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What Property Appraisers and Assessors Do About this section

Appraisers and assessors of real estate
Appraisers and assessors estimate the value of property.

Property appraisers and assessors provide a value estimate on real estate and tangible personal and business property.


Property appraisers and assessors typically do the following:

  • Verify descriptions of property, such as by consulting public records
  • Inspect property, noting its characteristics
  • Photograph items or real estate
  • Analyze “comparables,” or similar items or properties, to help provide values
  • Prepare written reports on property values
  • Prepare and maintain current data on each real estate property or other tangible asset

Property appraisers and assessors work in localities or with items that they are familiar with so that they know any factors that may affect the property's value.

Appraisers of personal and business property estimate the value of items such as jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, and equipment. They prepare reports for their clients of the fair market value, replacement cost, or liquidation at a given point for personal and business property.

When appraising personal and business property, these workers may use a variety of tools or resources to estimate its value. These include software, internet searches, or personal records of the actual cost to replace the item and estimates of the property income projected to be generated.

Appraisers of real estate estimate the value of land and buildings, usually before these assets are sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed. They typically value one property at a time, and they often specialize in a certain type of real estate:

  • Commercial appraisers specialize in income-producing properties, such as office buildings, hotels, and stores.
  • Residential appraisers focus on appraising properties in which people live, such as single unit homes and condominiums. They appraise only properties that house one to four units.

When evaluating a property's value, appraisers note the characteristics of the property and surrounding area, such as its view or a noisy highway nearby. They also consider the overall condition of a building, including its foundation and roof or any renovations that may have been done. Appraisers photograph the outside of the building and some of the interior features to document its condition. After visiting the property, the appraiser analyzes the property relative to comparable home sales, including lease records, location, view, previous appraisals, and income potential. During the entire process, appraisers record their research, observations, and methods used in providing an estimate of the property’s value.

Assessors of real estate value properties for property tax assessments. Most work for local governments. Unlike appraisers, who generally focus on one property at a time, assessors often value an entire neighborhood of homes at once by using mass appraisal techniques and computer-assisted appraisal systems.

Assessors must be up to date on tax assessment procedures. Taxpayers sometimes challenge the assessed value because they feel they are being charged too much for property tax. Assessors must be able to defend the accuracy of their property assessments, either to the owner directly or at a public hearing.

Assessors also keep a database of every property in their jurisdiction, identifying the property owner, assessment history, and characteristics of the property, as well as property maps detailing the property distribution of the jurisdiction.

Work Environment About this section

Appraisers and assessors of real estate
Appraisers and assessors research data on property and write reports.

Property appraisers and assessors held about 76,100 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of property appraisers and assessors were as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 34%
Real estate 25
Self-employed workers 21
Finance and insurance 8

Although property appraisers and assessors work in offices, they may spend a large part of their time conducting site visits. Time spent away from the office depends on the specialty. For example, residential appraisers work in offices less often than do commercial appraisers, who might spend several weeks analyzing information and writing reports about a single property. Appraisers employed by banks and mortgage companies generally work in an office, making site visits only when necessary.

Work Schedules

Most property appraisers and assessors work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Self-employed appraisers, often called independent fee appraisers, may work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Property Appraiser or Assessor About this section

Appraisers and assessors of real estate
Assessors and appraisers tend to take the same courses for certification.

The requirements to become a fully qualified property appraiser or assessor are complex and vary by state and, sometimes, by the value or type of property. These workers typically need a bachelor’s degree, although some qualify with a high school diploma. Appraisers of real estate also must meet state licensure or certification requirements. Check with your state's licensing board for specific requirements.


Although requirements vary, property appraisers and assessors typically need a bachelor’s degree. Common fields of degree include business, social science, and psychology.

College courses in subjects such as computer science, finance, and business or real estate law may be useful for prospective appraisers and assessors.

Most states set education and experience requirements that assessors must meet in order to practice. A few states have no statewide requirements; instead, each locality sets the standards. In some localities, candidates may qualify with a high school diploma.


Employers may require new workers to take basic appraisal courses and complete on-the-job training that lasts 12 months or more. Appraisers and assessors also may need to work enough hours to meet requirements for licensing or certification.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Federal law requires appraisers of real estate to have a state license or certification when working on federally related transactions, such as appraisals for loans made by federally insured banks and financial institutions. The Appraisal Foundation (TAF) offers information on appraisal licensing. There is no such federal requirement for appraisers of personal and business property or for assessors, although some states require certification. For state-specific requirements, applicants should contact their state licensing board.

Real estate appraisers usually value one property at a time, while assessors value many at once. However, both occupations use similar methods and techniques. As a result, assessors and appraisers often take the same courses for certification. In addition to passing a statewide examination, candidates must usually complete a set number of on-the-job hours.

The credential level determines what type of property a real estate appraiser may value. There are four federal appraiser classifications: Licensed Trainee Appraiser, Licensed Residential Appraiser, Certified Residential Appraiser, and Certified General Appraiser.

Each credential requires different education and training to complete. All of them except for the Trainee License also require that candidates receive instruction on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and pass an exam.

The American Society of Appraisers (ASA) offers information on professional appraisers representing all disciplines: Appraisal Review and Management, Business Valuation, Gems and Jewelry, Machinery and Technical Specialties, Personal Property and Real Property.

Unlike appraisers of real estate, neither appraisers of personal and business property nor assessors have federal requirements for certification. In states that mandate certification for assessors, the requirements are usually similar to those for appraisers. For example, the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) offers the Certified Assessment Evaluator (CAE) credential covering topics such as property valuation, assessment administration, and property tax policy.

In states that do not require certification for assessors, employers may require candidates to take basic appraisal courses, complete on-the-job training, and meet the work-hours requirements for appraisal licenses or certificates. Assessors also may get a state appraiser license or credential.

Both appraisers and assessors must take continuing education courses to keep their license or certification. Requirements vary by state and credential.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Property appraisers and assessors use many sources of data when estimating values. As a result, they must research and evaluate all factors before determining their estimate and producing a final report.

Customer-service skills. Because appraisers regularly interact with clients, being polite and friendly is important.

Math skills. Analyzing real estate data for valuation requires making calculations, such as square footage of land and building space, so workers must have good math skills.

Organizational skills. To successfully accomplish tasks related to appraising and assessing property, these workers need to keep good records and be methodical in completing their tasks.

Problem-solving skills. Appraising or assessing a property's value may involve unexpected problems. The ability to develop and apply alternative solutions is crucial to successfully completing the appraisal and report on time.

Time-management skills. Property appraisers and assessors often work under time constraints, sometimes appraising many properties in a single day. As a result, managing their workloads to meet deadlines is important.

Pay About this section

Property Appraisers and Assessors

Median annual wages, May 2021

Financial specialists


Property appraisers and assessors


Total, all occupations



The median annual wage for property appraisers and assessors was $61,340 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,520, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $120,790.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for property appraisers and assessors in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Finance and insurance $76,800
Real estate 62,860
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 60,040

Earnings for independent fee appraisers can vary significantly because they are paid fees on the basis of each appraisal.

Most property appraisers and assessors work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Self-employed appraisers, often called independent fee appraisers, may be especially likely to work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook About this section

Property Appraisers and Assessors

Percent change in employment, projected 2021-31

Financial specialists


Total, all occupations


Property appraisers and assessors



Employment of property appraisers and assessors is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 6,800 openings for property appraisers and assessors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.


Demand for appraisal services is linked to the real estate market, which may fluctuate in the short term. Over the projections decade, employment growth will be driven by economic expansion and general demand for property—including residential properties, personal property items, and business valuation.

Greater use of mobile technology, which enables workers to appraise and assess properties efficiently, will increase productivity. In addition, productivity may rise with increased use of automated valuation models to aid in appraising property for mortgages.

Employment projections data for property appraisers and assessors, 2021-31
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2021 Projected Employment, 2031 Change, 2021-31 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Property appraisers and assessors

13-2020 76,100 79,200 4 3,100 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about property appraisers, visit

American Society of Appraisers

Appraisal Institute

For more information about property assessors, visit

International Association of Assessing Officers

For more information about licensure requirements for appraisers of real estate, visit

The Appraisal Foundation


For a career video on appraisers of real estate, visit

Appraisers, Real Estate


Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

Appraisers of Personal and Business Property


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