How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Washington?


real estate office

(**) 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.

There are 4 license levels of appraisers in Washington, which are the Appraiser Trainee, Licensed Residential Appraiser, Certified Residential Appraiser, Certified General Appraiser

To become a real estate appraiser in Washington, you need to fulfill the qualifying appraisal courses, and work experience requirement. Also, you are required to register with the Washington State Department of Licensing, Real Estate Appraiser Section.

Washington Real Estate Appraiser Advisory Committee is the regulatory agency which governs individuals and companies that appraise the value of real estate, and also appraisal management companies (AMCs), in accordance with federal guidelines.

As a real estate appraiser in Washington, your job is to come up with an appraisal report which determines the market value of a property. Your assessment 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 main focus is to provide an independent, unbiased estimate of value of a real property.

Washington Real Estate Appraiser License

How to Become an Appraiser Trainee in Washington?

To start your career as an appraiser, your first step is to become a Appraiser Trainee.

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 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 an Appraiser Trainee in Washington

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. 

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 Washington State Department of Licensing

Now you have completed the education prerequisites, your next step is to register with WA Real Estate Appraiser Program.

If the Licensing 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 are more details about the registration.

Step 4: Find a Certified Appraiser to be Your Supervisor

Realtors In Front Of A House

In Washington, all supervising appraisers must submit a supervising appraiser form to the Real Estate Appraiser Program to indicate who are Appraiser Trainees they are mentoring.

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 mentor. You could start connecting with Certified Appraisers through different industry associations, forums or even on LinkedIn.

( Read: “The Top 10 Tips to Find a Supervisory Appraiser“)

Once you start working alongside with a supervisor, you 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.

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

How to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Washington?

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 Appraiser Trainee.

5 Steps to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Washington

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold an Associate Degree or higher. Or complete 30 semester credit hours covering specific subject topics.

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 2000 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 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 the list of qualifying appraisal courses.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Washington State Department of Licensing

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the the Real Estate Appraiser Program 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!

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 Washington?

Real Estate Agent Using Mobile Phone In New Property

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 Washington only accept assessment work from Certified Appraiser.

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

It was a government job posting from one of the Counties in Washington. There were 3 vacancies positions for Residential Appraiser. The primary duty of this job is to appraise residential properties, and lands work for tax assessment purposes in the County Assessor’s Office.

The daily tasks could involve:

  • Inspecting real properties such as residential condominiums, manufactured homes, and farms
  • Taking measurement and photos of real estates
  • Determining market value using the cost and market approaches
  • Analyzing building permits, maps, blueprints, and legal descriptions

This position offered many attractive benefits. For example, retirement fund contributions, medical, dental, long-term disability, and life insurance.

In the job posting, they also listed out the details of the vacation, sick leave, paid time off and others.

This was a full-time position. If you included the benefits into the total compensation, it would range about $46,000 to $62,000 per year.

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 Washington

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

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 an Appraiser Trainee or Licensed Residential Appraiser,  you are only required to complete the extra classes. Click here to read the specific courses requirement.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Washington State Department of Licensing

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, it’s time to submit the license application.

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 submission steps.

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential 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.

Click here for more details to schedule the exam writing.

How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Washington?

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 what kind of jobs are available in the commercial real estate appraisal field in Washington?

At the time we were writing this post, we saw two interesting job postings which might give you some idea. They were both looking for a Commercial Real Estate Appraiser.

One of them is from a well-established appraisal firm in Bellevue. They had been in business for over 20 years. Their core services were to provide appraisals of commercial real estates and valuation of companies.

However, we noticed this was a contract position with fee split. With this business model, the chances were you would get paid whenever you complete an appraisal job order. The more reports you can write, the more you would make.

On the other hand, there was another job opening from another company in Downtown Seattle.

Despite this was a full-time hours position, you could manage your schedule. Their philosophy was that they believe in work-life balance, and they trusted their employees can handle their own agenda and get the job done.

They offered a competitive salary with performance bonuses and 401k plan. They also provided other perks such as reimbursement of licensing fees, tuition of continuing education and Appraisal Insitute dues.

They required you to have a minimum of 3 years experience as a Certified General Appraiser and also 10 years experience as an Appraiser.

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 Washington 

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. 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 Washington State Department of Licensing

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. But if you want, you may click here and jump to that section.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

The final step is to pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam. 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 WA Appraiser Exam.

What is the Courses Requirement for each Appraiser License?

 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.

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

How to Register with the Washington State Department of Licensing?

Once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, you could submit your application to the “Real Estate Appraiser, Department of Licensing

Here are the links to download the:

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

  • Registration fee
    • $200 for Trainee Appraiser;
    • $370 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)

Alternatively, you could also submit your application online. They have the features where you could upload your documents and pay the application fee with either your credit or debit card.

If you have any questions, you could also contact the Department of Licensing, their phone number is 360.664.6504, email is [email protected]

Check out these WA Appraiser Exam Details

Real estate career studying

Once the Washington Real Estate Appraiser Advisory Committee accepts your application, they will send you a notice with instruction to schedule the exam. Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP) 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.

There will be a $105 exam fee. You could find out more details in the Washington Real Estate Appraisers Program Candidate Handbook.

Also, remember to check out our 10 tips on how to pass the real estate appraiser exam!

Appraiser License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

All real estate appraisers in Washington 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, but may not be repeated in consecutive renewals. 
  • Pay the renewal fee. ($200 for Appraiser Trainee, $530 for Licensed/Certified Appraisers)

To prevent interruption to your appraisal practice, you should renew it and complete all continuing education requirement before the license expiry date. Also, a $38 late fee would apply if you renew your license after it is expired. 

How Much Does a Real Estate Appraiser Make in Washington?

Real Estate Appraiser Earning

Your earning ability 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 Washington could be huge.

According to the figures on sokanu.com, despite the starting annual salary is only around $34,510 , it has the potential to go up to $109,760 for top producers. Of which would consist both full-time and part-time appraisers.

The average annual salary of real estate appraisers in Washington is $67,970.  which is 89% more than similar careers in Washington.

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

The average annual salary of appraisers who focus their practice in the residential real estate is $54,528. The range generally is between $44,934 and $63,001.

Whereas, an appraiser who specialize in appraising commercial real estate has an average annual salary of $101,581. The range is mostly between $87,372 and $116,529.

How Many Real Estate Appraisers are in Washington?

According to the Appraisal Subcommittee, there are 2635 real estate appraiser in Massachsetts. The breakdown is as follow:

  • 1013 Certified General Appraiser
  • 1489 Certified Residential Appraiser
  • 133 Licensed Residential Appraiser

Washington is the home to over 7.5 million people, with Seattle as the largest city in terms of population. Other populous cities include Kent, Tacoma, Bellevue and Everett which account for more than 50% of the state’s population

When you are deciding 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.

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!

Helpful Career Tips for Appraisers in Washington

Tip#1: Network with other real estate professionals in Washington

Networking with other appraisers in Washington 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,

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.

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

Tip#2: Consider the commercial real estate route

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.

Is commercial real estate appraisal a good career? Check out this complete guide. In it, you’ll find the type of work involved as a commercial real estate appraiser, the income potential, and the training you need to have to become one.

Tip#3: Take the pre-licensing courses asap

You could research on every aspect about the appraisal career, 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 could be helpful to you.

Current Real Estate Appraiser Jobs Opportunity Available in Washington

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 Washington State Department of Licensing, Real Estate Appraiser Section.

Reference:

  • Mckissock Learning- Washington Appraisal License Requirements: (Source)
  • Mckissock Learning- Learn Appraisal Educational Requirements for Washington (Source)
  • The Appraisal Foundation- National Uniform Licensing and Certification Examinations: (Source)
  • Appraisal Subcommittee- Active Appraiser Credentials Summary Report (Source)
  • sokanu – How much does a Real Estate Appraiser make in  Washington? (Source)
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Commercial Real Estate) in Washington: (Source)
  • salary.com- Salary for Appraiser (Residential Real Estate) in Washington:  (Source)
  • Washington State Department of Licensing, Real Estate Appraiser Section- (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.

Recent Posts