How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Appraisers handles the certification, licensing and registering of real estate appraisers to perform real estate appraisals. You must get the Appraiser Trainee License to obtain the experience hours that qualify you to take the test for the state license, certified, and certified general licenses.

Massachusetts Appraiser Trainee

Appraiser TraineeAs an Massachusetts licensed real estate appraiser trainee, you will be able to complete inspections and appraisal reports under the direct supervision of a certified appraiser. However, the amount of work you do depends on the amount your supervisory appraiser allows you to do. He or she may just give you the task of researching property data and filling out reports. Ideally, the supervisory appraiser is a mentor who works with you through the entire appraisal process, helping and guiding you and answering questions. Finding a mentor (especially a good mentor) and obtaining experience hours can be the most challenging part of becoming a real estate appraiser.

Real estate appraising is a diverse field. There are many different factors and scenarios you will encounter and each appraisal assignment is unique. After completing your first few appraisals, you will understand the purpose of field work under a supervisory appraiser and on the job training (which can take six months to two years, depending on the minimum time requirements and how often you can do appraisal work). It requires specialized knowledge. Obtaining your trainee license demonstrates that you have the elementary knowledge necessary to begin your journey.

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older and submit a completed application
Training Requirements: None
Education Requirements: 75 hours of qualifying education courses. The state board does not allow the courses to be taken online (unlike most other states).
Fee: $226.00
State Required Test: No

Massachusetts Licensed Real Estate Appraiser

Licensed AppraiserA licensed real estate appraiser is the first level of licensing for appraising real property without a supervisory appraiser.  With this credential, you are able to appraise non-complex one to four family residential units having a transaction value less than one million dollars ($1,000,000), complex one to four family residential units having a transaction value less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) and other types of real property having a transaction value less than two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) . While most states have adopted this kind limitation for this credential, some states may vary.

As a Massachusetts licensed real estate appraiser you may find yourself working for an appraisal firm or for yourself as a fee based appraiser in any of the dozens of cities and towns throughout the state. Your clients may be local, such as individuals, lawyers, accountants and small banks, or national clients such as from large appraisal management companies (AMCs), national lenders or government sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae). Keep in mind, however, that many larger lenders and financial institutions may enlist only certified appraisers to complete their appraisals. The exception is if a certified appraiser accompanies you on the inspection and signs as the supervisory appraiser on the report.  Regardless, as a field appraiser, your day will be divided between property inspections and completing research online and at local court houses and/or assessor’s offices.  For most purposes you will be completing appraisals for home purchases, refinancing, divorces, estates and portfolios.

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older and submit a completed application
Training Requirements: 2,000 hours of experience in no fewer than 24 months. You must have performed at least 75% of the work on an assignment in order for it to qualify and count toward the experience requirement.
Education Requirements: Associate’s Degree or higher from an accredited college or university or 30 semester hours of college-level education from an accredited college or university; 150 hours of qualifying education courses. The state board does not allow the courses to be taken online (unlike most other states).
Fee: $338.00
State Required Test: Yes

Massachusetts Certified Residential Appraiser

Certified Real Estate AppraiserA certified real estate appraiser is the second level of Massachusetts state licensing for the appraisal of real property. It is one above from licensed and one under general certified (commercial). With this credential you are able to appraise all types of non-complex one-to-four family residential property without regard to the transaction value and other types of real property having a transaction value of less than $250,000 (two hundred fifty thousand dollars) (exact limitations may vary by state).

Just like as a licensed real estate appraiser, you may find yourself working for an appraisal firm or for yourself as a fee based appraiser. Your clients may be local, such as individuals, lawyers, accountants and small banks, or national, such as from large appraisal management companies (AMCs), national lenders or government sponsored enterprises.

As an Massachusetts state certified appraiser, you would meet the requirements of many larger lenders and financial institutions which enlist only certified appraisers to for their transactions. Likewise, as a field appraiser, your day will be divided between property inspections and completing research online and at local court houses and/or assessor’s offices. For most purposes, you will be completing appraisals for home purchases, refinancing, divorces, estates and portfolios.

As a state certified appraiser, you will also qualify for many in-house positions at large financial institutions and AMCs (generally as a review appraiser). Although years of experience is often desired, having the state certification meets one of the basic requirements set by many employers and makes you more qualified than if you only have your license. Check out job postings for real estate appraisers to get an idea of what positions are available, what they entail and their exact requirements and qualifications. Working an in-house position is one of the alternatives to field work and you also get to enjoy salary pay and health benefits.

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older and submit a completed application
Training Requirements: 2,500 hours of experience in no fewer than 24 months. You must have performed at least 75% of the work on an assignment in order for it to qualify and count toward the experience requirement.
Education Requirements: Must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher; 200 hours of qualifying education courses. The state board does not allow the courses to be taken online (unlike most other states).
Fee: $338.00
State Required Test: Yes

Massachusetts Certified General Appraiser

Certified General AppraiserA certified general appraiser is the highest level of licensing. He or she is able to appraise all types of property – residential or commercial –  with no value limit.  Typically, these appraisers will spend the majority of their time appraising commercial properties. The type of appraisal could vary from a small, one-story office building valued at $250,000 to a high-rise apartment building with a value of $20,000,000.

The main differences between a certified appraiser and certified general appraiser are many additional hours of coursework and 1,500 of commercial appraising (non-residential) experience under a certified general appraiser and a bachelor’s degree. Commercial appraisals are much more complex and time consuming and require far more research. There is far less margin of error. The intended user of the appraisal may be basing a significant business decision on the outcome and an erroneous appraisal could result in a loss of millions of dollars. As a result, the requirements to become a certified general appraiser are more stringent.

As a Massachusetts certified general appraiser, you will typically work in a small to medium sized firm devoted to commercial work. You may but will rarely complete residential assignments. But if you do decide to complete residential appraisals you can (just like licensed or certified appraisers) do work for local and national clients devoted to residential transactions.

Basic Requirements: Must be 18 years or older and submit a completed application
Training Requirements: 3,000 hours of experience in no fewer than 30 months; 1,500 hours of which must be non-residential. You must have performed at least 75% of the work on an assignment in order for it to qualify and count toward the experience requirement.
Education Requirements: Must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher; 300 hours of qualifying education courses. The state board does not allow the courses to be taken online (unlike most other states).
Fee: $338.00
State Required Test: Yes

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Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Appraisers

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