APPRAISER. This is probable the most misused, misunderstood and abused term in the real estate world. So, let’s set the record straight.

I have mentioned many times before that there are two types of Real Estate Licensees in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – – Licensed Salesperson and Licensed Broker. Licensed sales persons cannot perform appraisals and only a small handful of Brokers are permitted to do appraisals on a limited scope. Remember, too, that the term “Realtor” deals with the trade organization that advocates for Real Estate Licensees and has nothing whatsoever to do with one’s license status.

Appraisers also come in two types. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes Certified Residential Appraisers and Certified General Appraisers. Certified Residential Appraisers are limited to appraising one to four unit residential properties. Certified General Appraisers, on the other hand, are qualified to appraise all property types and primarily specialize in commercial and industrial appraisals and analysis.

The process of becoming a Certified Appraiser in Pennsylvania, particularly a Certified General Appraiser, is quite difficult. Certified General Appraisers must first be licensed as a trainee, then perform over 3,000 apprentice hours under an already Certified General Appraiser and complete 300 hours of education and tests in a variety of difficult subject matter. They then must pass a 6 hour State Exam.

Very few licensed real estate sales persons /brokers are appraisers. Most appraisers, however, are licensed as salespersons and/or brokers. While licensed salespersons/brokers may perform a “Competitive Market Analysis” for the potential purpose of securing a listing, they are not licensed nor qualified to provide third party independent appraisals for a fee.

Finally, let’s remember that there is a difference between ASSESSED VALUE and APPRAISED VALUE. Your property is “assessed” by the County in which you live for purposes of real estate taxes. Your current Assessed Value is supposed to represent “Fair Market Value”, but many Counties have not had a county wide reassessment for a very long time. Here in Cumberland County, your Assessed Value is supposed to represent Fair Market Value as of January 2010 and our Assessed values are fairly close. With over 95,000 taxable parcels in Cumberland County, we find that about 1/3 are under assessed, about 1/3 are over assessed and about 1/3 are fairly accurate. Nevertheless, the Assessed Value is used by the taxing authorities (county, municipality and school) to determine the amount of rea l estate taxes that you will pay.

Wolfe & Company Realtors is very pleased to have a newly formed Appraisal Division headed by Andrew R. Wolfe. Andy is a Certified General Appraiser and Licensed Salesperson as well. Andy looks forward to providing a high level of Real Estate appraisal valuation and consulting services to institutions and individuals in need of such services. Andy may be reached at 717-448-0389 or awolfe@wolfecr.com.


*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, CRS has been Broker/Owner of his own firm since 1986. In 2015, he was again the Carlisle Area’s Top Producing Independent Broker.
**All information believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.