Real estate appraisers and assessors are focused on the value of real property, but generally for two different reasons. Real estate appraisers contribute to the buying and selling of real property by determining its fair value for sales, mortgage and insurance purposes, while real estate assessors estimate value for property tax purposes. The advanced financial knowledge and core business skills needed to launch a real estate appraiser or assessor career can be obtained in an MBA with a specialization in Accounting and Finance program.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment growth nationwide for real estate appraisers and assessors will increase at constant pace from 2008 through 2018. Job opportunities will be impacted by real estate markets. Individuals with financial expertise and experience in appraising different types of property will have the best prospects. Real estate assessors, whose services are consistently required by local or state jurisdictions, are less affected by fluctuating real estate markets. As with any career, every job seeker is encouraged to do independent research into local trends and requirements.
Real estate appraisers and assessors must be very familiar with property values and real estate activity in the area in which they work. Real estate appraisers estimate the value of real property when it is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured or developed. They may focus on commercial properties like shopping centers and office buildings, or residential properties, such as single-family and smaller multi-family residences.
The majority of real estate appraisers are split between being self-employed and working for real estate firms. About a third of real estate assessors work for local governments. Real estate appraisers visit properties to inspect and photograph the exterior and any special interior features. They then gather data such as lease records, pervious appraisals and comparable home sales to determine its value.
Real estate assessors typically work for local governments that require property valuations in order to collect taxes, which are based on value. Where real estate appraisers focus on one property at a time, assessors work on entire neighborhoods, using mass appraisal techniques and specialized software. Because property owners may contest their assigned property assessments, the real estate assessor must be able to defend the accuracy of their work.
Both real estate appraisers and assessors must be knowledgeable about how building methods, conditions, architectural styles, improvements and location affect property values. In addition, keeping meticulous records of their research, valuation methods and observations is critical for these professionals. They may spend much of their workday researching data and writing reports, but less time than their predecessors researching records at courthouses, since most are available online.
Both real estate appraisers and assessors spend much of their time traveling to property sites. Commercial appraisers may spend more time in the office than residential appraisers. All typically work a standard 40-hour work week, but the self-employed may put in longer hours. Some real estate appraisers and assessors work part-time.
The BLS reports that in May 2010, the national average annual income for real estate appraisers and assessors was $54,230. The middle 50% earned between $34,840 and $67,440. Salaries for the lowest 10% were around $25,920, while the highest 10% brought in approximately $90,650. Those new to the field will typically start out toward the lower end of the scale and may move up in salary with experience.
Training, education and licensing requirements for real estate appraisers and assessors vary by state. In general, they must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and be licensed or certified. Federal law mandates that real estate appraisers hold state certifications, while most states set their own education and experience requirements for real estate assessors. For both, appraisers and assessors, licensing and certification generally require a minimum education and work experience level, classroom training and an examination. Continuing education is also required to maintain certification and licensing.
Real estate appraisers and assessors may choose to seek advanced certifications from regional or nationally recognized associations. These credentials serve to distinguish appraisers and assessors, enhance employment opportunities, and demonstrate a level of skill and experience to clients.
Advanced financial knowledge that can lead to a real estate appraiser or assessor career can begin with earning a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting and Finance degree. Coursework typically includes essentials of business development, investment management, managerial economics, and strategic cost management.
Employers can be confident that graduates of an MBA in Accounting and Finance program are able to:
If you possess good analytical and mathematical skills, enjoy working with people, and have meticulous attention to detail, you could be a candidate for a satisfying career as a real estate appraiser or assessor. The advanced data analysis skills, and financial and economic knowledge you’ll need to be successful in this field can be yours when you enroll in an MBA in Accounting and Finance degree program. It’s never too early to begin planning, so explore the possibilities of earning this respected, career-enhancing degree – and embarking on your new career.