Should you become a real estate appraiser or a real estate agent?

Thinking about a career change? Find out whether being a real estate appraiser or a real estate agent could be right for you.

The real estate industry offers many careers with great opportunities. Two of the most popular occupations in the sector are appraisers and agents. Both play a substantial role in the buying and selling of real estate, but they play different roles. 

Their roles interact from time to time hence why some people are confused about the two careers. Knowing the difference can help you understand which career to choose.

What is a real estate agent? 

Real estate agents help people buy or sell a property. They often work with real estate brokers, but the latter have licenses to manage real estate brokerages. 

Real estate agents can become brokers, but they usually prefer to work on commission rather than run their own brokerages. Real estate agents work with clients selling houses to determine how much money they can make on the sale. 

They also work with clients buying houses to get the best homes at the best prices. Real estate agents must be legally certified to represent their clients in transactions. Licensing as a real estate agent will vary from state to state.

What’s a real estate appraiser?

A real estate appraiser evaluates properties to determine their worth during sales and purchases. They will examine a property’s physical aspects, including its exterior, interior, physical dimensions, architecture, use, and characteristics, to establish its value. 

Real estate appraisers also study market conditions in various towns or cities to determine its price using real estate appraisal software. For this reason, they need to have a deep understanding of real estate markets in specific locations. A property appraiser may have an office, but they will often be found in the communities examining houses. 

In some cases, appraisers may require custom real estate software development to meet their specific needs and streamline their appraisal processes, ensuring more accurate and efficient property valuations.  

Training requirements

The state real estate regulatory board must license you to become either a real estate appraiser or agent. You will also need to take educational courses for both careers before becoming certified. 

Most states have their own requirements on how you need to train to become an agent or appraiser. For a real estate agent, it will vary between 75 and 135 hours of training. To get your real estate appraiser education, you need to take more classes. 

In most states, it will range between 150 and 300 hours before you can become a certified appraiser. There is a significant difference in the licensing requirements of both, which is one of the main contrasts between the two professions.

Earning potential

According to, the average annual salary of a real estate agent in the United States is $105,995. On the other hand, the average salary of a real estate appraiser is $58,887. 

Therefore, there is a significant difference between the earning potentials of both careers, which you need to consider if you want to become a real estate agent or appraiser. 

The difference is attributed mainly to real estate agents making large commissions as opposed to appraisers who earn a fee for their work. 

There is also a larger income gap between real estate agents and appraisers. The main reason is a higher percentage of real estate agents working part-time than real estate appraisers.

Career outlook

In the United States, there are about four times as many real estate agents as there are appraisers. The difference is partly due to the ease of licensing in becoming a real estate appraiser compared to an agent. 

Moreover, given the opportunity for higher earning potential, a career as a real estate agent has a better outlook than an appraiser.

There are several differences between real estate agents and appraisers. The above article should give you an idea of what they do and where the differences lie. It will be up to you to determine which one suits you best if considering any as a career choice.

Photo by Bailey Anselme