Category Archives: Appraiser License

How to Become an Appraiser in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is the state appraisal board for Michigan that promotes business growth and job creation through streamlined, fair, and efficient regulation while at the same time, protecting the health and safety of its citizens. There are currently 2,668 appraisers that are actively licensed in Michigan.

Here’s the breakdown by license level:

Certified General (CG)
Certified Residential (CR)
Licensed Residential (LR)

 

40%
40%
20%

Short Answer

  1. Complete a total of 154 hours of qualifying appraisal courses
  2. Apply to become a Limited Appraiser (Trainee)
  3. Acquire 1,000 hours of experience with a certified appraiser
  4. Pass the state exam
  5. Upgrade to the Licensed Residential (LR) license

From start to finish, it takes about 9 months to 15 months.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • Applicants will need to be 18 years or older and of good moral character.
  • There is no longer any college requirement to get licensed.

1. Fulfill Education Requirements

There’s going to be a total of 154 hours of required appraisal education you’ll have to complete to be fully licensed.

They are split up into two parts: 79 hours and 75 hours. The first 79 hours allows you to become a Limited Appraiser, and then you’ll have to complete the other 75 hours to upgrade to the Licensed Residential (LR) license.   

The first 79 hours consists of:

30-Hour Basic Appraisal Principles
30-Hour Basic Appraisal Procedures
4-Hour Supervisor/Trainee course
15-Hour National USPAP Course

The last 75 hours are:

15-Hour Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use
15-Hour Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach
15-Hour Residential Report Writing and Case Studies
30-Hour Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches

If you take them online, you’ll be required to be logged in for a minimum of 128.33 total hours for a 154 hour program. In other words, for every 1 course hour, you have to log 50 “classroom” minutes.

There’s no restriction on how many hours you can do in a day

Proctors

Online schools will require a proctor on the final exams. This is a person that watches you take the exam and then certifies that it was you taking it (not an impersonator) and that you didn’t cheat on the test.

It may seem a little nerve-wracking to have someone else present, but you’ll get over it quickly. You’ll be so focused on answering the questions that you’ll forget that they are even there.

Not anybody can be your proctor. People who live in the same house or family members will not qualify to be your proctor.

You have a variety of options to choose from: public libraries, colleges/universities, members of the clergy, military officers, and online proctoring companies.

There’s a fee of about $20 to $40 per test if you choose online proctors, but they are the most convenient option because you can take it from home. The proctors will monitor you via webcam. The two most well-known online proctoring services are ProctorU and Examity.

How Much Does It Cost?

There are live courses and online courses. I personally chose to take an online program because it is usually cheaper and self-paced. Some online programs also have payment plans available.

No matter what you choose, you’ll be looking at investing over $1,000 on appraisal education alone.

2. Apply to Become a Limited Appraiser (Trainee)

You can submit your Limited Real Estate Appraiser Application either online or by mail.  The application fee is $160.

3. Acquire 1,000 Hours of Experience with a Certified Appraiser (Supervisor)

Once you have the minimum 79 hours of qualifying education done, you’ll need to find a mentor who will show you how to do the actual appraisal. They will need to have a current Certified Residential (CR) or Certified General (CG) license.

There are a lot of different ways to find one. You can try contacting Appraisal Management Companies (AMC) or banks to see if they’re hiring.

If you’re like most people though, you’ll need to contact an independent appraiser. You can search through LARA’s database of appraisers to find one here. It allows you to filter down by city and county.

You can also read about what worked for me and how I was able to find one here.

You’ll have to keep track of your hours on this worksheet, and your supervisor will have to sign off on it. Don’t make the same mistake I did and procrastinate on this. I waited until the end to log my hours and it was a nightmare shuffling through all the paperwork. 

Do Limited Appraisers (trainees) get paid?

Limited Appraisers typically get paid, but not very much. Licensed appraisers are paid per appraisal report, so they will usually split the fee with the trainee.

There is no industry standard on the fee-split, so it really depends on your relationship with your supervisor. If they’re giving you a 30% to 50% split, that is considered extremely good, and you should jump on it. Remember, as a trainee, getting the experience is the #1 priority (not the pay), so you can build a long-term career.

If you’re having trouble finding a supervisor, you can use this to negotiate. You can offer to pay for your supervisor’s continuing education courses, or you can offer to work for free for a couple of months.

4. Pass the State Exam

Before you take the state exam, you’ll have to submit your Real Estate Appraiser License Application online or by mail. There’s a $35 application fee.

Once approved, you’ll be able to schedule your exam.

LARA has contracted with the testing company called PSI Exams. They have locations all over the country, so it’ll be very easy to find a time and place that’s convenient for you. You can schedule your exam appointment online.

You have 4 hours to answer 125 multiple-choice questions. The passing score is 75% or better. The fee to take the state exam is $126.

5. Upgrade to Licensed Residential (LR)

When you’ve successfully completed all 154 hours of education, obtained at least 1,000 hours of experience, and passed the state exam, simply go to your account on LARA’s website to finish your license application.

Basically, that means you just need to pay the final application fee of $175.

Congratulations! You’re officially a state-licensed appraiser in Michigan!

How to Become an Appraiser in California

The Bureau of Real Estate Appraiser (BREA) is California’s state appraisal board that safeguards public trust by promoting professionalism in the appraisal industry through licensing, education, and enforcement. There are currently 9,609 appraisers that are actively licensed in California.

Here’s the breakdown by license level:

Certified General (CG)
Certified Residential (CR)
Licensed Residential (LR)

 

31%
57%
12%

Short Answer

  1. Complete 158 hours of qualifying appraisal courses
  2. Apply for a Trainee’s license (AT)
  3. Acquire 2,000 hours of experience with a certified appraiser
  4. Pass the state exam
  5. Upgrade to the Licensed Residential (LR) license

From start to finish, it takes about 15 months to 24 months.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • Applicants will need to be 18 years or older.
  • There is no college requirement to get licensed

1. Fulfill Education Requirements

The BREA requires you to take more courses than other states (not by much though). You’ll need to complete a total of 158 hours of education. These courses include:

4-Hour California Laws and Regulations
4-Hour Supervisor/Trainee course
15-Hour Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use
15-Hour Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach
15-Hour Residential Report Writing and Case Studies
15-Hour National USPAP Course
30-Hour Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches
30-Hour Basic Appraisal Principles
30-Hour Basic Appraisal Procedures

All of the courses require seat time, which means you have to log time being online. You are allowed to finish a little early. At a minimum, you have to log at least 50 minutes online for every 60 classroom minutes, which is a least 131.67 cumulative hours logged online for a 158-hour program.

Proctors

BREA requires the course final exams to be proctored. A proctor is someone who monitors you during the test to verify it’s you taking the test (and not someone else). Generally, they’re there to make sure there’s no cheating going on.

Fortunately, there are all types of proctors available. You can find proctoring services at your local college and public universities. Clergy members and military officers are also options.

My personal recommendation is the public library because they are usually free.

There are also online proctoring services. This is the most convenient option but there’s a fee of $20 to $40 per test attempt. You can take the test from home and they will watch you through a webcam. ProctorU and Examity are the biggest ones out there.

How Much Does It Cost?

Getting into appraisal is definitely not cheap. You really have to be serious about turning this into a career. Online programs range from $1,000 to $2,000 for the first 158 hours of pre-licensing education.

2. Apply for a Trainee License

This part is easy. Simply download the Initial Application License form and send it to the BREA along with the $555 license fee.

There is a quick background check done through Live Scan fingerprinting. This is a quick and painless process. It only took me about 5 minutes and cost $20 when I got mine done. Law enforcement agencies such as police stations usually have the cheapest prices but are only available during regular business hours.

You’ll also need to include your course certificates from the 158 hours of appraisal education on the Education Attachment.

You won’t need to take a state exam to get obtain the Trainee License.

3. Obtain 2,000 Hours of Experience

This is the biggest obstacle that most people will encounter when pursuing an appraiser’s license. You’ll need to find a certified appraiser who will be your mentor and show you exactly how to do an appraisal report.

There are a number of places that you can go to find a supervisor, and you can work with as many supervisors as you want.

You’ll want to first reach out to your own network of friends and family first.

Another great source is to check with Appraisal Management Companies (AMC) in your area to see if they’re hiring. You can search for AMCs registered with the BREA here.

If you’re like most people and don’t have any contacts in the appraisal industry, you can search for one easily on the BREA’s website. They keep a directory of all licensed appraisers with their phone numbers. You can even filter down to the county and city.

You can read about my tips about how I was able to find a supervisory appraiser here.  

Once you find one and start working, you’ll want to make sure you log your experience hours on this worksheet. I wouldn’t recommend waiting until the end to track all your hours. Otherwise, there’s going to be a ton of paperwork to shuffle through at the end, and it’ll be a very tedious process.

How much do trainees get paid?

This is negotiated between you and the supervisor. You’ll typically receive a fee split on the appraisal report fee and get paid per report. (Because that’s when the appraiser gets paid)

A typical appraisal report brings in about $400 to $600.

You should feel free to get creative and use this as a bargaining chip when trying to find a supervisor. I’ve heard of people offering to work for free for 90 days while other Trainees ask for a flat 30% cut on every report. Another thing that I’ve seen work is offering to pay for your supervisor’s continuing education courses.

Personally, I wouldn’t focus on the money. I’d focus on getting the experience. 

4. Pass the State Exam

After you complete the education requirements and finish acquiring the 2,000 hours of experience, you’re ready to take the state exam.

The state exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You have 4 hours to score a 75% or better. The BREA has contracted with the testing service AMP to administer the exam, which has a fee of $105.

You’ll have to drive to one of the following exam locations in California: Chino, Fresno, Irvine, Long Beach, Glendale, Van Nuys, Modesto, Monrovia, Palm Springs, Upland, Sacramento, San Diego (La Mesa), San Francisco, San Jose, or Santa Maria.

If you’re wondering how tough the state exam is, it appears to be getting easier over the years—at least the pass rates have been trending higher.

Source: The Appraisal Foundation

5. Upgrade to a Licensed Residential (LR) license

This is the easiest step. 

Once you have all your education requirements, trainee hours, and pass the state exam, you simply need to send in the Upgrade Application and pay the $210 application fee.

Congratulations! You’re officially a state-licensed appraiser in California!

Renewing Your License

For some reason, the appraisal regulators like to make the renewal process confusing, so you may need to read this a couple of times:

Your appraiser’s license is good for 4 years, but you have to complete and submit continuing education every 2 years.

You have to complete the 7 hour USPAP course by your 2nd year and 49 hours by your 4th year. The 49 hours must include another 7 hour USPAP course and a 4 hour California Laws and Regulations course.

This means that you are doing 56 total hours of continuing education over your 4 year license term.

If you want to check your renewal status and which education cycle you’re on, you can go here.

How to Become an Appraiser in Texas

The Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board (TALCB) is the state appraisal board for Texas that provides education and licensing services as well as regulation and enforcement of state and federal laws that govern real property appraisals. There are currently 5,252 appraisers that are actively licensed in Texas.

Here’s the breakdown by license level:

Certified General (CG)
Certified Residential (CR)
Licensed Residential (LR)

 

40%
46%
8%

Short Answer

  1. Complete a total of 154 hours of qualifying appraisal courses
  2. Find a supervisory appraiser
  3. Apply for the trainee license
  4. Acquire 1,000 hours of experience with a certified appraiser
  5. Pass the state exam
  6. Upgrade to the Licensed Residential (LR) license

From start to finish, it takes about 9 months to 15 months.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements

  • Applicants will need to be 18 years or older.
  • Be a legal resident of Texas for at least 60 days before filling your license application
  • Meet TALCB’s standards for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity

There is no longer any college requirement to get licensed.

1. Fulfill Education Requirements

You’re going to have to take 154 total hours of qualifying appraisal courses.

They are split up into two parts: 79 hours and 75 hours. You start with the 79 hours, and then can do the remaining 75 hours at any time before upgrading to LR.

The first 79 hours consists of:

30-Hour Basic Appraisal Principles
30-Hour Basic Appraisal Procedures
4-Hour Supervisor/Trainee course
15-Hour National USPAP Course

The last 75 hours are:

15-Hour Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use
15-Hour Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach
15-Hour Residential Report Writing and Case Studies
30-Hour Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches

If you do them online, you’ll be required to be logged in for at least 50 minutes online for every course hour. That translates to being online for a minimum of 128.33 cumulative hours for a 154 hour program.

You can study as many hours in a day that you want, so the more hours you can fit in a day, the sooner you will be able to finish.

Proctors

Texas requires all course finals to be proctored. A proctor is someone that will vouch for you that there wasn’t any cheating involved during the exam. They will have to be present and will monitor you during the exam.

There are some restrictions on who can qualify to be a proctor, such as family members, employees (if you own a business), or people who live under the same roof.

There are a lot of options these days, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one.

I used proctors at public libraries because they’re free.

There are also proctors available at public universities and colleges. If you’re a part of a church, pastors and other church officials will qualify. Also officers in the military can help with proctoring.

Most people will go with a company that offers online proctoring services such as ProctorU and Examity.

You pay them about $20 to $40 per test, but you can take the exam at home. They will have someone watch you during the test through a webcam.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

I recommend choosing an online program as they are the most cost effective. No matter which appraisal program you go with, it will easily cost over $1,000 for the full 154 hours of required education. Some schools offer payment plans.

2. Find a Supervisory Appraiser

After you complete the 79 hours of appraisal education, you’ll need to find a supervisory appraiser who holds either a Certified Residential or Certified General license in good standing.

This will most likely be the biggest challenge you’ll encounter. You can read about how I was able to find my supervisory appraiser here.

Your supervisor is responsible to TALCB and to the public for your conduct while you’re a trainee and is required to sign off on all your appraisal reports.

3. Apply for the Trainee License

Once you have chosen your supervisor, you can submit your trainee application online or by mail. There is a $20 paper filling fee if you apply by mail.

There’s a $300 application fee and you’ll also need to get your fingerprints taken by MorphoTrust for a background check.

You’re required by law to have fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

4. Obtain 1,000 Hours of Experience

Your supervisory appraiser will be teaching you the ins and outs on how to write an actual appraisal report.

You’ll have to log your hours for each job and they’ll have to sign off on it.

Something unique to Texas is that the TALCB will actually give you feedback on your work file prior to sending in the final application. You can send your work file for review to TALCB after you’ve completed 500 hours and 1,000 hours along with a $75 processing fee. They will audit it for you and identify any deficiencies, so that your future appraisals will be perfect!

Do trainees get paid?

Yes! How much you get paid will vary person-to-person. It’s really up to you and your supervisor. However, you’ll most likely get paid per appraisal report (because that’s when the appraiser gets paid too).

You can use this as an incentive and find creative ways of attracting a supervisor appraiser. I’ve heard people offering to pay for their mentor’s CE courses or working with no pay for the first month or two.

In my personal opinion, it’s more important to focus on getting the experience rather than a paycheck.  You can worry about how much you’ll make after you get licensed.

5. Pass the State Exam

When you’ve got all your education and experience requirements done, you’re ready to apply for the state exam. TALCB has contracted with the independent testing company called Pearson VUE to administer the exam. They have locations all over Texas, so it’ll be very easy to find one that’s close to you. You can schedule an exam date here.

The examination fee is $54. You have a maximum of 4 hours to answer 125 questions. You need a passing score of 75% or better.

Fortunately, they appear to be making the state exam easier. According to The Appraisal Foundation, the average pass rate for Licensed Residential (LR) was 67% in 2017 (compared to 43% in 2013). 

6. Upgrade to Licensed Residential (LR)

This is the easiest step.

After you pass the state exam, simply file the application for Licensed Residential (LR) license either online or by mail along with the $350 application fee.

Congratulations! You’re officially a state-licensed appraiser in Texas!

Renewing Your License

Your license expires every 2 years from the initial date you were licensed.

To keep it active, TALCB requires that you complete 28 hours of Appraiser Continuing Education (ACE) courses every two years. This will need to include a 7 hour USPAP course and the renewal fee of $290.

You’re not allowed to repeat the same courses within a two year period.

You can work on your continuing education at any time during your two year cycle. However, you will have to wait until 90 days before your expiration date to turn in the certificates.

You can turn in the certificates online or by mail. I recommend renewing online because if you mail it in there is a $20 paper filing fee and it takes longer.

How to Become an Appraiser in Washington

The Department of Licensing (DOL) is Washington’s state appraisal board that oversees the laws and regulations to obtain and maintain an appraiser’s license. There are currently about 2,600 appraisers that are actively licensed in Washington.

Here’s the breakdown by license level:

Certified General (CG)
Certified Residential (CR)
Licensed Residential (LR)

 

38%
56%
6%

Short Answer

  1. Complete 154 total hours of qualifying appraisal courses
  2. Find and register a supervisory appraiser
  3. Apply for the Trainee license
  4. Acquire 2,000 hours of experience with a certified appraiser
  5. Pass the state exam
  6. Upgrade to the Licensed Residential (LR) license

From start to finish, it takes about 18 to 24 months.

Long Answer

Basic Requirements:

  • Applicants will need to be 18 years or older.
  • There is no longer any college requirement to get licensed.

1. Fulfill Education Requirements

You’re going to eventually be required to complete 154 total hours of appraisal education. You can take them all upfront if you want, or you can break them up into two parts (79 hours and 75 hours).

Here’s the first half of qualifying appraisal courses (79 hours):

30-Hour Basic Appraisal Principles
30-Hour Basic Appraisal Procedures
4-Hour Supervisor/Trainee course
15-Hour National USPAP Course

Here’s the second half of qualifying appraisal courses (75 hours):

15-Hour Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use
15-Hour Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach
15-Hour Residential Report Writing and Case Studies
30-Hour Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches

These courses will require that you be logged in for at least 50 minutes online for every course hour. That translates to being logged online for a minimum of 128.33 cumulative hours for a 154 hour program.

There’s no limit to how many hours you can do in a day, so how fast you complete these courses will really depend on how many hours of studying you can fit per day.

Proctors

The DOL requires the final exams to have a proctor. This is a person that watches you while you take the exam to make sure there isn’t any cheating happening and that it’s really you taking the test.

A proctor cannot be someone who is related to you by blood, living in the same place as you, and can’t be one of your employees (if you’re a business owner).

You have a number of options for proctoring:

  • ProctorU and Examity are two of the largest companies that offer online proctoring services. They charge around $20 to $40 per exam, but the nice thing is you can take the exams from home. You’ll have to setup a webcam where they can monitor you during the test.
  • My personal favorite is to use public libraries because they’re usually free.
  • Another good option is colleges and public universities. I’ve also heard you can use members of the clergy and military officers.

If you’re not sure if someone is eligible to be a proctor, feel free to contact the DOL directly to make sure.

 

How Much Does It Cost?

The total cost of getting all 154 hours of appraisal courses will easily be over $1,000.

However, you do have the option to break them up into two halves, which allows you to spread the cost over time as well.

2. Find a Supervisory Appraiser

After you complete the 79 hours of appraisal education, you’ll need to find a supervisory appraiser so that you can start to acquire your experience hours.

This is the biggest hurdle that aspiring appraisers will face. You can read about how I was able to find my supervisory appraiser here.

You cannot begin obtaining your experience hours until your supervisor is registered and approved by the DOL.

You supervisory appraiser must meet all of the following:

  • Be a Certified General or Certified Residential appraiser for at least 3 years
  • Be in good standing for 3 years prior to registering as a supervisor
  • Have no more than 3 trainees who have less than 1 year of experience simultaneously
  • Complete the 4 hour Supervisory/Trainee course

If your supervisor gets disciplined while you’re a trainee, your experience may not count anymore.

3. Apply for the Trainee License

Once you have your Supervisor, you’ll send the Real Estate Appraiser Trainee Registration Application along with your course certificates and a $200 application fee.

It takes about two weeks for them to finish processing your application. Once approved, you initial license will expired on the second birthday from the date issue and every 2 years for a maximum of 2 renewals.

4. Acquire 2,000 hours of Experience

Once you’re ready to begin working as a trainee, you’ll need to log your work in chronological date order. The supervisor will have to sign off on each page to vouch for you.

You won’t get any credit for doing restricted appraisal reports.

If you’re like most people doing non-mass appraisal assignments, you’ll need to use this worksheet Real Estate Appraiser Applicant/Trainee Experience Log.

For mass appraisals, you need to log your work on a different worksheet. You’ll need to use the Real Estate Assessors Mass Appraisal Experience Log.

How much do trainees get paid?

There is no industry standard on compensation. It’s really up to you and your supervisor. However, you’ll most likely get paid per appraisal report (because that’s when the appraiser gets paid too).

This is where you can get creative and use this as an incentive for getting a certified appraiser to take you on as a trainee. Some trainees will offer to pay for their supervisor’s continuing education. I’ve heard some people work for free for the first 30 days.

In my experience, the best approach is to focus on getting the experience, not getting paid. This is training for you so that you can build an entire career from it.

5. Pass the State Exam

When you’ve got all your education and experience requirements done, you’re ready to apply for the state exam. You’ll send the Real Estate Appraiser Certification Application along with a $370 application fee to the DOL.  The application fee is non-refundable.

Once you’re approved by the DOL, you’ll take the state exam at one of Applied Measurement Professionals testing centers. They’re a national testing company so it’s very easy to find a time that’s convenient for you. You can make an appointment online at www.goamp.com

They have testing centers in Bellevue, East Wenatchee, Everett, Kennewick, Spokane, Tacoma, and Yakima.

The state exam fee is $105. It consists of 125 multiple choice questions with a passing score is 75% or higher.

Fortunately, the state exam appears to be getting easier over the years. According to The Appraisal Foundation, the average pass rate for Licensed Residential (LR) was 67% in 2017 (compared to 43% in 2013). 

6. Upgrade to Licensed Residential (LR)

This is the easiest step.

After you pass the state exam, you just need to send the following to the DOL:

  • A copy of your Notice of Approval letter
  • A copy of your passing score report from the exam vendor
  • Payment of $250 for the certification fee by check or money order

Congratulations! You’re officially a state-licensed appraiser in Washington!

Renewing Your License

Your license expires every 2 years on your birthday.

To keep it active, the DOL requires that you complete 28 hours of continuing education every two years (including a 7 hour USPAP course) and pay the renewal fee.

You can complete the continuing education courses at any time during your 2-year cycle. However, you’ll have to wait until 120 days before your license expires to turn in the certificates.

You can now submit your certificates and renew online here.