Why hire an MAI vs. appraiser with the minimum required qualifications?

At a minimum, all states require appraisers to be state licensed or certified in order to provide appraisals to federally regulated lenders.  Commercial real estate appraisers must hold the "Certified General" state appraiser license but only a small minority hold the MAI designation awarded by the Appraisal Institute. 

The current requirements to receive the MAI designation are:

  • Receive a passing grade on 11 exams reflecting 348 hours of classroom instruction;
  • Receive a passing grade on a four-module two-day comprehensive examination;

  • Hold an undergraduate degree from a four-year accredited college or university;

  • Receive credit for 4,500 hours of specialized appraisal experience over at least a 36-month period;

  • Received credit for a demonstration appraisal report relating to an income-producing property that demonstrates the ability to present a properly supported value estimate or opinion OR fulfill an approved comparable alternative; 

Designated members of the Appraisal Institute are known for their knowledge and experience as well as their unbiased and objective approach to real property appraisal and analysis.  By engaging the services of a designated member of the Appraisal Institute, you can benefit from the most skilled and experienced real estate appraisal professionals in the country.

Lenders, government agencies, courts, corporations, investors and individual property owners continually seek out the opinions of designated Appraisal Institute members to guide their real estate decisions because they know members are true professionals who have made a commitment to being the best in their field.

In "The Role of Professional Designations as Quality Signals", J. Howard Finch, PhD, Larry Fogelberg PhD, H. Shelton Weeks PhD, The Appraisal Journal, the authors conclude that "designations are costly in that they involve the expenditure of both time and money.  It is precisely because of this cost factor that such voluntary designations provide valuable information to prospective purchasers of appraisal services.......the willingness to incur the costs of acquiring and maintaining a designation is a compelling indication that the appraiser will follow a high-quality production strategy".