How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Alabama?


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There are over 4.8 million people residing in Alabama, of which, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile are some of the most populous cities. The greater the population, the more likely of real estate transactions, which leads to higher demand of appraisal works.

How to become a real estate appraiser in Alabama? To become a real estate appraiser in Alabama, you would start off in working as a Trainee Appraiser, then work your way up toward other designations such as the Stated Registered/Licensed or Certified Appraisers. 

While most states only have four levels of appraiser license, Alabama has five. They are:

  • Trainee Appraiser
  • State Registered Real Property Appraiser
  • Licensed Residential Appraiser
  • Certified Residential Appraiser
  • Certified General Appraiser

You must fulfill the qualifying appraisal education, work experience requirement and register with the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board. This is the State Board which regulate individuals and companies in the appraisal industry. Their mission is to protect the public interest and ensure the appraisal services are in accordance with federal guidelines.

As a real estate appraiser in Alabama, your job is to provide an assessment of the properties’ market value for your clients. Your appraisal report could be used by a home buyer or seller, a mortgage lender who wants to understand the value of the collateralize assets, an individual who needs it for tax assessment or even lease negotiation.

Regardless of who is in needs of your appraisal services, your work products must remain objective, unbiased and professional.

How to Become a Trainee Appraiser in Alabama?

Working as a Trainee Appraiser is the first step of your career, where you’ll be trained and supervised by a certified appraiser. An experienced mentor could guide you into the right direction in this career. He/she should educate you with the following:

  • Effective appraisal tactics (i.e: Income, cost, and sales comparison approached)
  • Compliance rules imposed by the state regulatory board
  • How to make a proper adjustment? (i.e: external or functional obsolescence)
  • What to include in an appraisal? (i.e: photos)
  • Where to obtain data about a property?
  • How to extract meaningful information from the data?

[Read: What to look for and expect from a supervisory appraiser?]

Most importantly, how to determine an unbiased estimation of the property’s market value.

To get out the most from this trainee stage,  it is recommended you to walk through each and every step in the appraisal process, observe carefully on how your supervisor inspect and evaluate real estate, and always raise your questions.

4 Steps to Become a Trainee Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No college-level education requirement
  • No prior related experience is needed

Step 2: Complete the Pre-License Education

You need to complete the 75 hours of qualifying appraisal-related education and the AQB Trainee/Supervisor course. Here’s a table with the specific courses requirement.

Study tip: Whenever possible, I prefer to take online courses. You can study at your own pace at the convenient of your home, library, or wherever there is internet access. Here’s an article reviewOpens in a new tab. of an online school that I like.

Step 3: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board  

Now you have completed the education prerequisites, your next step is to register with State Board.

If the Appraisal Board in your state has the online submission available, I strongly encourage you to use that option. Not only this is the quickest and most convenient way, but less paper mailing is also good for the environment. Here are more details.

Step 4: Find a Certified Appraiser to be Your Supervisor

You might wonder how to find a supervisory appraiser. You could start connecting with Certified Appraisers through industry associations, forums or even on LinkedIn. The more appraisers you connect to, the bigger the chance you could find a supervisor. Here are theTop 10 Tips to Find a Supervisory Appraiser“.

Once you find a supervisor, where you both are interested in working together, you should make sure that the supervisory appraiser is listed as a Mentor Appraiser the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board’s database.

Before you start working alongside with a supervisor, you and your supervisor would need to notify the Appraisers Board about the mentoring relationship. Here’s the Trainee/Mentor Registration formOpens in a new tab..

In Alabama, your first 50 appraisal assignments must be accompanied by a mentor. You also need to keep track of your working hours with the board-approved experience logOpens in a new tab.. This is a mandatory document when you upgrade your appraiser license in the future.

Keep in mind that you and the supervising appraiser are required to sign on every page of the experience log.

How to Become a State Registered Real Property Appraiser in Alabama?

Real Estate Appraiser

As mentioned earlier, this is an uncommon license in most other states.  However, it could be a good stepping stone toward being a licensed/certified appraiser, while upgrading your career from the Trainee Appraiser.

As a State Registered Appraiser, you can evaluate non-federally related properties with the following limitation:

  • Complex appraisals of 1 to 4 unit residential properties having transaction value of $250,000 or less;
  • Non-complex appraisals of 1 to 4 unit residential properties having transaction values of $1,000,000 or less.
  • Non-residential properties having transaction value of $250,000 or less.
  • Note that this classification does not include the appraisal of subdivisions, where a development analysis/appraisal is necessary and utilized.

4 Steps to Become a Stated Registered Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No college-level education requirement

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 1000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience, where they need to be acquired for over a 12 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 75 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider. Basically, those are the same courses for becoming a Trainee Appraiser.

I included some details which could be helpful to your studying on our education resources page. Be sure to check it out.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board 

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the the Real Estate Appraiser Board along with other required documents. Click here to view the registration procedure.

How to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Alabama?

Real Estate Appraisers

As a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you can evaluate non-complex residential properties with 1-4 units, while the transaction value is cannot be more than $1,000,000. Although you can also evaluate complex properties, the maximum value is up to $250,000.

If you decide to run an independent practice, then you will have more flexibility in your work schedule and the ways to conduct the business. You could be fulfilling appraisal orders from mortgage lenders, banks, credit unions, or appraisal management companies (AMC).

Just like other businesses, there are many expenses you need to take care of – for instance, payroll, marketing, liability insurance, tuition for continuing education, license fee, and many others. I have another article which covers how to start an appraisal business. Hope you’ll find it helpful too.

On the other hand, if you crave for more stability in your career, you could consider working as an in-house appraiser for an appraisal firm or financial institution. You may be provided with a stable salary and employee’s benefits.

This license could be worth considering for those who have not fulfilled the necessary work experience or college-level education to become a certified appraiser but wish to excel their career from the Trainee Appraiser.

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No college-level education is required

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 1000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience, where they need to be acquired for over a 6 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 150 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider.

You could have taken some of the courses before,  so that you are only required to fulfill the additional course works. Here is list of qualifying appraisal courses.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board 

After you have completed the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the the Real Estate Appraiser Board along with other required documents.

Most State Boards allow you to apply through their website. Some would even charge a lower registration fee by doing online. You should definitely check out this option. Click here to view the registration procedure.

Step 5: Pass the Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam

Now it’s the time to write the exam! Doing multiple sets of practice questions is an excellent way to prepare for the exam and also boost your confidence.

Here are more details about the National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations. 

How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Alabama?

real estate professionals with clients

As a Certified Residential Appraiser, you can assess for:

  • residential properties with 1 to 4 residential units regardless of the transaction value or complexity.
  • non-residential 1-4 units property given that the transaction value is no more than $250,000

Just like a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you have the choice in running your own practice as a self-employed business owners, or become a salaried employees in a corporate setting.

However, there is no restriction on the transaction value of residential properties you could assess. The scope of your practice and business opportunity would be a lot wider than being a Licensed Residential Appraiser. In fact, many reputable lenders and financial institutions in Alabama only accept assessment work from Certified Appraiser.

That being said, let’s review the steps for you to become a Certified Residential Appraiser.

5 Steps to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Fulfill one of the following 6 college-level education requirement:
    • Route #1: Hold an associate’s degree in either Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Finance, or Real Estate; OR
    • Route #2: Hold a bachelor’s degree in any field of study
    • Route #3: Complete 3 hours of each of the following college-level courses with a total of 30 semester hours
      • Algebra, Geometry, or Higher Math
      • Computer Science
      • English Composition
      • Finance
      • Macroeconomics
      • Microeconomics
      • Real Estate Law or Business Law
      • Statistics
      • 2 elective courses (3 hours each) in any of the above subjects or in Accounting, Agricultural Economics, Business Management, Geography, or Real Estate;
    • Route #4: Complete 30 hours of College Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) examinations that cover each of the subjects in Route #3
    • Route #5: Any combinations of Route #3 and Route #4 which consists all the topics mentioned above
    • Route #6: If you have been a Licensed Residential Appraiser for 5 years or more, while your license is in good standing, then the college-level requirements can be waived.

Step 2: Complete the Appraisal Working Experience

You need to complete a minimum of 1500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience in not less than a 12 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 200 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider.

Since you should have taken some of the courses before,  you just need to complete the extra classes. Click here to view the specific courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board 

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, it’s time to submit the license application. The Licensing Board in some states may require you to apply within a specific period after you complete the pre-licensing education. Therefore, don’t wait till it expires! Here are the submission steps.

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

Most test centers would require you to bring at least two valid IDs to verify your identity. Don’t forget to bring them along. Else you won’t be able to write the exam.

Click here for more details about exam writing.

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Alabama?

Real Estate Appraiser Site Inspection

So you want to explore appraising for commercial real estate? Then becoming a Certified General Appraiser would be the way to go!

This designation is the highest credential you could get in the appraisal industry. You could assess all types of real estate regardless of the transaction value or complexity. There is no limitation on the scope of your appraisal work.

Although you still could evaluate for residential properties, you could also be appraise a portfolio of commercial real estates for institutional investors.

Tip for Success: Rather than being just another appraiser, consider specializing in a specific niche. (i.e: expert witness, farm appraisal, re-location appraisal). Here’s an article which covers 7 profitable appraisal niches.

Since your clients depend on your appraisal reports in making an informed investment decision, you must be extremely careful and responsible when handling your work. Extensive research and site inspections are often required. It is your responsibility to provide your clients with an objective appraised value as accurate as possible.

Due to the high expectation on your work products, the amount of work experience and education required to become a Certified General Appraiser is the most challenging among all the levels of licensing. So let’s go through the steps to get you this credential.

5 Steps to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Alabama 

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Bachelor’s Degree in any field of study; or higher

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 3000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience where they need to be obtained for over a 18 months period. At least half of the working experience needs to be from non-residential appraisal work.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 300 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider.

You should have completed some of the courses when the previous appraiser license(s). Therefore, you are only required to complete the extra classes. Here are the specific courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board 

Once you have completed all the education and working experience prerequisites, you should fill out the license application.

Most State Boards allow you to apply through their website. Some would even charge a lower registration fee by doing online. You should definitely check out this option. Click here to view the submission steps.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

The final step is to pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam. Get enough sleep the night before the exam and have a good meal before it. Managing your stress level during the test is another key to passing it.

Here are the details to schedule an exam writing.

Courses Requirement for Each Appraiser License Level

 Trainee Appraiser (Credit Hours)State Registered Appraiser (Credit Hours)Licensed Residential Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified Residential Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified General Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
National USPAP Course or Equivalent15 1515 15 15
Basic Appraisal Principles30 3030 30 30
Basic Appraisal Procedures303030 3030
Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 1515
Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach 1515
Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches 3030
Residential Report Writing and Case Studies 1515
Statistics, Modeling and Finance15 15
Advanced Residential Applications and Case Studies15
Appraisal Subject Matter Electives 20 30
General Appraiser Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 30
General Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach 30
General Appraiser Sales Comparison Approach 30
General Appraiser Report Writing and Case Studies 30
General Appraiser Income Approach 60
Total75 hours75 hours150 hours200 hours300 hours

Register at the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board

real estate career studying

Once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, you could submit the applicationOpens in a new tab. to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board.

In additional to the application, you must provide the following:

  • Registration fee
  • Supporting legal documents
  • Evidence which shows you have completed the required hours of Board-approved appraisal courses. (i.e., Official transcripts, course completion certificates).
  • Proof that you have fulfilled the specific requirement of post-secondary education for your license (i.e.: Diploma, official transcripts, certificates.)
  • Stated Approved Appraiser Experience Log  (Only if you are applying to become Licensed/Certified Appraiser)

If you have any questions, you could contact the Alabama Real Estate Appraiser Board at 334-242-8747.

Check out these Alabama Appraiser Exam details

Continuing Education Real Estate Appraiser

Once the State Board accepts your application, they will send you a notice with instruction to schedule the exam. AMP will administer the exam, where you can take it on a computer at their examination center.

  • Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam,
  • Certified Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam;
  • Certified General Appraiser Exam is a 6 hours exam

The licensed and certified exams consist of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions. The required passing score is 75. You will immediately know your score once you finish writing the test.

The exam fee is $83. You could find out more details in the Alabama Real Estate Appraiser Program Candidate Handbook.Opens in a new tab.

Be sure to check my other article: 10 tips on how to pass the real estate appraiser exam.

What are the Appraiser License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements?

All real estate appraisers in Alabama are required to renew their license annually. In addition to the renewal application, you also need to: 

  • Complete 28 hours continuing education every 24 months, of which must include 7 hours of National USPAP Update course in every 2 years.
    • Continuing education credit is due on the odd year of every two years.
    • There’s no limit on the number of courses you could take online. 
  • Pay the renewal fee.

To prevent interruption to your appraisal practice, you should renew it and complete all continuing education requirement before the license expiry date. 

Career tip: Since you’ll need to take the CE courses, don’t waste your money by taking random classes. Choose the one that could really sharpen your appraisal skills, where you could apply what you learn into the field. Here is an article review of the 10 CE courses that I like.

How Much does a Real Estate Appraiser Make in Alabama?

real estate appraisal

Your income as a real estate appraiser depends on many factors such as your education, experience, licensing level, the type of properties you specialize in appraising, the company size, its location. But most importantly, the amount of effort you are willing to put into this career.  Therefore, the earning differential among real estate appraisers in Alabama could be quite significant.

According to the figures on Sokanu.com, despite the starting annual salary is only around $28,170, it has the potential to go up to $81,740 for high earners. Of which some appraisers could be working full-time or part-time.

The average annual salary of real estate appraisers in Alabama is $52,040,  which is 81% higher than similar careers.

Based on the Oct 31, 2018 figures on Salary.com, appraisers who focus their practice on commercial properties tend to have a more lucrative compensation than residential real estate appraisers.

The average annual salary of appraisers who primarily devote their practice to residential real estates is $48,191. The range generally is between $39,712 and $55,680.

A commercial real estate appraiser has an average annual salary of  $89,777. The range is mostly between $77,219 and $102,988. 

Can real estate appraisers earn six-figures income annually? Here’s an article that talks about the different factors that could affect an appraiser’s earning.

Helpful Tips for Appraisers in Alabama

Tip#1: Take the appraisal courses asap

You could read as much about the appraisal career as you want, but your journey would not begin unless you start taking action.

Taking the real estate appraiser classes would be your first step. Not only you could gain valuable knowledge and practical skills, but you will also have a better understanding about what is like to be an appraiser.

Besides, most states would require you to complete all the trainee education before your working experience could count toward the licensing requirement.

To assist in the selection process, here’s a review of an appraisal courses provider.

Tip#2: Build Your Network with Other Real Estate Professionals in Alabama

Connecting with other appraisers in Alabama is a good way to gain a better understanding about  the appraisal industry. You could do so by joining industry affiliations, online forums or even LinkedIn groups. For instance,

Begin with a friendly conversation. Let them know that you are starting your career as an appraiser, ask them if they have any tips or advice for newbies to the industry.

In addition, you should network with other professionals in the real estate field. Mortgage agents, lenders, and realtors can all provide you with valuable insight, which could be very helpful to your career building in the long haul.

Here’s a list of real estate professional groupsOpens in a new tab. on our resource page. Remember to check it out!

Tip#3: Specialize in appraising commercial real estates

Just like many other states, the business to appraise for residential properties could be quite competitive. Well, as you could imagine, there is a considerable overlap of targeted customers for the first three levels of licensing.

To differentiate your skills and broaden your scope of practice, you could consider pursuing the Commercial General Appraiser designation as your long-term goal.

Here’s an article you might be interested: “Is Commercial Real Estate Appraisal a Good Career?” In there, a CRE appraiser shared his view on what he thinks about this profession.

Current Real Estate Appraiser Jobs Opportunity Available in Alabama

Note: The list of Appraiser Jobs Opportunity is coming soon. Please stay tune

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact The Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board.

Reference:

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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