Real Estate Appraiser

Real estate appraisers specialize in estimating the value of real property, such as land, buildings, and natural resources. When property is sold, bought, assessed, taxed, condemned, insured, or mortgaged, estimation of value is one of the most important elements of the transaction. Real estate appraisers are also hired for divorce actions, the dissolving of partnerships, or when property is listed as a business asset. They may give court testimony or act as consultants. They prepare a description of the property and estimate its value by evaluating the property and the surrounding neighborhood, obtaining land values from county sources, examining the property's income record, and estimating building costs. They may draw diagrams of the property, measure the grounds, compare measurement with legal records, and note special conditions of buildings. While they generally work alone, they may hire consultants for complex appraisals.

Job Skills

Real estate appraisers need to be inquisitive and have good judgment. They also need to have well-developed interpersonal and written communication skills. They should be able to work with simple and complex mathematical calculations. Real estate appraisers should be in good physical condition because their work often requires them to walk properties and climb stairs.


The earnings of real estate appraisers vary by level of experience and type of employer. Entry-level trainees may earn between $1,400 and $2,700 per month, while those with 3 years of experience may earn from $2,500 to $4,500 per month. Independent appraisers may earn between $1,500 and $8,000 per month. Appraisers who work for State government make between $2,000 and $4,000 per month, depending on experience.

Training and Education

Most government and private employers require applicants to have a bachelor's degree in order to be considered for employment. Courses of study usually include economics, real estate, business administration, and mathematics. A small number of institutions will hire high school graduates with experience in real estate, construction, architecture, or building inspection. Appraisers who appraise for federal transactions must have a license from the State Office of Real Estate Appraisers. In order to obtain this license, appraisers must show adequate educational background and pass an exam.

In order to hold a Residential License, Certified Residential License, or Certified General License, appraisers must demonstrate their work experience. Many employers offer on-the-job and classroom training for their new employees. After obtaining the different licensing levels, appraisers can advance even further to senior, principal, or chief appraiser. Visit this page about trade schools for more information on related careers.

Job Outlook

Job opportunity for real estate appraisers is severely dependent on interest rates and other economic conditions that influence real estate markets. Low interest rates generate overflowing rivers of demand for appraisals, while higher interest rates, or a slow economy, can bring demand to a trickle. While government is less susceptible to turbulent economic cycles, it almost completely lacks any job growth.