How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Virginia?


real estate professionals with clients

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As a real estate appraiser in Virginia, your job is to provide an appraiser report which determines the market value of a property. Your work products 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 is going through divorce or estate settlement.

Regardless of who is in needs of your appraisal services, your main focus is to provide an independent, unbiased estimate of value of a real property.

How to become a real estate appraiser in Virginia? To become a real estate appraiser in Virginia, you need to fulfill the qualifying education, and work experience requirement. Also, you are required to register with The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board.

This is the State board which regulates individuals and companies that appraise the value of real estate, and also appraisal management companies (AMCs), in accordance with federal guidelines.

There are 4 license levels of appraisers in Virginia:

  • Trainee Appraiser
  • Licensed Residential Appraiser
  • Certified Residential Appraiser
  • Certified General Appraiser

If you are interested in knowing about a real estate appraiser in Virginia, then this is the guide for you. Not only you’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become an appraiser, but you will also find income updates, career outlook, format of the VA appraiser exam, and helpful career tips. So let’s dive in!

Virginia Real Estate Appraiser License Requirement

How to Become a Trainee Appraiser in Virginia?

To start your career 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 practical appraisal methods, how to conduct research on a property, how to extract important information from the data.  Of course, 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 Appraiser 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 Virginia

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 AQB Supervisor/Trainee Course. Here’s a table that outlines the course works required.

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 3: Submit Application to the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board

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

If the Appraisal Board in your state has the online submission available, then I would 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 is more info to register for the appraisal license.

Step 4: Find a Certified Appraiser to be Your Supervisor

In Virginia, to ensure you can receive the proper training and the attention you need, a Certified Appraiser cannot supervise more than 3 Appraiser Assistants at any given time.

You could have more than one supervisor. However, all supervising appraisers must submit a supervising appraiser form to the State Board for each trainee appraiser under their supervision.

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

You might wonder how to find a supervisory appraiser. You could start connecting with Certified Appraisers through different industry associations, forums or even on LinkedIn. The more appraisers you talk to, the higher the chance you could find a mentor.

Here is another article you might be interested in reading:The Top 10 Tips to Find a Supervisory Appraiser.

Once you start working alongside with a supervisor, you should start keeping track of your working hours with the board-approved experience log. This document will be crucial when you are upgrading your license in the future.

How to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Virginia?

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 advance their career from the Trainee Appraisers.

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Virginia

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 a Trainee Appraiser,  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 Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board

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

Step 5: Pass the Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam

Now it’s the time to write the exam! The purpose is to test your appraisal knowledge, especially the subjects that are covered in the pre-licensing courses.

Doing multiple sets of practice questions is an excellent way to prepare for the exam and also boost your confidence.

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.

How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Virginia?

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

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 Virginia only accept appraisals from Certified Appraiser.

So what is like to be a residential appraiser in Virginia? We looked into some job postings and found one that might give you a better insight.

It was a government job at the Office of Commissioner of the Revenue in one of the counties in Virginia. They were looking for a Real Estate Appraiser, where the core duties involve:

  • Assess residential properties in accordance with Virginia Code and professional standard.
  • Ensure all construction permits are within department standard
  • Communicate with property owners regarding the assessment process, or other valuation-related issues.
  • Defend assessed values at hearings.
  • Attend the professional training and stay current with the federal, state, and local tax laws and appraisal standards.

This position requires a minimum of 2 years of real estate appraisal experience.

This was a full-time position with full benefits. Their offered salary range was around $43,000 to $62,000.

Having said that, so let’s go through the steps for you to become a Certified Residential Appraiser.

5 Steps to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Virginia

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 taken some of the courses when becoming a Trainee Appraiser or Licensed Residential Appraiser,  you are only required to complete the extra classes. Click here to view the appraisal courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the State Appraisal Board along with the mandatory 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! 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 to schedule the exam writing.

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Virginia?

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.

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.

So what kind of jobs are available in the commercial real estate appraisal field in Virginia? At the time I was writing this post, I found the following the job opening.

It was a government job in the City Assessor’s Office. They were looking to hire a City Assessor. This is actually a managerial role where you could be overseeing a department of 17 full-time employees.

The role of this position include:

  • developing an appraisal manual and procedures for appraisers to follow
  • conducting appraisals for special projects such as industrial plants, apartment complexes, and other large development
  • attending all board meeting for real estate assessment
  • In some instances, you would need to testify in court as an expert witness.

6 to 9 years of commercial, industrial and residential appraisals experience is required.

The responsibility and requirement for this position are quite high, but the compensation is also very lucrative. Their offered salary could be up to $212,000 per year.

Of course, the first step is to become a Certified General Appraiser, so let’s go through the steps to obtain this designation.

5 Steps to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Virginia

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 1500 hours of 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. Here are the specific courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board

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

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.

Cramming for the exam is ineffective. Instead, you should study for 45 to 60 minutes, then take a break. Concentration tends to wander if you study for too long. If possible, focus on studying only one to two topics per day. But be really good at it.

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 is more info about the VA appraiser exam.

What Appraisal Courses are Needed?

 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

In addition to the above course work, Trainee Appraisers are required to complete the AQB Supervisor/Trainee course.

Obtain the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser License

Once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, you could submit your application to the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board. Here are the links to download the:

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

  • Registration fee
    • $155 for Trainee Appraiser;
    • $290 for Licensed Residential Appraiser, Certified Appraisers
  • 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 Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board., their phone number is (804) 367-2039, email is [email protected]

Let’s Take a Look at the VA Appraiser Exam!

Once the Real Estate Appraisal Board approve 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.

  • 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 exam.

There will be a $125 exam fee. You could find out more details about the exam in the Examination Information Bulletin.

Remember to check out our 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 Virginia 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 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. (Here’s the Real Estate Appraiser Regulations. You could find more details about the renewal fee on Page 21.) 

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

Also, late fees would apply if you renew your license after it is expired. 

How Much Does a Real Estate Appraiser Make in Virginia?

Your income as a real estate appraiser is subjected to many variables 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.  Therefore, the income gap among real estate appraisers in Virginia could vary dramatically.

How much do real estate appraisers make in Virginia? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2018), the average annual salary of real estate appraisers in Virginia is $60,420. They mostly fall in the range between $35,020 and $94,550.

Based on the Oct 31, 2018 figures on Salary.com, appraisers who focus their work on commercial properties tend to have a higher earning than residential appraisers.

The average annual salary of appraisers who focus their practice in the residential real estate is $51,682. The range generally is between $42,589 and $59,713.

Whereas, an appraiser who specialize in appraising commercial properties has an average annual income of $96,279. The range is mostly between $82,812 and $110,447.

Is there a demand for real estate appraisers in Virginia?

According to the figures on the Appraisal Subcommittee website, there is a total of 3611 appraisers in Virginia. The breakdown is as follow:

  • # of Certified General Appraisers 1257
  • # of Certified Residential Appraisers 1852
  • # of Licensed Residential Appraisers 484

Virginia has a population of over 8.5 million people. It’s one of the densely populated state, with Virginia Beach as the most populous city. As long as there are people in Virginia 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.

Career Tips for Appraisers in Virginia

Tip#1: 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.

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

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

To have a better understanding of a career in the appraisal industry, you should start connecting with other appraisers. You could do so by joining industry associations, 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.

Furthermore, you should also network with other professionals in the real estate industry.  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 groups on our resource page. Remember to check it out!

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.

Tip#4: Check out for Government Job Posting

At the time we were writing this post, there were many job openings at different government agencies. The job nature and compensation were very attractive.

We often hear that appraisal newbies in other states are concerned they cannot find a supervisor. However, we did see a number of Real Estate Appraiser Trainee jobs being posted. In fact, one of them even offered over $45,000 as the entry salary, which was a lot higher than the starting salary of most appraisers.

So, make sure to check out the government job listing in your city or county.

Current Real Estate Appraiser Jobs Opportunity Available in Virginia

[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 Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board.

Reference:

  • Mckissock Learning- Virginia Appraisal License Requirements: (Source)
  • Mckissock Learning- Learn Appraisal Educational Requirements for Virginia (Source)
  • Appraisal Subcommittee- Active Appraiser Credentials Summary Report (Source)
  • The Appraisal Foundation- National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations: (Source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate (Source)
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Commercial Real Estate) in Virginia: (Source)
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Residential Real Estate) in Virginia:  (Source)
  • Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board (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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