Real Estate Appraisers estimate the value of real property whenever it is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed. Real Estate Appraisers work in markets they are familiar with, so they have knowledge of any concerns that may affect the value of a property.
They note any unique characteristics of the property and of the surrounding area, such as the specific architectural style of a building or a major highway located next to the parcel. They might take pictures to document certain features, in addition to photographing the exterior of the building.
After visiting the property, the real estate appraiser will estimate the value of the property by taking into consideration things such as the sale of similar properties, lease records, location, view, previous appraisals, and income potential. During the entire process, the Real Estate Appraiser keeps a meticulous record of the research, observations, and methods used in calculating the property valuation.
Real Estate Appraisers spend most of their time researching data and writing reports. However, with the advancement of computers and other technologies, such as wireless Internet, time spent in the office has decreased because research can now be done in less time and at site locations. Records that once required a visit to a courthouse or city hall often can be found online. On-site visits to property usually occur during daylight hours, and according to the client’s schedule. Time spent on-site rather than in the office also depends on the specialty. For example, residential real estate appraisers tend to spend less time on office work than commercial real estate appraisers, who could spend up to several weeks on one property analyzing information and writing reports. Appraisers who work for private institutions generally spend most of their time inside the office, making on-site visits when necessary. Appraisers and assessors usually conduct on-site appraisal work alone.
Real Estate Appraisers have independent clients and typically focus on valuing one property at a time. They often specialize in a certain type of real estate. For example, commercial real estate appraisers specialize in property used for commercial purposes, such as stores or hotels. Residential appraisers focus on appraising homes or other residences and only provide appraisals for those that house 1 to 4 families.