To go in depth about the licensing of appraisers you must first understand what an appraisal really is. In its most simplistic form an appraisal is an “opinion of value”. Now obviously anyone could give you an opinion on what a piece of real estate is worth; Realtors, investors and your neighbors do it all the time. These opinions are not, however, appraisals because only a licensed appraiser may perform an appraisal. For that exact reason appraisers are required to complete a substantial amount of education, pass strenuous state exams and complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of training as an apprentice before they are granted a license by the state of Texas. Much like other professions, including doctors and attorneys, appraisers are also held to a much higher standard and must adhere to a set of regulations and guidelines. These regulations are set forth in the “Uniformed Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice”, or USPAP for short. What all of this means is that appraisers are not just guys with a tape measure giving out unsubstantiated values, there actually is a method to the madness.
Through training, experience and continued education appraisers learn the art and techniques of real estate appraisal. No other profession is licensed to perform appraisals and this is why when you enter into a financial transaction to purchase or sale a home, only a licensed real estate appraiser may perform the appraisal. Furthermore, appraisers are called upon to complete these assignments because we have no vested interest in the transaction, keeping us completely unbiased. Where Realtors, for example, are commission based and benefit from a higher selling price, appraisers charge a flat fee for their service and are not affected by the overall value of the property.
Each state maintains its own licensing authority which oversees the licensing of appraisers. In Texas this authority is the “Texas Appraiser Licensing and Commission Board”, or TALCB for short. All registered appraisers that are able to perform appraisals for federally-related transactions are also listed in the Appraisal Subcommittee, or ASC, national registry.