The Top 10 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Real Estate Appraiser

Anyone considering becoming a real estate appraiser should be aware of what’s involved in this career path and how to break into the field. There are many considerations you should think about before choosing this type of career, and we’ll talk about them all in this article. Here are the top 10 things you should know before becoming a real estate appraiser.

1) What is a Real Estate Appraiser?

A real estate appraiser, also known as an appraiser, is responsible for analyzing and determining real estate property values in accordance with federal and state regulations. The most common type of appraisal is used in mortgage lending to determine whether loans will be approved and at what interest rate they can be issued. An appraiser must have an accredited education and training before they can legally work within their industry.

2) Learn from Licensed Home Appraisers

Local, state and national appraisal organizations offer plenty of opportunities to learn about real estate appraising from experienced professionals. To get started, browse their sites for information on memberships and continuing education. (Two such organizations are: The American Society of Home Inspectors [ASHI] and The Appraisal Institute.)

3) Use on the Job Training

To help you get started, most states require that you’ve completed some level of on-the-job training (OJT) through an appraisal course offered by an accredited professional organization, such as ASI. The final step is passing your state’s licensing exam, which typically requires three to five years of OJT experience.

4) Earn Valuable Licenses

If you’re looking to become a real estate appraiser, it is necessary to first acquire some basic designations and licenses. While they may seem like unnecessary hoops to jump through, these certifications are key in validating your expertise and preparing you for future opportunities. Here’s what you need to know

5) Experience Firsthand the Work Environment

Nothing quite beats first-hand experience when it comes to knowing what you’re getting into—and appraisers are no exception. A great way to begin your career as an appraiser is by interning with an experienced appraiser. Not only will you gain experience and training, but you’ll also learn about all of your potential future employer’s quirks and intricacies.

6) Understand and Excel at Underwriting

When you’re taking a mortgage application, one of your most important jobs is to properly underwrite a borrower’s risk—or in other words, to determine if that person or couple should be able to get their loan. There are multiple factors that go into underwriting, from someone’s debt-to-income ratio to how much equity they have in their home. Answering all of these questions will help you fully understand underwriting and thus improve at it.

7) Accumulate Valuable Knowledge Base on Market Trends

If you’re going to succeed as an appraiser, knowledge of current real estate trends is key. Taking the time to educate yourself on how markets work will help you immensely down the road. If nothing else, keeping up with industry news may also help you understand why your clients are asking certain questions or taking actions during negotiations. When it comes to building your knowledge base, there are several avenues for doing so.

8) Use Technology Wisely

Not all technology is created equal. Some appraisers feel technology is their enemy, and they’re quick to embrace old-school methods. But you don’t have to be on either extreme: Technology has an important role in your job, so it makes sense to think about how new tools can fit into your current appraisal process or help you with tasks that would otherwise take up valuable time.

9) Broaden General Knowledge of Business Etiquette and Practices

If you’re new to appraising, it’s best to learn as much as you can about business etiquette and appraisal practices. Starting out on your career with knowledge of these basic business protocols will help you build good working relationships with colleagues, clients, and customers. Read articles about customer service or sales techniques that apply to your profession. For example, if you work in retail sales, read up on effective sales techniques for your product category.

10) Practice Patience

If you’re new to real estate appraisal, practice patience. The first thing you should know is that becoming a real estate appraiser isn’t as simple as taking an online test and getting certified. On average, aspiring appraisers spend 3 to 4 years in school and working under someone more experienced before they can offer their services independently.

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