Alabama Real Estate Appraiser Pre-License Course (Trainee, State Registered, Licensed/Certified Residential, and Certified General)

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How to Get a Alabama Appraiser’s License (Trainee, State Registered, Licensed/Certified Residential, and Certified General)

To become a real estate appraiser in Alabama, you would start off in working as a Trainee Appraiser, then work your way up toward other designations such as the Stated Registered/Licensed or Certified Appraisers. 

While most states only have four levels of appraiser license, Alabama has five. They are:

  • Trainee Appraiser
  • State Registered Real Property Appraiser
  • Licensed Residential Appraiser
  • Certified Residential Appraiser
  • Certified General Appraiser

You must fulfill the qualifying appraisal education, work experience requirement and register with the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board. This is the State Board which regulate individuals and companies in the appraisal industry. Their mission is to protect the public interest and ensure the appraisal services are in accordance with federal guidelines.

As a real estate appraiser in Alabama, your job is to provide an assessment of the properties’ market value for your clients. Your appraisal report could be used by a home buyer or seller, a mortgage lender who wants to understand the value of the collateralize assets, an individual who needs it for tax assessment or even lease negotiation. Regardless of who is in needs of your appraisal services, your work products must remain objective, unbiased and professional.

4 Easy Steps on How to Become a Trainee Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No college-level education requirement
  • No prior related experience is needed

Step 2: Complete the Pre-License Education

You need to complete the 75 hours of qualifying appraisal-related education and the AQB Trainee/Supervisor course. Here’s a table with the specific courses requirement.

Now you have completed the education prerequisites, your next step is to register with State Board.

If the Appraisal Board in your state has the online submission available, I strongly encourage you to use that option. Not only this is the quickest and most convenient way, but less paper mailing is also good for the environment.

Step 4: Find a Certified Appraiser to be Your Supervisor

You might wonder how to find a supervisory appraiser. You could start connecting with Certified Appraisers through industry associations, forums or even on LinkedIn. The more appraisers you connect to, the bigger the chance you could find a supervisor.

Once you find a supervisor, where you both are interested in working together, you should make sure that the supervisory appraiser is listed as a Mentor Appraiser the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board’s database.

Before you start working alongside with a supervisor, you and your supervisor would need to notify the Appraisers Board about the mentoring relationship. Here’s the Trainee/Mentor Registration form.

In Alabama, your first 50 appraisal assignments must be accompanied by a mentor. You also need to keep track of your working hours with the board-approved experience log. This is a mandatory document when you upgrade your appraiser license in the future.

Keep in mind that you and the supervising appraiser are required to sign on every page of the experience log.

What Will You Learn as a Trainee Appraiser?

Working as a Trainee Appraiser is the first step of your career, where you’ll be trained and supervised by a certified appraiser. An experienced mentor could guide you into the right direction in this career. He/she should educate you with the following:

  • Effective appraisal tactics. (i.e: Income, cost, and sales comparison approached)
  • Compliance rules imposed by the state regulatory board.
  • How to make a proper adjustment. (i.e: external or functional obsolescence)
  • What to include in an appraisal. (i.e: photos)
  • Where to obtain data about a property.
  • How to extract meaningful information from the data.
  • Most importantly, how to determine an unbiased estimation of the property’s market value.

To get out the most from this trainee stage,  it is recommended you to walk through each and every step in the appraisal process, observe carefully on how your supervisor inspect and evaluate real estate, and always raise your questions.

State Registered Real Estate Appraiser Requirements in Alabama

As mentioned earlier, this is an uncommon license in most other states.  However, it could be a good stepping stone toward being a licensed/certified appraiser, while upgrading your career from the Trainee Appraiser.

As a State Registered Appraiser, you can evaluate non-federally related properties with the following limitation:

  • Complex appraisals of 1 to 4 unit residential properties having transaction value of $250,000 or less;
  • Non-complex appraisals of 1 to 4 unit residential properties having transaction values of $1,000,000 or less.
  • Non-residential properties having transaction value of $250,000 or less.
  • Note that this classification does not include the appraisal of subdivisions, where a development analysis/appraisal is necessary and utilized.

4 Easy Steps on How to Become a State Registered Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No college-level education requirement

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 1000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience, where they need to be acquired for over a 12 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 75 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider. Basically, those are the same courses for becoming a Trainee Appraiser.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the the Real Estate Appraiser Board along with other required documents.

Licensed Residential Appraiser Requirements in Alabama

As a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you can evaluate non-complex residential properties with 1-4 units, while the transaction value is cannot be more than $1,000,000. Although you can also evaluate complex properties, the maximum value is up to $250,000.

If you decide to run an independent practice, then you will have more flexibility in your work schedule and the ways to conduct the business. You could be fulfilling appraisal orders from mortgage lenders, banks, credit unions, or appraisal management companies (AMC).

Just like other businesses, there are many expenses you need to take care of – for instance, payroll, marketing, liability insurance, tuition for continuing education, license fee, and many others.

On the other hand, if you crave for more stability in your career, you could consider working as an in-house appraiser for an appraisal firm or financial institution. You may be provided with a stable salary and employee’s benefits.

This license could be worth considering for those who have not fulfilled the necessary work experience or college-level education to become a certified appraiser but wish to excel their career from the Trainee Appraiser.

4 Easy Steps on How to Become a Licensed Residential Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • No college-level education is required

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 1000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience, where they need to be acquired for over a 6 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 150 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider.

You could have taken some of the courses before,  so that you are only required to fulfill the additional course works.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board

After you have completed the education and working experience requirement, you should submit the application to the the Real Estate Appraiser Board along with other required documents.

Most State Boards allow you to apply through their website. Some would even charge a lower registration fee by doing online. You should definitely check out this option.

Step 5: Pass the Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam

Now it’s the time to write the exam! Doing multiple sets of practice questions is an excellent way to prepare for the exam and also boost your confidence.

Certified Residential Appraiser Requirements in Alabama

As a Certified Residential Appraiser, you can assess for:

  • residential properties with 1 to 4 residential units regardless of the transaction value or complexity.
  • non-residential 1-4 units property given that the transaction value is no more than $250,000

Just like a Licensed Residential Appraiser, you have the choice in running your own practice as a self-employed business owners, or become a salaried employees in a corporate setting.

However, there is no restriction on the transaction value of residential properties you could assess. The scope of your practice and business opportunity would be a lot wider than being a Licensed Residential Appraiser. In fact, many reputable lenders and financial institutions in Alabama only accept assessment work from Certified Appraiser.

That being said, let’s review the steps for you to become a Certified Residential Appraiser.

4 Easy Steps on How to Become a Certified Residential Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Fulfill one of the following 6 college-level education requirement:
    • Route #1: Hold an associate’s degree in either Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Finance, or Real Estate; OR
    • Route #2: Hold a bachelor’s degree in any field of study
    • Route #3: Complete 3 hours of each of the following college-level courses with a total of 30 semester hours
      • Algebra, Geometry, or Higher Math
      • Computer Science
      • English Composition
      • Finance
      • Macroeconomics
      • Microeconomics
      • Real Estate Law or Business Law
      • Statistics
      • 2 elective courses (3 hours each) in any of the above subjects or in Accounting, Agricultural Economics, Business Management, Geography, or Real Estate;
    • Route #4: Complete 30 hours of College Level Examination Program® (CLEP®) examinations that cover each of the subjects in Route #3
    • Route #5: Any combinations of Route #3 and Route #4 which consists all the topics mentioned above
    • Route #6: If you have been a Licensed Residential Appraiser for 5 years or more, while your license is in good standing, then the college-level requirements can be waived.

Step 2: Complete the Appraisal Working Experience

You need to complete a minimum of 1500 hours of acceptable appraisal experience in not less than a 12 months period.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 200 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider.

Since you should have taken some of the courses before,  you just need to complete the extra classes.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board

Once you have fulfilled the education and working experience requirement, it’s time to submit the license application. The Licensing Board in some states may require you to apply within a specific period after you complete the pre-licensing education. Therefore, don’t wait till it expires!

Step 5: Pass the Certified Residential Appraiser Exam

Most test centers would require you to bring at least two valid IDs to verify your identity. Don’t forget to bring them along. Else you won’t be able to write the exam.

Certified General Appraiser Requirements in Alabama

So you want to explore appraising for commercial real estate? Then becoming a Certified General Appraiser would be the way to go!

This designation is the highest credential you could get in the appraisal industry. You could assess all types of real estate regardless of the transaction value or complexity. There is no limitation on the scope of your appraisal work.

Although you still could evaluate for residential properties, you could also be appraise a portfolio of commercial real estates for institutional investors.

Since your clients depend on your appraisal reports in making an informed investment decision, you must be extremely careful and responsible when handling your work. Extensive research and site inspections are often required. It is your responsibility to provide your clients with an objective appraised value as accurate as possible.

Due to the high expectation on your work products, the amount of work experience and education required to become a Certified General Appraiser is the most challenging among all the levels of licensing. So let’s go through the steps to get you this credential.

4 Easy Steps on How to Become a Certified General Appraiser in Alabama

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement:

  • You must be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Bachelor’s Degree in any field of study; or higher

Step 2: Complete the Required Hours of Working Experience

You must have at least 3000 hours of acceptable appraisal experience where they need to be obtained for over a 18 months period. At least half of the working experience needs to be from non-residential appraisal work.

Step 3: Fulfill the Education Requirement

You’ll need to complete 300 hours of qualifying appraisal education from an approved course provider.

You should have completed some of the courses when the previous appraiser license(s). Therefore, you are only required to complete the extra classes.

Step 4: Submit Application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board

Once you have completed all the education and working experience prerequisites, you should fill out the license application.

Most State Boards allow you to apply through their website. Some would even charge a lower registration fee by doing online. You should definitely check out this option.

Step 5: Pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam

The final step is to pass the Certified General Appraiser Exam. Get enough sleep the night before the exam and have a good meal before it. Managing your stress level during the test is another key to passing it.

Once you have fulfilled all the prerequisites, you could submit the application to the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board. Register at the Alabama Real Estate Appraisers Board

In additional to the application, you must provide the following:

  • Registration fee
  • Supporting legal documents
  • Evidence which shows you have completed the required hours of Board-approved appraisal courses. (i.e., Official transcripts, course completion certificates).
  • Proof that you have fulfilled the specific requirement of post-secondary education for your license (i.e.: Diploma, official transcripts, certificates.)
  • Stated Approved Appraiser Experience Log  (Only if you are applying to become Licensed/Certified Appraiser)

If you have any questions, you could contact the Alabama Real Estate Appraiser Board at 334-242-8747.

Alabama Appraiser Exam Details

Once the State Board accepts your application, they will send you a notice with instruction to schedule the exam. AMP will administer the exam, where you can take it on a computer at their examination center.

  • Licensed Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam,
  • Certified Residential Appraiser Exam is a 4 hours exam;
  • Certified General Appraiser Exam is a 6 hours exam

The licensed and certified exams consist of 125 questions. Only 110 questions will be scored, the other 15 are pretest questions. The required passing score is 75. You will immediately know your score once you finish writing the test.

The exam fee is $83 (subject to change). You could find out more details in the Alabama Real Estate Appraiser Program Candidate Handbook.

Appraiser License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements

All real estate appraisers in Alabama are required to renew their license annually. In addition to the renewal application, you also need to:

  • Complete 28 hours continuing education every 24 months, of which must include 7 hours of National USPAP Update course in every 2 years.
    • Continuing education credit is due on the odd year of every two years.
    • There’s no limit on the number of courses you could take online.
  • Pay the renewal fee.

To prevent interruption to your appraisal practice, you should renew it and complete all continuing education requirement before the license expiry date.

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