When in the market for a new home or property, prospective buyers typically work with a real estate salesperson to review listings and eventually, place an offer on the property they would like to purchase. Once an offer is accepted, there are multiple steps that take place before the buyer gets the keys in hand. One of those important steps is: the appraisal.
The purpose of the appraisal is to assess the value of the property, which in turn impacts lending, down payment, future equity and more. The appraiser is generally hired by the lender or financial institution funding the loan and is paid for by the buyer as part of the property sale.
The law prohibits real estate appraisers from bringing negative influences of one’s race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, source of income, sexual orientation, familial status, employment status, or military status of either the present or prospective owners or occupants of the subject property, or of the present owners or occupants of the properties in the vicinity of the subject property, or on any other basis prohibited by the federal Fair Housing Act.
An appraisal is typically a 1–2-hour process that involves an all-around look at the property for its value, and a comparison with similar recent sales. Following the appraisal, a property value is determined. Unlike agents or brokers, real estate appraisers are not involved in selling the property, and charge fees as opposed to earning commissions.
In California, the state agency charged with regulating the professionals that conduct real estate appraisals is the Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers (BREA). Appraisers must be licensed by BREA and are required to meeting certain training and educational requirements in order to obtain licensure.
Consumers are encouraged to verify the real estate appraiser involved in their real estate transaction is licensed by BREA. A license can be verified by using BREA’s appraiser search feature.
Consumers with concerns regarding the appraiser are encouraged to contact BREA to file a complaint. Visit the Bureau’s website to start the process.
If you are interested in a career as a real estate appraiser, BREA’s Licensing Handbook can guide you through the process.