When you’re considering a jump into a career in home appraisal, you may ask yourself: How much does it cost to become a home appraiser?
While there’s no "one size fits all” answer, understanding the factors that affect your startup costs will give you a better idea of your investment to become a licensed appraiser in your state. Let’s dive in.
Startup costs will run anywhere between $4,000 and $7,500 to become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in any state.
Here’s a general idea of how your money will be spent.
|Estimated Start-Up Costs for a Licensed Residential Appraiser|
|Trainee Appraiser Qualifying Education Courses||$800 to $1,500|
|Licensed Residential Appraiser Qualifying Education Courses||$500 to $1,000|
|Licensed Residential Appraiser State Exam Fee|
*May vary by state
|$200 to $300|
|State License Application Fee|
*May vary by state
Appraiser Report Writing Software
|$400 to $800|
|Other Technology Fees: Computer and/or Tablet, Phone, Internet, Camera, Cloud Storage||$1,000 to $1,500|
State-specific Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for property research
|$300 to $600|
|Annual Cost of Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance|
*Usually paid in monthly increments
|$500 to $1,000|
|Appraiser Tools of the Trade: Measuring device, apps for sketching and creating floor plans, general office supplies||$300|
|Total||$4,150 to $7,350|
As you consider this chart, it’s important to keep in mind that the Licensed Residential Appraiser credential is the second of four potential appraiser licenses you could earn in your career. You can learn more about the different types of appraiser licenses and their requirements in this blog.
What are Some of the Costs of Becoming a Licensed Residential Appraiser?
There are many different costs to consider when becoming a Licensed Residential Appraiser. Let's take a closer look at the major ones.
Completing Your Appraiser Qualifying Education
A large chunk of your startup costs will go toward your appraiser qualifying education. This education is designed to teach you the foundations of real estate appraisal, valuation methods, and report writing.
Your Trainee Appraiser Courses (75 Hours)
|National USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice) Course||15 Hours&|
|Basic Appraisal Principles Course||30 Hours|
|Basic Appraisal Procedures Course||30 Hours|
Your Licensed Residential Appraiser Courses (75 Hours)
|Residential Market Analysis and Highest and Best Use||15 Hours|
|Residential Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach||15 Hours|
|Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches||30 Hours|
|Residential Report Writing and Case Studies||15 Hours|
Source: Appraisal Qualifications Board Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria
Generally, the cost of your Trainee Appraiser qualifying education runs between $800 and $1,500, depending on the format of your courses (online or in-person).
Once you’ve completed your coursework at the Trainee level, you’ll move into coursework for the Licensed Residential Appraiser level. These more advanced courses cost between $500 and $1,000 altogether.
Along with your national qualifying education, there may be state-specific courses you’ll have to take. Be sure to check with your state’s appraisal regulatory board for specific Trainee and Licensed Residential Appraiser coursework requirements in your state.
Earning Your Required Field Experience Hours
All Trainee Appraisers looking to move up to the Licensed Residential Appraiser level must also log 1,000 hours of experience in the field. These hours are completed while working under a supervisory Certified Appraiser.
Often, you can complete these hours by finding a paid position assisting a Certified Residential or General Appraiser at an appraisal firm. You can also find an independent Certified Appraiser to work with. Though earning your appraiser experience hours doesn’t involve a monetary cost, it does involve a time commitment of at least six months.
Appraiser Exam, Licensing, and Insurance Fees
Along the path to becoming a Licensed Appraiser, you’ll also have exam fees, state license application fees, and insurance policy fees.
Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam Fee
Once you’ve earned the required education and experience hours to become licensed, you’ll need to take the national appraiser exam for Licensed Residential Appraisers. The National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examination is the standard national appraiser exam established by the Appraiser Qualifications Board of The Appraisal Foundation. It is administered by an exam provider in your state.
This exam fee varies slightly from state to state, but generally falls between $200 and $300.
Appraiser License Application Fee
Once you’ve passed your Licensed Residential Appraiser exam, it’s time to apply for your appraiser license through your state. The fee to apply for your license also varies from state to state, but in general, you can expect to pay around $300 for licensing.
Appraiser Errors and Omissions Insurance
Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance, also known as liability insurance, is a must-have for real estate appraisers. In fact, your state might require proof of it in order to get licensed. This type of insurance protects you and your business in cases where claims are made against you and your appraisal work. You can expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 annually for an E&O policy.
Appraisal Technology and Tools
When you start working as a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you'll need to invest in a few tools of the trade that will help you find success in the field.
- Appraisal Report Writing Software – This software helps you quickly create and populate appraisal reports while you’re in the field.
- Tablet – Many home appraisers use tablets with sketching apps to easily create floor plans and draw property lines while viewing a property.
- Measuring Device – A reliable measuring device, such as a laser measure or wheel, helps you accurately document the square footage of a home.
- Quality Camera – Many home appraisers invest in a quality digital camera—separate from their phone or tablet—to take photos of exteriors and interiors for report documentation.
- Access to the MLS – Access to your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a must-have for researching comparable properties, home purchase prices, and historical real estate trends.
- Cloud Storage – Extra cloud storage enables you to safely store your documents, research, and reports—as is required by law in many states.
The combined cost of these tools and technologies varies widely. Many appraisers spend just enough to get the basic tools they need to get established in the business and then upgrade their tools as they become more seasoned.
Starting Your Home Appraisal Business
Whether you work as an independent real estate appraiser or join a company, there are business administrative costs to consider as well. These costs can also vary across the board.
Working as an Independent Appraiser
Working independently is ideal if you’re looking to have more control over your income and build a business from the ground up.
Various states often have fees to register a new business for tax purposes and establish your business structure. If you plan to open an office, you’ll have rental fees to consider plus the costs of phone, internet, and any other essentials you need for a functioning office space. You’ll also need to figure in the cost of transportation, gas, and auto insurance, as you’ll be driving from property to property.
Working for an Appraisal Firm
As a new appraiser, you might instead choose to join an appraisal firm.
Established firms frequently offer a little more support while you get started in the field, since you’d be working alongside, and learning from, mentors on a daily basis. Appraisal firms also often cover much of the overhead technology and tool costs you’d otherwise have to pay up front.
Working at a firm, you might make an annual salary, or you might be paid per appraisal. The latter means you’ll split each appraisal commission you bring in with the firm, similar to how real estate agents split their commissions with their brokers. Usually, you’ll retain 75% of the appraisal fee while 25% goes to the firm, but it can vary.
Earning Required College Credits for Certified Appraiser Licenses
After becoming a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you may decide to go even further in your career and begin working toward a Certified Residential or Certified General Appraiser license. These upper-tier license levels require either some college coursework or a bachelor's degree—alongside additional appraisal coursework and experience hours.
You can learn more about the college degree requirement for different certified appraiser levels in this blog.
Licensed Appraiser Startup Costs are Relatively Low
Real estate appraisal, by nature, is a microbusiness. It’s different than traditional small businesses, which may have multiple employees on payroll, products to sell, and physical locations to maintain.
Licensed Residential Appraisers have startup costs that are significantly lower than those of traditional small businesses. In fact, a recent Shopify survey found that new small business owners might spend as much as $40,000 in their first year.
With average startup costs of a few thousand dollars and lucrative salary potential, it’s easy to see why real estate appraisal is a rewarding and worthwhile career choice.
What type of appraiser makes the most money? ›
- The highest level of appraisers, certified general appraisers, earn about $15,000 more per year than certified residential appraisers.
- McKissock has created an Income Guide with Insights for Appraisers.
- > Successfully complete 200 classroom hours of board-approved courses covering the topics required.
- > Pass the Residential National Exam and Florida Supplemental Exam. ...
- conduct appraisal services.
(b) The fee for initial application of an appraiser may not exceed $150, and the combined cost of the application and examination may not exceed $300.How long does it take to become a certified property appraiser Florida? ›
300 QE Hours: Basic Appraisal Principles - 30 hours. Appraisal Subject Matter Electives (30 hours which shall include 6 hours of the Florida Laws and Rules). Experience: 3,000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience in no less than 18 months.
“The work is challenging, diverse, and requires you to stay abreast of changes on many fronts. Paired with being in control of your own time and income makes for a very desirable career.” “I enjoy the varied and different types of homes I am able to appraise.”Is being an appraiser a good side hustle? ›
Becoming an appraiser can be a great real estate side hustle that doesn't require a real estate license. While this job takes some education and training, it can be a very rewarding way to make money on the side and be involved in real estate at the same time.How much do property appraisers make in FL? ›
The average salary for a real estate appraiser in Florida is $66,500 per year. Real estate appraiser salaries in Florida can vary between $27,500 to $156,500 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.How much does a real estate appraiser trainee earn in Florida? ›
How much does a Real Estate Appraiser Trainee make in Florida? The average Real Estate Appraiser Trainee salary in Florida is $41,214 as of December 27, 2022, but the range typically falls between $37,082 and $46,105.Do you have to be good at math to be an appraiser? ›
Do you have to be good at math to be a real estate appraiser? Real estate appraisers need skills in areas including customer service and mathematics. Individuals can gain these proficiencies during educational programs or through work experience.What qualifications do you need to be an appraiser? ›
Candidates can take up various Real Estate courses at the certificate, Diploma, UG and PG Level to pursue a career as a Real Estate Appraiser.
How do I become an appraiser trainee in Florida? ›
QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must hold a valid high school diploma or its equivalent and have a valid Social Security Number. PRE-LICENSE EDUCATION: Applicants must complete 100 hours of approved pre-licensure education, completed within 5 years of making application, as outlined in Administrative Code 61J1-10.002.How many trainees can an appraiser have in Florida? ›
(4) Any supervising appraiser, whether acting as primary or secondary supervisor, may not supervise more than three (3) registered trainee appraisers at one time. (5) An appraisal experience log shall be maintained jointly by the supervisory appraiser and the registered trainee appraiser.Do I need a degree to be an appraiser in Florida? ›
Applicants must have at least a bachelor (4-year) degree. Applicants must be Trainee Appraisers that have completed at least 2500 hours of experience over not less than 24 calendar months. 200 hours of prescribed pre-certification appraisal education is required.Do you need a license to be a property appraiser in Florida? ›
State Required Test: Yes. Must complete the National Residential Exam and the Florida Supplemental Exam.Is appraisal math hard? ›
For many individuals, appraisal math is one of the more difficult aspects of the National Appraiser Licensing and Certification Exams.What is a day in the life of an appraiser? ›
Sometimes an appraiser might spend an entire day “out on the road” looking at properties. On other days, the appraiser might spend an entire day in the office doing research and writing reports. Many days involve a combination of property inspections and research/paperwork.How does one prepare for a career as an appraiser? ›
You'll need to complete and pass 75 hours of basic appraisal education, which includes three courses: Basic Appraisal Principles (30 hours), Basic Appraisal Procedures (30 hours), and National USPAP Course (15 hours). You can find these qualifying education courses at McKissock.com.Is being a home appraiser stressful? ›
Real estate appraisers are no strangers to work stress. Many own their own businesses and work for themselves from home—which has its upsides and downsides. Appraisers sometimes complain of working long hours, struggling with time management, or feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks.How much do top appraisers make? ›
Salaries start at about $40,000 and top out at over $100,000 for licensed appraisers.Are real estate appraisers happy? ›
Appraiser career satisfaction
When broken down into credential levels, licensed appraisers are the happiest with an 83.4% career satisfaction rating.
What is the future of real estate appraisers? ›
Employment of property appraisers and assessors is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 6,800 openings for property appraisers and assessors are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
Leaving aside salary appraisals, which should be done once a year, Number of Performance appraisals depends on the first initial appraisal; If no improvements are required (very rare), then half yearly appraisals are fine.Can a sales associate do an appraisal in Florida? ›
Under Florida law, licensed real estate brokers, sales associates, and broker associates who are not certified by the FREAB may provide valuation services for compensation so long as they do not represent themselves as state-certified appraisers.What are hard skills for an appraiser? ›
The most common hard skill for an appraiser is commercial property. 12.9% appraisers have this skill on their resume. The second most common hard skill for an appraiser is appraisal reports appearing on 11.8% of resumes. The third most common is customer service on 7.2% of resumes.What skills are important for an appraiser? ›
Real estate appraisers should have strong analytical skills and math skills to review large amounts of data and correctly appraise a property. They also need organizational skills to systematically conduct property visits and customer service skills to communicate with clients.Can an appraiser be wrong? ›
You can request an appraisal to be performed by a different appraiser, who may assess the property at a different value. Appraisers are human, so mistakes can be made, and information can be overlooked.What is the difference between appraiser and appraisal? ›
An appraisal determines the market value of a specific home at a specific time. The appraiser determines this value based on recently sold homes within the past 90 days.What does an appraiser do? ›
A home appraisal is the process by which a licensed appraiser conducts a thorough inspection of a property to assess its true worth (which isn't always the same as the listing price). The appraiser will then compile all of their findings into a report and generate the home's appraised value.What is a qualified appraiser IRS? ›
A qualified appraiser is required to have (1) successfully completed college or professional-level coursework that is relevant to the property being valued, (2) obtained at least two years of experience in the trade or business of buying, selling, or valuing the type of property being valued, and (3) fully described in ...What do trainee appraisers do? ›
A trainee is required to be under the direct supervision of a Certified Real Estate Appraiser. They may participate in any activity that their Supervisory Certified Appraiser is qualified to perform. This may include training in commercial activities; though as a practical matter few trainees perform such functions.
How many comps does an appraiser use? ›
A minimum of three closed comparables must be reported in the sales comparison approach. Additional comparable sales may be reported to support the opinion of market value provided by the appraiser. The subject property can be used as a fourth comparable sale or as supporting data if it was previously closed.Can an appraiser appraise the same property twice? ›
Don't Assume You Did it “Right” the First Time. It is not unusual for an appraiser to be asked to appraise the same property on more than one occasion. Sometimes, it is a coincidence.Can a Realtor also be an appraiser in Florida? ›
It is possible to be simultaneously licensed and practicing as a real estate appraiser while also being a licensed and practicing real estate agent. The answer is yes, but there are a couple potential conflicts of interest that you should be wary of.Which appraisal license requires the least schooling? ›
The Trainee Appraiser (No College Degree Required) Licensed Residential Home Appraiser (No College Degree Required) Certified Residential Home Appraiser (Some College Required) Certified General Appraiser (Bachelor's Degree or Higher)What is the best type of appraisal? ›
360-degree appraisal is hailed as the best approach because it's all-encompassing (the secret's in the name!) and can give such a well-rounded view of an employee.What is the highest paid commercial real estate appraisers? ›
The salaries of Commercial Real Estate Appraisers in the US range from $11,468 to $305,615 , with a median salary of $54,969 . The middle 57% of Commercial Real Estate Appraisers makes between $54,974 and $138,290, with the top 86% making $305,615.How much do top real estate appraisers make? ›
Real estate appraisers earn an average yearly salary of $82,390. Wages typically start from $43,470 and go up to $156,156.Why do appraisers charge so much? ›
That is simply the nature of the current housing market. Mortgage lenders everywhere are raising fees in order to get the increasingly more limited supply of appraisers to accept their appraisal orders.Why do appraisers lowball? ›
Usually they're done at the request of a lender considering your application for a new or refinanced mortgage. In some instances, home appraisals can come in low because values have declined in the neighborhood, improvements need to be made to the dwelling or the buyer has simply offered too much.