Newly adopted revisions to the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria mean big changes for those entering and already part of the residential appraisal profession.

The Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) of The Appraisal Foundation, which sets qualifications for real estate appraisers, announced February 1, 2018 that the changes will become effective May 1, 2018. The revisions, according to the announcement, are the result of nearly three years of deliberations, drafts, public input and more.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) supports revision of the qualification criteria to reduce unnecessary cost and time burdens on potential real estate appraisers and to ensure the continued entrance of new appraisers into the profession, according to a National Association of Realtors letter to the chair of the Appraiser Qualifications Board, dated January 12, 2018.

Specific changes

A bachelor’s degree is no longer required to become a licensed residential real property appraiser in the U.S. Now, those seeking that credential can have: a bachelor’s degree in any field; an associate’s degree in business administration, accounting, finance, economics or real estate; or have completed 30 semester hours of specified coursework, 30 specific units through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or a mix of the two.

Alternatives to the college education requirement for licensed residential real estate appraisers wishing to become certified residential appraisers include five years’ experience, no disciplinary actions within the last five years, completion of specific appraisal coursework, and passing the certified residential national examination. Previously, this level of appraiser would have had to complete 30 hours of college-level coursework from an associate degree or higher accredited college, junior college, community college or university.

The number of hours needed and timeframe for obtaining the required experience hours has also changed to become more lenient. Licensed residential appraisal professionals need 1,000 hours, to be completed in no fewer than six months. That’s down from the previous requirement to complete 2,000 hours logged with the supervision of a certified appraiser in no less than one year. Certified residential appraisers need to complete 1,500 hours in no less than a year’s time—to replace the pervious requirement of 2,500 hours logged together with the supervision of a certified appraiser in no less than two years. And the new requirement for certified general appraisers is 3,000 hours in no fewer than 18 months. The requirement for this level hasn’t changed from 3,000 hours but the timeframe used to be in no less than 30 months.

Why change?

appraiser qualification changes expert

John S. Brenan

John S. Brenan, director of appraisal issues at The Appraisal Foundation tells OnCourse Learning that the changes are intended to reflect a better balance between education, experience and examination.

“… the purpose of the Appraiser Qualifications Board Criteria is to ensure that individuals seeking an appraiser credential are minimally qualified. While this sounds straightforward, many people confuse qualified with competent. Competency is something that is gained over time, based on experience,” Brenan says. “It is also important to understand that the [Board] does not revise the criteria due to appraiser supply and demand, economic or other related issues. While some mistakenly believe the Appraiser Qualifications Board made changes because of a reported shortage of appraisers, that simply is not true. The Appraiser Qualifications Board establishes the criteria for one primary purpose: public trust in the appraisal profession.”

Historically, the appraisal profession has relied heavily on the experience component, according to Brenan.

“Many of the approximately 1,500 written comment letters received by the Appraiser Qualifications Board expressed just that, stating a belief that nothing replaces ‘boots on the ground’ experience. But even those who trumpet experience as the ‘main’ component also acknowledge that it’s extremely difficult for those entering the profession to find a qualified supervising appraiser who is willing to train,” Brenan says.

Real-world impact

Brenan points out that in addition to completing the requisite experience, those seeking an appraiser credential also are required to complete: 1) a thorough curriculum of specialized appraisal education (each course in which requires successful completion of a closed-book, written final exam); 2) specific college-level education (for the certified classifications); and 3) an extremely rigorous, practice-based national examination.

“The Appraiser Qualification Board believes the revised criteria will assist in removing unnecessary hurdles for those wishing to enter the appraiser profession, while ensuring candidates are minimally qualified,” he says.

Those already in the profession also will be impacted, according to Brenan, as the changes apply to appraisal professionals wishing to move from one credential level to another.

“Most significantly, however, is the alternative path created for experienced Licensed Residential appraisers to move to the certified residential classification, without satisfying the college-level education otherwise required,” he says.

Brenan says the Appraiser Qualifications Board recognized that ethical and competent licensed residential appraisers are an important part of the appraiser population, particularly in underserved markets and areas described to have “shortages” of appraisers. Therefore, the Board developed a specific pathway to enable these individuals to move to the certified residential level.

The Appraiser Qualifications Board will soon release the Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal program, which will offer an alternative method for appraisers to gain experience for obtaining a real property appraiser credential by performing Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)-compliant appraisals on real and virtual properties, according to The Appraisal Foundation’s announcement.

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State requirements

The Appraiser Qualification Board’s requirements establish the minimum qualifications for appraisers nationwide. It is up to each state to determine whether it will adopt more rigorous qualifications. OnCourse Learning Real Estate will monitor each state for announcements regarding changes to its state appraisal qualification requirements. Any individual interested in learning how to become a real estate appraiser or advancing a career in appraisal is encouraged to contact his state appraisal regulatory agency for any qualification requirement changes planned in response to the May 1 AQB changes.

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