Qualified real estate appraisers are in demand by a wide range of clients such as banks and mortgage companies due to thousands of real estate transactions that occur weekly. Homeowners sometimes hire a real estate appraiser to determine the value of their property when appealing a tax assessment. Real estate appraisals are also used by lawyers in divorce property disputes, and by insurance companies to determine valuation of a property for insurance purposes.
California law requires that real estate appraisers be licensed by the state. To become a California real estate appraiser there are certain requirements you need to fulfill:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Acquire the required education and experience
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Submit your application
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Take and pass the California real estate appraiser examination
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Submit your license issuance application
According to the state Office of Real Estate Appraisers, there are four levels of licensing in California:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ AT – Trainee License
Ã¢Â?Â¢ AL – Residential License
Ã¢Â?Â¢ AR – Certified Residential License
Ã¢Â?Â¢ AG – Certified General License
There are educational and test requirements for each level of licensure. Some California real estate appraisal licenses require a certain amount of experience at a lower level. The allowed scope of practice is different for each license level. Licensees must be at least 18 years old.
AT – Trainee License Requirements
– Education A minimum of 90 hours of real estate appraisal related education covering the topics required by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB), with at least 15 hours of education with focus on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
– Experience None
– Exam Must pass the state examination
– Scope Must work under the supervision of a licensed California real estate appraiser
AL – Residential License Requirements
– Education A minimum of 90 hours of real estate appraisal related education covering the topics required by the Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB), with at least 15 hours of education with focus on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)
– Experience At least 2,000 hours of acceptable real estate appraisal experience
– Exam Must pass the AQB residential real estate appraisal examination
– Scope Limited to any non-complex one-to-four family property with a transaction value up to $1 million; and non-residential property with a transaction value up to $250,000
AR – Certified Residential License Requirements
– Education No less than 120 hours of real estate appraisal related education, including the 15-hour National USPAP Course (This requirement is only an additional 30 hours if upgrading from a trainee or residential license)
– Experience A requirement of 2,500 hours of acceptable real estate appraisal experience obtained over a 30 month period
– Exam Must pass the AQB certified residential appraiser examination
– Scope A certified residential specialist may appraise any one-to-four family property without regard to transaction value, as well as non- residential property with a transaction value up to $250,000.
AG – Certified General License Requirements
– Education A minimum of 180 hours of real estate appraisal related education with at least 15 hours covering the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (This requirement is only an additional 60 hours if upgrading from a Certified Residential License)
– Experience A minimum of 3,000 hours and two and one-half years of acceptable real estate appraisal experience. At least 1,500 hours of that experience must be spent appraising non-residential properties.
– Exam Must pass the AQB approved certified real estate appraiser general examination
– Scope All types of real estate
(California has a reciprocal agreement with a number of other states for real estate appraiser licenses above the trainee level. Applicants who are licensed in another state which has a signed reciprocity agreement with California may apply for a reciprocal real estate appraiser license of the same level without taking the state exam.)
The first step towards obtaining your real estate appraiser’s license in California is to take the required education courses. There are a variety of state approved real estate appraisal schools which offer on-site classes and/or distance education courses. Approved providers are listed on the California State Office of Real Estate Appraisers website. Some California colleges and universities offer courses which fulfill the requirements.
After you fulfill the education requirements for your California real estate appraiser’s license, you apply to take the state exam and pay the application fee which is $220 as of December 2005, and includes a $70 background investigation fee. The fees could increase in the future. The application forms are available on-line. An Admission to Examination letter will be sent to you after your application is approved. Applicants then call an exam administrator to schedule an examination date and choose a testing center.
There is also an $80 fee to take the exam, which is paid directly to the test provider. There is an additional fee to have your license issued by the state after you successfully pass the exam. That can range from $310 to $460 depending on the level of your license.
For further information, you can call the California Office of Real Estate Appraisers at (916) 552-9000. More information is also available on-line at www.orea.ca.gov. The address of the California Office of Real Estate Appraisers is 1102 Q Street, Suite 4100, Sacramento, California, 95814.