Frequently Asked Questions

What is an appraisal?

An appraisal is a professional appraiser's opinion of value. The preparation of an appraisal involves research into appropriate market areas; the assembly and analysis of information pertinent to a property; and the knowledge, experience, and professional judgment of the appraiser.

Appraisals may be required for any type of property, including single-family homes, apartment buildings and condominiums, office buildings, shopping centers, industrial sites, and farms. The reasons for performing a real property appraisal are just as varied. They are usually required whenever real property is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed.

What is the role of the appraiser?

The role of the appraiser is to provide objective, impartial, and unbiased opinions about the value of real property—providing assistance to those who own, manage, sell, invest in, and/or lend money on the security of real estate.

Appraisers assemble a series of facts, statistics, and other information regarding specific properties, analyze this data, and develop opinions of value.

Each appraisal assignment challenges the appraiser's ability to put analytical skills into practice, exercise sound judgment, and communicate effectively.

What qualifications must appraisers have?

All states require appraisers to be state licensed or certified in order to provide appraisals to federally regulated lenders. Some states require appraisers to be licensed or certified to provide appraisals for other parties as well. To become licensed or certified, an appraiser must pass an examination that is administered by each state's appraisal board. Because state requirements vary, contact your state's regulatory agency for specific requirements.

The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) of The Appraisal Foundation is authorized by Congress to establish the minimum requirements for Certified General Real Property Appraiser and Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser classifications, and the AQB provides recommended minimum requirements for the Licensed Real Property Appraiser and Trainee classifications. Descriptions for the four categories can be found on The Appraisal Foundation Web site.

Appraisers who become designated members of the Appraisal Institute (AI) and the American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA) have gone beyond these requirements. They have fulfilled rigorous education and experience requirements and must adhere to strict standards and a code of professional ethics.

The AI currently confers the MAI membership designation on those who are experienced in the valuation of commercial, industrial, residential, and other types of properties. The AI currently confers the SRA membership designation is held by those who are experienced in the analysis and valuation of residential real property. The ASFMRA currently confers the ARA membership designation on those who are experienced in the analysis and valuation of agriculture related real estate.

What are the SRA, MAI, and ARA designations and why are they important?

In today’s turbulent real estate market, you want a professional with the knowledge and experience to make sound real estate decisions. When you see the SRA, MAI, or ARA designation, you can rest assured you are making the right choice. Appraisal Institute members holding the SRA or MAI designation, and American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers members holding the ARA designation are required to:

  • Complete rigorous education requirements, submit extensive specialized appraisal experience, demonstrate appraisal report writing abilities and potentially pass a comprehensive examination. All requirements to obtain the SRA, MAI, and ARA designations are significantly above the state and federal requirements.
  • Conduct his or her professional activities in accordance with the Code of Professional Ethics and are subject to a peer review process, which enforces the Code of Professional Ethics.
  • Adhere to strict continuing education requirements to ensure they are up-to-date with the evolving real estate field. In addition, the Appraisal Institute SRA and MAI designations and the American Society of Farm Managers & Rural Appraisers ARA designation have long been recognized by courts of law, government agencies, financial institutions and investors as marks of excellence in the field of real estate valuation and analysis.

Ritter Appraisals, Inc. appreciates your consideration of these factors when selecting an appraiser, and we look forward to helping you with your real estate valuation needs.