Is becoming a real estate appraiser right for me?
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How to become a Real Estate Appraiser
Becoming a real estate appraiser involves a series of steps to gain the necessary education, experience, and licensure. Here's a general outline of how to become a real estate appraiser:
- Meet Basic Requirements: You need to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be a legal US resident to pursue a career as a real estate appraiser.
- Determine Appraiser Level: There are different levels of real estate appraiser licenses based on the complexity and value of properties you can appraise. See below for more details.
- Education Requirements: The educational requirements vary depending on the appraiser level you wish to achieve. Generally, you'll need to complete specific real estate appraisal courses approved by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB). These courses cover topics such as appraisal principles, procedures, and USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice).
- Gain Experience: To become a licensed or certified appraiser, you need to accumulate a certain number of hours of experience under the guidance of a certified appraiser mentor. The required hours vary based on the appraiser level you're aiming for.
- Complete Education and Experience Hours: Fulfill the required education and experience hours as outlined by your chosen appraiser level. Keep track of your hours and maintain accurate records.
- Pass Examination: After completing the education and experience requirements, you'll need to pass a state-approved appraiser examination for your chosen level. The exam tests your understanding of appraisal principles, practices, and regulations.
- Apply for Appraiser License: Once you've met the education, experience, and examination requirements, you can apply for a real estate appraiser license through your state's regulatory agency. Submit the necessary application forms, documentation, and fees.
- Background Check: Many states require a background check as part of the licensing process to ensure you meet ethical and legal standards.
- Receive License: After meeting all requirements and successfully passing the examination, you'll receive your real estate appraiser license. This allows you to legally conduct appraisals within your licensed level.
- Continuing Education: To maintain your appraiser license, you'll need to complete continuing education courses regularly. These courses ensure you stay updated on industry trends, regulations, and best practices.
- Appraiser Organizations: Consider joining professional organizations like the Appraisal Institute or the American Society of Appraisers. These organizations offer networking opportunities, resources, and educational events to help you excel in your career.
- Specialize (Optional): Depending on your interests, you might choose to specialize in a specific type of property appraisal, such as residential, commercial, industrial, or agricultural properties.
Real Estate Appraiser Levels
In the US, there are four primary levels of real estate appraisers, each representing a different level of education, experience, and specialization. These levels are established by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) and regulatory agencies in each state. Here are the levels of real estate appraisers:
- Trainee Appraiser: The Trainee Appraiser level is the starting point for individuals aspiring to become certified appraisers. Trainees are required to complete a specific number of education hours and gain practical experience under the supervision of a certified appraiser. Trainees assist in property inspections, research, data collection, and other appraisal-related tasks to develop their skills and knowledge.
- Licensed Residential Appraiser: After completing the necessary education and experience requirements, individuals can become Licensed Residential Appraisers. These appraisers are qualified to appraise non-complex residential properties with up to four units and with a transaction value under a certain threshold. Licensed Residential Appraisers can perform appraisals for various purposes, including mortgage lending, property tax assessment, and real estate transactions.
- Certified Residential Appraiser: Certified Residential Appraisers have fulfilled higher education and experience requirements than Licensed Residential Appraisers. They are qualified to appraise residential properties of all complexities and values. Certified Residential Appraisers can also conduct appraisals for multi-family properties and are often involved in more complex real estate transactions.
- Certified General Appraiser: Certified General Appraisers have the highest level of qualification and experience. They can appraise all types of real property, including residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties, regardless of complexity or value. Certified General Appraisers are often involved in appraising properties for eminent domain cases, litigation, investment analysis, and other specialized purposes.