Top 3 Appraisal Schools in Michigan

If are trying to find a good school to obtain a real estate appraiser’s license for the state of Michigan, then you have come to the right place.

Before we start looking at any education provider, we need to first make sure that the school is approved by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). They are the state agency that sets the education requirements for appraisers. They also handle all licensing affairs and enforce the regulations through disciplinary action if necessary.

Once we have a list of approved schools, we can narrow the list down further to see which ones are the best. Truthfully, there is no “one size fits all” school. Every program comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. After extensively researching different programs, here are my top 3 recommendations for obtaining an appraiser’s license in Michigan that should be able to cover anyone’s learning needs.

Hondros College

Hondros College | Appraiser License

75-Hour Package Price $799

Hondros College is a growing online school that has programs in real estate, appraisal, home inspection, and insurance. They have had a presence in the education industry for over 40 years and offer programs in all 50 US states. They have enrolled over 500,000 students in both the classroom and online courses.

Hondros College used to develop the courses and offer them through a secondary provider. However, they have been taking the initiative to work more directly with students. What this means is they can offer these same courses at a lower cost to the student. In fact, they have one of the cheapest programs in the market.

To satisfy the Michigan state education requirements, you will need to enroll in their 75-hour National Trainee Package. You are given up to 6 months from the time of enrollment to complete the program. This format of the content is text-based, so it is just like reading a book on the website. You can move at your own pace and access your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The LARA requires seat-time on these courses, so you will have to be online for all 75 hours.

If you need any help while you are taking the course, they do have support to help you with any IT issues or account management. However, if you have questions about the course content, their instructor support is limited to email only. They will respond back to you within the next business day.

What really impressed me with Hondros College was their exam prep called CompuCram. It boasts an 86.5% pass rate for first-time test-takers. That is significantly higher than the national average pass rate of 67%. It gives students access to online flashcards, fill-in-the-blanks, and matching tools to test their knowledge and learn. There is an “overall readiness” indicator that tracks your progress and lets you know when you are ready to take the actual exam. CompuCram is also mobile-friendly, so you can take a couple of practice test questions the next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store.

Best suited for: the Budget Shopper

Hondros College has been investing a lot in improving their programs recently and it shows. It would be nicer if they provided more robust options in terms of instructor support. However, with an industry-best 86.5% pass rate on the state exams and the lowest prices on the market, Hondros College has made their online appraisal program hard to pass up.

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McKissock Learning

Packages start at $899.99

McKissock Learning is the largest appraisal school in the country. Since 1990, they have helped over2 million people in the real estate industry satisfy their pre-license and continuing education courses. They have classrooms, live webinars, and online courses. However, all qualifying education is only available in the online format.  

McKissock Learning’s Michigan appraisal qualifying education courses have earned an average rating of 4.33 out of 5 stars, based off 338 customer surveys. If you are not 100% convinced in their courses, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you do not like what you are seeing, you can get all of your money back within 7 days of signing up.

McKissock Learning offers 3 flexible ways of getting started:

Qualifying Education (QE) Unlimited Learning Subscription – This is a new program that they began offering. This program is actually a fantastic deal because it includes all of the online qualifying education (up to Certified General). Plus, it provides access to video tutorials, monthly webinars, appraisal community, and partner discounts. This is an annual subscription, so you will automatically get charged every year. However, you should be able to finish the courses within a year, so you can just cancel the subscription before it renews again.

79-hour Trainee (TR) Get Started Package – This package consists of the required 4 online appraisal courses to get licensed in Michigan. The classes are text-based, and you are given one year to complete the program. There is an interest-free payment plan available for up to 4 months with this package.

79-hour Trainee (TR) Advanced Pro Package – This package includes everything in the Get Started package plus instructor support and hardcopy books. You will be able to talk to certified appraisal instructors directly during weekly Q&A sessions if you need any help on the courses. If you want to study with the books, you should be aware that they do not get shipped out until after you have already completed the courses. The LARA requires that you log time in the sessions so the books can only be used outside of the program.

Best suited for: the Value Shopper

McKissock Learning is the leader in appraisal education. They are continually innovating to make their courses more engaging. They offer the most variety in terms of payment and package options for obtaining a Michigan appraiser license. You will have to spend more money on their programs. However, all of the bonus content and features that come with their new QE Unlimited Subscription program will quickly pay dividends.

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Appraisal Institute

Review of Appraisal Institute | Appraiser License

75-Hour Package Price $1,040

The Appraisal Institute (AI) is a global association of real estate appraisers with about 20,000 members from over 95 chapters around the world. As a member, you get access to advocacy programs and a very close network of like-minded appraiser professionals. With additional coursework and examinations, you can set yourself apart as an appraiser by becoming certified as an MAI, SRPA, or SRA.

Some lenders, courts, and government agencies seek, and may even require, an appraiser to hold one of those designations. The reason is they want to be assured that they will be getting high-quality work. MAI, SRPA, and SRA’s have to go through a rigorous process to achieve that designation, including being required to have a bachelor’s degree in college. Less than 20 percent of all appraisers are designated AI members.

You do not have to be a member to attend any of their courses. However, members do receive a discount on all courses. If you are considering becoming a member, you have to pay an annual fee plus satisfy their own continuing education requirements.

The Appraisal Institute offers live classes for appraisal pre-licensing, but they do not have all of the required courses, and there are limited availability and locations. So, regardless, you will need to take some online courses to satisfy all 154 total hours of appraisal education. 

The format of the courses is strict. You are given 30 days to complete any online course that is 15 hours or less, and 45 days to complete any course that is over 15 hours long.  All final exams have to be administered at a Pearson Vue testing center. If you change your mind and want to cancel, you are hit with a minimum cancellation fee of $60. If you have completed over 25% of the course, then you are not eligible for any refund.

Best suited for: Aspiring Commercial Appraisers

The commitment to professionalism is why the Appraisal Institute is still widely-respected within the appraisal community throughout its 70-year history. However, they are the most expensive option with the strictest standards. Most appraisers will not really gain any benefit by becoming a member. Nonetheless, if you are planning to build a long-term career in appraisal, especially in the commercial sector, taking courses from the Appraisal Institute will definitely open up more opportunities.

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