Ness Associates

Commercial Real Estate Valuation and Consulting
Experience and Education
Before engaging the services of an appraiser, it is advisable to thoroughly check their qualifications. Experience and education are two key determinants of an appraiser's ability to provide competent professional valuation and consulting services. The appraiser should have experience with both the property type and market area in which the property is located. The appraiser should also have a quality educational background and evidence of continuing education to keep up with changes in real estate issues and valuation techniques.

State Certification
In Pennsylvania, there are two categories of certification. The residential certification permits individuals to appraise 1-4 family residential properties. The general certification permits individuals to appraiser all types of real estate. State certified appraisers must complete a specified number of hours of basic classroom instruction, provide evidence of experience, and pass a state-administered examination. Once certified, appraisers are required to complete cycles of continuing education in order to maintain their certification. State certified appraisers must adhere to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). State certification provides a minimum level of proficiency, but does not assure the appraiser's competence in completing a particular assignment.

Professional Affiliation
There are numerous organizations that appraisers may choose to associate with, all of which differ in membership requirements. Some organizations simply charge a fee for a designation, with little or no education or experience requirements, no re-certification and no disciplinary provisions for ethical violations. Other organizations maintain rigorous education and experience requirements.

The Appraisal Institute is considered the nation's premier professional appraisal organization. It was formed as the result of a 1991 unification of two organizations, the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and the Society of Real Estate Appraisers. These two predecessor organizations were both founded in the 1930's.

The Appraisal Institute encourages appraisers to go beyond the minimum requirements of state certification to earn either the MAI (commercial) designation or the SRA (residential) designation. Both are widely recognized in the real estate and lending industries as representing the "cream of the crop" among appraisers.

Designation requirements include successful completion of college-level appraisal courses with final examinations, documentation of real-world experience through personal interviews with admissions committees who verify the candidate's experience, a two-day comprehensive examination and successful completion a graded demonstration appraisal report. Once designated, an appraiser must participate in the Appraisal Institute's continuing education programs.

Because much private, corporate, and public wealth lies in real estate, the estimation of its value is essential to the well being of our economy. It is the responsibility of the professional appraiser to provide an unbiased independent value conclusion. The appraiser's important role in our economy places ethical obligations upon them. In recognition of these obligations, the Appraisal Institute has adopted a Code of Professional Ethics. Each member of the Appraisal Institute is required to conduct his or her activities in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Professional Ethics. The Appraisal Institute also has a disciplinary system in place to admonish, censure or expel members found in violation of the Code of Professional Ethics.

Your investigation of an appraiser's integrity through state licensing agencies, professional organizations, and past clients, will provide you with peace of mind in knowing that you have engaged a true professional to assist in meeting your real estate needs.

This site is owned by Ness Associates and was last updated 6/17/15.