In the real estate industry, many professions play crucial roles in making transactions smooth and secure. One such profession is that of a real estate appraiser. Real estate appraisers, or real property appraisers, are responsible for providing accurate and unbiased estimates of property values.  

The salary of a real estate appraiser isn't set in stone and varies based on several factors, including their working arrangements, experience, and license type. 

This article will delve into the role of real estate appraisers, average salaries in the field, and how different license levels affect earnings.

What is the Role of a Real Estate Appraiser?  

Real estate appraisers are professionals responsible for providing accurate property valuations. Their primary duty is to assess and determine the fair market value of a property. The valuation ensures that all parties involved in a real estate transaction have a reliable estimate of the property's worth.

This assessment is critical in real estate transactions, providing clarity and transparency to buyers, sellers, real estate agents, loan officers, and others involved.

One of the core principles of a real estate appraiser's role is to maintain independence and objectivity.1 They should provide unbiased property value estimates ​​based on various data sources and free from external influences. 

​​​​​The National Association of REALTORS® strongly supports appraiser independence and the appraisal process, as it's essential for the credibility and integrity of the real estate industry. To be effective, real estate appraisers must thoroughly know their local market since property values could vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. REALTORS®, members of the National Association of REALTORS®, must go beyond and uphold its Code of Ethics, and as a member-appraiser, this could go a long way to showcase professionalism. 

What is the Average Salary for a Real Estate Appraiser?

Now that we have a clearer understanding of their role let's delve into the financial aspect of a real estate appraiser's career. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for real estate appraisers varies significantly.

Median annual salary for real estate appraisers in 2022 was $102,200 with a net income of $69,000 after taxes and expenses, according to the 2023 Member Profile.

Table: Annual income of real estate appraisers in 2022

Appraiser Salary by License Level

The salary of a real estate appraiser is determined by several factors, including their license level. Real estate appraisers may work their way up through the different levels of education and certification to increase their income.

The Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) establishes the qualification criteria for real property appraisers to obtain a state license or certification. Each state has its own State Appraiser Regulatory Agency, which certifies, licenses, and supervises real estate appraisers and their activities. See all state appraiser regulatory agency websites and contact information.

Appraiser Trainee 

Appraiser Trainee is the entry-level position in the real estate appraisal field. To become an appraiser trainee, individuals typically complete 75 course hours on principles, procedures, and standards of practice. 

After completing the courses, Appraiser Trainees work 1000 hours in under six months under a Supervisory Appraiser before taking the Licensed Real Estate Appraiser exam.2 During this period, trainees earn between $1000 and $3000 monthly.

Licensed Residential Appraiser  

Licensed Residential Appraisers may appraise non-complex o​ne-to-four residential units valued less than $1,000,000 and complex one-to-four residential units valued less than $400,000. Licensure requires 150 hours of qualifying education.

At this point, Licensed Residential Appraisers can work independently for an appraisal management company, a government agency, or a lending institution. Independent residential appraisers may earn $250-400 per job, while salaried positions pay ​​between $40,000 and $121,000.3

Certified Residential Appraiser  

Certified Residential Appraisers have the authority to appraise one-to-four residential units without regard to value or complexity.  

Appraisers ​must complete 50 additional coursework hours, 1,500 hours of work experience, have a college-level education, and pass the certification exam to become certified residential appraisers.4

Certified Residential Appraisers earn ​between $70,000 and $200,000.5 Valuation done by certified residential appraisers is often necessary for legal proceedings, including divorce, estate, and tax litigation. 

Certified General Appraiser

Certified General Appraisers are able to appraise all types of real property, from single-family homes to commercial and industrial properties of any value.  

This certification ​requires 300 hours of qualifying education, a Bachelor's degree, and 3,000 hours of work experience.6

The annual pay range for a Certified General Appraiser ​​is $81,000 to $147,000.7 The earning potential may be greater, though federal law ​​prohibits property value-based valuation fees.8 Instead, appraisers apply a surcharge once the property exceeds a specific square footage.

Expand Your Career in Real Estate Appraisal with the NAR

If you're interested in pursuing a career as a Real Estate Appraiser or working towards professional growth, the National Association of REALTORS® has valuable benefits for appraiser members

Whether you're just starting or are a seasoned real estate professional, NAR can be part of your professional development in a real estate appraisal career.