I’m often asked, “How does someone become a real estate appraiser?” Well, the answer is, it is much more difficult than it used to be. In Oregon, the Appraiser Certification and Licensure Board (ACLB) supervises appraiser licensing and enforcement. In Oregon, and in most other states, the three levels of real estate appraiser are:
The Licensed Residential Appraiser - which has restrictions on the value and complexity of homes that can be appraised. Consequently, it can be difficult to find work at this level.
The Certified Residential Appraiser - which should be the goal for all home appraisers. This certification allows appraisals of all complex and noncomplex residential real estate up to four units (e.g. single family, duplex, triplex, and four-plex), and up to any value.
The Certified General Appraiser - which allows appraisal of all types of real estate (e.g. commercial, retail, office, industrial, apartments, farms, etc.). An appraiser with this certification level usually specializes in one or two areas of real estate.
To become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Oregon, and in most other states, one must have a Bachelor’s Degree, must pass 200 hours of qualifying appraiser-specific education with exams, accumulate 2,500 hours of experience over a minimum of two years as a Registered Appraiser Assistant, and pass a four-hour comprehensive exam. The most difficult part of the certification process is the 2,500 experience hours.
Finding a supervisor for those experience hours can be difficult because most appraisers will not take an assistant. Many appraisers will not take an assistant, because if the assistant makes a mistake, and the supervising appraiser does not catch the mistake, then the supervising appraiser will be fully liable in terms of lost clients or disciplinary action. Additionally, the training process for a supervising appraiser can be quite time consuming, the appraisal supervisor will be audited by the state, and there is little perceived benefit to the supervising appraiser. Other appraisers say that they will not train an assistant, because they do not want to train their future competition. For the assistant, the pay is often low and the hours are long.
I have supervised three appraiser assistants and my experiences have been different than what many appraisers describe. I find that my appraisal reports are enhanced when I have two sets of eyes on the analysis. My assistants have always been intelligent individuals who bring different experiences and perspective to the appraisal process and to my business.
As a result, appraisal assistants are not the only ones who learn in the process. When working with appraiser assistants, I feel like I am training future partners, not future competition. The management of an appraiser assistant can be difficult and frustrating at times, but I find it rewarding.
I currently have an assistant who has all of his experience hours and who is preparing to take his exam. In a future blog post, I will interview him about his experiences in becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser. If you have any questions for him, let us know in the comments below.
Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation? Let me know in the comments below.
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