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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 90 years of history, the Appraisal Institute continues to serve as the nation's largest professional organization of real estate appraisers. Through its designation programs, educational offerings, advocacy efforts and publishing endeavors, the Appraisal Institute maintains its leadership position within the real estate industry and continues to be a leader in 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.

1951 – The first edition of The Appraisal of Real Estate is published. Now in its 15th edition, the textbook continues to be widely regarded as the premier source of real estate valuation knowledge.

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 – Congress passes the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, known as FIRREA. 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), a real estate appraiser, writer and lecturer from Hawaii, and his wife, Louise Lee Lum (1909-1963).

1996 – The first quarterly issue of Valuation Insights & Perspectives (now known as Valuation magazine) is introduced to Appraisal Institute professionals.

2000 – The Appraisal Institute introduces Appraiser News Online (ANO). Today it is a weekly e-newsletter providing AI professionals and others with valuation-related news.

2003 – The first MAI designations are conferred upon Korean appraisers who completed the designation program in their home country.

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.

2014 – The Appraisal Institute begins issuing two review designations. The AI-GRS and AI-RRS designations are AI’s first new designations in more than 20 years.


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