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6 Steps To Become a Certified Appraiser

6 Steps To Become a Certified Appraiser

If you have ever dealt with buying or selling various types of property, you should be aware of what an appraiser is and their role in the process. If this job title makes no sense to you, but you are here, reading this blog post, this occupation must have intrigued you. Since the role of an appraiser is rather essential, it’s not that easy to enter and conquer this business straightaway. So, keep reading our article to learn about the six steps one should take if they are interested in becoming a demanded appraiser in the property market. And also frequently asked questions to dispel the rest of your doubts regarding this profession and the career path it implies.

What an appraiser is

An appraiser is a specialist who provides a fair and unbiased financial evaluation of properties for sale. Appraisers often cooperate with mortgage creditors. Their main task is to provide the relevant market value of a property based on specific criteria, including the size of a building itself, the land area, the overall condition, income potential, and the location. There is a list of situations in which an appraiser might be involved:

  • Tax assessments
  • Property price negotiation
  • Mortgage issues or lease agreement
  • Foreclosure (on behalf of a bank)
  • Acquisition of private property

Appraising specialties to choose from

No doubt, once you’ve heard about appraising, the first specialty that is highly likely to pop up in your mind is real estate appraiser. However, the list is hardly limited to this one. Check out other options within the appraising career path one may consider specializing in:

  • Commercial property appraiser: Provides market evaluation for existing commercial properties or those in the development process.
  • Litigation appraiser: Estimates the cost of personal property in cases of divorce, insurance dispute, or fraud.
  • Agricultural appraiser: Estimating the cost of land or agricultural properties, including livestock and equipment.
  • Complex property appraiser: Estimating the values of homes or units within a residential complex.
  • Review appraiser: In case you’re an appraising expert, you can review the accuracy and transparency of other appraisers’ work.
  • Business valuation: Estimating the economic worth of a business, also recapitalization, providing an opinion on future earnings projections, and identifying business risks.

6 steps to becoming a reputable property appraiser

We’ve developed a six-step guide for those who don’t know what to start with but want to become licensed property appraisers.

1. Meet basic educational requirements

In this field, without special education can not do. Firstly, a soon-to-be property appraiser has to take a 60-hour course on preliminary knowledge. The course normally comprises two big units: basic appraisal principles and procedures.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, property appraisers do have to acquire a degree after graduating from high school. Not only does it influence your chances of being hired, but also the level of remuneration. We have made up a list of related degrees that will help you to pave the way in real estate appraisal and build a career as a professional appraiser:

  • Bachelor of Science in Real Estate
  • Bachelor of Real Estate
  • Associate of Arts in Real Estate Studies
  • Associate of Science Real Estate Appraisal
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Finance
  • Associate of Real Estate

2. Take up a trainee program

Practice makes perfect! That’s why practice learning experience is the first step in the Appraiser Trainee program. It includes 15 hours of Universal Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice or USPAP. Under no circumstances should you forget to keep records of your training hours – they are crucial for the completion. Each participant gets a so-called mentor, or an appraisal trainer, who is always there for you to help and clarify various subtleties of the job. A person can become an appraisal trainer only if they are federally classified as a licensed residential appraiser.

Besides this, there are other federal classifications for appraisers:

  • Licensed Trainee Appraiser: 75 hours of basic education, including basic appraisal principles (30 hours), basic appraisal procedures (30 hours), and USPAP (15 hours). No examination or experience is required. They appraise properties that the state-certified Supervisory Appraiser is permitted to evaluate.
  • Licensed Residential Appraiser: 30 semester hours of college-level courses, 150 hours of coursework, and 1,000 hours of experience (but not fewer than 6 months). They appraise one-to-four residential units under $1,000,000 and complex one-to-four residential units under $400,000.
  • Certified Residential Appraiser: They can appraise one-to-four residential units regardless of value or complexity. For that, you need 200 hours of coursework with a Bachelor’s degree and 2,500 hours of working experience (in no fewer than 1 year).
  • Certified General Appraiser: They are allowed to appraise all types of residential units, regardless of their value or complexity. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree, 300 hours of coursework, 3,000 hours of experience (in no less than 1,5 years), plus 1,500 hours in non-residential work.

3. Take a trainee exam

Having completed 15 hours of professional appraisal practice, you’re most likely ready to take the exam. The Appraiser Trainee Exam might differ from state to state, depending on state laws regarding real estate issues. After you pass the exam and log 15 hours of your Universal Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice, you become a lucky holder of the ‘Licensed Trainee Appraiser’ title in your state. This is the beginning of your bright future in property appraisal.

4. Meet additional educational requirements

Of course, having accomplished 60 hours of introductory educational courses and 15 hours of USPAP, you will not stop and will strive to work without supervision. It would help if you moved beyond the ‘trainee’ stage to achieve that. For that, you’ll need to meet your state’s educational requirements. However, there are some similarities: classes on residential sales comparison, collecting data and writing reports, residential market analysis, and site valuation.

5. Log 1,000 hours of apprenticeship

A standard Residential Appraiser license requires 1000 hours of practical experience to reach the next level. After you’ve become a Licensed Trainee Appraiser, you’re allowed to work under your mentor or manager’s supervision and guidance. Here starts the real journey! It may be complicated and stressful at the beginning, even overwhelming due to loads of new information. You should be ready, but, as the saying goes, the road by walking. And one more thing, you cannot forget to keep records of your apprenticeship hours – you are obliged to send the official log to your state as an integral part of the national certification program.

6. Pass the SLREA or NULC exam

There are two exams to pass if you want to acquire official standard residential licensing:

  • The State Licensed Residential Real Property Appraiser exam (the SLREA). It is administrated by each state. Therefore, requirements and scoring may vary.
  • The National Uniform Licensing and Certification exam (the NULC). It is also administrated by each state; however, the requirements are the same for all conditions.

Let’s focus on the NULC:

  • Three credential options: a Licensed Residential Examination, a Certified Residential Examination, and a Certified General Examination.
  • Four to six hours long. The Licensed and Certified Residential Examination takes four hours, and the Certified General Examination takes six hours to accomplish.
  • 125 questions on the test. There are 125 questions in total. However, 15 are practice, and they don’t severely affect a person’s score.
  • A passing score is 75 points. The maximum number of points a participant can score is 110. However, to pass the exam, you need to get 75.
  • Several attempts are available. Each participant is given three attempts to pass the examination.

Frequently asked questions about becoming an appraiser

To clarify the issue thoroughly, we’ve answered 5 frequently asked questions about becoming a licensed property appraiser:

Is a college degree required to become an appraiser?

To become a licensed property appraiser, you don’t need a degree. Instead, you must accomplish at least a 30-hour semester at a higher educational institution for standard residential licensure. To become a certified general property appraiser, you need to obtain a college degree, like an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree.

How long does it take to get a license to work in property appraisal?

If we talk about the 30-hour semester at college, it usually takes one academic year. Regarding the Universal Standard of Professional Appraisal Practice and the 1,000 hours of working experience, it mostly depends on the person and the pace at which they are ready to work. However, there is a minimum time frame of six months to one year, depending on the state.

What is the salary of the average property appraiser?

The average salary of a property appraiser stands at $62k per year. But generally, the range varies between $14,000 and $142,000 per year. The difference is due to the full-time and part-time employment and the license type.

What does TAF stand for, and how does it connect to appraisals?

TAF is the abbreviation for The Appraisal Foundation. It has been authorized by Congress as the official source for appraisal qualifications. Its primary mission is to protect the interests of consumers and the US economy. Visit their website to find all the necessary information about USPAP courses and updates on individual state regulations.

Can my Residential Appraiser license expire?

Yes, unfortunately, it can. At the national level, credentials should be renewed every two years. There is a special National USPAP update or refresher course. Besides that, keep in mind that states may also have their own standards for updating the appraisal license.

Date: 19 October 2022
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