How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Utah? (Beginner’s Guide)


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

There are over 3.1 million people reside in Utah. Although the population has significantly increased throughout the last 20 years, Utah is very sparsely populated. Majority of the residents live in the surroundings of Salt Lake City.

As a real estate appraiser in Utah, 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 Utah, you would start off in working as a trainee, then work your way up toward other designations. There are four types of licenses in Utah, they are:

  1. Trainee Appraiser
  2. Licensed Residential Appraiser
  3. Certified Residential Appraiser
  4. Certified General Appraiser

You must fulfill the qualifying appraisal education, work experience requirement and register with the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate. This is the regulatory body which governs the appraisal industry and issue licensing for appraisers.

Utah Real Estate Appraiser License Requirement

How to Become an Appraiser Trainee in Utah?

To begin your journey as an appraiser, your first step is to become a Trainee 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 training phase,  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 an Appraiser Trainee in Utah

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
  • No college-level education is required

Step 2: Complete the Pre-License Education

You need to complete the 75 hours of qualifying appraisal-related education and the Trainee/Supervisor 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 the Division of Real Estate

Now you have completed the education prerequisites, your next step is to get registered.

Step 4: Work under the supervision of a Certified Appraiser

So how do you find a supervisory appraiser?  You could start connecting with Certified Appraisers through 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.

Once you start working alongside with a supervisor, you and your supervisor would need to inform the Real Estate Division 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.

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

Here’s what I asked a Real Estate Appraiser Trainee about working with a supervisor

Katie Holland, Real Estate Appraiser Trainee

Jacob:Is there anything you have learned in the field or from your supervisor that was not covered in the class?” 

Katie: “Yes, I have learned so much through both my supervisor and working in the field. Through this, it has taught me how to properly measure a home, how to notice differences in materials used throughout the home, how to properly deal with clients (answering such questions that may come about or just overall explaining the process of how the appraisal works.)

I conducted a full interview with Katie Holland, where she shared her journey and thought about the real estate appraisal industry. Be sure to check it out!

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How to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Utah?

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.

When working as a fee-based appraiser, you could be writing appraisal reports for clients such as individuals, lenders, banks, or appraisal management companies (AMC). Your job duties could include doing research online, going on the field to inspect properties, and writing the appraisal reports.

On the other hand, you could also be hired by an appraiser company or financial institution as their in-house appraiser, where you could enjoy the stable income 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 Appraiser Trainee.

Also, unlike most other states, you do need to become a Licensed Residential Appraiser first before you could upgrade your license in being Certified.

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Utah

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 should have taken some of the courses when becoming an Appraiser Trainee,  so that you are only required to fulfill the additional course works.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Division of Real Estate

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

Step 5: Pass the Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam

Now it’s the time to write the exam! 

How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Utah?

real estate agent 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 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 in 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 Utah

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Fulfill 1 of the following 6 options of college-level education:
    1.  Bachelor’s Degree or higher;
    2. Associate’s Degree in a focused field of study, such as business, economics, or real estate;
    3. Complete 30 college semester credit hours in specified topics;
    4. Complete College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)1 exams equivalent to a minimum of 30 semester credit hours in specified subject matter areas;
    5. Any combination of #3 and #4 above that includes all of the topics identified
    6. If you have been a licensed residential appraiser for over 5 years, and your license remains in good standing, then the college-level education can be waived.

(Is a college-degree really helpful to your appraisal career? Check out this article for more ideas.)

Step 2: Complete the Appraisal Work 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 when becoming a Trainee or Licensed Residential Appraiser,  you are only required to complete the extra classes. 

Step 4: Submit Application to the Division of Real Estate

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, it’s time to submit the license application. You’ll find more details about the submission process later in this post. (i.e, application fee, documents needed)

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

This is to test your appraisal knowledge of what you have learned in the pre-licensing courses.

Here’s a Snippet of What Jamie Owen Thinks About Being a Real Estate Appraiser!

The more you learn, the more you will enjoy being an appraiser.”

I think that humility and honesty are the most important attributes. Humility is important because if we think we know it all, we are going to be in trouble. Being appraiser requires not being thin-skinned and defensive. Others have their opinions and we have ours. Both may be supportable in one way or another.

Being humble helps us to respect the views of others and not be offended if others have a different view. Humility also helps with business relationships, as well as accepting guidance and reminders when we need them, from peers and others.

– Jamie Owen, Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser at Aspen Appraisal Services

Here’s an exclusive interview with Jamie. He shared with us his journey and valuable experience in the appraisal industry. You’ll also learn what it is like to be a real estate appraiser nowadays. 

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Utah?

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 help you obtain this designation.

5 Steps to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Utah

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 license(s). Therefore, you are only required to complete the extra classes.

Interested in becoming a real estate appraiser? Here is an Education Resources Page which could be helpful to you in getting the appraiser license.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Division of Real Estate

Once you have completed all the education and working experience prerequisites, you should fill out the license application. As you continue to read on, you’ll find more details about the submission process.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

The last step is to pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam. Doing multiple set of practice questions is a good way to prepare for it.

Is being a real estate appraiser a good career? – Let’s hear from an industry professional

Brett Hall, MAI, SRA

“Currently, I am a Principal Commercial Appraiser with the Hennepin County Assessor’s office. My primary responsibilities are to value real property for tax petition purposes and provide expert witness testimony. 

Prior to joining the public service sector, I was an independent fee appraiser who owned a residential appraisal firm and was a partner in a commercial appraisal firm. I have been a real estate appraiser for 26 years.

The appraisal industry has amazing opportunities in both the public and private sectors.  The appraisal industry is especially well suited for entrepreneurs who wish to operate their own businesses. 

Brett Hall, MAI, SRA, Principal Commercial Appraiser at Hennepin County

Is real estate appraiser a good career? This is one of the common questions I hear a lot. Therefore, I spent months and months in connecting with different real estate appraisers. Here are their valuable insights about this profession. Make sure to check it out!

Table of Utah Real Estate Appraisal Courses 

 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
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 hours150 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 with the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate

Once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, you could submit your application to the Division of Real Estate.

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 the Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate at:

  • Phone: (801) 530-6747
  • Address: 160 East 300 South, PO Box 146711, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6711

Format of the Utah Real Estate Appraiser Exams

Once the State Board accepts your application, they will send you a notice with instruction to schedule the exam. Pearson-Vue 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.

You could find out more details in the National Appraiser Examination Candidate Handbook.

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.

FAQ on the Utah Real Estate Appraiser Career

How long does it take to become a real estate appraiser in Utah?

It takes 6 to 18 months to become a real estate appraiser in Utah. That is the minimum period to complete the work experience so the duration would hugely depend on which appraiser license you are pursuing, the time it takes you to complete the work experience, pre-licensing courses and pass the appraiser exam.

It takes 1,000 hours of work experience to become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Utah, 1,500 hours to become a Certified Residential Appraiser and 3,000 hours to become a Certified General Appraiser.

How to renew the Utah real estate appraiser license? Any CE requirement?

All real estate appraisers in Utah are required to renew their license every two year. It must be done no sooner than three months prior to but no later than the license expiration date. 

For Appraiser Trainee, you would need to fill out the Registration Renewal Form.  Whereas for licensed/certified appraisers, you could do the renewal online.

In addition to the application, 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.
    • There is no restriction in the number of courses you can take online. 
  • Pay the renewal fee ($100 for trainee, $300 for licensed/certified)

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

How much do real estate appraisers make in Utah?

Utah Real Estate Appraiser Income Guide

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2021), real estate appraisers in Utah make an average annual income of $49,750. It typically ranges between $38,840 and $63,270. Top earning property appraisers in Utah more than $101,320 per year.

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.

Here’s a complete income guide on real estate appraisers in Utah. In there, I will uncover the income updates, the percentage of appraisers that are making a good living, and whether being a commercial or residential appraisers has any effect on the income. So be sure to check it out!

Career Tips for Aspiring Appraisers in Utah

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 the appraisal courses provider that I like.

Tip#2: Network with other real estate professionals in Utah

Connecting with other appraisers in Utah could give you a better understanding about  the appraisal industry. You could do so by joining industry associations, online forums or even social media groups. For instance,

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.

Furthermore, 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 run.

Tip#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.

Tip#4: Read the Utah Residential Real Estate Appraisal Fee Study

We found an interesting study conducted by the Utah Association of Appraisers, which was published on Aug 13, 2014. It layout the typical appraisal fees charged according to different scenarios. For example, whether the client was AMC or not, the property was located in an urban or rural area, is it a full appraisal for FHA or an exterior-inspection.

It also illustrated some important figures such as the annual volume of appraisals conducted by the respondent, and where the businesses were coming from.

Since this study has 141 pages, so I won’t go over all the details here. But here’s the link for your reference.

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in the real estate appraiser profession. Your first step is to complete the pre-licensing courses. You should select one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. McKissock is exactly that! You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

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 Utah Department of Commerce, Division of Real Estate.

Reference:

Author

  • 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.

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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