How to Become a House Appraiser

ByJulija A.
March 11,2022

If you’re the sort of person who enjoys regularly getting out of the office and doing interesting work, then learning how to become a house appraiser could be ideal for you. 

Appraisers are professionals who work closely with other stakeholders across the real estate sector, including agents, buyers, banks, sellers, and investors to determine “fair value” for properties. With their help, sellers and banks can find out how much real estate is worth, allowing them to plan accordingly and know what to expect. There are currently more than two million real estate agents in the US, so being qualified to appraise houses is a valuable skill. 

What Does a House Appraiser Do? 

A house appraiser’s main task is to determine how much a particular property is worth. Because real estate prices change all the time, owners, estate agents, and buyers often need professional valuations. 

An appraiser’s estimate doesn’t necessarily mean that the house will sell for that amount, but it does provide all stakeholders with a ballpark figure for what the property is worth. It also helps to prevent overpaying by buyers and underselling by sellers. 

When determining the value of a property, appraisers will look at: 

  • Property size
  • Property location
  • The type of property
  • Damage to the property and required repairs

The appraiser’s individual experience also contributes to their valuation. For some, a particular property may appear to offer tremendous value, while for others it may not.

How Long Does it Take to Become a House Appraiser?

To become a licensed residential appraiser, you’ll need around 150 hours of qualifying education and more than 1,000 hours of experience over a period of at least six months. For other types of appraisers, such as certified residential appraisers and certified general appraisers, you’ll need more education and hours of experience on the job. 

How Much Do Appraisers Earn?

The median real estate appraiser pay was $59,510 in 2021, with 95% of incomes ranging from $36,940 to $72,210. A trainee appraiser won’t earn a great salary, but as a qualified general appraiser you’ll find yourself at the higher end. 

Becoming an Appraiser: What You Need to Know

In this section, we show you how to become an appraiser, step by step:

Step 1: Learn how to become an appraiser

Unfortunately, real estate appraisal isn't a career that you can just walk into without any qualifications. The Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) is in charge of setting standards for anyone entering the industry.

The steps to becoming an appraiser depend on the state. Some require you to take additional courses and exams beyond those the AQB requires. 

If you want to learn more about how individual states treat real estate appraiser licenses, go to the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) website for a full list

Step 2: Start out as a trainee

To get a property appraiser license, you’ll need to begin as a trainee – an official ABQ classification. 

To get to this stage, you’ll need to complete three short courses: 

  • Basic Appraisal Principles: 30 hours
  • Basic Appraisal Procedures: 30 hours
  • National Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice: 15 hours

As an addition to these core requirements, you may also have to take extra courses set out in your state’s legislation. 

Step 3: Get 1,000 hours of experience (minimum)

Before you can get a residential appraiser license, you’ll need a minimum of 1,000 hours of work experience over at least six months. 

The best way to do this is to find a supervisory appraiser – someone you can shadow as you learn your trade. Usually, you can find suitable professionals via a real estate appraiser organization. You can also reach out on job sites such as LinkedIn or Indeed. 

Some states have different experience requirements. For instance, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Vermont all require 1,500 hours of experience. Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, and Washington require 2,000 hours. And Alaska, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, and Wyoming require 2,500 hours. 

Step 4: Complete additional courses to become a licensed appraiser

Formal training requirements to become a trainee appraiser are minimal. However, if you want a full real estate appraisal license, you’ll have to do some additional courses to fulfill AQB’s minimum requirements. 

Home appraisal job requirements include: 

  • Residential report writing and case studies: 15 hours
  • Residential sales comparison and income approaches: 30 hours
  • Residential appraiser site valuation and cost approaches: 15 hours
  • Residential market analysis and highest and best use: 15 hours

These requirements can vary across states, so look into your state board to ensure that you’re fulfilling all the necessary criteria.

Step 5: Pass your state’s licensing exam

Once you complete this part of your real estate appraiser education, you’ll need to pass your state’s licensing exam. Tests comprise 110 questions that you must answer in under four hours. 

The questions will probe you on everything you need to know to become a residential real estate appraiser. This includes:

  • Appraisal math and property value calculations
  • Different valuations methods
  • Real estate market analysis
  • Investment analysis
  • The different types of real estate and how they influence property valuations

State advisory boards commission a range of private exam providers for examinations, such as Applied Measurement Professionals, Pearson VUE, and PSI. To book an exam, check these organizations’ schedules and then book your slot online. 

Step 6: Put in your application

Once you pass your exams, the last step is to officially hand your license application to the relevant state licensing board. Again, state application requirements vary, so you’ll need to visit the ACS website to check your state’s requirements first. 

Once your license gets approved and you get home appraisal certification, you’re free to begin working. However, even with this license, you’re limited in terms of the properties that you can appraise. For instance, licensed residential appraisers (the most common career path), can only work on: 

  • Non-complex properties with between one and four units worth under $1 million.
  • Complex properties with between one and four units worth less than $250,000.

Step 7: Get working

To start working, you’ll need to search for job opportunities on popular sites, such as LinkedIn and Indeed. At first, you’ll usually work for a private appraisal business or banks. However, later you may be able to work independently or as a contractor, depending on how successful you become. 

Your employer should give you access to a multiple listing service (MLS) when you join. This gives you information about current and past house prices in the area, plus a record of all recent sales. Access to these services is usually free, with the subscription paid for by the firm you join. 

Step 8: Continue to upgrade your license

To get to the top of the certified real estate appraiser pay scale, you’ll need to upgrade your license. When you do, you’ll be able to appraise more expensive and complex properties. 

There are two ways you can upgrade your license: 

  1. Get qualified as a certified residential appraiser
  2. Become a certified general appraiser

Certified residential property appraiser training allows appraisers to value all types of residential property, from small townhouses to giant apartment blocks. 

Certified general appraiser training allows you to appraise any type of real estate, including commercial and industrial buildings. 

Education and training hours for both certified residential appraisers and certified general appraisers are considerably higher than they are for licensed residential appraisers. As a certified residential appraiser, you need at least 200 hours of education, a bachelor’s degree focusing on your field of study, and 1,500 of acceptable appraisal experience in the past 12 months. To become a certified general appraiser, you need 300 hours of education, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, and 3,000 hours of experience over at least 18 months, with 1,500 hours in non-residential work. 


Learning how to become a house appraiser is surprisingly simple once you understand it. Home appraiser training generally takes the same format: first you need to become a trainee appraiser, then you need to get the experience and education hours required for licensed residential appraiser status. Once you get to this stage, you’re free to start work and get your career up and running. If you’d like to go further, you can do additional training to become a certified residential appraiser or a certified general appraiser.

Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of education do you need to become a real estate appraiser?

You can become a trainee or licensed residential appraiser without any formal education at all. All you need to do is complete mandatory AQB training (usually 75 to 150 hours). Appraiser requirements for certified residential appraisers and certified general appraisers are considerably higher. For these, you need a bachelor’s degree. 

Are there any real estate appraisal courses?

Real estate appraisal courses are provided by industry bodies, such as AQB, and colleges. Schools offer pre-licensing, renewal courses, and ongoing education to help with career advancement. 

How much do real estate appraisers earn?

Real estate appraisers earn an average of $59,510 per year. The vast majority earn between $36,940 and $72,210 annually, with trainees on the lower end and certified appraisers on the higher end of the payscale. 

About the author

Julia A. is a writer at With experience in both finance and marketing industries, she enjoys staying up to date with the current economic affairs and writing opinion pieces on the state of small businesses in America. As an avid reader, she spends most of her time poring over history books, fantasy novels, and old classics. Tech, finance, and marketing are her passions, and she’s a frequent contributor at various small business blogs.

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The meal prep industry relies heavily on quality photography and marketing that explains the economic value of these services.  Customers can sometimes experience sticker shock when it comes to meal prep prices. Therefore, businesses in this sector need to educate their audiences on all of the benefits of the service. For instance, saving time on shopping and thinking about recipes or the cost of actually getting to the store.  Meal prep business profits can be high, but you’ll need to scale. The faster you can get to 10,000 subscribed customers, the better.  Further Reading Bad Credit Business Loans: Our Top Picks Small Business Banking: Top Banks Best Website Builder: Our Top Picks
By Nemanja Vasiljevic · December 13,2022
Sooner or later, all growing businesses face the problem of rising production costs. The more successful your business is, the more the demand for its products or services grows, and expenses follow. Unfortunately, the cost of producing more doesn’t have to scale proportionally to your profits. The more sales you make, the more you have to invest back into the business. This includes marketing, raw materials, labor, and investing in new products and prospects. Knowing how to find the variable cost is essential for businesses that want to grow without being overwhelmed by the demands of upscaling production. What Is a Variable Cost? A variable cost is an expense that directly depends on how much of a specific product your enterprise manufactures or sells. These costs directly depend on the volume of goods. With increased demand, there are more expenses, and with a reduced trading volume, the expenses are lowered. The number of raw materials needed for production can vary depending on the number of orders your business receives. Furthermore, the price of materials can also fluctuate with market changes. With more goods, you need more packaging, online sales incur more transaction fees, and you need additional labor to meet the demand.  Variable Cost Formula: Calculating Total Cost and Cost per Unit Variable cost, by definition, is the total sum of materials and labor needed to manufacture a unit of product. Variable Cost per Unit = Materials + Labor Your supplier may change the price of the material, or the labor market may force you to adjust the wages. That’s why the cost of making your product isn’t a fixed value and will likely change over time. Total Variable Cost vs. Average Variable Cost The total variable cost is equal to the sum of all costs per unit, for all units. Total Variable Cost =  Variable Cost Unit 1 + Variable Cost Unit 2 + … + Variable Cost Unit N The total value of creating a series of products is represented in the equation above, and it’s the sum of each individual product manufactured, where N equals the total number of units. You can multiply the cost of a single product you manufacture by the total number of units you plan to produce to get an approximate value for the total variable cost. If the expenditure per product doesn’t vary as much, you can calculate the total variable cost as a multiplication of the value per unit and the number of units. Total Variable Costs =  Variable Cost per Unit x Number of Units The total variable cost formula isn’t as precise as the total sum of all costs. However, it can be less time-consuming and easier to calculate since it doesn’t involve keeping expense records of each product your business produces. If there are bigger cost variables between products you manufacture, then you should calculate average variable costs. This value will help make ballpark calculations of how much funds you need to put aside to fulfill an order that requires a certain number of units to produce.  Average Variable Cost = (Variable Cost Unit 1 + Variable Cost Unit 2 + … + Variable Cost Unit N) / Total Number of Units Examples of Variable Costs These are the most common types of expenses you can expect for your small business:  Production materials - If your business manufactures anything for monetary gain, you will have to account for the cost of materials needed for the end product. Whether you are making clothes or you are running a food business, the same expenses will apply. They directly depend on the number of orders and customers.  Equipment - If your current production can’t keep up with the demand, you will need to invest in increasing the manufacturing output.  Wages - With more work, you’ll need more employees, which leads to a higher payroll. Transaction fees - Payments made with credit cards incur processing fees that usually take anywhere from 1.5% to 3.5% of your profits. This also applies to other online payment processors such as PayPal. Shipping and packaging - These figures are directly related to the number of sales you make, as each product needs to be safely packaged and shipped, incurring additional expenses. Trying to save money on these categories may result in shipping damaged goods and having to refund your customers. These are just some of the examples of variable costs you can expect. Some unforeseen expenses can always pop up and disrupt your monthly bottom line. That’s why having business insurance helps, even though it adds to fixed monthly expenses.  What Is a Fixed Expense? Unlike variable costs, fixed expenses don’t depend on the growth of your trading volume. These are recurring charges like interest payments, rent, insurance, utilities, website hosting, etc. Depending on the type of business, an expense may be seen as a fixed cost of doing business. These expenses are considered fixed because they don’t depend on the success of your business. However, while your utility costs may stay the same, you may decide to change the facility you are renting, which will lead to increasing fixed costs. There are ways to reduce your fixed overhead, as many companies want to help emerging firms and create long-term partners. One such factor is affordable hosting for your online business. Good server infrastructure can make the difference between a successful and a failed startup. Further Reading Invoice Factoring Companies: Our Top Picks The Best Online Bookkeeping Services for Small Businesses How To Start a Bookkeeping Business How Can Variable Costs Affect Growth and Profitability? Knowing the variable manufacturing costs will help you understand your end price. Both fixed and variable costs need to be taken into account, but remember that payments that stay the same, like rent, have less of an effect than payments that change. You need to be able to accurately calculate variable costs and make decisions that won't hurt your profit margins for the production process to work. Maybe some products or services you’re offering are less profitable than others, so it pays off more to remove them from your offer and allocate resources to more profitable ones.  Alternatively, you can examine what variables prevent the product from being more profitable. Maybe you can source the materials from a different company for a lower price or make a one-time investment in better equipment to make the manufacturing process more efficient.  Whatever the case, knowing how to find the variable cost per unit can help you plan your production and grow your small business while successfully scaling it to meet demand.  The market’s prices constantly change. Therefore, adjusting your budget will help you improve your bottom line and help your business stay afloat.
By Dusan Vasic · December 15,2022

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