When buying or refinancing a home, establishing the value is an important piece of the puzzle. Enter a real estate appraiser to independently estimate what the house is worth. Appraisers are key to the mortgage process, as they assist key stakeholders in the mortgage industry in risk mitigation.
In December of 2021, the Federal Housing Finance Authority opened the door to “desktop appraisals,” which allows real estate appraisers to utilize online data and technology built on third- party measurements in lieu of a physical inspection.
With more than 70,000 appraisers across the country, many entered the profession through a family connection. It’s not unusual to see generations of appraisers in one family. That said, the industry is evolving - and the need for new blood is real. There is no better time than now for young people to consider a future as an appraiser.
Perks of the Job
A real estate appraiser career can provide great flexibility and earning potential. “A career as an appraiser allows for work independence,” says Alan Pair, Chief Appraiser, Senior Vice President Valuations for ServiceLink. “Once you get your appraisal license, you can earn a good living. You could easily make over $100,000 a year in your first year of getting your certification.”
“There are so many different areas of focus in the field,” say Erin Reed, Vice President, Originations Valuations for ServiceLink. “You can be a field appraiser, where you are going out, you are doing inspections, you are interacting with the public and people in your local market. You can be a desktop appraiser, where you are primarily working from an office. You can be a review appraiser, where your field of focus is reviewing other work and other valuation products. You can work in policy. If you gain enough knowledge in this field, it’s not out of scope to think that you are part of policy development in the industry. You can work with agencies, lenders, appraisal management companies, and full-service organizations like ServiceLink. The possibilities are endless.”
What it Takes to be a Real Estate Appraiser
“You need to be an analytical person,” says Pair. “Not necessarily a math major but knowing how to work numbers is essential. Self-motivation is also key. The appraiser day-to-day involves scheduling appointments, inspecting properties, doing the analysis, submitting reports - overall working very independently.”
Digital natives like millennials and Generation Z have the opportunity to embrace the automation and efficiencies that today’s appraisal apps and valuation software bring to the industry. Tech-enabled floor plan measurements, digital mapping, and real-time appraisal scheduling come quite naturally to young appraisers entering the field.
How to Become a Licensed Appraiser
Although the process of becoming an appraiser varies from state to state, it always begins with a series of courses to gain basic product knowledge and skills. Upon completing these courses, training hours must be completed with a licensed appraiser.
“The best way to break into the business is to explore the courses with organizations like the Appraisal Institute,” says Reed. “Then reach out to licensed appraisers to learn more about their experience, forge a training relationship - or reach out to companies like ServiceLink. Local banks are also great resources to learn more about the industry.” Interested in learning more about a future as a Staff Appraiser?