Why Do People Choose a Real Estate Appraisal Career?

Real estate appraisal career concept. Background of appraiser working to calculate home value with house model in foreground.

There are an estimated 75,100 licensed appraisers in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they come from many different backgrounds. People decide to launch a real estate appraisal career because they’re following in a family member’s footsteps or they’re intent on building a career in a field they love, as well as one that pays well and has a flexible schedule.

Top reasons people enjoy a real estate appraisal career

Appraisers share the following as the top reasons they enjoy the appraisal profession:

  • Potential to earn a high income
  • Opportunity to work flexible hours
  • Low startup costs compared to other small businesses
  • Opportunity to take on complex and challenging assignments
  • Diverse career paths and specializations

“As a kid, I drew floor plans for some of the properties my dad was appraising. I like the freedom to take on your own assignments, and earn as much as you can by taking on as much work as you can,” says John R., a commercial and residential appraiser in Washington D.C.

Free Download: Learn how to become a real estate appraiser in our free guide.

A day in the life of an appraiser

Every piece of real property, from a two-bedroom condo to a 500-acre alfalfa farm, has a value. It’s an appraiser’s job to offer a written opinion of that value, which lenders, insurers, property owners and buyers, and divorce and estate attorneys need to do their jobs.

The nuts and bolts of appraising a property can include:

  • Researching county and municipal public property records
  • Diagramming or photographing a property and its structures
  • Inspecting the property to determine its condition and improvements
  • Analyzing comparables, or similar nearby properties, to develop value conclusions
  • Preparing written reports of the property value

A real estate appraisal career is challenging and fulfilling. “Just like an art historian sees more in a Monet than just a bunch of water-lilies, an appraiser views property through an educated and experienced lens,” says Phil Crawford, a third-generation appraiser and host of the Voice of Appraisal podcast. “You’re seeing the world of real estate in a way most people don’t,” says Crawford, from Cincinnati, Ohio. “It can be a very lucrative and purpose-driven career.”

Ready to launch your appraisal career? McKissock now offers both online and live stream appraisal licensing courses. Find courses in your state.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated on September 14, 2021.

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