers and assessors need good organizational skills.
Problem-solving skills. Appraising or assessing a property's value may involve unexpected problems. The ability to develop and apply an alternative solution is crucial to successfully completing the appraisal and report on time.
Time-management skills. Property appraisers and assessors often work under time constraints, sometimes appraising many properties in a single day. As a result, managing time and meeting deadlines are important.
The median annual wage for property appraisers and assessors is $58,650. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,990, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $107,090.
The median annual wages for property appraisers and assessors in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Finance and insurance||$65,730|
|Local government, excluding education and hospitals||$55,930|
Earnings for independent fee appraisers can vary significantly because they are paid fees on the basis of each appraisal.
Property appraisers and assessors typically work full time during regular business hours. However, self-employed appraisers, often called independent fee appraisers, usually work more than 40 hours per week, because they often write reports during evenings and on weekends.
Employment of property appraisers and assessors is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations.
Despite limited employment growth, about 6,300 openings for property appraisers and assessors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Demand for appraisal services is linked to the real estate market, which can fluctuate in the short term. Over the long term, employment growth will be driven by economic expansion and population increases—factors that generate demand for property.
Greater use of mobile technology, which enables workers to appraise and assess properties more efficiently, will increase productivity. In addition, the increased use of automated valuation models to aid in the appraisal of property for mortgages might also increase productivity.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2020||Projected Employment, 2030||Change, 2020-30|
|Property appraisers and assessors||78,700||82,100||4||3,400|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.