HOW TO CHOOSE AN APPRAISER
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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