How to Become a Professional Appraiser

Becoming a Professional Personal Property Appraiser or Real Property Appraiser.

Most appraisers entered the appraisal profession from related occupation. Real property appraisers transitioned from brokering real estate, business valuation appraisers were and are CPAs or business brokers, antique, art, jewelry, used furniture, equipment, and machinery appraisers learned about appraisal from the dealer trade or auctioning.

Few, if any, set out to attend a university in order to "become" an appraiser. Today, one becomes an appraiser by taking courses in appraisal theory, methodology, and professional standards of practice. Most neophytes generally learn research, and report writing by trial and error. The lessons are learned, or not learned when the appraisal is tested in court. An unprepared appraiser, acting as a testifying expert, tries to defend what he/she thought was a professional appraisal and thereby learns what he or she does not know.

At the beginning of the 1990's, real property appraisers had to prove they had 2,000 to 3,000 hours of experience, upwards of 300 hours of specialized appraisal education and take a national license test. Congress created the license law under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA).The candidate real estate appraiser had to verify experience, education, and training in order to take the national exam. This license requirement was copied from the real estate appraisal associations similar set of requirements needed to earn an appraisal designation.

For a while it appeared that the appraisers as well as government were serious about the "professional status of appraisers”. Now, 25 years later, there is no interest in a license requirement for all appraisal work. There is no license requirement for personal property appraisers, businesses appraisers, stamp and coin appraisers, sports and other types of memorabilia, machinery, equipment, antiques, jewelry, art, and or other asset appraisers. There is only the enforcement by some federal and state agencies that appraisals be performed in compliance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). These generally accepted national appraisal standards are utilized by the great majority of people who hold themselves out as appraisers.

If you are an antique dealer, machinery dealer, art dealer, jeweler, accountant, financial practitioner, or otherwise knowledgeable about such subjects, you should consider adding appraisal services to your proprietary skills. Join NAPA and you will have access to a network of appraiser experts, appraiser courses, and the opportunity to gain a professional standing as an appraiser. If you are an auctioneer and otherwise give oral and/or written opinions of value as part of your business, you need to Join NAPA to learn both the appraisal knowhow and the liability and risks associated with appraisal work. Appraisal is a recognized profession whether you choose to be full-time or part-time.

Opportunities in the Appraisal Profession

When people typically think of an appraiser, they think of a person who appraises a home to support a bank mortgage. The appraisal profession involves much more than just real property appraisal. Any time real property, personal property, intangible property and nearly everything created by man and God changes hands, is divided, taxed, and or is disputed, it becomes important to have a defendable appraisal. The difference between a personal opinion of value and a professional opinion of value is that a professional appraisal opinion relies on a well prepared narrative argument backed by evidence from research.