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In the United States, the most common usage relates to real estate and personal property appraisals, while the term is often used to describe a person specially appointed by a judicial or quasi-judicial authority to put a valuation on property, e.g. on the items of an inventory of the Tangible Property of an Estate (IRS law) of a deceased person or on land taken for public purposes by the right of eminent domain. Appraisers of imported goods and boards of general appraisers have extensive functions in administering the customs laws of the United States. Merchant appraisers are sometimes appointed temporarily under the revenue laws to value where there is no resident appraiser without holding the office of appraiser (U.S. Rev. Stats. § 2609).
In most instances, an appraiser will spend their time determining the value of one piece of property at a time. Building up their expertise in making their assessments often leads appraisers to specialize in a particular area of real estate. For example, a commercial appraiser could focus on the market for office buildings, hotels, retail locations, and other properties that include an income generating quality.