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!