The Top Commercial Real Estate Appraisal Designations (and What They Mean to You)

There are dozens and dozens of designations related to the real estate field. In fact, after a quick search on the National Association of Realtor’s website,  we found over 20 designations listed for a variety of specialties. The real estate appraisal field has several designations, as well; however, it can be confusing to understand what these designations mean and (more importantly) how can they help you decide which appraiser to choose.

Here is a summary of the top three commercial real estate appraisal designations and what they mean to you.


The MAI is a designation earned by commercial appraisers through the Appraisal Institute, one of the largest appraisal organizations in the world. Commonly thought as an acronym for “Member of the Appraisal Institute,” the letters comprising the designation does not stand for specific words.

As we have written about before, MAI-designated appraisers have met rigorous requirements relating to education, testing, experience and demonstration of knowledge, understanding and ability. The years spent obtaining additional education and experience is far beyond state-certified requirements, and MAI designated appraisers are considered to be the top experts in the real estate appraisal field. When choosing an appraiser for your commercial property, it is best to choose one that is MAI-designated as they will have the experience and knowledge to provide an accurate opinion of value.


The ASA is a designation from the American Society of Appraisers, an organization that consists of not only real estate appraisers, but appraisers involved in the valuations of businesses, personal property, and machinery. Unlike the MAI, the ASA is an acronym that stands for Accredited Senior Appraiser. In order to obtain an ASA designation, one must have at least five years of experience in the field in addition to other requirements related to state certification such as a college degree and certain real estate education.

Choosing an ASA-designated real estate appraiser is important when there is a business component involved with the real estate such as a hotel, car wash, or restaurant property (this type of enterprise with businesses and real estate is commonly known as “going concern”). While other organizations provide education on going concern valuations, ASA education combines the expertise of both their business valuation and real property valuation sections. In fact, both Jeff Greenwald and Eric Schneider have taken ASA’s Going Concern Program, which is taught by both a business appraiser and a real estate appraiser. FRICS-San-Diego-Appraiser


The FRICS designation is earned through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, an international organization that promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. Fellowship in RICS is a mark of distinction recognized by as denoting the highest standards of success, achievement and expertise. In order to obtain the FRICS designation, one must be a leader in the profession with several years of both appraisal experience and leadership/management experience.

Commercial real estate appraisers with a FRICS designation are considered to be leaders in the valuation field, having considerable education and experience. For multiple property appraisals, litigation support, and other complex appraisal needs, a FRICS-designated appraiser will ensure that the very best will be valuing your property.


The MAI, ASA, and FRICS designations are some of the top commercial real estate appraisal designations in the industry. Depending on your appraisal needs, an appraiser carrying one or more of these designations can be a great asset to the valuation of your property.

An appraiser with all three designations is rare, but Jeff Greenwald is one of them. Additionally, Eric Schneider is both MAI- and ASA-designated, and the IRR San Diego office has a total of four MAI appraisers with two more appraisers slated to get their designations in 2015. In short, Integra San Diego has the experience and education to appraise any property in the Southern California region (with the letters to prove it).

If you have any questions about designations or appraisal needs please contact us today at 858-259-4900 or

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