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Assessor / Appraiser (Valuer)
Assessors, appraisers or valuers assess the value of property, machinery, furniture, art, jewellery, motor vehicles and other items for such purposes as sale, purchase or insurance.

These professionals may do some or all of the following, depending on the type of items they are to assess, appraise or value. They list and describe items to be valued and determine what type of valuation is required, for example, whether it is for resale or insurance purposes. They have clients explain the purpose of the valuation and examine items to check their condition and quality.

They are likely to question clients about the items to obtain more information, such as age and condition, and ask to study documents such as repair reports and previous valuations. They might carry out further research to determine the correct value of items and then calculate their value. Finally they will write reports on items and their value and provide up-to-date market advice about the value of a product or products.

They may supply parties concerned with information on the sale or expropriation of property, establish the value of the security offered as collateral for a loan or mortgage, assess the value of company assets and shares, evaluate amounts of cover, as well as claims for insurance.

Assessors are also appointed by short-term insurance companies to assess damages claimed by clients professionally. In the case of damage to property by natural disaster or a malicious act, assessors visit the actual sites of the properties to make assessments. Damaged motor vehicles are usually assessed in panel beaters' workshops.

Insurance assessors determine the extent of the damage and estimate the cost of parts and labour to repair or replace the damaged property or motor vehicle.

In the case of a motor vehicle, they evaluate the practicality of repair as opposed to payment of the market value of the vehicle before the accident. They liaise with in-house claims personnel to ascertain the extent of the client's cover and then negotiate settlement figures, either with suppliers or with the clients.

These professionals use the most readily available comparable facts. The Internet has had a huge impact on their work, particularly those working with plant and machinery, and general chattels. It allows them to research values more quickly and efficiently. This combined with digital camera technology makes it easier for less trained assessors, as they can take photos on-site and then research the value of items more easily later.

These people may work in offices, auction rooms, art galleries or museums, jewellery shops and antique shops. They can spend a lot of time travelling locally to visit clients in their homes, businesses and factories. They may also travel around the country and even overseas to carry out valuations or conduct research.

Appraisers, assessors and valuers need to be skilled in evaluating items, eliciting and recording information and making calculations. They have to know about the history and details of the items they are valuing, such as machinery, general chattels, jewellery, art, antiques and furniture. They must also be up to date with styles and trends, and know the current market values of items or how to find out market values.

The number of people employed as assessors, appraisers and valuers is very small and most specialise in an area of valuation work such as plant and machinery, antiques, general chattels or jewellery appraising. The growing divorce rate has resulted in an increase in demand for general chattel valuations as people need to have the contents of their homes valued for matrimonial division.

They usually works indoors, in a variety of locations and conditions and they may handle valuable or breakable items. Those who work full-time usually work regular office hours, but may visit clients in the evenings and on weekends. Many combine this work with another job such as retailing or auctioneering, and their hours tend to be irregular.

They often work independently, although they sometimes work in small teams. They interact with a range of clients who want chattels valued, and may interact with valuers working in other specializations, real estate agents, retailers, insurance representatives and other professionals such as lawyers.

Satisfying Aspects
- work variety, good salaries
- good employment opportunities

Demanding aspects
- sometimes having to go through public records
- meeting deadlines and having to work long hours
- trying to obtain the correct formal qualifications to gain admittance into this type of work fiel

A assessor should:
- have an enquiring mind
- be careful and observant
- be accurate and an eye for detail
- have good research and interviewing skills
- have good communication and computer skills
- have good time management skills
- have ability to work well under pressure
- have good hearing and normal colour vision
- be relatively fit and healthy - there can be a lot of walking involved

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics or Accounting for BCom
Recommended Subjects: English, Visual Arts, Physical Sciences

Degree: BCom - general can be useful.

Diploma: Real Estate - UJ, UNISA
Property Valuation - UNISA

Many insurance companies offer in-service training programmes for assessors in conjunction with examinations set by the Insurance Institute of South Africa.

Skills are usually gained on the job, over several years. Valuers usually specialize in an area of valuation. It takes several years to become fully trained. Jewellery appraisers have to pass international examinations in diamond grading, gemmology and jewellery appraising.

There is no formal training scheme available in most of the specialities. The lack of formal training systems can be attributed to the specializations in the occupation and the fact that the occupation is still, to a large extent, in a growth phase.

Most of the training is carried out on the job, which means that individual organizations are relied on to train new people in these fields. Once qualified, no formal qualification or certificate is necessarily received, which means that anyone can claim to be an assessor, appraiser or valuer by experience, although lacking any real training.

- short-term insurance companies and brokers
- financial institutions - banks, building societies, lease hire companies
- government administrations
- local authorities
- jewellers
- estate agents
- antique dealers
- self employment, as a consultant

South African Institute of Valuers
P O Box 18401
Wynberg, 7824
Tel: (021) 762-3313

P O Box 362
Durban, 4000
Tel: (031) 309-7431

P O Box 14331
Hatfield, 0028
Tel: (012) 342-9056