How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Texas

How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser in Texas

homeThe Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board (TALCB) is in charge of the receiving, approving and processing of real estate appraising applications. In Texas,  an Appraiser Trainee is a person who is authorized (approved, but not licensed) by the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board to gain legal real estate appraisal experience under the sponsorship of a Certified General or Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser.

You must get this license to obtain the experience hours that qualify you to take the test for licensed, certified, and certified general licenses. Note that you do not need to take each test for each level. You can go straight to the certified or certified general tests if you have completed the minimum required experience hours and coursework for those levels.

An additional requirement for Texas that some states do not have is the sponsorship by a Certified Appraiser. This sponsorship is required for your application to the board to be accepted after all other requirements are met (see below). In other states, you need only submit your application once you have completed the requirements in order to receive the Appraiser Trainee License (or equivalent).

Texas Appraiser Trainee

As a Texas 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 or more, depending on your license goals 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.

Basic Requirements: A citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien, eighteen (18) years of age or older, a legal resident of Texas for a minimum of 60 days immediately prior to filing the application, satisfy the board as to the applicants honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity, satisfy the education requirements, have a certified sponsor.
Education Requirements: No college-level education is required. 75 hours of appraisal specific coursework are required from an approved provider like McKissock who offers great discount appraisal course packages or from OnCourse Learning Real Estate where Appraiser Career readers get an exclusive 15% discount.
Training Requirements: None
Fees: $325 Application Fee ($305 online)
State Test Required: None
Trainee Appraisers must also complete a course about the responsibilities of Supervisory Appraisers and Trainee Appraisers. The course must be completed by the Trainee Appraiser prior to obtaining a Trainee Appraiser credential from the individual credentialing jurisdiction. This Trainee Appraiser course does not count towards the 75 hours of qualifying education required.

Texas 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 Texas 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 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 investment portfolios.

Basic Requirements: A citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien, eighteen (18) years of age or older, satisfy the board as to the applicants honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.
Educational Requirements: No college-level education is required. 75 hours of additional appraisal specific coursework are required (for a total of 150 hours including 75 hours from the trainee level) from a provider like McKissock who offers great discount appraisal course packages or from OnCourse Learning Real Estate where Appraiser Career readers get an exclusive 15% discount.
Training Requirements: 1,000 hours of acceptable and verifiable appraisal experience acquired under a certified real estate appraiser over a minimum of 6 months.
Fees: $350 Application Fee ($330 online)
State Test Required: Yes

Texas Certified Real Estate Appraiser

Ad-GuideA certified real estate appraiser is the second level of Texas 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 a Texas state certified appraiser, you now 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: A citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien, eighteen (18) years of age or older, satisfy the board as to the applicants honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity,pay a National Registry fee after the exam is passed and the experience requirements are met to obtain an active license.
Educational Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree or other accepted option from the following:
1) Bachelor’s Degree in any field of study
2) Associates Degree in a field of study related to: Business Administration, Accounting, Finance, Economics; or Real Estate
3) Successful completion of 30 semester hours of college-level courses that cover each of the following specified topics
4) Successful completion of at least 30 semester hours of College Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) examinations
5) Any combination of Option #3 and Option #4 that includes all of the topics specified in Option #3
6) No college-level education is required. This option applies only to appraisers who have held a Licensed Residential credential for a minimum of five (5) years and have no record of any adverse, final, and nonappealable disciplinary action affecting the Licensed Residential appraiser’s legal eligibility to engage in appraisal practice within the five (5) years immediately preceding the date of application for a Certified Residential credential.

50 hours of additional appraisal specific coursework (in addition to the 75 hours required for the state license total will be 200 hours) from a provider like McKissock who offers great discount appraisal course packages or from OnCourse Learning Real Estate where Appraiser Career readers get an exclusive 15% discount.
Training Requirements: 1,500 hours of acceptable and verifiable appraisal experience acquired under a certified real estate appraiser over a minimum of 12 months.
Fees: $375 Application Fee ($355 online) + $80 National Registry Fee
State Test Required: Yes

After you obtain your state certification, you may desire to appraise commercial property. For this you will seek the certified general appraiser credential.

Texas Certified General Real Estate Appraiser

A 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. 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 Texas 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:  A citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien, eighteen (18) years of age or older, satisfy the board as to the applicants honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity,pay a National Registry fee after the exam is passed and the experience requirements are met to obtain an active license.
Education Requirements: A Bachelor’s degree or higher. 190 hours of additional appraisal specific coursework (in addition to the hours of coursework required by both the state licence and certification) are required for a total of 300 hours. Courses can be taken from a provider like McKissock who offers great discount appraisal course packages or from OnCourse Learning Real Estate where Appraiser Career readers get an exclusive 15% discount.
Training: 3,000 hours of acceptable and verifiable appraisal experience acquired under a certified real estate appraiser over a minimum of 30 months of which a minimum of 1,500 hours must be non-residential real property appraisal experience
Fees:
$425 Application Fee ($415 online) + $80 National Registry Fee
State Test Required:
Yes

When Should You Take The Appraisal Courses?

appraiser_traineeIt is not required to take the required appraisal courses before finding a mentor.

However, I suggest taking the courses first for three reasons:

1)  It will help you determine your level of interest and aptitude for actual appraising. Maybe you’ll change your mind after going through the courses, or maybe you’ll become much more interested. I offer an eBook about being an appraiser, but the courses will show you actual appraising and you’ll do it in theory by completing samples (case studies).
2)  If you find a supervisory appraiser, he/she may tell you to come back later once you complete the courses for the trainee level (at a minimum) and obtain the trainee license, which could take two months, depending how quickly you can complete the courses. In the meantime, someone else could take your spot.
3) Your experience hours don’t count until you’ve taken the courses and obtained your trainee license. So if you wait to find your supervisory appraiser before taking the courses, you’ll lose two months worth of experience hours (or however long it takes you to get through the courses). You’ll get the experience, but the hours won’t officially count.

Here’s an example of a trainee posting from Craigslist illustrating this:

“Certified Residential Appraiser looking to take on a trainee… Preferable applicant will have a minimal 2 year degree and will have completed all required basic level training to acquire an appraiser trainee license. Please submit a resume for consideration.”

Of course, if you find a supervisory appraiser who is willing to take you on immediately even before you complete the courses or obtain your trainee license, do it! You don’t want to lose the supervisory appraiser. Just accept the loss of initial “log” hours for the immediate opportunity you have.

Online Texas Appraisal Courses – Up to 15% Off

Appraiser Career Center is partnering with OnCourse Learning Real Estate and McKissock to offer online real estate appraisal courses. McKissock offers great discount appraisal course packages; Appraiser Career also offers its readers an exclusive 15% discount off courses from OnCourse Learning Real Estate.

(I receive a small referral at no additional cost to you if you purchase via the links provided).

Curious about becoming an appraiser? Download our 60-paged eBook written by a State Certified Appraiser that provides an in-depth look into the profession!

Resources:

Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board (TALCB)

The author of this article, Chris Dolland, is an active Certified Real Estate Appraiser. If you have questions about becoming an appraiser, post one in the comments below!

Want to know more? Read our 60-paged eBook written by a state certified appraiser!
  • Front CoverGet an inside look at being a real estate appraiser
  • Determine whether appraising really is the right career choice for you
  • Discover the little known experience hour “loop hole”and how it can help you get more hours
  • …and Much More!

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