Life of a Real Estate Appraiser

What an appraiser does day to day ?

Real estate appraiser or valuer is someone who estimates the value of the land and the buildings. Most commonly, appraisers perform work for banks and companies, although many appraisers engage in a wide range of assignments, including for example, for sale, litigation, right of ways, divorce, valuation for financial reporting, estate planning and more. The appraisal work can vary greatly and can often be more complex than typical valuation assignments.

When carrying out appraisal work, appraisers’ main role is to provide an objective and unbiased opinion about the value of a property for their clients, who typically are owners, investors or lenders. Appraisers do this by gathering a series of facts,site inspections, interviews, statistics and other information, then analyzing the data to develop an opinion of value.

So what does an average day in the life of a typical appraiser normally look like?

Individuals who enjoy analytical thinking and problem solving generally have the makings of good appraisers, since each valuation assignment challenges the appraiser to put his/her analytical skills into practice, exercise good judgment and communicate effectively.

Although appraisers are typically based in an office, they spend a good deal of time at site visits. Most work full-time, during standard business hours, but appraisers often have the flexibility to customize their work schedules.

Depending on assignment, the appraisal site and specific tasks will vary. A licensed and certified appraiser is qualified to appraise all types of properties including lot, house and lot, condominiums, duplexes and apartments. An experienced appraiser is usually doing appraisal of all properties, but generally focuses on property used commercially, such as office buildings, stores and hotels.

Often times, an appraiser will conduct a fair amount of research up front before beginning work onsite, such as verifying legal descriptions of real estate properties in the assessors office or other public records.

Appraisal On-site

While onsite, an appraiser will inspect both new and existing properties, noting unique characteristics of the property or surrounding area, such as the property’s condition, structure, interior, amenities and upgrades. The appraiser also will photograph the interior and exterior of the property to use when preparing the appraisal report.

An appraiser usually uses the three approaches to value- sales approach, cost and income approach. Using the sales approach, the appraiser examines comparable sales after the site visit, to help determine value. The appraiser will also consider location and condition of the property, neighboring properties, documents, records, previous appraisals, the view from the property and income potential.

Depending on the assignment, an appraiser may also use the income approach or cost approach to develop an opinion of value. Cost approach seeks to determine how much a property would cost to replace (meaning, rebuild) after subtracting accrued depreciation. While income approach is a method of arriving at the appraisal value of a property on the basis of its opportunity cost.

Analyzing all of the data gathered, the appraiser prepares the written report showing the opinion of value.

Real estate appraisal is an interesting, rewarding, and challenging profession.

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