The practice of real estate appraisal began about 3,200 years ago. We learn this from the Book of Numbers, Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen.

God commanded Moses to commission one person from each of the twelve tribes, “to make a reconnaissance” of the Land of Canaan, now Israel.

Each person chosen was a leader within his tribe. His selection was based on sincerity of purpose, integrity, honesty, wisdom, judgment, and knowledge. Each leader was capable of guiding the course of this important assignment. A Leader is “one who goes first.” These appraiser were to “scout” and then to make a report.

The objective for this appraisal was to determine the highest and best used of the subject property, the Land of Canaan. It required that these twelve leaders, whom we will now call appraisers, go and inspect this land. They also had to meet the people who lived on the land and to provide demographic data. The appraisal report was to be delivered to Moses.


My comment: This was originally published in 1987 in a Society of Real Estate Appraiser publication. I have published several articles on the history of appraising in my paid newsletter, most recently in October 2011. In Europe, valuers were used for property taxes – tax collectors and collectors. Many were surveyors, including in this country. In 1834, the first professional organization of surveyors was organized, the predessor to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors was started in London. The first appraisal associations in the U.S. were started in the early 1930s.

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