A certified general appraiser calculates the value of real estate for buyers and sellers of properties. His certification gives him the authority to appraise any property for sale, purchase, lease or equity purposes, including those that have government provisions and restrictions attached to them. His appraisals may include only residential or commercial properties, or he may be qualified to evaluate both. A certified general appraiser may work for a real estate company, appraisal firm, lending institution or be self-employed.
Before a person or company conducts a real estate transaction, the current market value of the property generally must be determined. An appraiser may make this determination through demographic analysis, review of recent local real estate transactions and learning about the property from prior and current owners and tenants. He also typically confirms the size of the building and lot and has it inspected for pests, compliance with codes and physical soundness.
When appraising was in its infancy, the calculations required of the appraiser were generally tedious and time-consuming. All computations, from the perimeter of the property to the floor plans of the buildings, had to be manually tabulated. Complicated equations relating to electrical and plumbing systems demanded acumen in algebra and geometry. Researching leases, liens and mortgages often took the appraiser days or weeks to complete.
Today, a certified general appraiser can simply enter the basic information about a property into a software program, and the computer generates an accurate and complete appraisal. If the property information is archived, it can easily be updated in the future to reflect changes in the market or property conditions. Many computerized programs can be linked to local government agencies and private land development companies to compare and contrast details on local real estate. Former owners, prior assessments and any information related to the property are also generally accessed easily on the Internet.
Once his investigation is complete, a certified general appraiser typically prints the report for his client. He normally attaches photographs, floor plans and blueprints to his statement, along with an explanation of how he reached his conclusions. It is generally considered important for the appraiser to verify his information, as it may be used in legal proceedings regarding property ownership.
To apply for job as a certified general appraiser typically requires a four-year bachelor’s degree. The position also normally requires a government-approved license or certification that varies by region. Background in real estate or home inspection is strongly preferred for applicants for this job.