Real Estate Agent and Trainer, Robert Rico, explains the process of becoming a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser. Do you want to see more video blogs? Subscribe here!
Hi, and welcome back to the CA Realty Training blog! We love to educate and inspire you for a future in real estate. This week, we’re tackling a subscriber question. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you definitely should – and we’ll answer your questions if you send them to us too!
Last week, one of our YouTube subscribers asked, “how do you become an appraiser?” [Residential Real Estate Appraiser]. It’s important to know what an appraisal is, as well as the potential pitfalls that might come up if your house appraises below list price.
To become a residential real estate appraiser, we have listed 9 main steps you must follow.
- 150 Hours
- Apply For Initial Appraisal License
- Get Your Exam Date
- Pass Exam, Pay Fees, Get Your Initial License
- Initial Experience – 2000 Hours
- Get Sign Off From Certified Residential Appraiser (Upgrade Your Application)
- Apply For Residential License
- Receive License — Appraise!
You must be at least 18 years of age to be a residential real estate appraiser (just like a real estate agent!). This means that you do not need a Bachelor’s degree, and you can be fresh out of high school. It’s definitely a good option for a career if you love houses and report writing, and numerical analysis.
As with many real estate jobs, there are prerequisite courses that must be completed before you can take an exam proving your knowledge from those courses. To become an appraiser, the state of CA requires 150 hours of classes. You’ll follow these classes with a live proctored exam, and you get 3 attempts to pass this exam. If you don’t pass, you’ll be required to retake the prerequisite courses!
After you’ve completed your exam, you can apply for your license, to the Office of Real Estate Appraisers (OREA). You need your application (one of the RE forms available on the Department of Real Estate’s website), certificates of completion from your prerequisite courses, and payment forms or checks. This is very similar to the process of applying for your real estate (salesperson) exam.
After their waiting/verification period, OREA will issue a date for your initial Appraisal License exam, and they will request a Livescan, which is a fingerprint/background check. Once you have completed these requirements and sent in the verification, you’re ready for your exam.
Time to get in the mood for a test — sharpen your pencils! After you pass the exam, you have 1 calendar year to take the passing results, pay the appropriate fees (yes, more fees!), and get your initial license to appraise. This does not, however, mean that you can appraise independently just yet! At this point, you have to find an established appraiser who is willing to train you (and he or she must not have more than 3 trainees already).
Once you find the established appraiser, you must accompany them on inspections and help them write reports, for 2000 hours. That’s 40 hours a week for 50 weeks — basically a year if you have any sick days! During this time, your work must be reviewed and signed off on, by a supervising appraiser. This does not necessarily mean it has to be the same appraiser every time — so it is possible to get experience at two separate firms at the same time.
After your 2000 hours of experience, you want to move on to the next step — becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser. This is where you can work for yourself and really control your schedule, work product, and income. Most appraisers nowadays are self-employed, so there are a large percentage of Certified appraisers instead of many trainees. You have to have your Certified Appraiser (the one training you) sign off on your 2000 hours of work, that the quality is good, and that they think you’re a quality real estate appraiser.
Once your supervising appraiser has signed off on your 2000 hours of work, and you have written full reports and done full appraisals (supervised by the Certified Appraiser, of course), you are ready to apply for your Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser license from the OREA. Fill out your application, send it off (most likely with more fees!) and wait patiently for a response.
Here’s the truly exciting time — the actual appraisal! After you get your license, you can file with banks, loan reps, and more, to get requests and jobs to do! You’ll be self employed, if you follow the typical appraiser’s business model, so you’ll have to brand yourself and promote yourself. Unlike a real estate agent, though, your target market is not the consumer — so you have a different “marketing strategy” than a typical agent or even title rep. You’ll be churning out reports on a weekly basis, and hopefully getting multiple jobs a week. Once you’re “on the list” with a lender or bank, you are often good to go. It’s a facet of the real estate industry that operates heavily on trust capital, and experience. This is why it’s so helpful to do your 2000 hours with a professional, profitable, and busy appraiser — your name gets in front of the right people even before you’re licensed, which only helps down the line.