One may think that with the current housing and mortgage crisis, it might be too late to pursue a career in Real Estate Appraisal. But the opposite is true. All “old” Montana real estate appraisers are going to have to comply with the new rules and regs recently enacted, so the playing field is level again. You can enter this exciting, lucrative field at a unique time in history when the entire industry is looking for new, freshly trained Montana appraiser licensees who have taken the newest curriculum. What that means to you is, lots of opportunities and lots of new doors opening in Montana.
If you are interested in enrolling in a real estate appraisal course you should know that it will be necessary to meet licensing and/or certification requirements that are different depending on the State, but you can be sure that they will include real estate appraisal education, working as a trainee, and passing one or more license exams.
Some more good news is that no specific college degree is needed to get a real estate appraisal license, but most people working in the field of appraisal have at least a bachelor’s degree. You will need to attend a real estate appraisal school and completed the mandated real estate appraisal education requirements for your state.
Montana Licensing Requirements
Must complete 40 hours of approved qualifying education in the principles of real estate appraisal prior to making application
After licensing must be under the direct supervision of a board approved mentor
Must complete an additional 50 hours of approved qualifying education within the next 12 months or the next renewal, whichever is greater. Fifteen hours must be in the area of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
College-level requirements: None
Must complete 90 hours of pre-approved education, including the 15 hour National USPAP course and 15 hours of report writing. Must pass state licensing exam.
Must complete 2000 hours of appraisal experience over a period of not less than 18 months. The experience log must be filled out in detail and each appraisal must be logged.
College-level requirements: None
Certified Residential Appraiser:
Must complete 120 hours of pre-approved education, including the 15 hour National USPAP course and 15 hours of report writing. Must pass state licensing exam.
Must complete 2500 hours of appraisal experience over a period of not less than 24 months. The hours may be treated as cumulative in order to achieve the necessary 2500 hours of appraisal experience. The experience log must be filled out in detail and each appraisal must be logged.
College-level requirements: Associates degree or 21 semester credit hours covering the subject matter of English composition, principles of economics (micro or macro), finance, algebra, geometry or higher mathematics, statistics, introduction to computers (word processing/spreadsheets), and business or real estate law.
Certified General Appraiser:
Must complete 180 hours of pre-approved education, including the 15 hour National USPAP course and 15 hours of report writing. Must pass state licensing exam.
Must complete 3000 hours of appraisal experience over a period of not less than 30 months of which at least 1500 hours must be in nonresidential appraisal work. The hours may be treated as cumulative in order to achieve the necessary 3000 hours of appraisal experience. The experience log must be filled out in detail and each appraisal must be logged.
College-level requirements: Bachelors degree or 30 semester credit hours covering the subject matter courses of English composition, economics (micro or macro), finance, algebra, geometry or higher mathematics, statistics, introduction to computers (word processing/spreadsheets), business or real estate law and two elective courses in either accounting, geography, agricultural economics, business management, or real estate.
What does a Real Estate Appraiser Do?
When the value of a property in Montana needs to be established, the real estate appraiser goes to work. Real estate appraisers estimate the value of property for a many reasons. For example, appraisals are necessary to determine a sales price or to determine the amount of a loan that could be given on a residential or business property. A real estate appraiser may be asked to determine the worth of any type of real estate, from a vacant lot to a city airport, but they often specialize in determining the value of only a certain type of real estate such as residential buildings or commercial properties. The role of the appraiser and the assessor is different. Assessors settle on the value of all properties in an area for property tax purposes where appraisers determine the value of properties one at a time for a multiplicity of purposes, such as to establish what a good sale price would be for a home or to clear up an estate or help in a divorce resolution.
The values of all types of real estate are made using comparable methods, regardless of the kind of property or who the appraiser works for. Real Estate Appraisers work in Montana communities that they know well so they have a good understanding of any issues that might have an impact on the value of a property. They pay close attention to any unusual features of a property and of the community, such as a certain style of a building or a major roadway next to the property. They also consider other aspects of a property like the quality and condition of the building foundation and roof of a building or any changes that may have been made since the building was originally built. They may take photographs to document a certain area or feature, as well as taking pictures of the outside of the structure. After making a visit to the property, the appraiser can establish the fair value of the property by considering home sales in the area for comparable properties, public records, the location, previous real estate appraisals, and the potential for income. Once they have completed all of their research they will put together a detailed report which presents the value of the property along with the reasons that justify the value they arrived at.
Montana appraisers work for individual clients and focus on evaluating one piece of real estate at a time. Real estate appraisers frequently specialize by the type of real estate they appraise, such as residential properties, shopping centers, or office buildings. Often, commercial appraisers have the ability to appraise any real property but they choose to appraise property only used for commercial purposes, such as shopping centers or restaurants. Residential property appraisers work on appraising houses or other family residences and only appraise those that accommodate 1 to 5 families. Then there are other appraisers in Montana who serve in a more general way and can value any type of real property.
Real estate appraisers develop a detailed summary report for each assignment. Putting these reports together has become faster and more efficient as a result of the use of laptop computers which allow appraisers to research data and complete at least portions of the report while on-site. Digital cameras make it simple to document the physical appearance of a property during the appraisal, and the photos can be used in the citations of the report.
Appraisers spend much of their time researching and writing reports. However, with the improvement of computers and other technical advancements, such as wireless internet access, actual time in the office has gone down as so much of the required research can be done more quickly at the actual appraisal site or from home. Obtaining records that used to require a visit to government offices can often be found online. This has positively affected self-employed appraisers, frequently referred to as independent fee appraisers, allowing them to spend much more time on-site doing research and less time in their office.Independent fee appraisers tend to put in a standard forty hour work week and in addition, commonly work evenings and weekends preparing reports. Visits to properties commonly take place during the day, and are based on the client’s schedule. Privately employed appraisers, on the other hand, normally work a 40-hour week. Appraisers normally do their on-site appraisal work alone. Their office may be made up of only themselves or a small support team.