So, what makes a real estate appraiser a real estate appraiser? The answer is the standards they have agreed to meet in the profession as well as the qualifications they have sought to obtain to be recognized by the real estate industry as a reliable appraisal professional. Here is a quick breakdown of the standards and qualifications in the United States
The common appraisal standard in the United States is the Uniform Standard for Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). This lays out the rules an appraiser must follow when developing the appraisal. It calls for competency, ethics, and independence as well at the greatest care to make sure that nothing in the appraisal is presented with the intent to be misleading in any way. USPAP is updated regularly, and licensed appraisers are required to attend update courses a minimum of every two years in order to maintain their licenses.
Currently, there are four different levels for appraisers: 1) Appraiser Trainee, 2) Licensed Residential, 3) Certified Residential, and 4) General Certified. Here is a guide for the requirements for each licensing level. The residential licenses are for appraisers dedicated to appraising single family homes, duplexes, tri-plexes, and four-plexes. Any other type of real estate must be appraised be a General Certified Appraiser.
An appraiser will be able to tell you if he is qualified to take on an assignment. In fact, USPAP mandates that he or she rejects an assignment if he feels he is not sufficiently competent or is unable to become sufficiently competent within the amount of time given to complete the appraisal project.
Appraisal Designations (MAI, ASA, & ASFMRA)
In addition to state licensing, there are additional trade organizations such as the Appraisal Institute, American Society of Appraisers, and the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers that are dedicated to promoting an even higher standard of professional ability. These organizations provide education, publications, and though leadership dedicated to the appraisal industry. Each one offers a designation to distinguish professionals who have met the highest levels of education and experience. Many private entities insist on only hiring appraisers who hold one of these designations.