The Skills and Education You Need to Become a Real Estate Appraiser


There are certain academic qualifications and soft skills that you must acquire before you become a certified real estate appraiser. You therefore need to know what your duties will entail before choosing this career path. In simple words, as a real estate appraiser your main job will be to find out the value of properties; both residential and commercial for purposes like selling, taxes, as well as mortgage. With that in mind, you can now know the qualifications needed for the job.

Academic Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree is necessary for you to qualify in this career. To be more specific, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the following; finance, economics, mathematics, real estate and even computer science. These courses will teach you skills that are needed in the real estate industry. Also, most employers want to employ someone with a bachelor’s degree because they feel that you have the capacity to handle the challenges that come with that job. If you have a college diploma or certificate it may be difficult to be considered because the industry is quite competitive. Therefore, to be on the safe side, go get a bachelor’s degree in the fields stated above.

Remember that other regulatory bodies will require you to site for an exam before you become a certified real estate appraiser. This may vary from state to state and you must also be ready to adhere to this requirement.

Soft Skills

It is not enough to have a bachelor’s degree if you want to become an exceptional real estate appraiser. You have to have additional skills to manage the work. An effective way to know the skills required, is by looking at what you will be doing on the job. Some of the skills include:

  • Have a strong analytical mind – As an appraiser, your job is to determine with prices for properties. This requires that you look for data from different places, verify and then analyze it before coming up with an accurate price tag for a given property.
  • Be a critical thinker – This job is demanding and sometimes you have to make decisions that may either break or seal a deal. The decisions made must also be the best. To do this, you have to think critically.
  • Have impeccable writing skills – You will be required to write reports and other necessary documents in your day to day work. These documents may be used by your senior managers, clients and other interested persons. Therefore, you need to have great writing skills so that your work looks presentable.
  • Be a good listener – Listening is very important because it is the only way that you know what your clients need. As a good listener, you can understand the needs of your clients’ and then it can be easier to deliver the exact evaluation they want.
  • Be a good communicator – You must be able to articulate yourself well to pass information around effectively. A good communicator will avoid or minimize confusion, then communicate the appraiser valuations in a way that it can be understood.


If you are planning to become a real estate appraiser, you should work on both your academic qualifications as well as your soft skills. Education alone is not enough; you need the other mentioned skills. The good thing is that you can work on the soft skills so that you acquire them if you do not have them.

Tell us where you obtained your skills to become a real estate appraiser!

7 Innovative Approaches to Improve Your Home Appraisal

When buying or selling your home or even refinancing your existing mortgage, a home appraisal is an important component that dictates the transaction. Banks, lenders, and home-buyers are increasingly becoming interested that they get the best deal, one which will offer them the best value for their money. A reason why you as a homeowner needs to understand the various ways and approaches on how you can improve your home appraisal.

Before we start the discussion, it’s important to know that your home’s location, condition, and features will largely influence your home’s appraisal value.

Furthermore, your home’s appraisal value will be determined by the current market trends, the sale of similar properties, the home’s amenities, floor plan functionality, and the number of bathrooms and bedrooms. These are some of the key considerations looked at when assessing the home’s value. With this in mind, below are some of the key considerations looked at when assessing the home’s value. With this in mind, below are some of the innovative approaches that you need to consider in order to improve your home appraisal value.

1. Ensure that Your Appraiser has a Good Understanding of Your Neighborhood

The market trends for different locations come into play here. Homes located in various neighborhoods don’t necessarily share the same value. Some are highly priced simply because they are located in area A and no in area B. It’s recommended that you request your lender to send a local appraiser who is familiar with the market dynamics of your home’s surroundings so as to give an appropriate judgement. You can also supply as much information as you can to the appraiser.

2. Improve your Curb Appeal

This largely involves you carrying out interior and exterior renovations on your home. Start by giving your house a new paint job so as to improve it’s appeal. Go on and repair your broken roof, install some flower boxes and so on. Carrying out renovations will create a good home picture and will tremendously improve your home’s appraisal value.

3. Learn and Understand what Buyers Want

Ensure that your home or house conforms to the market needs. Do buyers prefer homes with hardwood floors or ones equipped with steel appliances? Research on the common needs or buyers and then try to readjust your home to ensure that it meets most of those requirements. Go on and consult a real estate consultant on such important matters.

4. Compare Your Home with Similar Properties

Let your appraiser compare your house with similar properties. You can also visit nearby open houses or even review recent home sales so as to get the perfect picture of the exact worth on your home. When reviewing different homes try as much as possible to get details such as the number of bathrooms and even the number of bedrooms those houses have. Such details will assist in the pricing details. Sites such as Trulia,, and Zillow provide details such as recent house sale prices.

5. Allow Your Appraiser a Conducive Working Environment

As simple as it looks, this is really important. As a homeowner, let the appraiser perform his or her duties in a fulfilling manner. You don’t want to keep jumping in his way and questioning his every move. An appraiser needs adequate time to accurately value your home so as to make it easier for him to come with a suitable value. You don’t want him to miss out evaluating important areas.

6. Look Out for Any Errors in the Appraisal

Some of the appraisals that are conducted by an appraiser contain numerous discrepancies, a reason which may drag down your home value. In the even where you are dissatisfied with the appraisal done, it is advised that you request a copy of the respective appraisal from the lender and carefully check for any inaccuracies. You can then proceed and appeal the appraisal with the lender.

7. Update the Outdated

It’s high time that you replace your old decor and furnish your home afresh. Keep up with the latest trends or even research around on the preferred home-buyers preferences.


Home appraisals are increasingly becoming important when refinancing existing mortgages and even buying or selling homes. In order to get the best deal, your home needs to be in perfect condition and has to conform to the current market standards.

Hopefully you found these tips of use. Please let us know if they worked for your and your home.

How Does My Appraiser Come Up With the Price?

In the past few decades we have seen a drastic growth in many housing markets globally. This means that there is a growth in interest of developing real estate properties – both commercial and residential, as forms of long-term investment and that there is a real demand for it due to a high take-up rate by consumers. Although there is a shift in owning single detached homes to high-end and/or luxury condominium units, it can not be denied that the demand for the purchase of real estate properties exist and it is still continuing. Statistics show that there is now a varied mix of home buyers ranging from baby-boomers to millenials causing this shift where the new “ideal” life-style is living in city centers. Methods of Valuation

The most tricky of the steps in purchasing a home is making sure you get the right current market value. Let’s understand how they come up with the price. There is a variety of methods on how to obtain a Broker Price Opinion about the market value of a real estate property which includes the following, 1. Sales Comparison is very well known for fast valuations because it utilizes the sales comparison approach which is a method that compares the property on sale to other similar properties that have already been sold. 2. The Drive-thru requires a visit by an appraiser but will not require the ocular inspection of the inside of the property. 3. The last, although more time consuming, is the best and most accurate source of valuation which is the vision appraisal. In vision appraisal, the appraiser visits the property and checks both the outside and the inside of the property.

Here are 5 things you need to know about vision appraisal and how it is advantageous for both the buyer and the seller,
1. Buyer It takes into account the actual age and the condition of the home and its parts. It does not follow the price of “comparables” which are similar properties that have recently been sold. The variance in price could be huge.

2. Buyer It identifies the areas that will require repair that allows the buyer to negotiate for the price to be reduced resulting to savings.

3. Seller It is the best method in obtaining property valuation especially if your area is stricken by foreclosure sales and/or poorly maintained homes which lowers the value of the property. Vision appraisal makes the valuation more resistant to other considerations in the neighborhood where the property is built.

4. Seller If you are short-selling your home and your bank would not agree with you on a lower selling price, a vision appraisal is a good way to put this issue to bed and make the sale possible.

5. Buyer and Seller, It fosters fairness to all involved in the purchase of a home. We must understand that for the majority of those in the middle-class they will soon become – if not already have been involved in the buying and/or selling of real estate properties. This is an indispensable fact since we are hardwired to follow a strict plan in our life cycle.

So if you are planning to buy your first home, as you have learned here, be smart when making the biggest financial decision in your life. Consider the advice that we clipped here for you. You won’t regret it

Challenging a bad home appraisal is a smart move

Challenging the bad home appraisal with a smart move
A home appraisal is an unbiased view of the expert, who has a professional knowledge in mentioning the appraisal of your property to the bank against the said loan or papers. Sometimes, the appraiser makes a mistake while preparing your home appraisal which might put you in trouble. During such circumstances, you need to fight back for getting a second home appraisal. Every time a second home appraisal doesn’t work in your favor but you can still try using some smart moves for overcoming a bad home appraisal.

What is a bad home appraisal?
A bad home appraisal is a lower value appraisal than the amount you have expected of your house or properly for resale or loan. As per the national institute of Realtors, 1 out of every 10 home appraisals reports a bad home appraisal every month. This is quite common and there are ways to challenge it by raising an appeal for a second home appraisal.

The lenders generally approve the loan amount based on the home appraisal report and hence if you have received a bad home appraisal then it is important to fight back or you are going to lose a great opportunity.

Warnings that you need a second appraisal for your property
If a house next to yours or a house in the neighborhood is sold at a higher price than the amount mentioned in your home appraisal report then you must seek for a second home appraisal by requesting the lender or the bank. Sometimes the appraiser has not used the comps wisely and he might have missed out many things to mentioned in his report or statistics. You must bring it to the notice of your bank that the house in your neighborhood is being sold at a certain minimum rate.

If you have made some recent changes in your home or if you have recently made some renovations then it is important to mention it to the appraiser so that he can consider the renovations while preparing your home appraisal report. You must have spent a great amount of money after renovating your house and this adds more value to your house than before. Hence, these things are to be considered by the appraiser for finding out an estimate of your home property. If he hasn’t done that, you must call for a second appraisal discussing the same to your bank.

Apart from the above-mentioned reasons, there are other ways too for helping your home to earn a good appraisal. The following key comparisons are must for any appraiser to mention in the report such as square footage, home age, the condition of the house, facilities inside the home, furniture cost, location of the area and neighborhood, etc. You can talk with the lender or the bank to know whether all this information was considered on the primary basis for preparing the appraisal. It is important for the appraiser to be a local person in order to be aware of the current location and its land value. An appraiser must be knowledgeable on various factors to make a really strong appraisal about your home or property.

Nevertheless, you can ask the bank for a second appraisal by writing a letter to him. You can yourself also prepare your home appraisal by paying for the expenses.

Tips to Hiring a Qualified Appraiser

How do you hire an appraiser for your rental property? I’m going to tell you how to hire an appraiser. No doubt you’ve probably had an appraisal come in that seemed way off or just had you scratching your head about it. I know I have. I recently went through this with an appraiser that I never should have hired so I’m going to give you the exact questions to ask them so you avoid my pitfall.

Appraiser License Number

Ask them what their license number is. That person will know that you’re serious. They obviously have to be licensed as an appraiser and if they don’t know that number off the top of their head or if they don’t have ready access to it you may find that they’re actually not licensed to be an appraiser in the first place. That should be a big whistle, bells going off, that you shouldn’t hire this person. You’re not license as an appraiser? Where did you get yours out of a cereal box? So ask them what their appraiser license number is and they should have that ready to send right over to you.

Are they Locally Based?

This next one is huge and this was actually the problem with the appraiser that I hired recently. Ask that appraiser where their office is located. What does that tell you? That tells you their geographic consistency; that tells you whether they come to this area often. We were having an appraisal done on a property in Indiana and we found out that the appraiser lived in Ohio. What? You don’t even know the area that you’re appraising? You have no sense of this area? It’s very important to have somebody who is from the area who knows what they are appraising. This person had to drive four hours to come there and he did a bunch of appraisals for this bank in one particular day. Not going to fly. You don’t know the area, get out.

Do They Work Alone or For a Reputable Company?

Ask that appraiser if they are a one man band or if they work for a company, a reputable company. Very often if you have an appraiser that’s a one man show than they aren’t talking to many people. They are kind of a loner. Now that’s not to disparage any appraisers out there who don’t work in an office with other appraisers but they don’t tend to then commiserate and talk about the things that they find during an appraisal. There are shared experiences that they’re able to work with and talk with other appraisers and they’re able to see sort of consistencies or inconsistencies in the marketplace. If you’re a one man band if that person is working out of their home and they don’t have an office experience then chances are they are solo and they may not give you the best reflection of that area, especially if they don’t know what’s going on in that market that you’re living in.

Licensed, Certified, or Both?

Ask the appraiser if they are licensed, certified or a both. This question is interesting because if they are licensed that’s the lowest level of certification. Basically they’re able to fill out forms as a licensed appraiser. As a certified appraiser that’s the highest classification for an appraiser with the state and therefore if that person is certified they have the ability and the right to basically examine any residential property and give you an accurate reflection of its value. My personal preference is to go with a certified appraiser.

A Member of the Local MLS

Another really important question to ask that appraiser is if they are a member of the local MLS. The MLS is the multiple listing service and that is where realtors list their properties, but each is regionally based. So if you’re a realtor in Philadelphia you’re not going to have access to the realtors MLS database in another state or another region. You basically get access to the counties in which you work and so this is crucial because when they are going to pull up comparable properties to analyze the value of your home they’re going to be using the multiple listing service to pull these properties. If they’re from Ohio and they’re coming in from out of state they’re not going to have access to the multiple listing service to see comparable properties.

Let me give you a perfect example, this happened to me. We had an appraiser who came in from out of state and appraised one of our properties. That individual pulled old comparable properties before they were rehabbed. Our home that we were getting appraised had been totally gutted and rehabbed and we knew that the value was around $60,000 to $65,000 based on the other sales in the neighborhood. This individual appraiser pulled the comps of pre-rehab homes, ones that were falling apart and gave us a value on our property about $30,000 to  $35,000 based on old out of date comparable properties. This individual did not have access to the MLS and therefore didn’t have up to date comparable properties. This is key. You have to have these in order to do a proper evaluation and an appraisal on a property.

Those are some key takeaways on how to hire an appraiser properly. I would ask them those specific questions and you’ll be better off for it.

Think you’re ready to buy your first house?

Pros and Cons

This is for those first time home buyers. Here are the pros and cons to weigh to know when you’re ready to buy your first house. You’ll know it’s the right time. Some things to consider, you wouldn’t even be reading this article unless you knew the benefits of owning a home. Having your own yard, your own garage, or having privacy and not having people above you that stay up all night and stuff like. Similar things may be you haven’t considered is that face that you’ll be building equity in your home. You know with an apartment you’re paying rent every month and you just never see that money again. No one is ever going to give that money back. If you’re buying a house you’re paying a monthly payment to purchase the home. That’s definitely more money spent than an apartment, but you have the option of hopefully getting that money back if you sell in good time. If you sell your home at a higher price you know you could be just getting some of your money back that you put into it because property values have risen and now your home is worth 30 to 40 to 50 grand more than it was a few years ago and you’re able to pocket some money to move forward into maybe your next purchase or perhaps you know you want to live in in the house for awhile and then you decide to rent it out and you’re getting residual income from someone else. They are basically paying your mortgage for you so there’s several reasons on that and that it would be a good idea to possibly purchase a home and another consideration or interest rates. Interest rates have been historically low for a few years now and they’re still strong in the beginning of 2018. When I wrote this article it was still a great time to buy while interest rates are low. Consider if you plan on buying and in the next few years they don’t project that they’re going to go any lower. In fact, summer forecasting is going to rise. So that makes it a great time to buy.

You also have the freedom to do what you want with your own property. With an apartment you may not be able to paint or change the light fixtures or you might not be able to have the freedom to do what you want, but in a house you can have a garden in the back. You can do a lot of things that you want to do. Some of the things that you might want for your own taste will actually help you sell the home at a higher price whenever you do go to sell and make your house more sellable. So on the flip side of things you know that some of the positive stuff that’s exciting to think about you know in your own home and some considerations I won’t say they’re drawbacks because they’re not necessarily, but when your AC goes out then you are responsible. You don’t get to call and say: Hey can you fix this right now? You have to you know that you have to make a call and you have to pay for the repairs to be done. With anything big like natural disasters your home will be covered with your homeowner’s insurance, but you’ll have to pay your deductible.

So that’s another discussion, how much does that cost look like? Does it cost more to have homeowner’s insurance than it does to have rental insurance? You know, it may be a difference of between $50 to $100 to $150 a month so it may not be as big of a swing that you think. It might be to cover a whole house for you owning it.

Another thing to consider is job stability. When you own your own house you don’t have a choice to just get out and move on like you do with leases. You own the house and you’re responsible and it’s really hard on your credit if you’re missing payments. You do stand the chance of going into foreclosure so that’s one of the more serious things. Now if something like that was to happen then perhaps you could rent out the room to a friend or family to help you to help you pay your mortgage. You can get creative and rent out your house and move out for awhile so that someone else is paying that mortgage for you, if you’re able to charge enough rent.

You know you do have a big debt that you’ve got to be aware of and responsible. If you think that your job may be taking you somewhere else that might not be the right time to buy if your job has the potential to move you around the country.

If you have to sell right away that may or may not be a good option for you. Some companies offer relocation packages to where if your house doesn’t sell in a certain amount of time they will purchase it and then sell it for you. Some companies offer incentives to help you move your stuff so it may not be as big of a thing. I see those deals all the time where someone is moving somewhere else, but you just want to be aware of that. It’s an option so be aware of what that looks like for your company. Is your company going to compensate you for a move like that?

Hopefully these few tips are going to help you. You will have to explore this a little bit more and then fill free to send me a message. I’m happy to talk through this a little bit more and maybe hear more about your specific situation and help you figure out if buying is for you. In a lot of cases if you’re renting a house already or some of these apartments you’re pretty close to paying what it would be for a mortgage payment anyway. I’m happy to put you with the lenders that I see to help you see what your payment would look like. This will tell you if it’s in your price range. Hope to talk to you soon!

Difference Between an Appraiser and an Inspector

Today we’re going to talk about appraisers and inspectors and what’s the difference.

What an Appraiser do

So an appraiser is actually somebody who comes out and does an evaluation of the property based off of the comparables that have sold recently close to you. So what does that look like, well an appraisal should be using comparables inside of the last 6 months under certain extenuating circumstances if you have a very unique property or you’re in a rural area they may push it out, but realistically in our market we’ve got 3 months. Ninety days is enough time to find a bunch of comparables wherever you’re at. Most realtors are able to do this. So there is your timeline. As far as your radius, your radius it should be less than one mile, again it depends if you’re in a rural area or a highly niche home then it’s going to be pushed out a little bit but the underwriters like to see it inside of a one mile radius preferably a quarter mile, if you’re living inside of the city.

The last piece and this is something that most people don’t even understand in my industry and it has to do with the gross adjustments. So what that means is let’s say you have a 4 bedroom 3 bath house that you’re trying to buy for $350,000 and there’s a 4 bedroom 3 bath house that’s $1,200,0000. Obviously there’s something different about it. Maybe it’s got a view of the lake, but obviously there’s something majorly different about it. Your gross adjustment shouldn’t be more than 25%, so it to make it easy on me $300,000 would be $75,000 in adjustments so it shouldn’t be too outrageous, but at the same time it should be it’s okay if it’s a little above or a little under. When you get your appraisal you’ll definitely get a copy of it because it is something that you’re purchasing. It’s required by the lender, but it’s just common sense. Don’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on something without knowing the real value. Your real estate agent definitely should have your interest in mind, but the selling agent is trying to sell that house for absolutely as much as possible to make their people happy so it’s important to have an uninterested third party coming and taking a real evaluation of it and tell you what it looks like.

Inspector on the other hand

Now that leads us into an inspection. It’s important to note that the appraiser does not look at the structural integrity of the house. They do by FHA standards have to do a head and shoulders inspection of the crawl space and attic which means they literally poke their head up into the attic and they look around for any kind of major problems and then they do the same thing for the crawl space, but they are not down digging around looking for issues on the house so it’s important to understand that your appraiser is not an inspector. Your inspector is the person who’s looking to make sure that everything on that house is sound that there’s no major, you know, foundational issues that you don’t have dry rot, that you don’t have a bug issue, that you know those kind of things.

I recently bought a house for my family and we had two basketball size wasp nests in the attic. They were hibernating because we bought in winter time, but it was good for us to find out because the appraiser would have never seen it. It was tucked up in around away from the access to the attic so they never saw it. The inspector is also going to be the guy to help you on the second part of your negotiation process. Your realtor should have already gone through this with you if you needed to know more about how an inspection can help you with negotiations, but basically the inspector will help you redefine the value of that house after you found everything that’s wrong with it. You want the inspector to find everything so a good little tip here is hire your inspector to come out when it’s raining because if it’s dry and there’s leaks in the roof he’s not going to be able to see it the same as if it’s pouring buckets and it’s you know seeping through the roof into the insulation. So it’s not necessarily getting into the house, but it is up in the attic somewhere, which will pose a problem for you later. What happened for my family is we bought the house and we had the inspector out when it wasn’t raining and there was a leak that occurred around one of the exterior windows. Ultimately it was a quick fix, but it’s still freaked us out for a second because we needed to figure out if it was leaking into the house it was causing issues with rot so learn from my mistakes and make sure to have your inspector come out when it’s raining if it all possible. Otherwise you have to do the best you can. Have him come out and check everything. Look for any signs of water, which is pretty standard for a good inspector.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. Until next time, have a good day.

How is a Home Appraisal Generated?

I’m a loan officer and today’s topic is understanding the home appraisal process. So what is an appraisal and why is it needed in lending? So an appraisal is performed to determine the value of the current market value of your home. These are done so the bank or mortgage company feel comfortable that they can lend out a specific amount of money and that the house is actually worth that money so they can resell the property if the owner doesn’t pay back their loan. You’ll need appraisals and different times while you own your property. The first appraisal is giving when you first get your mortgage. Your mortgage will likely include PMI or private mortgage insurance. To remove the PMI from your mortgage you’ll likely get another appraisal to ensure the home value hasn’t dropped in value and that the lender is comfortable to remove the mortgage insurance.

The way the appraisal is performed is by sending out an appraiser to actually check the physical property and the method that they use is the comparison approach or sales comparison approach model. So what they do is they will compare your home to 3 to 4 sometimes 5 other properties that are similar in square footage and these homes are preferably within a one mile radius of your property.

Sometimes if they can’t find homes that have similar square footage to your home they do actually go out a little bit further maybe 2 miles if there have been recent comparables. The other factor is that the comparables need to have sold within 3 months to give an accurate comparison to your property. That way they aren’t comparing your house to a home that sold years ago when the market wasn’t doing very well because this would undervalue your property.

Most of the time, most of the time this process is performed on closed properties, however sometimes if home values are going up so quickly like they may use active or pending sales to justify the increase in value. So they’ll use about 4 to 5 closed comparables in the neighborhood and compare to the subject property. They’ll go within a one mile radius and they choose 4 to 5 properties that are similar in square footage and they don’t have to have the exact square footage as your property. They can range up or down by about 25%, so on a 2000 square foot home they can go up to 2500 square foot and down to 1500 square foot if there is not similar comparables that are exactly 2000 square foot.

They will make adjustments for the square footage, so if it’s 500 square foot less they’ll make the adjustments on the appraisal and if it’s say a 4 bedroom and 2 bathroom and the comparable has only has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms they’ll make adjustments as well. They’ll also make adjustments for the condition and conditions typically range from C1, 2, 3 and 4. Where if it’s a condition 4 that means it’s in the best condition versus a condition number 1. They’ll make adjustments for that. They’ll also make adjustments for upgrades. Have you done upgrades like granite countertops, hardwood floors, new painting. They’ll make adjustments for that too.