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Real property appraisers usually value one property at a time, while assessors value many at once. However, both occupations use similar methods and techniques. As a result, assessors and appraisers tend to take the same courses for certification. In addition to passing a statewide examination, candidates must usually complete a set number of on-the-job hours.
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In the course of evaluating a property, an appraiser is expected to be alert and take notice of aspects and characteristics of the property, as well as the surrounding area, that could affect the value. This can include assessing the overall noise levels of the area, proximity to sources of recurring loud disturbances such as an airport or a railroad line, as well as the view offered by the property. Obstructions by neighboring buildings, for instance, could reduce the value of a property.
Mathematically the distinction between land and improvements in the income approach will have no impact on the overall value when the remaining economic life is more than thirty years. For this reason, it has become quite common to use the Vereinfachtes Ertragswertverfahren (simplified income approach), omitting the land value and the Liegenschaftszins. However, the separate treatment of land and buildings leads to more precise results for older buildings, especially for commercial buildings, which typically have a shorter economic life than residential buildings.
Although appraisers and assessors of real estate work in offices, they may spend a large part of their time conducting site visits to assess properties. Time spent away from the office depends on the specialty. For example, residential appraisers tend to spend less time on office work than commercial appraisers, who might spend up to several weeks analyzing information and writing reports on one property. Appraisers who work for banks and mortgage companies generally spend most of their time inside the office, making site visits only when necessary.