How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser

Cody Cromwell
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Complete National Coursework Requirements

Becoming a real estate appraiser takes a lot of schooling and skill. To become licensed to perform real estate appraisals, you must complete a combination of education, assessments and on-the-job experience.


The minimum education requirement to become a real estate appraiser is a bachelor’s degree in any of the following:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Real Estate
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Urban Studies (sub-listed under Social Sciences)
  • They are allowed to have a minor of Education or the following additional accredited courses:
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Real Estate
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Business Administration
  • Marketing
  • Statistics
  • Statistics (Applied)
  • Real Estate
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Business
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Real Estate
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Real Estate
  • Business Administration
  • Marketing
  • Statistics
  • Real Estate
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Business Administration
  • Marketing
  • Statistics
  • Special Education (listed under Biological and Agricultural Education Research)
  • Department and Facility Management
  • Recreation Services and Administration

Which Online Real Estate Appraisal Class Is Right for You?

The real estate appraisal certification requires passing three tests. The first is the Appraisal Specialist (AAS) Basic Course Examination. For those who have this, there are four levels. Basic and Advanced (heating and cooling) are for a one-year term while M.B.A and C.P.A. are two-year terms. With M.B.A status, you will need to have earned a bachelor’s degree before you can take the exam. C.P.A. status is not required.

The Council of Real Estate Appraisers is affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the National Association of Realtors. It is the only organization that accredits introductory appraiser courses.

There are a number of Web sites that offer these courses. You need to be aware that there are no set standards for these courses. Our recommendations are based upon what our course participants have taught us.

Question 1

What’s a Real Estate Appraiser?

A real estate appraiser evaluates the financial condition of owner-occupied residential property in order to provide an impartial opinion of the home’s fair market value. It’s one of the most important parts of a real estate transaction, that’s why you’re going to take this course that will teach you the basics of real estate appraisal.

You’re not only going to learn how to research and calculate the property’s value, but also the role of appraisers in the real estate market. You’ll learn different aspects of real estate appraisal, such as the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)®, real estate appraisal terminology, the appraisal process, and the uses of real estate appraisals.

Question 2: What’s the Difference between a Real Estate Appraiser and a Real Estate Agent?

How long have you been in the real estate industry?

Real estate appraisers are professionals who evaluate the market value of residential and commercial properties. Learn about the steps necessary to become a real estate appraiser. Get tips on how to learn about the real estate appraisal process. Also, determine which licensing option is best for you.

How long do you plan on working as a real estate appraiser?

You can expect to work with real estate appraisal clients for a long time. The job benefits are great, and the career prospects are very good. Real estate appraisers are usually paid by the appraisal. Therefore, the job is safe, stable, and not as likely to change as other jobs. Because most appraisal reports are used for years, the position is also likely to be secure.

What are the job responsibilities of a real estate appraiser?

The job of a real estate appraiser seems to be very flexible. You will use your own judgment and go with your own education level and experience to determine the work you do each day.

What education and experience is needed to become a real estate appraiser?

The procedures necessary to become a professional real estate appraiser depend on the type of real estate appraisal license you plan to receive.

Directly related to an associate degree in business or economic emphasis is a real estate appraiser license. Using your degree, you will obtain the highest level of appraiser license.

An appraisal series appraisal license is a lower level of appraisal license.

Question 2

Which statement best describes you and the type of course you need?

A. I am interested in being an appraiser but I want to have more work experience.

B. I am an appraiser looking to get certified but don’t know which course to take.

C. I am a real estate appraiser who wants to learn more about research and computer appraisal.

D. I am a real estate appraiser who wants to learn more about cash flow analysis.

There are three major areas of focus in appraisals: Area A is Residential Real Estate Appraisal (REA), Area B is Residential and Commercial (R&C) Appraisal and Area C is Commercial Real Estate Appraisal (CRA).

The courses can be completed in one year to 24 months and vary with the level of education and experience of the student. In addition to the courses, students must pass the examination. There are approximately 375,000 Americans who are currently practicing as real estate appraisers.

Adventure capitalists interested in moving their ventures through the CIP process with the use of real estate can benefit from hands-on training designed for those who are already in the field and looking to advance their careers.

Question 3

Describe the steps of the appraisal process

The question is designed to test your knowledge of appraisal methods and its general process. In a real estate transaction, a set of documents are submitted to the appraiser for appraisal of the value of the property. These documents typically include some sort of survey, utility bills, appraisal of condition reports, and sales comparison analysis.

If you need to remember any of the steps you'll need with regard to this question, here are a few tips to help you.

When the appraiser arrives at the property, she will typically determine the location of the home on the property and conduct a walk through. She will note the elevation, location, and the surrounding condition of the home through a series of notes and observations. She will also take an exterior and interior inspection available to her.

For example, the exterior inspection will include an assessment of the condition of the home's exterior, windows, and doors. Additionally, the interior inspection will include a review of the walls, ceilings, stairs, electrical outlets, sinks, and flooring, among other parts. The appraiser will perform the appraisal in the middle of the home rather than at the start. In order to get a good representation of the home, it is beneficial to appraise the home in the middle of the house rather than starting at the beginning and working up to the end.

What course format do you prefer?

One of the most common questions I hear from prospective appraisers is “which course format do I prefer?” Course format affects how quickly and how much you learn as an appraiser.

You’ll learn about the student appraisal exam development and examine specific questions from the exam over a three-year period. You’ll also learn about various exam content, problem solving techniques, and the history of appraisals.

When you enroll in an educational program, you’ll have the choice of many course formats. Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll need to select a format that best suits your learning style.

Each format you choose has different course requirements and clearly defined skill sets, so make sure to consider all of the details before you make an informed decision about your course format.

For instance, you’ll learn more about the historical roots of the appraisal process in a college-level program. You’ll also learn about the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements for appraisals. You can also attend webinars at your own pace.

Question 4

If you have already worked for 3 years as a real estate appraiser, would you be able to seek compensation for the years you spent getting your designation?

There can be no license for this position. You must pass the national level exam and receive a nationally recognized designation. "Studying for the exam takes several weeks," Russell said. Appraisal training programs, unlike some other areas of study, are not region-specific; you can study for your designation in any state and then become licensed in that state.

There are three major appraisal organizations, two of which have certifications that are nationally recognized. Only the third organization–the American Society of Appraisers, the largest of the three organizations–doesn't have any such designation and only has certifications.

“My personal opinion, based on previous discussion, is that there probably wouldn’t be anything available,'' Russell said.

“The notion of the 24 years of abuse, based on current law, simply would not be a defense,'' said Russell.

The new law, which takes effect in 2015, would not compel the insurance company to reinstate the agent, said Dennis Knaupp, a career agent who is vice president of the Illinois Real Estate Appraisers Association.

“It doesn’t do anything at all to help the agent in any way,'' Knaupp said.

How much money are you willing to spend on an individual appraiser course?

When you’re looking for someone to appraise your house, you’re probably going to rely on a bank, accountant, or immigration lawyer to give you an estimate of a fair market value (FMV). Each of these professionals will have their own definition of “FMV,” but in layman’s terms, it’s the sale price that would be achieved today if the house was put up for sale.

For the most part, that FMV will be based on local real estate trends, prices, and the imagination of another human being. Sometimes the FMV representative will get it right, but often it will be off. For example, this is what some FSBO sellers were being told in 2011 by their appraiser when the appraiser quoted an FMV of just USD 24,438:

You can’t sell your house for that much money.

You’ll probably have to drop your price, or else there’s no way you’ll sell… with that price, you won’t get anything.

Top Three Real Estate Appraiser Course Providers

Some people are naturally gifted with a sixth sense when it comes to math, logic, and analysis. Others are not. That doesn’t mean that a lack of natural ability can’t be compensated for, however. If you’re in need of a job that requires a lot of math and similar analytical skills, as well as being very detail oriented and a good multitasker, you might find the real estate appraiser profession to be quite the match.

If you’re curious about becoming a real estate appraiser, there are a few basic steps that you’ll need to take. First and foremost, you’ll need to spend a few years earning your real estate appraisal license, which we’ll discuss in detail below. Once you’ve gained your license, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree in real estate appraisal. Yet another few years and credentials after that, and you’ll find yourself entering various real estate appraisal training classes and exams.

Review State-specific Coursework Exceptions

The review course for the Real Estate appraisal exam is a combination of the AICP and CIOR coursework. If you are a state licensed appraiser that has taken the AICP, you are eligible to take the CIOR.

The CIOR course requirements are very similar to that of the AICP. The only difference is the core coursework for the ARI Course 1 is a different core course, which is less in depth.

The AICP coursework is also similar to what you would take for the ARI coursework. All state laws are covered.

Both core courses will include required Case Study assignments, therefore you will have to commit 100% to achieve at the highest level of performance.

It is comprised of the following: ARI Course 1: Principles of Real Estate Appraisal, ARI Course 2: Real Estate Appraiser Fieldwork, Fieldwork Experience, and Subject Matter Expertise in Residential

The ARI Course 1 provides the necessary knowledge to be able to determine the reasonableness of the estimated value of a property in a particular market.

This course is divided into the following sections:

Appraisal Techniques:

Appraisers work with a systematic approach to gather and analyze pertinent information to arrive at a value and to support an opinion of fair market value.

Complete 1,000 Hours of Real Estate Work Experience

You’re not going to get a job for real estate work experience without it, but you don’t need a completely new property either. Even if you don’t need to buy or sell a property, you can accomplish plenty of work through short term rental management, lease management, and real estate sales.

Short term rental management: during the process of quickly screening and securing tenants and overseeing the property. You can look at the photos of the property, write up a list of everything that needs replacing or fixing, and screen tenants as well as assign them to the property.

Lease management: You can help local landlords with everything from zoning and inspection to contact with multiple tenants. You can also write up agreements for tenants and even draw up the lease.

Real estate sales: This is a fast growing type of real estate job where you sell houses/pieces of property/land or even get the house on the market. You work with multiple clients and the property management all the while. From this, you get a list of work you have completed during your real estate work experience.

Complete Final College-level Coursework for the Appraiser License

The real estate appraisal profession is a very broad, diverse and demanding one. Real estate appraisers spend large amounts of time in the field gathering data from various sources and applying the knowledge and techniques from their education and professional experience to provide a fair, accurate and unbiased opinion as to the value of real estate properties.

As of February 13th, 2015, The Appraiser Qualifying Examination (AQE), or the California Land Appraiser Qualifying Examination (CA-LACE), is no longer a requirement to apply for a qualifying license to practice as a California real estate appraiser. This is in recognition of the fact that there is no other state or country requiring the AQE.

The California Land Appraiser Qualifying Examination has been developed in order to introduce California real estate appraisers to the laws and practices of the California Appraiser Qualifying Examination. The course materials and examination are designed to reinforce the AQE content that will be covered on the CA-LACE and help ensure preparation and success on the CA-LACE.

Pass the Residential Real Property Appraiser Exam

Submit Your License Application to Get Your Appraiser License

Your State and the US Department of Education determine the levels of education and state exams involved in becoming a licensed real estate appraiser. To learn about the requirements specific to your State, search for the requirements on the National Council of Real Estate Appraisers (NCREA) website. For the requirements for your desired state, contact the State Licensing or Education department for further information. If you hold a certificate from a Department of Education approved institution and wish to evaluate and obtain a State license, you may contact the State Education Department for further information on the requirements, policies for the license and forms.

It’s recommended that you contact the State Education Department directly for specific information and confirmation.

Find Work as a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser

There are lots of different skills that are required when you consider becoming a licensed real estate appraiser. Of course, the first thing that will likely come to mind is how to become a real estate appraiser.

But becoming a licensed real estate appraiser is only step one. There are many steps in the process, and it’s crucial to complete them before you can begin the application process.

Once you’ve completed the first two steps, you can find work as a licensed real estate appraiser.

Upgrade Your License

The education requirements and exam to become a Real Estate Broker are different from those for obtaining a Real Estate Appraiser License.

To become a Real Estate Appraiser, you must hold a college degree from either a US college or university or a Canadian college or university, complete an approved Appraiser Training Course and pass a state or provincial appraiser registration examination.

Appraisers must also a complete an approved Appraiser Continuing Education Course in order to renew their college degree or meet other appraisal requirements.

To become a Real Estate Broker, you must hold a current Real Estate Broker license, complete a 150-hour (120 + 10 Ethics) appraisal education course and pass a state or national broker examination.

When you upgrade to Real Estate Brokers, you’re required to complete a one-day refresher Course in Ethics, and you will be required to pass this Course every three years to maintain your Real Estate Broker license.

The maximum amount of time you can hold the Appraiser license is eight years while the maximum time you are allowed to hold the Broker license is 10 years.

Benefits of Becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser

One of the most important parts of buying or selling real estate is making sure you are getting the most accurate information possible. This is where a real estate appraiser comes into play, someone who is qualified and experienced in real estate, appraising value and determining all the relevant information so the buyer has the right information to make a buying or selling decision.

The most obvious benefit of becoming a certified residential appraiser, here are several others:

The Ability to Help Others: Real estate appraisers help people who may be struggling due to a sudden loss in wealth, whether due to a business failure, divorce, or natural disaster. The appraiser can help them make sense of their current financial position, so they know what they can afford to pay in a transaction, and help them decide how best to proceed.

Making a Living: Appraisers make a living by providing this important service for others, but they run the dangerous risk of being undercut by an unscrupulous appraiser who uses shortcuts to increase their appraised value. You do not want to take that route, you want someone to help you and make your real estate buying and selling experience smooth and as painless as possible.

Benefits of Becoming a Certified General Appraiser

Get Your Property Tax Valuation Done Appraisers value a property’s fair market value (FMV). This is the price that the property would have sold for on the open market. Property taxes are based on this FMV. Appraisers are state and nationally certified. Tax Assessor’s offices hire appraisers to value properties. Your property taxes are based on the FMV you’ve inherited and anything you’ve done to increase or lower its FMV.

Benefits of Appraisal Professionals Not ALL business appraisals are created equal. When we appraise a residential or commercial property we are taking a neutral approach. The property owner will give us key details about what they want an appraiser to value. In addition, they’ll tell us what they think the property is worth, ideas for an increase or decrease, and the government on how much they’re willing to spend on the property tax. In turn, we examine all the data that is given to us and provide our analysis. This is how you target the processes and communications networks to accomplish your goals in the shortest time with the highest quality results.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much money can I make as a real estate appraiser?

Do you ever wonder how much a professional appraiser can earn? Well, admittedly, it can be a lucrative field, as it has many professional working opportunities beyond the obvious real estate appraiser and property tax appraiser positions. In fact, appraisers are needed in many countries all over the world. The stereotypical real estate appraiser is a middle-aged man in a suit and tie, perhaps with a few spare teeth, but that is certainly not the case! Appraisers are employed by housing agencies, the government, mortgage-lenders, retail, universities, insurance companies, and commercial investors, to name just a few. There are even appraisers who specialize in special market areas, such as condominiums, foreclosures, mobile homes, multi-family dwellings, businesses, government, and property tax assessment.

Do you need a degree to be a real estate appraiser?

The answer is no. I know this seems silly, but many people don’t know that appraisers don’t need any college or professional certification in order to be a licensed appraiser.

Every state has different regulations for becoming a licensed appraiser. The most common requirements are minimum GPA requirements, a degree and certain experience. You are expected to have several certifications or licenses before you are allowed to practice as a real estate appraiser.

Appraisers have to earn different ratings or certifications from the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), which requires appraisers to have at least a 3.0 college GPA, while others may require a degree. In some cases, you can be trained to become a state certified appraiser within a year of passing your state’s test.

On the other hand, some states are lenient and don’t require certifications. In these states, you just need to pass a background check, pay the required fees and generally have experience in the real estate market.

Do real estate appraiser trainees get paid?

What is the best school for real estate appraisal training?

Bottom Line

If you are a real estate appraiser and interested in moving to the US then you should be aware of the various requirements to become a US real estate appraiser.

There is a way you can work in your country and become a US appraiser. So in the end you can migrate but you should know there are certain requirements you need to fulfill.

This article discusses the certification and licensing requirements for becoming a US real estate appraiser and explains what you need to do to become a US real estate appraiser.

Below you’ll find an overview of what you can expect as a US real estate appraiser including the certification and licensing requirements and how you can become a US real estate appraiser.