appraiser salary

Property Appraiser Salary Varies Based on License Level


If you are considering a career in real estate appraisal, you’re probably curious about property appraiser salary and income potential. Survey data from the 2023 Appraisal Salary Guide shows that the average annual income for all appraisers was $102,620 in 2022. Your actual earnings will vary based on your appraisal license level. Let’s take a look at salary info and start up costs for property appraisers.

Start your appraisal career today with expert-taught appraisal license courses from McKissock.

How does license level affect property appraiser salary?

According to the 2023 Appraisal Salary Guide, an appraiser’s annual income varies significantly across license levels:

  • Trainee appraisers’ average yearly income: $53,218
  • Licensed appraisers’ average yearly income $89,056
  • Certified residential appraisers’ average yearly income: $101,598
  • Certified general appraisers’ average yearly income: $145, 094

Graph of average real estate appraiser salary by license type

As you can see, there’s a lot of income growth potential each time you upgrade your license to the next level.

Why is the average Certified General Appraiser salary the highest?

The average Certified General Appraiser salary is about $43,000 higher than the average Certified Residential Appraiser salary, and approximately $56,000 higher than the average Licensed Residential Appraiser salary.

A higher appraisal license level gives you an advantage in the local market and offers greater control over your fees and more stability in your work. Certified General Appraisers (a.k.a. commercial appraisers) can shield their income from the ups and downs of the real estate market and do not have to compete for smaller residential assignments. They can appraise any type of property, including commercial and complex assignments, for which the appraisal fees are higher.

Appraiser start-up costs

Note that many property appraisers are self-employed. An appraisal business is a relatively inexpensive business to start. You don’t need any heavy equipment, a fancy car, large number of employees, factories, retail space, or any of the other money-sucking costs required to start other small businesses.

Most business purchases you already have—computer, cell phone, car, comfortable pair of walking shoes. (Talk to your accountant about ways to depreciate and deduct these expenses on your income tax form.)

However, starting an appraisal business requires purchasing some items specific to your business:

Appraisal Trainee qualifying education

$800 – $1,500 / year

Appraisal software for writing reports

$2,000 / year

Internet fees, cloud storage, MLS access

$1,000 – $1,500 / year

Errors and Omissions Insurance

$800 – $1,000 / year

Laser measuring device and other tools


Some or all of these expenses may not apply if you are employed as a salaried appraiser.

Launch or upgrade your property appraisal career with McKissock

Now that you understand the earnings potential and start-up costs associated with a real estate appraisal career, get started today with McKissock! We have all the classes and resources you need to launch and grow your career. Whether you need qualifying education courses to become a trainee or upgrade your appraisal license, we’ve got the experience and expertise to help you become a world-class appraiser.

Want to dig deeper? Discover other factors affecting property appraiser salary in the 2023 Appraisal Salary Guide.


Editor’s note: This post was updated on February 6, 2024.