By Larissa Cunningham, Tests.com Contributing Writer
Real estate appraisal is a complex process requiring specific training (both classroom and in the field) and a license or certification proving the appraiser’s credentials. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an appraiser may obtain:
- State Certified Residential Real Property Appraiser license, which allows the appraiser to value any residential property with up to four family units
- State Certified General Real Property Appraiser license, which allows the appraiser to assess the value of any type of real property
- State Licensed Residential Appraiser license, which allows the appraiser to value family residential units up to $1 million or commercial property up to $250,000
Though the exact amount of required training for real estate appraiser licensure varies among states, many states have similar standards in place, all of which are based on Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, or USPAP.
Each state is in charge of administering its own test, though licensure standards in every state are based on the recommendations of the Appraisal Foundation and the Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB). As a result of making testing the responsibility of individual states, testing locations and administrators vary. Some states contract out the actual testing to private companies such as Pearson Vue; however, all test sites and administrators are still required to follow the guidelines set down by the AQB. Candidates can visit http://www.asc.gov/, the website of the Appraisal Subcommittee, to find out details about their home state’s exam.
All appraiser exams are computer-based and consist of 165 multiple-choice questions, but only 15 questions are counted in scoring. Questions are based on the following content areas as designated by USPAP:
- Factors that Affect Real Estate Value
- Types of Value
- Economic Principles
- Legal Concerns
- Real Estate Markets and Analysis
- Highest and Best Use Analysis
- Property Description
- Sales Comparison Approach
- Cost Approach
- Site Value Methods
- Income Approach
- Appraisal Math and Statistics
- Valuation of Partial Interest
- Appraisal Standards and Ethical Concerns
Test takers are allotted six hours in which to take the exam. Each state sets its own standards regarding how many questions you must answer correctly in order to successfully pass the test.
Depending on which state administers the test, exam fees range anywhere from $100 to $400. Educational costs associated with required courses vary widely.
Prerequisites for the Real Estate Appraiser Exam
Before qualifying for appraiser licensing exams, most states require candidates to take 75 hours of coursework to first become an appraiser trainee; 15 hours of coursework must be in the National USPAP course. Beyond this, candidates are required to complete a number of hours of coursework and on-the-job training, depending on which license one wishes to obtain.
In order to qualify for the State Licensed Residential Appraiser license, an appraiser must complete 2,000 hours of relevant work experience in addition to 150 appropriate education hours.
Requirements are a bit more stringent for the State Certified Residential Appraiser and the State Certified General Appraiser licenses. The former requires 200 hours of education, while the latter requires 300 hours. Recent changes to AQB guidelines also require State Certified Appraisers to either take a certain number of college courses or have a college degree. Finally, after achieving the right amount of education and job training, a candidate may take an appraiser exam. Again, details vary by state.
Are you preparing for an appraisal exam? Take a look at our Directory of Real Estate Appraiser Tests.