A Lowdown To Becoming A Real Estate Appraiser in Pennsylvania

By Ciprian Morariu Published: April 23, 2024

Real Estate Appraiser in Pennsylvania

An Outline of Real Estate Appraising

Appraising is the function of using various tools to assess the value of a piece of real estate. Here's an overview:

1. Purpose: Appraising is the act of providing an accurate and unbiased estimate of the value of a property. This valuation is then used for various purposes such as buying, selling, financing, taxation, and insurance.

2. Process: A real estate appraiser visits the property to see first-hand the factors that affect its value. The focus is on the size, location, and features of the property. The value of comparable properties in the neighborhood is also considered. 

3. Methods: Appraisers use three main tools to assess the value of a property. These are as follows. 

  • Sales Comparison Approach: In this method, the value of a property is compared to similar properties recently sold in the area.
  • Cost Approach: Appraisers assess the cost of replacing the property to arrive at its value. 
  • Income Approach: Here, the value of a property depends on the income generated from it. 

4. Regulation: The real estate appraiser’s profession is highly regulated to ensure that high ethical standards are maintained. Hence, appraisers must be licensed and certified by controlling bodies governing this sector. 

5. Importance: Accurate appraisals ensure that both buyers and sellers get a fair price in real estate deals. Even lenders benefit as they get to know how much they can lend to buyers to buy a specific property. 

In conclusion, appraisals are an integral part of real estate transactions and must be carried out by trained professionals in this field. Remember, there are only ethical guidelines to provide objective and impartial valuations.

The Need for Appraisers In The Real Estate Industry

The requirements to be an appraiser are several. This is only because this is a complex work profile that needs only the best candidates for it to work effectively in the industry. Here’s a simplified explanation:

  1. Education: All aspiring appraisers must go through coursework that covers appraisal principles, procedures, and real estate law. The exact number of hours required varies depending on the level of licensure you're pursuing.
  2. Experience: A newly licensed appraiser must work under a supervisor to learn the finer points of this branch of real estate. The amount of experience required varies depending on the level of licensure. You may need to complete a certain number of hours of supervised appraisal work, which could range from hundreds to thousands of hours.
  3. Examination: To be a certified appraiser, aspirants must pass a state-administered licensing exam. The exam tests your knowledge of appraisal principles, procedures, and relevant laws. Passing the exam demonstrates that you have the necessary understanding to practice as an appraiser.
  4. Background Check: Many states require a background check as part of the licensing process. This involves a review of your criminal history to ensure you meet the state's standards for licensure.
  5. Continuing Education: After obtaining your initial license, you'll need to complete continuing education courses to maintain your license. This is essential to remain updated about the latest laws and appraisal practices. 

Follow these steps and learn how to become a real estate appraiser in PA and practice in the state. 

Let us now take a closer look at the PA Real Estate Appraiser Courses to go through to pass the licensing exam. 

1. Basic Appraisal Principles: This course covers the fundamental principles of real estate appraisal for you. It teaches you about the factors that influence property value, such as location, condition, and market trends. You'll learn how to analyze data and apply appraisal techniques to determine property values accurately.

2. Basic Appraisal Procedures: In this course, you'll learn the procedures and techniques used in real estate appraisal. It covers topics such as data collection, property inspection, and valuation methods. You'll learn how to gather relevant information, conduct inspections, and apply appraisal methods to assess property values effectively.

3. Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP): These are benchmarks and guidelines to follow when appraising the value of a property. This course teaches you about USPAP rules, regulations, and ethical guidelines.  

4. Real Estate Law: This course covers the legal aspects of real estate appraisal. It teaches you about property rights, contracts, zoning laws, and other legal considerations relevant to appraisals. You'll learn how to navigate legal issues and ensure that your appraisals comply with applicable laws and regulations.

5. Appraisal Electives: Depending on your career goals and specialization, you can choose elective courses in specific areas of real estate appraisal. Among the electives offered are: 

  • commercial appraisal
  • residential appraisal
  • income property valuation
  • specialized appraisal techniques

6. Continuing Education: In addition to the initial courses required for licensure, you must complete continuing education courses to maintain your licenses. These courses cover updates in appraisal practices, changes in regulations, and emerging trends in the real estate market. If you seek continuing education, it will ensure that you stay current and competent in your field.

Importance of Real Estate Appraisal Courses

In the most basic terms, real estate appraisal courses are important because they teach you how to accurately determine the value of properties. Here’s why they are known to be significant:

  1. Accuracy: These courses teach you the methods and techniques to assess property values correctly. This ensures that you set the prices for buying, selling, or financing properties fairly and realistically.
  2. Consumer Protection: Correct appraisal helps buyers and sellers know the true value of a property. This ensures fair treatment to all those involved.
  3. Legal Compliance: Appraisal coursework helps appraisers to understand the legal implications of property valuation. So, if you understand these legal requirements, it will help you conduct appraisals by the law. This will also reduce the risk of legal issues or disputes for you.
  4. Professionalism: Completing appraisal courses proves that you are dedicated and committed to your profession, thereby increasing your credibility in this field. 
  5. Career Opportunities: You have access to a lot of professional opportunities when you complete appraisal courses. You can work as an independent appraiser, for appraisal firms, government agencies, or financial institutions. You’ll have many options to choose from.
  6. Continuing Education: This coursework keeps you updated about the changes in regulations and advancements in appraisal techniques. 

In short, these courses play a vital role in ensuring that you are fair, lawful, and professional while dealing in real estate transactions.

Approved Appraiser Education Providers in PA

Given below are a few appraiser course providers that are approved in the state of Pennsylvania. 

  1. The Appraisal Institute: The courses of this institute cover topics like appraisal principles, procedures, and specialized valuation techniques in their curriculum.
  2. McKissock Learning: Their courses are approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers and cover a range of appraisal topics. 
  3. Career WebSchool: it is another online provider approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers. It offers pre-licensing and continuing education courses for real estate appraisers.
  4. The American Society of Appraisers (ASA): The courses here cover appraisal principles, methodologies, and professional ethics.
  5. The International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO): This organization provides education and training programs for property assessors and appraisers. Their courses cover property valuation, assessment techniques, and industry standards.

Completing appraisers’ coursework from these institutes helps to fulfill the education requirements necessary to become a licensed appraiser in PA. 

Who is a Real Estate Appraisal Trainee?

A real estate appraisal trainee works under the guidance of a certified appraiser to gain hands-on experience. 

Given below are the main functions of a real estate appraisal trainee.

  1. As a trainee, your primary responsibility is to observe and learn from experienced certified or licensed appraisers.
  2. Your role may involve assisting with measuring rooms, taking photographs, and documenting property features.
  3. You will draft reports and ensure that they meet professional and regulatory requirements.
  4. Analyze sales, market trends, and economic factors that may affect property values. 
  5. You may participate in training programs, continuing education courses, and professional development activities to increase your professional development and growth. 

Hence, the main role of a real estate appraisal is to assist in appraisal tasks and develop the knowledge required to become a licensed appraiser. 

How to Find Appraisal Trainee Opportunities in PA

To find appraisal trainee opportunities in Pennsylvania, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. First, familiarize yourself with the requirements to become an appraisal trainee in Pennsylvania
  2. Next, you must reach out to local real estate appraisal firms in Pennsylvania. You can find their contact information through online directories, such as Google Maps or Yellow Pages.
  3. You must attend industry events, such as real estate conferences, seminars, or networking events. This way you can meet certified appraisers and professionals in the field. Let them know you're interested in becoming a trainee.
  4. You can check online job boards and websites that specialize in real estate or appraisal-related positions. Apply there.
  5. You can explore membership in professional organizations such as the Appraisal Institute or local real estate appraisal associations in Pennsylvania.
  6. You can contact colleges, universities, or community colleges in Pennsylvania. They may have information on internship programs or partnerships with appraisal firms that could lead to trainee opportunities.

Follow these steps to launch a very rewarding career as a real estate appraiser.