Average Real Estate Appraiser Salary at Each License Level

Updated March 10, 2023

Real estate appraisers have many possible working arrangements, license types and potential employers. As a result, it can be challenging to determine how much an average appraiser makes. Even so, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this field is expected to grow by 7% over the next decade. In this article, we will examine the average appraiser salary, as well as the different salaries earned at each license level.

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How much do real estate appraisers make?

Real estate appraisers' salaries vary greatly by the nature of their duties. Appraisers can have part-time or full-time hours, work independently, with other appraisers or for a firm. Some government lending agencies hire appraisers as do private lending institutions. While all of these can affect an appraiser's earnings, perhaps the most significant factor is the type of license an appraiser possesses.

Average salary

According to Indeed, the average salary for a real estate appraiser is $57,606 per year. The range of reported salaries is from $14,000 per year to $142,000 per year. The lower end of the scale is most likely part-time or beginning trainee appraisers. This information is based upon over 400 salaries Indeed collected from employees, companies and recent job postings.

How does license level affect salary?

Beginning appraisers are called appraiser trainees. They usually work part-time and are paid per appraisal. Appraiser trainees often make between $50 and $150 per appraisal, earning more with increasing experience and expertise. After 1000 hours of work as a trainee, appraisers have the option to take the real estate appraiser licensing exam. Once an appraiser reaches this level of license, average salaries range between $35,000 and $80,000 depending on the employer.

With experience, licensed appraisers may move into management positions which pay more. The next level of real estate appraiser licensing is the certified residential appraiser. On average, they earn approximately $10,000 more per year than licensed appraisers. The highest level of appraisers, certified general appraisers, earn about $15,000 more per year than certified residential appraisers.

Licenses for real estate appraisers

Real estate appraisers have the option of obtaining three types of licenses. Appraisers begin as trainees before becoming licensed appraisers. Trainees need 1000 hours of work experience and to pass the real estate licensing exam to become licensed appraisers who are then able to appraise residential buildings such as houses and smaller apartments.

Appraisers can then become certified residential appraisers who can appraise higher-priced residential buildings and apartment complexes. The highest level of license is the certified general appraiser. These professionals can examine residential or commercial properties and often work for private firms that complete appraisals for commercial developers.

Here are the different license levels for real estate appraisers in more detail:

  • Appraiser trainees

  • Licensed residential appraiser

  • Certified residential appraiser

  • Certified general appraiser

Appraiser trainees

Appraiser trainees can work for independent appraisal firms or government agencies. To become an appraiser trainee, typical requirements include completing 75 course hours on appraising, including courses on principles, procedures and standards of professionalism. Be advised, however, these requirements can vary by state. Work can be part or full time, but pay is typically limited to a flat rate based on the number of completed appraisals. Trainees must be supervised by a licensed real estate appraiser. Compensation is usually between $1000 and $3000 per month. After 1000 hours of experience plus licensing training courses, appraiser trainees can take a real estate licensing exam. A few part-time appraisers or salaried trainees continue in the field without taking this exam.

Licensed residential appraiser

To become a licensed residential appraiser, trainees must complete an additional 75 hours—or four courses—of appraiser education, though, again, this may vary by state. After passing the real estate licensing exam, appraisers have considerably more options. Now able to independently assess the property value of residences, appraisers may work alone, for a firm, a government agency or a bank. At this level, appraisers can provide appraisals for residences with between one and four units valued less than $1,000,000. They can also appraise fewer valuable complexes.

Certified residential appraiser

To reach the level of certified residential appraiser, licensed appraisers need to complete an additional 50 hours of coursework. Courses include statistics, case studies and electives. This level also requires at least 1,500 hours of total experience as well as passing the certified residential real property appraiser examination. A college degree or other coursework may be required. Certified appraisers can appraise homes with values over $1,000,000 and more expensive complexes. Many certified residential appraisers work on appraising large estates, especially for legal proceedings, including divorce and tax assessments.

Certified general appraiser

The top level of appraisal license is the certified general appraiser license. This requires a total of 300 hours of course work, plus 3,000 hours of work experience and a degree. Certified general appraisers can assess the value of commercial and non-commercial properties of any value.

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How to make more money as a real estate appraiser

The amount appraisers earn is determined by many factors. Real estate appraisers may work in several positions for a variety of employers. Many appraisers work independently. Factors that affect salary include the type of certification, the employer and the amount of education and experience an appraiser has.

There are several options appraisers may consider making more money. Most commonly, appraisers are paid considerably more for each type of license. Trainees make between $1,000 and $3,000 per month. Licensed real estate appraisers earn between $35,000 and $85,000 per year, more if taking on management positions. Certified residential appraisers make, on average, $10,000 more than licensed real estate appraisers. Certified general appraisers make, on average, $25,000 more than licensed real estate appraisers.

Another consideration is working hours. Working independently, appraisers are typically paid for each appraisal. In 2018, the average appraisal cost about $400. By scheduling two or more appraisals per day, appraisers may be able to earn considerably more than average. This does, however, require working longer hours. On the other hand, some may choose more predictable hours and benefits found working for a government or lending institution in exchange for lower earnings.

Working on larger homes tends to net more. Certified residential appraisers can work on the largest of homes. While not allowed to charge based on the value of homes, appraisers can charge by square footage. Appraisals for larger homes can cost $500 to $750 or more. The fees for appraising large apartment complexes can be even higher.

A final consideration is appraisal fee splits if working for a firm. In such cases, the firm and appraiser split the commission from the appraisal. A typical split is 25% to the firm and 75% to the appraiser. Savvy appraisers, however, are willing to negotiate these fee splits to more advantageous terms. Benefits, hours and other perks can be part of this negotiation.

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