Make no mistake about it: buying a home can be one of the largest financial transactions that someone will make in their life. It can also be one of the most exciting times, provided that the process goes along smoothly.
One of the people who is intended to help make sure things go smoothly is the home appraiser. They’re carefully selected by both parties and they play an invaluable role in the proceedings. If this is the type of career path that you’re thinking of, there are a few key things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Before you can begin the process of becoming a home appraiser, it’s important to understand why this is such an important part of the real estate process in the first place.
Essentially, a home appraiser is an impartial third party who comes in during a real estate transaction. They’re professionally trained and they go over every element of a home with a fine-toothed comb. The fact that they visit the actual home itself is crucial, as you can never truly trust a proper listing to give you an accurate determination of the home’s current condition.
They’ll take a look at everything – from the exterior properties to the interior condition to the size of the lot and more. They’ll carefully consider any improvements that the seller has recently made since the last listing. They’ll factor in renovations and even additions that may have been made since that time.
But one of the more important parts of their job has to do with looking at what are called comparables, otherwise known as “comps” in industry terminology. Based on the characteristics of the home in question, they’ll look at other, similar homes in the same area to see what they have recently sold for. They’ll look at the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. Then, based on all of this information, they’ll come up with a fair market value for the home that they’re working on.
This is important for a number of different reasons. For starters, no bank is ever going to give someone a mortgage for more than a home is worth. Doing so would almost instantly put the new homeowner underwater, which would be a recipe for disaster. Secondly, the homeowners themselves need to be protected – they shouldn’t pay more than the actual value of the home under virtually any circumstances.
Therefore, a home appraiser becomes an objective, third party way to make sure that none of this happens – all while allowing a transaction to go through to the best possible conclusion.
When it comes to the subject of actually becoming a home appraiser, it’s important to note that the process will likely vary depending on whichever state it is that you’re working in. Having said that, there are a few key characteristics that most share.
In the state of Maryland, for example, a licensed real estate appraiser must have completed at least 150 hours of courses that themselves have been approved by the Real Estate Commission. Likewise, they need to have built up at least 1,000 hours of real-world appraisal work experience, this to be completed over a period of no less than six months.
To become a certified residential real estate appraiser, someone needs to have completed at least 200 hours of courses (again approved by the Commission) and at least 1,500 hours of work over a period of at least one year.
To become a certified general real estate appraiser, someone will need to have completed at least 300 hours of courses, they’ll need an education with at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, and they’ll need to have completed a minimum of 3,000 hours of appraisal work over at least 18 months. Keep in mind that at least 1,500 hours of that work must be in non-residential property appraisal work.
So as you can see, becoming a real estate appraiser is a very serious process because the consequences of getting it wrong are relatively severe. It may sound daunting, and from a certain perspective it is – but there are also things you can do to make the process easier.
Again, this will largely depend upon the state upon which you are operating in, but it is possible to take online courses in order to become an appraiser. To continue with the example of Maryland, the Commission formally recognizes all online qualifying courses provided that they are on a list that has been provided by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (otherwise known as the AQB) and the Course Approval Program (otherwise known as CAP).
The same is true when it comes time to renew one’s appraiser license. Continuing education is an important part of being an appraiser because it is always essential to stay up to date with new laws, regulations, trends and best practices in the industry. Oftentimes online courses can be taken for that purpose, too.
In the end, becoming a real estate appraiser is absolutely a career path worth pursuing because you play an invaluable part of the real estate process. Especially when it comes to people who are buying a home for the first time, they want to know that they’re being taken care of. They want the peace of mind that only comes with knowing that their investment is a solid one – and that the home of their dreams is in the type of condition it needs to be in to make wonderful memories for years to come.
Appraisers play an invaluable role in that process, which is why they are and will continue to be sought after positions in the industry.
If you’d like to find out more information about how you can go about becoming a home appraiser, or if you just want to speak to someone about your own needs in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact AmeriMac today.