How To Become A Real Estate Appraiser In Virginia

Time and life are pretty crazy. I remember 15 years ago when I decided I wanted to be a real estate appraiser. It truly was a “good ole boy” club back then and getting in the door was IMPOSSIBLE unless you knew someone. With good reason, real estate appraisers in Virginia have a good life, and if you’re here, you probably already know that.

Real estate appraising is a lucrative career that has started to attract more people, however with the number of appraisers retiring, this job has never been in more demand in Virginia. After all, who doesn’t want to make six-figures per year while being their own boss?

As you may know, getting that real estate appraiser license is not really an easy feat and you will be met with many uphill battles along this journey.

There have been a variety of reasons for this. Perhaps the largest is that it takes less time to become a licensed real estate appraiser in Virginia than many other states. While anybody considering the profession will still need 2,000 hours of experience to become licensed, this can take much less time. The majority of states mandate that potential appraisers spend a minimum of between 18 and 24 months to obtain these hours, depending on the state.

First off, what sort of real estate appraiser do you want to be? ​

Do you know how much real estate appraisers make?

If you know the answers to these questions, let’s move on. In this guide, we will hit on everything you need to know and how to plan to be a real estate appraiser in Virginia.

No matter what level of appraisal license you want to get, remember all real estate appraiser license levels in Virginia have these basic requirements.

  • Find an Appraisal Mentor
  • Complete Your Real Estate Appraiser Education
  • Fulfill your experience hours under a licensed mentor
  • Pass Your Real Estate Appraiser Exam
  • Register with the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board

In  Virginia, however, appraisers can gather them in just 12 months! As a result, they can spend their extra time in getting their license. However, there may be quite a large number of people who may not know how to become a licensed real estate appraiser in Virginia. There are some specific requirements that you would need to fulfill, much of this depending on what type of real estate you plan on getting into.

real estate appraiser

How To Become A Real Estate Appraiser Trainee In Virginia

Before you obtain any other license level in this career, you have to get your trainee license. This is the first step that you’ll need to take to become a licensed appraiser in Virginia. These will include a variety of educational and basic requirements, although these shouldn’t be as difficult as you have in mind.

Qualifying Education (90 hours):

  • USPAP – 15 Hours
  • Basic Appraisal Principles – 30 hours
  • Basic Appraisal Procedures – 30 hours.
  • Experience: None! This is your starting line.
  • College Education: No college needed. I have met appraisal trainees in high school.

Alongside this, you’ll need to provide proof of your lawful residence in the United States alongside a copy of your criminal history. Typically, you will also need to pay a $125 fee. Apart from them, you shouldn’t need anything else to become a licensed trainee appraiser in Virginia.

How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser in Virginia

I’m only including this step for informational purposes but this license is such a waste of time. If you are not going to get the Residential or the Commercial license, don’t bother getting this one. You still need to get your trainee license first before you obtain this useless license. Therefore, you need to follow those steps mentioned above before moving on. But again, for the purpose of educating the public, here are the classes that you need to obtain this level of license.

Qualifying Education (150 hours):

  • USPAP – 15 Hours
  • Basic Appraisal Principles – 30 hours
  • Basic Appraisal Procedures – 30 hours
  • Residential Market Analysis & Highest and Best Use – 15 hours
  • Residential Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach – 15 hours
  • Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches – 30 hours
  • Residential Report Writing and Case Studies – 15 hours

Experience: 2,000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience. The fastest this can be done is one year (although most people take longer).

College Education: This is the only license level that does not need any sort of college education or college classes.

After you’ve completed the requirements stated above, you would need to contact the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board and set up a time to pass your appraisal exam. There is normally a fee of around $125 to take this test.

Let me repeat this for the kids at the back, do not spend time or money on this license! You are extremely limited on what you can appraise and it is effectively worthless.

How to be a Residential Real Estate Appraiser in Virginia

This is the license level that you would want to get if your goal is to be a residential real estate appraiser in Virginia. The difference between a licensed real estate appraiser and a residential one is massive. With this license level, you can appraise almost any residential property in the USA and your income will be significantly higher too. To get this license, you’ll need all of the same things mentioned above, plus an extra 500 hours of experience. You’ll also need at least a Bachelor’s degree or higher. You should also be able to pass a state exam and pay a $125 fee. If you do not have a degree, the number of the approved course hours required in getting this license will increase significantly.

Qualifying Education (200 hours):

  • USPAP – 15 hours
  • 15-hour Nat’l USPAP or Equivalent
  • Basic Appraisal Principles – 30 hours
  • Basic Appraisal Procedures – 30 hours
  • Residential Market Analysis & Highest and Best Use – 15 hours
  • Residential Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach – 15 hours
  • Residential Sales Comparison and Income Approaches – 30 hours
  • Residential Report Writing and Case Studies – 15 hours
  • Statistics, Modeling, and Finance – 15 hours
  • Advanced Residential Applications and Case Studies – 15 hours
  • Appraisal Electives – 20 hours.

Experience: 2,500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience. This can not be completed quicker than two years.

College Education: You have a few options here.

Easiest route: CLEP exams equivalent to the 30 college hours needed.

Hardest route: Bachelor’s Degree (does not matter the major)

Most popular route: Associate’s Degree in something like economics, real estate or business.

Secret option: Most people don’t know this, but if you obtain your licensed residential appraisal license (the worthless one) and keep in good standing, you can upgrade to a certified residential after 5 years without doing anything in college or taking any exams.

This is a great license for those that just want to appraise homes and are not interested in the commercial side of the real estate industry. Please note that residential appraisers have tons of work and they often feel stressed because they’re very busy all year long.

How to be a Virginia Certified General Appraiser (Commercial Real Estate)

Oh, I see! You’re interested in getting PAID. It’s no secret that commercial real estate appraisers make a ton of money. When I was appraising full-time, I cleared $200,000 a year. For a single guy living in the sticks, that’s practically ‘Bill Gates’ money! It made me afford a very early retirement and for that, I am forever grateful.

A commercial appraiser can appraise anything. There are no limits. With this comes great responsibility and as you can imagine, it is much harder to achieve.

The certified General license is for commercial real estate appraisers. There is no limit on this license and appraisers can appraise whatever they want! Though due to the lack of restrictions, as you can imagine, the requirements are much harder.

Qualifying Kansa Education (300 hours):

  • USPAP – 15 hours
  • Basic Appraisal Principles – 30 hours
  • Basic Appraisal Procedures – 30 hours
  • General Appraiser Market Analysis & Highest and Best Use – 30 hours
  • General Appraiser Site Valuation and Cost Approach – 30 hours
  • General Appraiser Sales Comparison Approach – 30 hours
  • General Appraiser Report Writing and Case Studies – 30 hours
  • Statistics, Modeling, and Finance – 15 hours.
  • General Appraiser Income Approach 1 & 2 – 60 hours
  • Appraisal  Electives – 30 hours

Experience: 3,000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience. You can not finish these hours in less than 2.5 years. At least half of this experience must be commercial (non-residential).

College Education: Bachelors degree required

Virginia Real Estate Appraiser License Reciprocity, and Portability

Reciprocity: Virginia has mutual recognition agreements with all the other 50 states. This means that effectively, any state will recognize your Virginia real estate appraiser license and give you permission to work in the state where you moved to.

How Much Do Real Estate Appraisers Make In Virginia?

This is perhaps one of the most common questions that many people have about the profession. There can be quite a large number of factors at play here, which means that there may not be a fixed answer. However, there are different income ranges that people should expect once they’re fully licensed appraisers and understand how much appraisers make. Typically, you should expect to earn anywhere between $43,083 and $60,416 per year once you’re licensed. There will be a variety of factors that will affect this, including the city that you live in, and how long you’ve been working in the niche. Alongside this, several other things will play a role in how much you could earn, including:

  • Experience
  • Certificates
  • Licenses
  • Qualifications

This could mean that it’s recommended that you work on obtaining as many certificates and skills as possible. While you may not be able to get all of this at the start of your career, they will add up significantly over the following years. Coupled with your growing experience, this will naturally mean that you’ll see your salary go up massively within a few years of starting. Much of this is similar to many other professions, so you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time making sure that you obtain as many certificates and qualifications related to the niche as possible. While you shouldn’t expect to get rich quickly as a licensed real estate appraiser in Virginia, it should prove to have quite a high income. With the ever-growing possibility of a larger salary in the future, this should mean that you’ll start seeing a noticeable change in your income over time.

How To Find An Appraisal Mentor In Virginia

As most appraisers will tell you, one of the hardest parts of being in this journey is finding a mentor in Virginia. It’s tough! After all, you’re asking them to train their future competition. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, and there are a variety of things that you’ll be able to do to make it easier for you. One of the first things that you should do is to become a licensed trainee first before looking for a mentor. This shows that you are serious and you mean business. This makes the most prominent appraisal mentors see that you have already invested in yourself financially and are serious about this as a career.

Pro Tip: Draw a 30-mile radius around your house in Virginia and plot all the appraisers within this 30-mile radius. Gather their address, e-mail, phone number and learn a little about what they specialize in. Ask them to take lunch and sell yourself. This is exactly what I did and it worked flawlessly. I had job offers within a week while others waited months or even years to find an appraisal mentor.

There are a few other reasons why you should consider doing your courses and exams beforehand, including:

  • Experience hours don’t count unless you’ve gone through your courses. This could mean that any work you do in the time between you find a mentor and you complete your exams may be useless when it comes to getting this license. Don’t waste this time!
  • It will help you determine your interest level in becoming an appraiser. In many cases, it may make you much more interested, although this isn’t always the case. Occasionally, it may make many people less interested. As such, finding this out before you’ve wasted months on training can be beneficial.

This means that it’s highly recommended that you become a licensed trainee first before attempting to find a licensed appraiser.

When you start looking, there are a variety of tips that you should follow to find a mentor. Before you start, however, it’s worth noting that many licensed appraisers may not have the time to mentor.

Coupled with this, many may believe that you’ll be competing in the future, which is the thing that they want to avoid. With that in mind, it could be slightly difficult to find one who’s willing to mentor you.

However, there’s still a large number of older appraisers who would be much more willing to take you under their wing.

There are a number of ways on how you can find someone to mentor you as you begin your career as a real estate appraiser in Virginia.

Typically, you should start by drawing up a list of some of the more reputable firms and individuals in the profession.

These could then be your target mentors, so it’s worth making sure that they’re people you’ll want to work with.

Next, you’ll need to get your foot in the door, which may be one of the more difficult aspects of the process.

This is because there could be a huge amount of competitors, and mentors will only be able to help a limited number of people. As such, you’ll need to demonstrate how you can add value.

This can be done in a variety of ways, although it will mostly depend on your particular skills. This could be similar to many other jobs, in that you’ll need to prove that you’re a worthwhile person to mentor and that you’ll bring value to the whole firm.

Much of this is because there can be a significant amount of time before a mentee becomes profitable with appraising.

As a result, you’ll need to prove your worth in a variety of other ways. This could be done through a range of complementary skills, such as marketing, and much more. Once you’re able to differentiate yourself from many other trainees to a potential mentor, you should then start contacting a licensed appraiser to see if they’ll mentor you.

However, it’s worth spending a certain amount of time researching an appraiser before you do so. Much of this will be focused on whether they’re willing and able to take you on, among other things. It can also be worth contacting the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board and finding the closest appraisers to you.

With this, you will then be able to start contacting them about a potential position. While some might not be welcoming, others will be. Once you’ve done this, you should be able to land an interview with them.

Should this be the case, you’ll need to make sure that you’re able to make a positive impression during the interview, as well as beforehand. As such, you should brush up on your application and interview skills, which should prove to be quite helpful.



Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board

Address: Perimeter Center Suite 102 (first floor) 9960 Mayland Drive Richmond VA 23233

Phone Number: (804) 367-8500

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