How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Iowa?

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Iowa has over 3.1 million of population.  With Des Moines as the most populous city, followed by Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Sioux City.

As a real estate appraiser in Iowa, 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.

To become a real estate appraiser in Iowa, you would start off in working as a Associate Appraiser, then work your way up toward becoming a Certified Appraiser. You must fulfill the qualifying appraisal education, work experience requirement and register with the Iowa Real Estate Appraisers Board.

The Appraiser Board is responsible for issuing licenses and regulating appraisers to ensure that their practice can fulfill the law requirements and meeting the industry standard.

Iowa Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Requirement

How to Become an Associate Appraiser in Iowa?

To begin your journey as an appraiser, your first step is to become a Associate Appraiser. At this stage, you will be trained and supervised by a certified appraiser. An experienced supervisor could guide you into the right direction in this career.

The supervisory appraiser should provide you with hands-on appraisal techniques, effective ways to research on a property, and how to analyze the data.  Most importantly, how to determine an unbiased estimation of the property’s market value.

Your daily routine could include doing property research, working on appraisal reports, or inspecting real estate together with the supervisor.

To get out the most from this trainee phase,  it is recommended you to walk through each and every step in the appraisal process, observe carefully on how your mentor inspect and assess properties, and always raise your questions.

4 Steps to Become an Associate Appraiser in Iowa

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

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

Now you have completed the education prerequisites, your next step is to register with Appraiser Board. Here are more details.

Step 4: Find a Certified Appraiser to be Your Supervisor

So how do you find a supervisory appraiser? The Iowa Appraiser Board is actually being very helpful. They provide a list of potential supervisors on their website with their name, company, and phone number.

Alternatively, you could network with Certified Appraisers through different industry associations in your city, forums or even on LinkedIn. The more appraisers you connect to, the bigger the chance you could find a supervisor. Here are the Top 10 Tips to Find a Supervisory Appraiser.

Before you and your mentor start working together, you would need to notify the Appraiser Board about the mentoring relationship.

You also need to keep track of your working hours with the board-approved experience log. This document is important for the purpose of upgrading your appraiser license in the future. There are two set of experience logs. One is for recording the residential work experience and the other is for the commercial project .

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

How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Iowa?

real estate career

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 could a self-employed appraiser running your own 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.

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 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 Iowa

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

Step 2: Complete the Appraisal Work Experience

You need to complete a minimum of 2500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience in not less than 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 taken some of the courses when becoming a Associate Appraiser,  you are only required to complete the extra classes. 

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 Iowa Real Estate Appraisers Board

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, it’s time to submit the license application. Whenever possible, I encourage you to make the submission electronically online. Not only this is the quickest and most convenient way, but less paper mailing is also good for the environment.

You’ll find out more about the registration later in the post.

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

Doing multiple sets of practice questions is an excellent way to prepare for the exam and also boost your confidence. Click here for more details about the exam writing.

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Iowa?

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.

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 requirement 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 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 Iowa

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 30 months period. A minimum of 1500 hours 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.

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

Once you have completed all the education and working experience prerequisites, you should fill out the license application. Later in this post, I’ll go over the documents and fees needed for the registration process.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

The final step is to pass the Certified General 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.

Courses Requirement for Iowa Appraiser License Level

 Associate Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified Residential Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
Certified General Appraiser
(Credit Hours)
National USPAP Course or Equivalent15 15 15
Basic Appraisal Principles30 30 30
Basic Appraisal Procedures30 3030
Residential Market Analysis and Highest & Best Use 15
Residential Appraisal Site Valuation and Cost Approach 15
Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches 30
Residential Report Writing and Case Studies 15
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
Total150 hours200 hours300 hours

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.

Register at the Iowa Commission of Real Estate Appraisers

Once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, you could submit an online application to the Appraiser 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 Iowa Real Estate Appraiser Board at:

  • Phone: 515.725.9025
  • Address: 200 E. Grand Ave, Ste. 350, Des Moines, IA 50309

What is the Format of the IA Real Estate Appraiser Exam?

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

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

The 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 $145. You could find out more details in the Iowa Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Information Bulletin.

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.

Iowa Appraiser License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

All real estate appraisers in Iowa are required to renew their license every two year. 

In addition to the renewal application, below are the requirements to renew your appraiser license:

  • Finish 28 hours continuing education every 2 years, of which must include 7 hours of National USPAP Update.
    • Starting 2013, you can obtain all the CE credits through online courses
  • 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. 

How Much Does a Real Estate Appraiser Make in Iowa?

Woman Real Estate Professional Meeting Client

Your income as a real estate appraiser depends on many factors such as your experience, licensing level, the type of properties you specialize in appraising, the company size, its location, and most importantly, the amount of effort you are willing to put into this career.

According to the figures on, despite the starting annual salary is only around $32,940, it has the potential to go up to $100,760 for high earners. Of which some appraisers could be working full-time or part-time.

The average annual salary of real estate appraisers in Iowa is $68,720,  which is higher than 96% similar careers in the same state.

When we look at the Oct 31, 2018 figures on the, we found that appraisers in Iowa who focus their work 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 $48,298. The range generally is between $39,800 and $55,803.

Whereas, a commercial real estate appraiser has an average annual salary of  $89,975 . The range is mostly between $77,390 and $103,215.

(No doubt, the income potential is an important factor in deciding the career path. Therefore, I wrote a complete guide which covers the different factors that could influence it. You will also find how to become six figures earning real estate appraiser.)

Helpful Tips for Appraisers in Iowa

Tip#1: Start Taking the pre-licensing 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 the appraisal courses provider that I like.

Tip#2: Build your network with other real estate professionals in Iowa

Talking to other appraisers in Iowa 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,

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

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.

Tips#3: Consider the commercial real estate 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 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 Iowa

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 Iowa Real Estate Appraisers Board.


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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