How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Colorado?


(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our website, RealEstateCareerHQ.com, will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

As a real estate appraiser in Colorado, you could be appraising properties for a home buyer/seller, for a mortgage lender who wants to know the value of their loan portfolio, for tax assessment purposes or even negotiation of a lease.

Regardless of who is in needs of your appraisal services, your primary focus is to come up with an objective opinion about the market value of properties.

To become a real estate appraiser in Colorado, you need to fulfill the qualifying education, and work experience requirement. Also, you are required to register at the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Real Estate. The role of this division is to establish the industry standard, regulate and issue the license for real estate appraisers.

There are 4 license levels of appraisers in Colorado:

  • Ad Valorem Appraiser
  • Licensed Residential Appraiser
  • Certified Residential Appraiser
  • Certified General Appraiser

How to Become a Licensed Ad Valorem Appraiser in Colorado?

So far, we haven’t seen this license title in any other states. So we contacted the Division of Real Estate for more details. Their licensing specialist confirmed that this license can only be used by County Assessor employees in official assessment capacity and cannot be used for fee appraisals.

Although Ad Valoerm Appraisers do not always work under the supervision of a certified appraiser, but it is common. However, they do  not have any regulations regarding supervision or trainees.

To give you an idea of what is like to be Ad Valorem Appraiser, here are some details of a job posting we have seen. These were job openings from a County Assessor’s Office, where they were looking to hire Residential Appraisers.

Although the job did not require the applicant to have an appraiser license at the time of hire, they must obtain the Ad Valorem Appraiser credential within two years.

Appraisers would be working in a team environment to gather, collect, analyze data for the appraisal of real estate. The properties could include single family homes, condominiums, apartments, duplexes, mobile homes, and vacant land.

These were full-time positions with benefits. One thing we like about this job was the stable working hours Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Their offered salary range was $3,779 to $5,442 per month.

4 Steps to Become a Licensed Ad Valorem Appraiser in Colorado?

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

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

Step 2: Complete the Pre-License Education

You need to complete 110 hours of qualifying appraisal-related education. This will equip you with a good foundation of real estate appraisal knowledge.

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

Step 3: Submit Application to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Real Estate.

Now you have completed the qualifying education requirement, your next step is to begin the registration process.

If the Licensing Department in your state has the online submission available, then it’s better to use that option. Not only this is the quickest and most convenient way, but less paper mailing is also good for the environment. 

Click here for more details.

Step 4: Pass the Ad Valorem Appraiser Examination

Although many states do not require a Trainee Appraiser to pass an examination, it does for Ad Valorem Appraiser in Colorado. The purpose is to test your appraisal knowledge, especially the subjects that are covered in the pre-licensing courses. 

Want to know more about the Ad Valorem Appraiser exam? Click here to find out.

How to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Colorado?

As a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you are authorized to appraise for non-complex residential properties with 1-4 units, while the transaction value is to be less than $1,000,000. Although you can also evaluate complex properties, the value cannot be over $250,000.

You could working as a fee-based appraiser, providing services to clients such as individuals, lenders, banks, or appraisal management companies (AMC). Your daily tasks could include doing research online, going on the field to inspect properties, and writing the appraisal reports.

Being a self-employed professional could give you more flexibility in scheduling your work hours and ways to conduct the business. However, just like any other business, there are expenses and setup you’ll need to take care. Here’s a post on how to start an appraisal business.

Alternatively, you could be recruited by an appraiser firm, financial institution or government agency to become their in-house appraiser, where you could enjoy the stable salary and company’s benefits.

This license could be a good alternative for those who have not fulfilled the necessary work experience or college-level education to become a certified appraiser but wish to advance their career from the Ad Valorem Appraiser phase.

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Colorado

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.

Since you should have completed some of the courses when becoming a Ad Valoerm Appraiser,  you just need to complete the additional courses. 

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 review of an online school that I like.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Real Estate

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the the Division of Real Estate along with other required documents.  

The Regulatory Division 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! 

Click here to find out how to register for your license.

Step 5: Pass the Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam

Now it’s the time to write the exam! To increase your chance in passing the appraisal exam, you should consider doing multiple sets of exam preps. It is an effective way to prepare for it and also boost your confidence. 

Here is more info about the CO appraiser exam.

How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Colorado?

Realtors In Front Of A House

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

Similar to a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you could a self-employed business owner running your own appraisal practice, servicing clients such as individuals, lenders, banks, or appraisal management companies (AMC).

Alternatively, you could work for an appraiser firm or financial institution to become their in-house appraiser, where you could enjoy the stable income and company’s benefits.

Unlike a Licensed Residential Appraiser, there is no limitation on the transaction value of residential properties you could evaluate. The scope of your practice and business opportunity would be a lot wider. In fact, many reputable lenders and financial institutions in Colorado only hire or work with appraisers that have the certified credential.

5 Steps to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Colorado

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Complete 1 of the following 6 College-Level Options
    • Option#1: Hold an associate’s degree in either Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Finance, or Real Estate; OR
    • Option #2: Hold a bachelor’s degree in any field of study
    • Option #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;
    • Option #4: Complete 30 hours of College Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) examinations that cover each of the subjects in Option #3
    • Option #5: Any combinations of Option #3 and Option #4 which consists all the topics mentioned above
    • Option #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 Required Hours of 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 completed some of the courses when becoming a Ad Valorem Appraiser or Licensed Residential Appraiser,  you are only required to complete the extra classes.

Here’s a review I wrote about the appraisal education provider. Remember to check it out. It might help you with the study.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Real Estate

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the Appraisal Board along with other required documents.

Most Licensing Boards allow you to submit the application through their website. Some would even charge a lower registration fee. Therefore, you should definitely check out this option.

You may click here to learn about the submission steps.

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

Cramming for the exam is ineffective. Concentration tends to wander if you study for too long. Instead, you should study for 45 to 60 minutes, then take a break.

If possible, focus on studying only one to two topics per day. But be really good at it. 

To schedule the exam writing, click here for more details.

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Colorado?

Being a Certified General Appraiser is the highest credential you could get in the appraisal industry. You could assess all kinds of real properties regardless of the transaction value or complexity. There is no limitation on the scope of your appraisal work.

Although you still could evaluate for family-typed of clients, you could also be assess a portfolio of commercial real estates for institutional investors.

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.  Your primary goal is to perform detailed research and provide your clients with an objective appraised value.

Due to the high expectation of low margin of error in your work products, the amount of work experience and education required to become a Certified General Appraiser is the greatest among all the levels of licensing.

So having said that, what type of jobs are available for a Certified General Appraisal in Colorado?

At the time we were writing this post, there were a number of job openings from the government in the different county.

One of the job postings was from Aurora, where the County was looking for a Certified General Appraiser to work in the Commercial Division of the Assessor’s Office.

Some of the job duties include collecting and analyzing data relating to commercial, residential, multi-family, and vacant land appraisals. Then the candidate would need to value the assigned property classes for assessment purposes.

In some occasions, the appraiser would also be required to prepare and present the appraisals at BAA as an expert witness. The hiring annual salary range was around $50,000 to $70,000. But this would be subjected to individual experience.

The appraiser would also need to have considerable knowledge of assessment laws, regulations, construction, materials, building design, cost and depreciation, land values, usages, and zoning.

Of course, they would require an applicant to hold the Certified General Appraiser designation, so let’s go through the steps to get you that credential.

5 Steps to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Colorado

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. Half of the experience hours must 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.

Since you should have completed some of the courses when the previous license(s), you are only required to complete the extra classes.

I include a table of the appraisal courses requirement. You may click here to view it.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Real Estate

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the Division of Real Estate.

Later in this post, I’ll go over the documents and fees needed for the registration process. But if you want, you may click here and jump to that section.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

The final step is to 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. 

Here is more info about the CO Appraiser Exam. 

Check out the Colorado appraisal Courses Requirement

 Trainee Appraiser (Credit Hours)Licensed Residential Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified Residential Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified General Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
National USPAP Course or Equivalent15 15 15 15
Basic Appraisal Principles30 30 30 30
Basic Appraisal Procedures3030 3030
Introduction to Mass Appraisal35
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
Total110 hours150 hours200 hours300 hours

Register at the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

Prior to submitting your application,  you need to submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) for a background check.

Once you have fulfilled all the necessary requirement, you could submit your application to Colorado Board of Real Estate Appraisers. Here’s the their online license application.

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

  • Registration fee ($276 for Ad-Valorem Appraiser; $460 for other Licensed/Certified Appraiser)
  • 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 also contact the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Real Estate. Their phone number is 303-894-2166, and email is [email protected]

Furthermore, you are required to obtain an E&O insurance coverage, where you must provide the certificate of coverage to the Colorado Division of Real Estate. They have contracted with Rice Insurance Services, LLC to administer the group E&O insurance program for Colorado appraisers.

The one year premium starts at $308. You could contact Rice Insurance Services, LLC at 1-800-637-7319 for more details.

Here’s more info about the CO Appraiser Exam

Upon acceptance, they will email you an approval notice with instruction to schedule the exam.  PSI will administer the exam.

  • Ad Valorem Appraiser is a 3 hours exam;
  • 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

There is a $44.95 of fee and you can take the exam on a computer.

The licensed and certified exams consist of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions. Once you pass the exam, you can submit the result to the Division of Real Estate, then they will issue you with the license.

(Read: “10 practical tips to pass the real estate appraiser exam”)

Appraiser License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

All real estate appraisers in Colorado need to renew their license every year.

Below are the requirements to renew your appraiser license:

  • Finish 28 hours continuing education every 24 months, of which must include 7 hours of National USPAP Update course.
  • All these continuing education classes can be taken online, you you must complete them.
  • Pay the renewal fee. ($123 for Ad-Valorem Appraiser and $207 for other Licensed/Certified Appraiser).

To avoid 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 Colorado?

How much you can earn as a real estate appraiser depends on many factors. To name a few,  your licensing level, the type of properties you specialize in evaluating, your experience, the company size, its location, and most importantly, the amount of hard work you are willing to put into this career.  Therefore, the income differential among real estate appraisers in Colorado could vary significantly.

According to the data on sokanu.com, the starting annual salaries are around $36,580, and could go up to $106,600 for high earning appraiser.

The average annual salary of real estate appraisers is $71,720.  which is 93% more than similar careers in Colorado. Of which 79% are working as full time appraiser, and only 21% are part-time.

Based on the figures on Salary.com, appraiser who focus their practice on commercial real estate tends to make more than those who only assess for residential properties.

The average annual income of appraisers who focus their practice in the residential real estate is $51,618. The range generally is between $42,536 and $59,639.

Whereas, an appraiser who focus on appraising the value of commercial real estate has an average annual income of $96,160 The range is mostly between $82,710 and $110,311.

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.

How Many Real Estate Appraisers are in Colorado?

Colorado has over 5.68 million people, and it’s the second fastest-growing state in the US.

When we reviewed the figures (as of July 2019) displayed on the Appraisal Subcommittee website, there are a total of 2653 appraisers in Colorado.  The breakdown is as follow:

  • # of Certified General Appraisers 1052
  • # of Certified Residential Appraisers 1326
  • # of Licensed Residential Appraisers 275

Career Tips for Appraisers in Colorado

Tip#1: Take the Appraisal Classes 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.

Not sure where to take the licensing courses? Here’a review of the appraisal courses provider that I like.

Tip#2: Connect with Other Colorado Real Estate Appraisers

To gain a better insight into the appraisal industry, you should start connecting with other appraisers. You could do so through joining industry associations, forums or even LinkedIn groups. For example,

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

Start with a casual conversation. Let them know that you are planning to start your career as an appraiser, ask them what they like or dislike about the industry.

In addition, you should also connect with other real estate professionals such as mortgage agents, lenders, realtors or home inspectors. Their insight and experience could be very helpful to your career building in the long run.

Tip#3: Specialize in a Specific Appraisal Niche

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 appraisal services, you should consider specializing in an appraisal niche – for instance, farm appraisals, relocation appraisals, commercial properties appraisals.

[Read: 7 Profitable Niches that Many Appraisers are Missing out.]

Current Real Estate Appraiser Jobs Opportunity Available in Colorado

[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 Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Real Estate.

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.

Recent Posts