The MAI Designation – What Does it Really Mean?

As the impact on Houston of the recent drop in oil prices continues to unfold, reliable commercial appraisals are more important than ever. Lenders, investors, and businessmen alike all call upon commercial appraisers with the MAI designation in seeking the most trusted, reliable valuations. Although most all of us have heard of the MAI designation, what does it really mean – what does it take to be designated? Here are the current requirements:

  • State Certification as a General Appraiser or pass all general certification exams administered by the Appraisal Institute
  • Successful completion of 5 full-day, week-long courses, including exams
  • 4,500 hours of appraisal experience
  • Bachelor’s Degree from 4-year College
  • Good standing as a Candidate for Designation
  • Successful experience credit review (Appraiser candidate submits log of 3,000-4,500 hrs of work, MAI appraisal screener reviews select assignments and interviews candidate for sufficient knowledge of appraisal theory)
  • Completion of a Comprehensive exam (16 hour test covering years of appraisal education)
  • Completion of a demonstration appraisal report (similar to a thesis) illustrating appraiser’s comprehension of a wide range of appraisal methodology (typically takes several months for initial submission, review, corrections and approval)

Completing all these requirements takes years of hard work. With these requirements, it is easy to see why appraisers with the MAI designation are the most trusted in the industry. And in the current financial environment, where all lending/investment decisions are scrutinized under a microscope, the appraiser with the MAI designation will likely be called upon more than ever before.

Pat C. O’Connor, MAI
O’Connor & Associates
Houston, Texas

O’Connor & Associates currently employs two appraisers with the MAI designation. Four additional appraisers are advanced candidates. Our appraisal team has an average of 18 years of appraisal experience.