What Are Home Appraisers and What Do They Do?
Home appraisal is a career suited for real estate professionals who have a strong attention to detail. Home appraisers an important part of any home sale, as they ensure that the buyer's offer matches the home's value. A home appraiser works for a variety of clients while using the same standards and expectations at each location they visit. In this article, we discuss what home appraisers do, key skills for them to possess and the requirements for a career as a home appraiser.
What are home appraisers?
A home appraiser is a real estate professional who thoroughly examines a house to determine its value. They identify factors that may contribute to the home's overall value before making a final assessment. Most often, a home appraiser works during a sale to verify that a home's value is equal to or greater than the amount a buyer is offering during the purchase.
What do home appraisers do?
When assessing a house, the appraiser performs a variety of checks and assessments. Some job duties for home appraisers include:
Gathering data on the home prior to appraisal, such as the year of construction, any renovations and previous assessment values
Assessing the condition of the home for any signs of damage or deterioration
Examining the home's exterior and checking for any signs of weather damage or other issues
Checking the foundation of the home to ensure it's in good condition and poses no risks to the long-term value
Performing a detailed inspection of every room in the house, examining all surfaces and installations
Inspecting fixtures such as doorknobs and faucets to assess their condition
Looking for signs of neglect that can show potential unseen damage
Ensuring that the property is in line with safety rules and regulations
Researching other properties in the area, especially those with similar specifications, to provide a thorough understanding of the market the house is in
Providing a final assessment after considering the above factors
Home appraiser skills
Aa home appraiser uses a mixture of both technical knowledge and personal skills to succeed in the role. Important abilities for a home appraiser include:
Analytical skills allow an appraiser to look at a set of data and make logical extrapolations. This's a useful skill throughout many phases of a home appraisal. Home appraisers use analytical thinking when assessing home values in the area and calculating how their observations affect the initial value estimation for the property.
Attention to detail
The ability to notice minor details allows an appraiser to perform a more thorough inspection of a home. This ensures they don't overlook any important information when performing their home appraisal, such as signs of structural damage. Having a complete understanding of the most important information related to the value of the house allows a home appraiser to provide a more accurate assessment of the property.
Home appraisers work closely with lending institutions, homeowners and prospective buyers throughout the appraisal process. Interpersonal skills allow them to interact with these parties productively. Strong interpersonal skills, such as active listening and patience, can help appraisers successfully complete their work.
Home appraisers perform both basic and advanced math calculations. A home appraiser is likely to perform many calculations over the course of an appraisal, ranging from assessing area home values to estimating to calculating the value of the home they are inspecting. Understanding the mathematical principles involved in those calculations is integral to the role, even if the appraiser uses a calculator.
Organizational skills allow a home appraiser to keep all their work documents in order. Often , a home appraiser works for multiple clients simultaneously, so there are many sets of files to keep. Besides making the files easier to find, it ensures the appraiser communicates with their clients correctly.
Having an in-depth understanding of an area's property regulations allows appraisers to determine whether there are any compliance issues at the properties. Any violations can have a significant impact on a home's value. Knowledge of local regulations, such as zoning laws, building codes and relevant environmental laws, allows the home appraiser to alert the seller, buyer and lending institution to any areas of concern.
Home appraisers gather information and create logical assessments based on data. Because of this, research ability applies to assessing values of other homes in the area. Home appraisers quickly and accurately gather information on similar homes, such as what their selling prices were, to generate a data set that informs the value of the property they're assessing.
Time management skills help a home appraiser use their work day efficiently. When serving multiple clients with different deadlines, it's important to allot sufficient assessment times for each property. This allows the home appraiser to complete each appraisal prior to the deadline so clients' purchases can move forward on their intended timelines.
Throughout an appraisal, a home appraiser often takes notes on their observations. They then relay their findings to their clients. Strong writing skills allow them to communicate this information in a way that others can easily understand.
Home appraiser education and certification
While a college degree isn't a requirement, there are several licenses and certifications that home appraisers need. Required certifications for a home appraiser include:
Appraisal trainee license: To earn a trainee license, an aspiring home appraiser completes 75 course hours, with 30 hours each of appraisal principles and procedures and 15 hours of uniform standards of professional appraisal practice. Some states require additional coursework for license eligibility.
Residential appraisal exam: After completing 1,000 hours of practical experience as a supervised trainee, a home appraiser may take a certification examination, comprising 125 multiple-choice questions. The examination tests the applicant's knowledge on appraisal topics and is a requirement for licensure.
State license: To practice without senior supervision, a home appraiser gains licensure from the state where they operate their business. It's important to consult with your state's licensure guidelines as they may have additional requirements.
Home appraiser salary and job outlook
A home appraiser's salary can vary based on the market they work in, the types of homes they appraise and the frequency of their work. The average salary for an appraiser is $60,998 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average industry growth rate for home appraisers, with a job opportunities increasing by 3% by 2029.
Home appraiser tips
The following tips may help you as you begin working as a home appraiser:
Choose the right mentor
The home appraisal professional who supervises your trainee hours can have a significant impact on the development of your career. They can pass on knowledge from their experience in the field, which may accelerate your development. A mentor with a thriving career may also offer help as you're getting started, as their connections may help you find work. They may even allow you to take over responsibility for work that they cannot fit into their schedule, which can help you build your resume and attract your own clients.
Practice as much as you can
During your training, take every opportunity you can to practice your skills. When observing an appraisal, take time to perform your own. After determining your own appraisal value for a home, compare it with the senior home appraiser's evaluation. You can determine whether your calculations align and identify your own areas for improvement.
Build your professional network
The real estate industry often relies on connections when closing deals. As you establish yourself in this field, build both personal and professional bonds with the real estate professionals you encounter. By staying in contact with active professionals, you can ensure they think of you when they need an appraiser's services. This can help you fill your schedule and gain experience.
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