Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser
April 15th, 2015 2:38 PM

Oregon Certified Appraiser License

I’m often asked, “How does someone become a real estate appraiser?”  Well, the answer is, it is much more difficult than it used to be.  In Oregon, the Appraiser Certification and Licensure Board (ACLB) supervises appraiser licensing and enforcement.  In Oregon, and in most other states, the three levels of real estate appraiser are: 

The Licensed Residential Appraiser  -  which has restrictions on the value and complexity of homes that can be appraised.  Consequently, it can be difficult to find work at this level. 


The Certified Residential Appraiser  -  which should be the goal for all home appraisers.  This certification allows appraisals of all complex and noncomplex residential real estate up to four units (e.g. single family, duplex, triplex, and four-plex), and up to any value. 


The Certified General Appraiser  -  which allows appraisal of all types of real estate (e.g. commercial, retail, office, industrial, apartments, farms, etc.).  An appraiser with this certification level usually specializes in one or two areas of real estate. 

To become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Oregon, and in most other states, one must have a Bachelor’s Degree, must pass 200 hours of qualifying appraiser-specific education with exams, accumulate 2,500 hours of experience over a minimum of two years as a Registered Appraiser Assistant, and pass a four-hour comprehensive exam.  The most difficult part of the certification process is the 2,500 experience hours. 

Finding a supervisor for those experience hours can be difficult because most appraisers will not take an assistant.  Many appraisers will not take an assistant, because if the assistant makes a mistake, and the supervising appraiser does not catch the mistake, then the supervising appraiser will be fully liable in terms of lost clients or disciplinary action.  Additionally, the training process for a supervising appraiser can be quite time consuming, the appraisal supervisor will be audited by the state, and there is little perceived benefit to the supervising appraiser.  Other appraisers say that they will not train an assistant, because they do not want to train their future competition.  For the assistant, the pay is often low and the hours are long.

I have supervised three appraiser assistants and my experiences have been different than what many appraisers describe.  I find that my appraisal reports are enhanced when I have two sets of eyes on the analysis.  My assistants have always been intelligent individuals who bring different experiences and perspective to the appraisal process and to my business. 

As a result, appraisal assistants are not the only ones who learn in the process.  When working with appraiser assistants, I feel like I am training future partners, not future competition.  The management of an appraiser assistant can be difficult and frustrating at times, but I find it rewarding.

I currently have an assistant who has all of his experience hours and who is preparing to take his exam.  In a future blog post, I will interview him about his experiences in becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser.  If you have any questions for him, let us know in the comments below.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

If you find this information interesting or useful, please subscribe to this blog and like A Quality Appraisal, LLC on Facebook.  Also, please support us by making Portland real estate appraisal related comments on our blogs and YouTube videos.  If you need Portland, Oregon area residential real estate appraisal services for any reason, please request appraisal fee quote or book us to speak at your next event. We will do everything possible to assist you.

Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 15th, 2015 2:38 PMPost a Comment

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You asked for questions to run by your assistant. Ask when/if he/she plans to bring thier own trainee on-board soon and if they plan to hire thier own VA.

Posted by Mike Turner on April 15th, 2015 3:19 PM
Great points Gary. It is a difficult time in the appraisal profession with regards to increased government intervention and lower fees, however in reading you blog posts I can see that you are being proactive in branching out into non lender work. I think this is where new appraisers who are entering the profession should focus their energies. I concur that two eyes are better than one and trainees can often enhance you own appraisal skills. Can't wait to read the interview with your assistant.

Posted by Tom Horn on April 15th, 2015 3:22 PM
Thank you Tom, I am looking forward to hearing about the appraiser exam. Mike, lol, I think and hope that my assistant plans to work for our company where there is a stream of non lender work available, an office lady, and we can work together to be more successful as partners.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 15th, 2015 3:38 PM
Way to go, Gary. Is this assistant one of the famous stars in your music video?

Posted by Ryan Lundquist on April 15th, 2015 6:38 PM
Thank you Ryan for the comment. Yes, this appraiser assistant is the star of my YouTube video "Portland Appraiser Shop".

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 15th, 2015 6:48 PM
Great topic Gary! It is a very long road for an appraisal assistant, and there are many factors that determine just how long this road could be. This can relate directly to his/her life situation among other things. Questions should be asked like: "Do you live alone?", "Are you married?", "Do you have children?", "What other life obligations do you have currently?", "Are you crazy?". OK, just kidding on the last one.

Posted by Lucas on April 16th, 2015 5:15 PM
Lucas, lol... Those are great questions to ask a new real estate appraiser.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 16th, 2015 5:37 PM
When I was being supervised by an appraiser, one of the benefits for them was they were able to expand their service area. While it was not that much fun for me, I routinely drove 20+ miles to an appointment. I knew more about property values 20+ miles away than I did in my own back yard at the time.

Posted by John Tsiaousis on April 27th, 2015 3:20 PM
I love your perspective and comment: "When working with appraiser assistants, I feel like I am training future partners, not future competition." What a great attitude!

Posted by Sarah S. Houston, SCRA on September 9th, 2016 1:29 PM
Thank you Sarah for the kind comment. A Quality Appraisal is built on the appraisers that I have trained. I truly believe what I wrote.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on September 10th, 2016 12:06 AM
I am interested in becoming an appraiser. How do I located an appraiser to work under? Thank you! Robert

Posted by Robert on October 5th, 2016 12:25 AM
Good question Robert. Finding an appraiser to supervise you is the most difficult part. Here is a link to an article that I wrote on the topic: http://www.aqualityappraisal.com/How%20to%20Find%20an%20Appraiser%20to%20Train%20You

Posted by Gary Kristensen on October 5th, 2016 12:32 AM
Gary, I was curious if you might have any need for an appraisal assistant. I have a bachelors degree and am very interested in entering the industry. In would be great to discuss. Thanks, Cameron 503.997.1655

Posted by Cameron Rouse on November 6th, 2016 1:55 PM
Hi Cameron, I'm always looking for new talent. You should check out my more recent blog post titled, "How to Find an Appraiser to Train You".

Posted by Gary Kristensen on November 7th, 2016 12:17 AM
Sorry but you do not need a degree.

Posted by kevin on June 3rd, 2017 5:50 PM
Thank you Kevin for your comment. I agree that you don't need a degree to be an appraiser or even to be a very good appraiser. However, I think some skills learned in college help to make a better appraiser. I've worked with some appraisers who have struggled with writing effective arguments in an appraisal report, but some of those appraisers had college degrees. Go figure.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on June 4th, 2017 11:27 PM
What does one need a bachelors degree in? I have been in construction for years and would like to explore my options to be an appraiser Thank you Mark

Posted by Mark Hedgepeth on September 9th, 2017 7:58 PM
Thank you for reaching out Mark. You don't need a degree in anything specific, just a degree and the other required education and experience. The regulators just think it is important to have a foundation of education. Some appraisers would agree that is important and some would not.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on September 10th, 2017 11:58 PM
I would like to subscribe to this blog. Please add me to the list. Thank you

Posted by Karen Cummings on December 14th, 2017 11:36 AM
Thank you for this informative article. One clarifying question: After becoming a Registered Appraiser Assistant and completing the requisite hours, it seems you can then pursue the Certified Residential Appraiser coursework and exams immediately thereafter, rather than first completing the Licensed Residential Appraiser status. Is that correct?

Posted by Darci on December 20th, 2017 11:35 AM
Darci, thank you for reaching out. You're correct, you can work toward becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser without first becoming a Licensed Appraiser.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on December 20th, 2017 4:12 PM
Thanks for the article! I was looking into this as an option for a career down the road (after the stay at home mom gig is finished.) But it sounds like a competitive, younger person's possibility based on your description. I did want to point out (as a law school grad with an HR background) don't ask if they are married or have kids in your appraiser asst interviews! It's illegal! I know it was probably stated in jest by the other commenter, but just in case....:)

Posted by Kim Pfefer on January 2nd, 2018 11:00 PM
Thank you Kim for following. I missed the comment you mentioned, but absolutely, there are certain criteria that you should not consider as an employer. Good luck if you decide to pursue the appraiser profession. I am happy to answer questions if they come up.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on January 2nd, 2018 11:48 PM
Gary, I have seen some of your youtube videos. I currently have done all the education requirements for a trainee license. I was seeking to become a license level appraiser, in the hopes that the Bachelors requirement will change as I have a associates degree in software development. Currently I own a satellite business and am looking to make a change as business is tailing off. I love your outlook on training and the business and would be honored to learn under your direction. I have called every appraiser in vancouver and had many glass half full conversations with no luck.

Posted by Todd Addy on February 3rd, 2018 1:18 PM
This was very informative. I’m looking to add appraisals to my portfolio, Are you willing to take on any new assistants?

Posted by James Hecker on May 10th, 2018 7:48 AM
You have got to be kidding me. A Bachelors Degree?

Posted by Cris Cass on February 15th, 2019 10:44 PM
Chris, the Bachelor's Degree requirement was recently changed to allow an Associate's Degree in an allowed field of study or 30 semester credit hours. https://public.orlicensing.oregon.gov/ACLBPortal/BoardAdditional.aspx?Board=ACLB&BoardLinkID=2170

Posted by Gary Kristensen on February 16th, 2019 12:23 AM


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