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Our History

The Appraisal Institute was established when the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (AIREA) and the Society of Real Estate Appraisers (Society) unified in January 1991. AIREA and the Society, founded in 1932 and 1935, respectively, were created to help standardize the appraisal process by promoting professional education and upholding high ethical standards.

With 82 years of history, the Appraisal Institute continues to serve as the nation's largest professional organization of real estate appraisers. Through its designation programs, public affairs outreach efforts, peer review process education and publishing endeavors, the Appraisal Institute maintains its leadership position within the real estate industry and continues to be a major contributor in the American -- and now the global -- valuation profession.


1932 AIREA is formed in Cincinnati by 120 leading real estate appraisers from throughout the country as an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors.

The Appraisal Journal launched in October (called The Journal of the Appraisal Institute).

In November, the Metro New Jersey Chapter becomes the first chartered chapter of the Appraisal Institute.

1935 The U.S. Building and Loan League resolves to sponsor a society dedicated to establishing appraisal guidelines and standards. As a result, the Society is founded.

The first SRA designation is conferred upon members who have achieved education and experience requirements.

1945 Candidate program leading to the MAI designation is introduced, although AIREA's MAI designation dates back to the 1930s.

1961 The Society opens a Washington, D.C., office to establish a voice among the leaders of Congress and the federal government.

1969 The Society initiates the Young Advisory Council (YAC), a series of roundtable discussions on topics of interest to appraisers and analysts. This concept continues today as the Leadership Development and Advisory Council (LDAC).

1981 The first translated edition of The Appraisal of Real Estate is published in German. Since then, 14 additional international editions of this essential text have been published.

1987 AIREA and the Society are founding sponsors of The Appraisal Foundation, which is established to work with government to create a self-regulatory system.

1989 Savings and Loan reform legislation becomes a top congressional priority; appraisal reform is attached to this legislation. The Federal Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 passes. Title XI directs the establishment of state appraisal certification/licensing by July 1, 1991, for federally related transactions.

1991 AIREA and the Society formally merge, resulting in the creation of the Appraisal Institute

1992 The Y. T. and Louise Lee Lum Library is established in memory of Y. T. Lum (1903-1977) real estate appraiser, writer, and lecturer from Hawaii and designated member, and his wife, Louise Lee Lum (1909-1963).

1994 A coalition including the Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Appraisal Institute, formulate standards for electronic data interchange (EDI). Era sees the acceptance of automated valuation models (AVMs) and appraisal management companies (AMCs).

1996 First issue of Valuation Insights & Perspectives introduced to Appraisal Institute members.

2000 Appraiser News Online (ANO) is introduced. The Appraisal Institute's Internet-based newsletter provides members and real estate professionals with news updates and features

The Appraisal Institute brings appraisal courses to Korea and Turkey. Since then, educational programs have been developed with Germany, Japan and Mexico as well as China, Egypt, Cyrus and Vietnam.

2001 Fifty years after its first printing, the Appraisal Institute publishes the twelfth edition of The Appraisal of Real Estate.  The Appraisal Institute moves its headquarters to 550 Van Buren St. in Chicago.

2003 First Appraisal Summit in held in Washington, D.C. Appraisal Institute members meet with appraisal policy makers to discuss critical industry issues.

First MAI designations are conferred upon Korean appraisers who completed the designation program in their home country.

2004 National Visibility Campaign is launched to communicate the value of selecting Appraisal Institute Designated members, increase client awareness of Appraisal Institute members, and influence and contribute to the financial success of Appraisal Institute appraisers.

2007 Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Appraisal Institute continues to serve its members and the public as the leading organization for professional real estate appraisers and analysis.

2011 The Appraisal Institute relaunches its Annual Meeting, drawing nearly 400 participants to a three-day event in Las Vegas. The Appraisal Institute moves its headquarters to present location of 200 W. Madison St. in Chicago.

2013  Responding in part to the growing and important role that appraisal review plays in risk management and mitigation for many clients and users of appraisal services, the Appraisal Institute announces it will begin issuing two review designations in 2014. The AI-GRS (Appraisal Institute – General Review Specialist) and AI-RRS (Appraisal Institute – Residential Review Specialist) designations will be AI’s first new designations in more than 20 years.


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