• Real Property Appraisal Profession Questions

The following is intended to provide basic information to individuals who are considering entering the real property appraisal profession. For specific information about the requirements in your state, please contact your state appraiser board. See section State Real Estate Appraiser Boards.

  • What is the demand for qualified real property appraisers? There is a wide array of clients that use real estate appraisals. For instance, lenders use them for loan collateral purposes; lawyers use them in property disputes, such as divorces; insurance companies use them to assist in determining the value of the property to be insured; and property owners may use them when appealing tax assessments, estate purposes and estimating a property's value when buying or selling real estate.

  • Do I need to obtain a credential or license in order to appraise real property? Federal law requires all individuals appraising properties in a federally related transaction (e.g. a Federally insured lender is involved in the transaction) to be either state licensed or certified. In addition, many states have enacted laws that require any real property appraisal to be performed by an individual who is state licensed or certified. Professional appraisal organizations offer designations that often exceed the minimum requirements of state licensure. Since licensing/certification is required to show minimum competency, designations offer appraisers a way to further demonstrate their knowledge and professionalism.

  • Who regulates real property appraisers? Each state and territory has a real property appraiser regulatory program. In the vast majority of instances, a board composed of between five and nine individuals governs the program. In addition to issuing licenses and certificates, the board is also responsible for disciplining appraisers.

  • What are the minimum qualifications I need in order to become a state licensed or certified appraiser? The qualifications are set by the Appraiser Qualifications Board of The Appraisal Foundation and cover education, experience, examination and continuing education. For example, to become a state licensed appraiser, you will need at least 90 hours of classroom instruction, 2000 hours of experience, pass the state appraiser examination and complete 14 hours of continuing education annually. The minimum qualifications for all three categories (State Licensed, State Certified Residential and State Certified General) are contained in a publication entitled Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria and Interpretations, which is available on a complimentary basis from the Foundation.

  • How can I find out about available educational offerings in appraising? Professional appraisal organizations are one of the primary providers of appraisal education. A listing of those organizations and their contact information is available at the Appraisal Foundation web site. See section Appraisal Related Web Sites.

  • How can I gain the necessary experience? One of the best ways to gain experience is to serve in an apprentice or trainee capacity with a state licensed or certified appraiser. Many states offer a trainee classification that formalizes the relationship between the state licensed or certified appraiser and someone who is wishing to become one. Professional appraisal organizations may also be helpful in assisting with mentor programs.

  • What do I have to do to qualify to sit for the examination? In order to qualify to take the state examination, you must have completed your qualifying education classroom hour requirement.

  • How long is the examination? Depending on the classification you are seeking to obtain, the examination is between 100 and 125 questions and takes approximately one to three hours.

  • Do appraisers have to follow any set of performance standards or guidelines? The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), which is promulgated by the Appraisal Standards Board of The Appraisal Foundation, are the generally recognized performance standards for the appraisal profession. Violation of these standards can lead to disciplinary action by government regulators and appraisal organizations. A copy of USPAP can be obtained from The Appraisal Foundation web site store.

  • May I appraise any type of real property once I become state licensed? Generally, real property appraisers can obtain one of three types of credentials issued by a state. Each credential allows an appraiser to perform assignments within the following parameters:

  • State Licensed Appraiser: may appraise non-complex 1-4 residential properties up to $1 million and commercial properties up to $250,000.

  • State Certified Residential: may appraise 1-4 family residential units without regard to transaction value or complexity.

  • State Certified General: may appraise all types of real property.


Although a license/certification might be obtained, competency in a specific field of expertise is needed. Certain state appraiser regulatory boards may have laws that differ from these (AQB) qualification criteria. All appraisers should consult their state laws prior to accepting certain appraisal assignments. See section State Real Estate Appraiser Boards.

  • Why should I consider belonging to one of the professional appraisal organizations? Professional appraisal organizations offer quality educational offerings and can keep you abreast of technological changes impacting the profession. Many offer "designations" that are awarded when you have completed a certain level of education and experience. These designations allow appraisers to demonstrate a higher level of expertise and specialization. In addition, they can serve as your voice on state and federal government issues. Many appraisal organizations are structured on a "chapter" basis, which allows members to network with their colleagues in a local area.

  • What does the future hold for the Appraisal Profession? Of course, predicting the future is risky business, but the outlook for the appraisal profession is generally positive. Like most professions, the appraisal business is rapidly changing due to technology and globalization of the American economy. It is clear that these changes will open many doors to valuation experts, particularly those with a computer or statistical background. Appraisers are important when the economy is growing and also when it is in recession. Overall there may be fewer appraisers in the future but those that find their niche will be prosperous.

  • How do I become a designated appraiser? You will need to contact one of the many professional organizations representing appraisers regarding membership and the course of action for designation.

  • Who are the Appraisal Sponsors of The Appraisal Foundation? The Appraisal Sponsoring Organizations meet certain criteria to be a Sponsor and also provide financial support and advice to the Foundation. All of our Appraisal Sponsors offer educational programs and represent the interest of appraisers.

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