There really is no such thing as a “typical” day in the life of an appraiser, particularly for an independent appraiser (who is called a “fee appraiser”). Sometimes an appraiser might spend an entire day “out on the road” looking at properties. On other days, the appraiser might spend an entire day in the office doing research and writing reports. Many days involve a combination of property inspections and research/paperwork. For example, an appraiser might go out and look at two properties in the morning and then come back into the office in the afternoon and perform the research and analysis that is needed in the valuation of these properties. Again, many appraisers are independent fee appraisers, that is, they are self-employed and they accept appraisal assignments from a variety of entities. There is no salary; they are usually compensated based on the number of appraisals they complete. These individuals make their own schedules, they come and go as they please, they may take days off as they wish, and a lot of times they end up working evenings and weekends in order to make deadlines. The good thing about this is that they can take off an afternoon to attend a school function if they want to, without having to clear it with a boss. Of course the downside of this is that if they take off a week to go on vacation, they don’t get paid while they are out of the office.
Other appraisers work for lending institutions or AMCs or government agencies as employees. Many of these are salaried positions that involve a regular 9-to-5 (or similar) schedule, along with everything that entails. For some appraisers this is a good thing. Many of these employee positions include health insurance and other employee benefits. Of course, the employee/appraiser doesn’t have the freedom to set their own schedule; they can’t just take off anytime they want to; they often are given a finite amount of vacation time, sick days, personal days, etc. Nevertheless, for some individuals this is preferable to the independent fee appraiser position. For others, the life of an independent fee appraiser suits them better. There is no one answer that’s right for everyone.