Puerto Rico Appraisers & Real Estate Services, Inc.



How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser: PROPER Step-by-Step Guide 2023

So, you want to become a real estate appraiser? Great choice. Real estate appraisers are always in demand, and the job pays pretty well. But becoming an appraiser isn’t as simple as just deciding that’s your new career path.

Real Estate Appraiser

There are licenses and certifications to obtain, apprenticeships to complete, and a whole lot of on-the-job training. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This step-by-step guide will walk you through everything you need to know to become a real estate appraiser.

By the end of this, you’ll be ready to start your exciting new career helping people determine the value of properties. Sound good? Then let’s dive in and get started. The first step is deciding which credential is right for you.

What Is a Real Estate Appraiser?

A real estate appraiser determines the estimated market value of properties like homes, commercial buildings, and vacant land. If you’re detail-oriented, enjoy analyzing property attributes, and want a career assessing real estate, becoming an appraiser could be a great choice.

To become a licensed real estate appraiser, you need to meet certain requirements like having a bachelor’s degree, completing state-approved appraiser courses, gaining on-the-job experience, and passing an exam. Let’s walk through the key steps:

1. Earn a Degree

While not always required, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, real estate, or a related field can help you gain knowledge about the industry. Coursework in economics, statistics, and real estate law is useful.

2. Complete Appraiser Education

You’ll need to take state-certified appraiser courses, typically around 200 hours of coursework. Subjects include valuation methods, report writing, property analysis, and legal considerations.

an image of a woman preparing for real estate appraiser

3. Gain Experience

Most states require 1-2 years of full-time experience working under a licensed supervisory appraiser to become licensed. This hands-on experience allows you to put your education into practice valuing all types of real estate properties.

4. Pass an Exam

To become a certified residential or certified general appraiser, you must pass a comprehensive exam. Exams test your knowledge of appraisal concepts, methods, and laws. With the proper education and experience, passing an exam is achievable.

Becoming a real estate appraiser takes dedication, but for the right person, it can lead to a rewarding career. If you have a keen eye for details, enjoy analyzing real estate, and want to help determine property values, then this could be an ideal path for you.

The Role and Responsibilities of an Appraiser

As an appraiser, your main role is to determine the estimated market value of properties for various reasons, like buying, selling, insurance, or taxation. It’s a big responsibility, but for the right person it can be a rewarding career.

To become an appraiser, you first need the proper education and licensing. Typically, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, real estate, or a related field. You’ll also complete several appraisal courses to become licensed or certified in your state and potentially with the Appraisal Foundation. ###Appraisal Licensing

Next, you’ll need on-the-job experience. Most states require at least 2 years of experience. You can intern with an established appraisal firm to gain experience and mentorship. Some appraisers start out working as assistants to more experienced appraisers before striking out on their own.

an image of real estate appraiser showing job responsibilities

Once licensed and experienced, your daily duties may include:

  • Inspecting properties and taking photos to determine key features like square footage, number of rooms, condition, and amenities.
  • Researching recent sale prices of comparable properties in the area to determine a property’s fair market value.
  • Preparing detailed appraisal reports summarizing your analysis and opinions of value for clients.
  • Testifying in court about your appraisal methods and findings when needed.
  • Keeping up with licensing requirements and continuing education to maintain your credentials.

Being an appraiser requires diligence, attention to detail, analytical skills, and knowledge of the real estate market. But for those suited to the work, it can be a fulfilling way to build a career in the housing industry. With time and experience, you’ll gain expertise and take on more complex appraisal assignments.

Educational Requirements to Become an Appraiser

To become a real estate appraiser, you’ll need to meet certain educational requirements. The path typically begins with a bachelor’s degree, usually in business, finance, or a related field. Coursework in areas like real estate law, ethics, and property valuation will provide a good foundation for your career.

Appraiser Trainee Program

After earning your degree, you’ll complete a state licensing or certification program to become an appraiser trainee. These programs usually involve both coursework as well as on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed or certified appraiser. The curriculum covers valuation methods, legal issues, and professional standards. You’ll get hands-on experience inspecting properties, researching comparable properties, and preparing reports.

Gain Experience

As an appraiser trainee, you’ll need to gain experience by working under a supervising appraiser. Most states require at least 2,000 to 5,000 hours of experience over 1-3 years. During this time, you’ll conduct property inspections, analyze market data, and prepare valuation reports under the guidance of your supervisor. This experience is key to helping you develop the skills and expertise to work independently.

an appraiser gaining his/her appraisal experience

Become Licensed or Certified

Once you’ve completed the necessary education and experience, you can become licensed or certified in your state. Requirements vary, but usually involve passing an exam to demonstrate your proficiency. The licensing process establishes your credibility and allows you to practice as an appraiser. You’ll need to renew your license every 1-2 years, which typically involves continuing education to stay up-to-date with the latest standards and valuation methods.

Becoming a real estate appraiser requires dedication, but for the right person it can be a rewarding career. If you’re detail-oriented, enjoy analyzing data, and want to help people make informed property decisions, this could be an ideal field for you. With the proper education and experience, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a licensed real estate appraiser.

Getting Licensed as a Real Estate Appraiser

To become a licensed real estate appraiser, you’ll need to meet the requirements set by your state and pass an exam. This typically involves a combination of education, experience, and testing.


Most states require appraisers to have at least an associate’s degree in a related field like real estate, finance, or business. Coursework usually covers topics like principles of real estate, valuation methods, and property analysis. Some appraisers get a bachelor’s degree in real estate, business administration, or a related field.


In addition to education, you’ll need work experience as an apprentice under a supervising appraiser to become licensed. Requirements vary by state, but usually range from 2,000 to 5,000 hours of experience. This hands-on training helps you develop the skills needed for a career as an appraiser.


All licensed appraisers must pass a state licensing exam. The most common credentials are the Licensed Residential Appraiser (LRA) and Certified Residential Appraiser (CRA) for residential properties, and the Certified General Appraiser (CGA) for all types of properties. Exams cover appraisal standards, valuation methods, inspection techniques, and more.

Many appraisers pursue additional designations to demonstrate their expertise to clients and employers.

Becoming a real estate appraiser takes dedication, but for the right person it can be a rewarding career. If you enjoy analyzing properties, meeting new people, and establishing your own schedule, this may be the job for you. Check with your state’s licensing board to determine the specific requirements to get started. With the proper education and experience under an experienced mentor, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a licensed appraiser.

Finding Work as a New Appraiser

Once you’re licensed and certified, it’s time to start your career as a real estate appraiser. Here are some tips to find work:

Build your online presence

Create a professional website to help promote your services. Include details about your background, experience, licensing, and the types of properties you appraise. You should also start profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social networks. This will make you more visible and help establish your credibility.

Market to real estate agents and brokers

Real estate agents and brokers regularly need appraisals for their clients. Reach out to agencies in your area and offer your services. You can send an introductory email, drop off your business card, or ask to schedule an in-person meeting. Explain your credentials, experience, and the value you can provide to them and their clients. Ask if you can be added to their list of recommended appraisers.

an image showing real estate market

Contact local banks and lenders

Banks, mortgage lenders, and other financial institutions commonly hire appraisers to evaluate properties involved in sales or refinancing. Meet with managers to express your interest in providing appraisal services. Be prepared to provide details on your licensing, qualifications, and experience. Ask if they have any upcoming appraisal needs you may be able to assist with.


Look for opportunities to network with others in the real estate industry. Join your local chapter of the Appraisal Institute or other professional organizations. Attend industry events, conferences, and meetings. Introduce yourself to people, exchange business cards, and look for potential clients or job leads. Word-of-mouth and personal referrals are an important way for new appraisers to find work.

Consider job sites

Websites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor often have listings for real estate appraisers. You may find openings from local appraisal firms looking to hire new staff. Be prepared for a possible background check, skills assessment, or trial period if hired. Working for an established firm is a great way for new appraisers to gain experience.

A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Appraiser

So you’ve completed your education and licensing requirements—congratulations, you’re now a real estate appraiser! But what exactly does a typical day look like in this role? Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

As an appraiser, your main responsibility is to determine an estimated market value for properties. This involves a lot of time out in the field conducting site visits and inspections of the subject properties. You’ll measure the home, take photos, and note details about the property’s characteristics and condition. Then it’s back to the office to research comparable properties (“comps”) that have recently sold in the area.

Research and Analysis

You’ll spend a good portion of your time analyzing your field data and the comps to determine an estimate of the property’s fair market value. This involves adjusting the values of the comps based on differences like square footage, amenities, location, and condition. You put all this research and analysis into a comprehensive appraisal report to support your estimate.

Appraisers typically juggle multiple assignments at once, so you need to be highly organized and able to work efficiently under deadlines. While parts of the job like site visits can be solitary, you’ll also interact regularly with clients—often mortgage lenders, buyers, sellers, and real estate agents. Strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential.

Though the work can be challenging, rewarding, and impactful, a career as an appraiser offers a lot of flexibility and independence. Many appraisers work on a flexible or part-time schedule. And while most are self-employed, some work for appraisal management companies or financial institutions. If you enjoy analytical work, problem-solving, and helping facilitate important real estate transactions, a day in the life of a real estate appraiser may be appealing and fulfilling.

How Much Do Appraisers Charge?

Real estate appraisers typically charge between $250 to $500 for a single-family home appraisal. The exact fee will depend on several factors, including:

  • The appraiser’s experience and credentials. More experienced appraisers with higher designations can charge higher fees.
  • The property type. Appraisals for commercial properties, acreages, or high-end homes will cost more than standard single-family homes.
  • The local market. Appraisal fees are often higher in areas with higher costs of living and real estate values.
  • Additional services. If you need a rush appraisal or appraisal for a estate sale or divorce settlement, fees may be higher.
real estate appraisal fee

As the property owner, you are responsible for paying the appraisal fee. Some lenders may cover the cost of an initial appraisal for a mortgage application, but you will still need to pay for any re-appraisals. It’s a good idea to get multiple quotes from different appraisers to compare. Look for those with the MAI (Member of the Appraisal Institute) or SRA (Senior Residential Appraiser) designations, as they have more experience.

To keep costs down, provide the appraiser with as much information about the property upfront as possible, including:

  1. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listing details
  2. Property tax records
  3. Floor plans or the property sketch
  4. Information on any recent upgrades or renovations

The more details the appraiser has to work with, the less time they will need to spend inspecting the property and the lower your final bill will be. While real estate appraisal fees are not typically negotiable, providing this extra information is one way you may be able to get a lower quote from an appraiser.

In summary, real estate appraisal fees average between $250 to $500 for a typical single-family home but can vary significantly based on the factors noted above. Doing your research, getting multiple quotes, and providing detailed property information upfront are all ways you may be able to reduce the overall cost.

Tips for Advancing Your Appraisal Career

Build Your Experience

To advance your appraisal career, the single most important thing you can do is build experience by completing lots of appraisal assignments. The more properties you appraise, the more proficient and faster you’ll become. Look for opportunities to appraise a wide range of residential and commercial properties so you can become familiar with different valuation methods.

-Ask your manager or mentor if you can shadow them on complex appraisals. Watching an experienced appraiser in action is invaluable.

-See if you can take on additional appraisal work in your spare time to gain extra experience.

-Keep records of all the properties you appraise, including photos, to create a portfolio of your work that you can share with prospective clients.

Earn Additional Credentials and Certifications

Continuously improving your knowledge and skills through ongoing education and training is key to career growth. Consider pursuing designations like the MAI (Member of the Appraisal Institute) or the SRPA (Senior Residential Appraiser) to strengthen your credibility and open up more advanced job opportunities. You should also stay up-to-date with the latest appraisal methods, standards, and technologies through continuing education.

  • Take additional appraisal courses on valuation modeling, expert witness testimony, litigation support, and niche property types.
  • Consider becoming certified in green building or sustainability to position yourself as an expert in this growing field.
  • Stay up-to-date with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) to ensure your work meets the highest ethical and professional standards.

Market Your Services

Don’t rely only on your employer to provide you with work. Build your own client base by actively promoting your appraisal services. Develop a professional website to showcase your experience, credentials, and portfolio of work. You can also connect with real estate agents, mortgage brokers, attorneys, and property owners to let them know you’re available for private appraisal assignments. Over time, cultivating your own clients and referrals can lead to a successful independent appraisal practice.

How much does a Real Estate Appraiser earn?

As a real estate appraiser, you can make a comfortable living. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for real estate appraisers in the U.S. is over $65241 per year in 2023. Actual salaries can vary quite a bit based on factors like:

real estate appraiser salary

  • Location – Appraisers in large cities and metropolitan areas typically earn higher pay. Coastal states like California, Washington and New York also tend to pay higher.
  • Experience and certification level – The more experienced you are, the higher your earning potential. Having advanced designations and certifications can also increase your pay.
  • Type of properties – Appraising commercial properties, especially large apartment buildings or retail centers, usually pays more than appraising single-family homes.

Fees and Billing

Most real estate appraisers charge by the job, billing either an hourly rate or a flat fee per appraisal report. Fees typically range from $200 to $500 for a single-family home appraisal. Commercial property appraisals start around $500 and can go up to $5,000 or more for very large properties.

Many appraisers work on a part-time or freelance basis, so you can make your own schedule. The more time you put in, the more you can earn. On average, a full-time real estate appraiser works around 40 hours a week.

While the pay for an entry-level real estate appraiser may seem modest, the earning potential in this career is quite good. With several years of experience, advanced certification and training, and a reputation for high quality work, many real estate appraisers earn $100,000 per year or more. Not bad for a job you can do on your own schedule!

FAQ – Answering Common Questions on Becoming an Appraiser

Becoming a real estate appraiser is an intriguing career path, but you probably have some questions about the process. Here are answers to some of the most common FAQs about becoming an appraiser.

How much does it cost to become an appraiser?

The costs include appraiser licensing and certification fees, which typically range from $200 to $500 depending on your state. You’ll also need to budget for appraiser education courses, which can cost $500 to $3,000 total. The good news is, once you’re licensed, the majority of appraisers earn $50,000 per year or more.

How long does it take to become an appraiser?

The process usually takes 6 to 18 months. You must complete a certain number of hours of appraiser education, typically around 200 hours. Then you need on-the-job experience, usually 1 to 2 years, before becoming fully licensed. The exact requirements depend on your state’s licensing board.

Do I need a college degree to become an appraiser?

While not always required, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance, real estate, or a related field can be helpful for becoming an appraiser. Relevant coursework provides a strong foundation in areas like property valuation, real estate markets, and finance. However, many appraisers get started with just a high school diploma and complete the necessary appraiser education and on-the-job training.

What is the career outlook for real estate appraisers?

The job outlook for appraisers is average. Employment of appraisers is projected to grow 6 percent over the next 10 years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experienced appraisers who earn additional certifications often have the best career opportunities. Many appraisers also go on to start their own appraisal firms.

Becoming an appraiser requires time and effort, but for many, the rewards of an interesting career with financial stability make it worthwhile. If you have more questions, contact your state’s appraiser board or a local appraiser in your area. They can provide guidance on licensing requirements and the best path for you.

How to become a real estate appraiser in Puerto Rico?

To become a real estate appraiser in Puerto Rico, you need to meet several requirements and follow the proper steps.


First, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in real estate, finance, or a related field. Coursework in areas like real estate law, finance, and valuation are helpful. Some appraisers get started with an associate’s degree or certificate in real estate appraising.


Next, you must gain the necessary experience. Appraisers in Puerto Rico need 2,000 hours of experience over at least 12 months. Try finding an internship, mentorship, or entry-level job at an established appraisal firm to gain experience. Your supervising appraiser must sign off on your hours.

an image of a Puerto Rico appraisal market


Puerto Rico requires real estate appraisers to become licensed or certified. You’ll need to pass an exam through the Puerto Rico Appraiser Board. The level of license/certification depends on your experience and education. An appraiser trainee license requires no experience. A certified residential license needs 2,000 hours of experience. A certified general license requires 4,000 hours.

Continuing Education

To maintain your license, you must complete 28 hours of continuing education every two years, including 4 hours of Puerto Rico real estate law.

Becoming an appraiser in Puerto Rico requires dedication, but can be a rewarding career. If you have an interest in real estate and finance, see it through – the opportunities are plentiful in this growing field. With the proper education, experience, and licensing, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a professional real estate appraiser.

Final Appraisal Review

So there you have it, a step-by-step guide to becoming a real estate appraiser. It will certainly take hard work and dedication, but if you have a keen eye for detail, enjoy analyzing properties and numbers, and want a career with a lot of independence, this could be a great path for you.

Start by researching the requirements in your state, find an appraiser to mentor under, build up your experience, and pass your licensing exams. Once you have that appraiser trainee or licensed appraiser designation next to your name, you’ll be ready to start your own practice and determine your own hours.

The real estate industry has its ups and downs, but people will always need appraisals, so job security can be strong if you do good work. Follow these steps and stay determined—you’ll be on your way to becoming a real estate appraiser in no time.

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