How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Illinois?


happy couple in front of property

(**) 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 Illinois, you could be appraising properties for a family who is buying a home, for a lender who needs to find out the value of their loan collateral or even institutional investors who are looking to include real estate into their portfolio.

Regardless of who you are serving, your responsibility is to provide an objective and fair market value about the properties.

To become a real estate appraiser in Illinois, you need to fulfill the education, work experience requirement and pass the exam. Also, you are required to register at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). This is the regulation body which establishes the industry standard, regulates and issues the license for appraisers.

There are three license levels of appraisers in Illinois:

  • Associate Real Estate Trainee Appraiser
  • Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser
  • Certified General Real Estate Appraiser

How to Become an Associate Real Estate Trainee Appraiser in Illinois?

Being a Trainee Appraiser is the start of your journey in the appraisal industry. You will work alongside with a supervising certified appraiser. Your job could involve researching properties, working on reports, or inspecting properties together with the supervisor. (Especially on the first 500 hours)

An experienced and knowledgeable mentor could guide you into the right direction in this career. The supervisory appraiser should provide you with hands-on training on appraisal methods, how to properly research a property, how to analyze the data to assess the fair market value of the property.

The most effective way to advance your knowledge is to go through every step in the appraisal process, observe carefully to how your supervisor assesses properties, and always raise your questions or concerns.

5 Steps to Become an Associate Real Estate Trainee Appraiser in Illinois

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a High School Education/G.E.D or higher
  • No prior related experience is needed

Step 2: Complete the Pre-License Education

You need to complete 78 hours of qualifying appraisal-related education. (Which includes the 3 hours of Supervisory/Trainee Appraiser course.)

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 Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

Since you have fulfilled the education requirement, your next step is to begin the registration process. Whenever possible, I would suggest to use the online submission option. Not only this is the quickest and most convenient way, but less paper mailing is also good for the environment. 

Here are the details.

Step 4: Pass the Associate Real Estate Trainee Appraiser Examination

Although not every state requires you to write an exam in becoming an Appraiser Trainee, it is mandatory in Illinois.

This is a 3 hours exam that consists of 110 questions. Of which 100 are scored questions and 10 are pretest questions. Pretest questions are not identified and are not included in your score. The passing score is 75%. There is a $59 examination fee payable to PSI Services Inc.

Step 5: Find a Certified Appraiser to be Your Supervisor

Real Estate Agent Showing Prospective Female Buyer Around Property

In Illinois, to ensure you can receive the proper training, a supervisory appraiser cannot concurrently take on more than three Associate Trainee Appraiser Trainees.

The board requires your supervisor to spend the first 500 hours with you to inspect for a minimum of 25 properties. It is necessary that your mentor be physically present for each inspection.

When they said physically present, your supervisor cannot:

  • Stay in the car while you are in the property inspecting alone
  • You started the inspection 9:00 am in the morning, then he/she just dropped by the property at 1:00 pm

Your assignment could involve appraising commercial property, but only given your mentor is a Certified General Appraiser.

You might wonder how to find a mentor. You could start connecting with Certified Appraisers on LinkedIn. Begin with a friendly conversation. Let them know that you would like to start your career as an appraiser, ask for their opinion about the industry.

Many people are willing to share their experience and insights. As the relationship establishes, ask them if they know anyone who is willing to supervise a Associate Trainee Appraiser. The greater your network, the bigger the chance you could find a supervisor.

[Read:Top 10 Tips to Find a Supervisory Appraiser]

At the end of the post, we will also include a list of groups or organizations where you could network with other appraisers in Illinois.

Once you and your supervisor decide to work together, you both need to fill out the Supervising Appraiser/Associate Trainee Real Estate Appraiser Application for Association or Disassociation. Here’s the link to download the form.

How to Become a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser in Illinois?

As a Certified Residential Appraiser, you can appraise for:

  • family properties with 1 to 4 residential units regardless of the transaction value or complexity.
  • other kind of real property given that the transaction value is less than $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 routine could include doing research online, going on the field to inspect properties, and writing the appraisal reports.

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

When we were searching online for the real estate appraiser jobs available in Illinois, many firms did require you have the certified designation. In fact, many reputable financial institutions and lenders only work with certified appraisers to evaluate their desired properties.

5 Steps to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Illinois

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 2500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience where they need to be acquired for over a 24 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 Associate Trainee Appraiser,  you just need to complete the additional courses. Here’s a table with the courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

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

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! 

Want to know how to apply for the appraiser license? Here is more info.

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

After the board accepts your application, they will send you an exam admission notice. It would provide you with instruction to register for the exam writing. There is a fee of $59, where PSI will administer the exam.

The Certified Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam, which comprised of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions.

How to Become a Certified General Real Estate Appraiser in Illinois?

The Certified General Appraiser designation is the highest one you could get in the appraisal industry. The scope of your appraisal work is unlimited, as you could evaluate for all types of real properties regardless of the transaction value or complexity.

Since your clients depend on your appraisal reports in making an informed investment decision, you need to be extreme careful and responsible on your work.  It is your job to perform detailed research and provide your clients with an objective and fair appraised value.

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

To give you a better picture, a large independent valuation and consulting firm in Chicago was looking for a Senior Analyst Commercial Real Estate Appraiser.

The responsibility of their role includes performing real estate valuations and market analysis for a portfolio of commercial real estate. In the appraisal report, it must accompany with market studies, analysis of historical figures, projection of revenue and operating expenses of the subject properties.

This was a full-time position with great compensation and benefits. The annual income for this type of work was ranged from $69,000 to $120,000.

To apply for this job, you must be a Certified General Appraiser and have at least 3 years of commercial appraisal experience.

5 Steps to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Illinois

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university

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 acquired for over a 30 months period. Of which at least half of the appraisal work must be for non-residential properties.

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 from the previous license (s), you just need to fulfill the additional courses. Here’s a table with the courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the IDFPR 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.

Here are the details of the registration process.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

After your application is approved by the IDFPR, you will receive a letter with instructions on how to register for the exam writing. There is a fee of $59, where PSI will administer the exam.

The Certified General Appraiser Exam is a 6 hours exam, which comprised of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions.

To increase your chance in passing the exam on the first time, make sure to check out our exam hacks. In there, not only you will find the content of the exam, but also 10 effective tips on how to prepare for it.

Courses Requirement for IL Real Estate Appraiser License

 Associate Trainee AppraiserCertified Residential AppraiserCertified General Appraiser
* Supervisory Appraiser/Trainee Appraiser Course3 hours
Basic Appraisal Principles30 hours30 hours30 hours
Basic Appraisal Procedures30 hours30 hours30 hours
Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 15 hours
Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach 15 hours
Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches 30 hours
Residential Report Writing and Case Studies 15 hours
National USPAP Course or Equivalent15 hours 15 hours 15 hours
Statistics, Modeling and Finance15 hours15 hours
Advanced Residential Applications and Case Studies15 hours
Appraisal Subject Matter Electives 20 hours
General Appraiser Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 30 hours
General Appraiser Sales Comparison Approach 30 hours
General Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach 30 hours
General Appraiser Report Writing and Case Studies 30 hours
General Appraiser Income Approach 60 hours
Appraisal Subject Matter Electives30 hours
Total78 hours200 hours300 hours

* For the supervisor/trainee course, you could either take the 3 hours AQB trainee course or the 6 hours Illinois supervisor-trainee course.

All courses cannot be taken for more than 5 years prior to the date of application.

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.

Maintain an Organized Record of Appraiser Experience Logs

If you are planning to advance your career in becoming a Certified Appraiser, you’ll need to show your appraisal experience upon upgrading your license.

To do so, you’ll need to maintain a good record of the Experience Log. Here is the Experience Log Instruction from the IDFPR.

Below is the list of forms which would be useful:

In order to avoid any specific appraisal to earn unreasonable amount of credit hours, each work product actually has its own maximum hours. Here’s the credit matrix chart with more details.

However, if a particular assignment really exceeds the hours stated in the credit matrix, you could fill out the Experience Log Excess Hours Request form with explanation to backup why it would take longer period than usual.

You should also retain an organized filing of the documentation such as copies of the actual appraisal reports, supporting details or data to develop the appraisals.

The workfile needs to be kept for at least 5 years after the preparation or 2 years after final disposition of any judicial proceeding in which the appraiser provided testimony about the assignment, whichever the later.

Registration with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)

Since you have fulfilled the requirement, you should submit the Real Estate Appraiser Application For Licensure Document#REA-1001 to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). Here’s the link to download the form.

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

  • Fees: ($225 for Associate Trainee Appraiser; $315 for Certified Residential Appraiser; $315 for Certified General Appraiser)
    • The payment could be made with a cheque, money order
    • Note the fee is non-refundable and non-transferable
  • 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.)
  • Real Estate Appraiser Experience Log and the Supplemental Appraiser Experience Logs (Only if you are applying to become Certified Appraiser)

Within 60 days that the application is submitted to the department, you need to schedule an appointment with a licensed fingerprint vendor. This is for them to do a background check on you.  You could search for them at https://www.idfpr.com/FPVendor.asp. More details can be found in Part 10 of the application.

The Board indeed holds a strict rule in having proper disclosure on the application. In fact, they have clauses which warn for failure in disclosure on some specific details not only could result in denial of the application but could also result in a fine of up to $25,000.

So make sure you follow their instruction carefully and go over the checklist on the first page of the application file. If there is anything you are unsure, you should always confirm them. Their phone number is 800-560-6420.

Then post the entire package to the ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION Division of Real Estate. Their mailing address is on the first page of the application.

Once they approve your application, they will notify you with more details about the exam writing.

IL Appraiser License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

All real estate appraisers in Illinois need to complete to take the following every 24 months:

  • 7 hours of National Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) update course
  • 28 hours of approved appraiser Continuing Education courses

Although you could renew your license by September 30th, you must complete all the continuing education by June 30th.

Here’s the Real Estate Appraiser Renewal Application For Licensure.

The renewal fees are $350 for a Associate Trainee Appraiser and $580 for Certified Residential/General Appraiser. The late fee is $50.

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

How Much Do Real Estate Appraisers in Illinois Earn?

The income gap among appraisers in Illinois is quite huge. Your earning potential depends on number of factors such as the licensing level, working part time or full time, your experience, the company size, its location, and the type of properties you specialize in evaluating.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2018), the average annual income of real estate appraisers in Illinois is $56,520. The starting annual salaries are around $23,000 ($11.06/hour), and could go up to $98,180. ($47.20/hour) for top producers.

Based on the figures on Salary.com (Dec 26, 2019), appraiser who devote their career on assessing commercial real estate tends to earn a higher income than those who only appraise residential properties.

The average annual income of appraisers who focus their practice in the residential properties is $55,587 . The range generally is between $45,808 and $64,223.

Whereas, an appraiser who focus on appraising the value of commercial real estate has an average annual income of $103,783. The range is mostly between $89,263 and $119,054.

Is there a demand for real estate appraisers in Illinois?

According to the figures on the Appraisal Subcommittee website, there is a total of 3305 appraisers in Illinois. The breakdown is as follow:

  • # of Certified General Appraisers 1392
  • # of Certified Residential Appraisers 1913

Illinois has over 12.8 million people, and are heavily concentrated in the metropolitan area of Chicago. There is 0.40 real estate appraiser per 1000 jobs in Illinois. (*)

As long as there are people in Illinois who need a professional opinion of the valuation of a property, there would be a demand for real estate appraisers.

When you are considering the regions to conduct your appraisal practice, you should target areas that have a high population. After all, businesses can only occur when there are customers.

(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2018)

Career Tips for Appraisers in Illinois

Tip#1: Don’t Delay in Completing the Experience Logs

Not every supervisor-trainee relationship could last for a long time. There could be times where the working relationship could terminate earlier than you have expected. For instance, your supervisor could part the company, or even leave the appraisal industry.

If you procrastinate in filling out the experience logs, it could be complicated to get all the necessary signatures from your previous supervisor.Therefore, you should maintain all your log in good orders at all time.

Therefore, you should maintain all your log in good orders at all time.

Tip#2: Nothing Worthwhile Comes Easy

Being an appraiser indeed is a profession that requires a lot of hard work and patience. It could take years to establish your career in this field.

Many new people exited the industry in the first few years, which was too soon to evaluate any meaningful result.

There is a shortage of new appraisers entering into this field. As of April 2018, Illinois only had 267 credentialed Associate Real Estate Trainee Appraisers.

Most of the competition happens between appraising for residential properties. To excel in this career, you should consider expanding your scope of practice into the commercial areas.

Tip#3: Complete 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 you in the selection process, here’s a review of the appraisal courses provider that we like.

List of Professional Appraiser Organizations and Groups in Illinois

Current Appraiser Jobs Opportunity Available in Illinois

[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 Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR).

Reference:

  • The Appraisal Foundation- National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations (Source)
  • THE ILLINOIS SUPERVISOR–TRAINEE COURSE (Source) 
  • ILRAP- Handbook (Source)
  • Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR)(Source)
  • Appraisal Subcommittee- Active Appraiser Credentials Summary Report (Source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate (Source)
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Commercial Real Estate) in Illinois (Source)
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Residential Real Estate) in Illinois (Source)

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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