Appraisals are often used in transactions involving either a loan by federally regulated lender or a purchase by a public body that must pay fair market value. Since 1989, the requirements for an appraisal and the education and experience requirements for certified and licensed appraisers are largely a matter of federal law, even though the actual certification or licensure is done at the state level.

In Oregon, the Appraiser Certification and Licensure Board grants either a license, a certificate for a residential appraiser, or a certificate for a general appraiser, with the state certified general appraiser being the most experienced and educated.

The form and content of appraisals must conform to the definitions, rules, and standards of the current Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). The goal of the USPAP is development and communication of an appraisal that is meaningful, ethical, and not misleading to the client and to other intended users.