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How to Prepare for the National Real Estate Appraisal Exam

Updated on January 18, 2012

Prospective property appraisers take a national real estate appraisal exam to get licensed by their individual states. There are multiple resources from testing agency Pearson Education and other sources to prepare for the real estate appraiser exam.

First, all aspiring property appraisers should check with their state real estate licensing board. Every state has one of these. They will go by different names, but any real estate agent or broker can tell you how to get information on the state board. It is also easy to just go to a search engine. All the state real estate boards have websites these days.

The state board is going to tell you exactly what you need to do to get a real estate appraiser license in that jurisdiction. Although there is a national real estate appraisal exam (created by the Appraiser Qualifications Board) due to certain federal laws, states are free to have more stringent requirements. The AQB merely sets minimum standards for qualifications and licensing of property appraisers.

Now, you also should know that there are different levels of appraisers and, accordingly, three different versions of the national real estate appraiser exam. There is a license exam for general appraisers that can appraise all real property and separate certified residential and certified general appraisers. The exams are similar but have some differences.

Start preparing by getting familiar with the exam content outline. In the Resources at the bottom of this article, you will see a link to an "Appraiser Examination Candidate Handbook." This is published by Pearson Education, the testing agency that administers the national real estate appraisal test. The outline does not contain substantive material. But it does tell you which topics are important to study on the appraisal exam.

There is also an appraisal exam practice question in the handbook. This is a pretty difficult question and shows that you have to apply your knowledge to pass the appraiser exam.

In some cases, you can find employment assisting licensed appraisers in your state. This is good practice for the appraiser licensing test. However, it may be wise to attend a real estate appraisal school. Your state may even require you to attend a school before getting a license. First, check if the state has a list of approved property appraisal schools. In that case, you have no choice and must complete one of the approved appraiser training programs before taking your exam. If not, there are plenty of places online to hunt down a school or even an online or home study course to prepare you for the national real estate appraisal exam. Just make sure you are dealing with an experienced school, not a fly-by-night operation that has no approval from any state boards.

Resources:

Pearson Education: Appraiser Examination Candidate Handbook

Fastclass Appraisal School Directory

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