Are you looking for reasons to upgrade your appraisal license? Here are some stats to consider: As of December 31, 2018, only 42% of the 78,000 state-credentialed appraisers in the United States were certified general appraisers. This special group of appraisers, sometimes referred to as commercial appraisers, enjoy more stable fees, a higher income, and more choices for the assignments they decide to take on.
If you’re tired of appraising simple properties or looking for more complex assignments with more income potential, upgrading your appraisal license could take your career to the next level. An upgrade can give you a much-needed advantage in the local market, greater control over your fees, and more stability in your work.
Here are some top reasons to upgrade your appraisal license:
1. Earn more
2. Enjoy more complex assignments
An appraisal license upgrade can add variety to your professional life with different types of properties and transaction limits. Here’s a list of what you can appraise at each level:
- Licensed residential appraiser:
- Non-complex 1-4 residential units with a transaction value of less than $1 million (subject to individual state laws)
- Complex 1-4 residential units with a transaction value less than $250,000 (subject to individual state laws)
- Certified residential appraiser:
- 1-4 residential units without regard to complexity or transaction value (subject to individual state laws)
- Certified general appraiser:
- All types of real estate, from strip malls to airports
Get insights and trends to help you grow your appraisal career. Download your free copy of the latest Appraisal Income Guide.
3. Control your fees
In a 2020 Voice of the Appraiser study by Valuation Review, 46% of appraisers listed low fees as the greatest concern for their profession. A higher license level gives you an advantage in the local marketplace. Plus, it offers greater control over your fees and more stability in your work.
The more you know, the more you can grow your real estate appraisal business and shield your income from the ups and downs of the real estate market and encroaching technology. The higher you go, the less competition you’ll find: Only 42% of the nation’s 78,000 appraisers are certified general. Source: Appraisal Institute December 2019 Fact Sheet
“I enjoy commercial work because commercial appraisal pays well. There’s usually not much negotiation on fees. I like the ability to establish my fee and stick with it.” – Robert G., Certified General Appraiser, Pennsylvania
4. Uncover opportunities and niches
Upgrading your appraisal license to certified general can help you diversify your business and uncover appraisal niches. Here’s a list of commercial property niches:
- Agricultural properties
- Religious facilities
- Industrial properties
- Gas stations
- Strip malls
- Commercial “green” buildings
- Hotels and lodges
- Fast food and restaurant buildings
- Office complexes or office buildings
- Multifamily properties
- Convenience stores
- Theme parks
- Self-storage facilities
- Golf courses
- Assisted living facilities
- Sports arenas
5. Expand your knowledge
The education process you’ll go through while upgrading will expose you to new ideas, methods, and assignments you haven’t had the opportunity to master. Some advanced issues you will learn about in the upgrade process include:
- Advanced residential applications
- Income property appraisal
- Environmental issues
- Complex property highest and best use
- Narrative report writing
“McKissock Education has all the online courses you will need to upgrade your license, no matter which level you want to achieve. These courses were written by practicing appraisers, and they are loaded with real-life applications.” – Dan Bradley, Director of Online Appraisal Curriculum, McKissock
6. Teach others
Will you be America’s next best appraiser trainer? Upgrading your license will provide a leadership opportunity to become a trainer and teach the next generation of appraisers your superior skills.
“I have been lucky to find colleagues who know the importance of bringing in and training new appraisers for the benefit of the profession’s and the firm’s future.” – Andrew Craig, Appraiser Trainee, Texas
7. Increase your career satisfaction
Certified general appraisers report high levels of career satisfaction, mostly likely due to increased autonomy when making business decisions, a higher average income, and greater fee stability.
Editor’s note: This post was updated on January 21, 2022.