How to Start a Real Estate Appraisal Business. Real estate appraisal is one of the more attractive jobs to have. It is easy to get started and an ideal position for someone who wants to work from home. The constant buying and selling of houses and condominiums can mean steady work, particularly in a metro area.
Select a Real Estate Appraisal License
Select a standard real estate appraiser license in order to do the standard work of real estate appraisal. This license will allow its bearer to start appraising general property sites. Although it is not as specialized as other real estate appraisal licenses, it provides a solid base to begin appraising professionally, and will be especially useful in urban areas.
Train for a residential real estate appraiser license in order to start appraising homes priced at over one million dollars. This is a niche license, but it can come in quite useful if your real estate appraisal business is located near several high-end neighborhoods or in metropolitan areas such as Detroit, Seattle or Chicago.
Apply for a general real estate appraiser license in order to do a little bit of everything, including high-value real estate appraisals, which are usually only covered by those appraisers who have a residential real estate appraiser license. This kind of license will come in very handy for appraisers who start their businesses in small towns or rural areas. The license requires more study time than the standard license, but the resulting flexibility is generally worth it.
Pick up a real estate appraiser trainee license in order to do real estate appraisals as an intern. This license requires much less study time than any of the above licenses, but it will not let the bearer start appraising real estate without a mentor.
Choose the state in which you want to start your real estate appraisal business. Remember that each state has its own standards to meet in order to gain a real estate appraisal license, as well as its own tests. This is very similar to the state bar exams that lawyers must pass in order to practice law in a specific state.
Train for the Real Estate Appraisal License
Take real estate appraisal courses, such as basic appraisal principles and basic appraisal principles. The number of classroom hours is set by the state, and all except the trainee license requires around 200 classroom hours.
Obtain a bachelor's or associate's degree, if it is required. Usually, no particular major is required. Courses favored by state real estate appraisal boards are English, journalism, algebra and statistics.
Train under a licensed real estate appraiser who is willing to be your supervisor. The usual amount of training needed is 30 months or 3,000 hours worth of training. Appraising non-residential property must comprise half of this.
Apply to take the certification examination. The state's real estate appraisal board will administer the test. In order to receive the test, you must certify that you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, such as the education and the training, as well as pay a hefty application fee that is nonrefundable.
Wait for the test results to arrive. This will take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the real estate appraisal board's speed.
Open a Real Estate Appraisal Business
Locate a suitable building from which to base the real estate appraisal business. Starting companies should find a building that is low-rent and easily located in order to draw in customers and cut down on expenses. Another good idea for a starting office is one based in the home, provided there are no problems with the local zoning board.
Purchase real estate appraisal software and a laptop. This will enable you to create real estate appraisal reports quickly and efficiently, keeping you at the front of competing real estate appraisal companies.
Ensure a working mode of transportation. Since real estate appraisal is based heavily on traveling to properties and inspecting them, a reliable mode of transportation is essential. Maintain your automobile regularly, and have a backup way of traveling in case the car fails.
Make contacts with all the real estate agents, banks and lending companies in the area. Many of these companies subcontract their appraisal work to independent appraisers, and it is a good way to start building a list of clients who will be willing to hire you when they need some property appraised.
Build a client base. This is one of the most important parts of building up a real estate appraisal business and should be started as soon as the business is started. Keep records of the people and businesses who have requested real estate appraisal services, and keep in touch with them by sending quarterly mailers regarding your services.
Hire help. After a successful start, eventually the work may generate more calls for appraisal than one person can handle, as well as administrative work that can interfere with the appraisals themselves. Hiring a trainee appraiser to mentor will also help to ease the workload and generate yet another contact in the real estate business.