50-State Real Estate Broker Licensing Compliance Guide
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Real Estate Appraisal Services License

Learn how to obtain and maintain a real estate appraisal license.

What Do Real Estate Appraisers Do?

An appraisal is a professional opinion of value. The role of an appraiser is to provide an objective and unbiased opinion on the value of real property. Doing so provides assistance to individuals or parties who own, manage, sell, invest in, or lend money on the security of real estate. Appraisals may be required for any type of property, including single-family homes, apartment buildings, office buildings, shopping centers, industrial sites, and farms.

Appraisals typically occur whenever real property is sold, mortgaged, taxed, insured, or developed. Most commonly, appraisals are prepared for the following situations:

  • Business mergers or dissolutions
  • Government acquisition of private property for public use
  • Lease negotiations
  • Mortgage lending purposes
  • Negotiation between buyers and sellers
  • Tax assessments and appeals of assessments

Appraisers gather facts, statistics, and other information on specific properties to analyze the data and establish opinions of value.

How to Run a Real Estate Appraisal Company

To successfully start or expand a real estate appraisal company, you first need a clear business plan. You will need to consider startup expenses and ongoing costs, your target market, what you will charge clients, the proper entity structure for your business, and what you will name your business.

Once you form a legal entity, register for taxes, and open a business bank account, you can obtain business insurance and start accepting clients. Depending on the states in which you operate, you may need special licensing to provide services.

If you are concerned about managing the business registration process on your own, you can seek guidance from the business licensing experts at Harbor Compliance. With our professional licensing services, we offer full support through all of the stages of the corporate life cycle and can provide access to expert software insights. We make preparing and filing applications easy and handle communication with government agencies on your behalf. With our software, you can track your registration status, license numbers, filing history, fees, and renewals 24/7.

Applying for an Appraisal Services License

To run a real estate appraisal business, you need to earn the right to do appraisals on your own. Many states require formal training that involves the following:

  • Becoming an appraiser trainee. Courses to become an appraiser trainee are offered in every state and cover basic appraisal principles, basic appraisal procedures, and coursework on the requirements for ethical behavior and competent performance set forth by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
  • Gaining appraisal experience. Once you have status as an appraiser trainee, you can gain work experience under a certified appraiser supervisor.
  • Upgrading your appraiser license. Once you have met the necessary licensure requirements for your state’s initial training, you have the option of upgrading your license to its final tier.

Licensing requirements for real estate appraisal companies vary by state. Most states have a three-tiered licensing system for real estate appraisal companies. It is essential to verify the process in your state to ensure you are prepared every step of the way. You will likely need to gather all relevant documentation, including financial statements, proof of a commercial activity license, a business plan, and more. You will also need to appoint a registered agent to receive notices of lawsuits and other legal or government notices. To manage those tasks more efficiently, Harbor Compliance offers licensing management software and managed services to help simplify the application process, allowing you to focus on other aspects of running your business.

Types of Appraiser Licenses

Once you become a trainee appraiser, you can work toward upgrading your license. Obtaining higher licensure is essentially an upgrading process, as each level has different requirements for qualifying education, experience hours, and pre-requisites for a college education. Note that appraisers with higher license levels have more control over their fees and, on average, are able to make a higher salary.

  • Licensed Residential Appraiser. To be certified as a licensed residential appraiser, you need 75 hours of education.
  • Certified Residential Appraiser. A certified residential appraiser needs 200 hours of education, a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree in a focused field of study, and 1,500 hours of documented appraisal work in no fewer than 12 months.
  • Certified General Appraiser. To become a certified general appraiser, you need 300 hours of education, a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university, and 3,000 hours of documented appraisal work in no fewer than 18 months.

Maintenance and Renewal

Most states and cities require licenses to be renewed on an annual or biennial basis. Renewal ensures your business complies with all state and local regulations. Renewal fees vary, so it is a good idea to be aware of what you may owe to keep your business in good standing.

If you are currently operating a real estate appraisal firm and are looking to outsource your maintenance and renewal duties, Harbor Compliance can help. We are available to review your business status, ensure you can operate uninterrupted, and explain what steps you need to take in order to ensure you remain compliant with state and federal regulations.

Explore Licensing by State

Click on a link below to view licensing information in your state.

Meeting real estate appraisal licensing requirements is not always an easy process. Fortunately, Harbor Compliance’s License Manager helps firms maintain their licenses by automating repetitive tasks such as tracking renewals and compliance deadlines. Through License Manager, you can also access Compliance Core™ – our extensive, proprietary database of nationwide licensing requirements – to research the requirements for the states in which you work. Contact out licensing experts today to learn more.

Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO)
Offers a license verification database accross 43 jurisdictions.

NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Agencies
Aid education, research, and advocacy efforts in the real estate industry.

National Association of Realtors
Real estate trade organization that provides information and resources for development of the real estate industry.

Urban Land Institute
Research and education association concerned with responsible land use and creating sustainable communities.