VA Appraisal Requirements and How to Become a VA Appraiser

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan guaranty program plays a crucial role in making housing affordable for veterans and their families. VA panel appraisers are an important part of this program by providing their opinions of value for homes on which the VA guarantees the mortgages. Becoming a VA appraiser can not only help you increase your income by taking on more jobs, but you also get to provide a valuable service to help veterans and their families find the perfect home. To help you get started, we’re providing an overview of VA appraisal requirements and how to become a VA appraiser.

Are you a current or prospective VA panel appraiser? Enroll in our 7-hour CE course, VA Appraisal Requirements and Guidelines.

How are VA appraisals different?

VA appraisals are a bit different than traditional appraisals because they serve two key purposes. First, it’s to determine the fair market value of the property, just like a traditional appraisal. But a VA appraisal also determines if the property meets the VA’s minimum property requirements (MPR) and that the property is safe, structurally sound, and sanitary to meet basic livability standards.


As a VA appraiser, you’ll also need to check that the property meets the following MPRs:

  • Acceptable roofing: The roof should be in good condition and will last for the foreseeable future, providing protection from the elements.
  • Lead-based paint: Check for peeling or cracking lead-based paint, both inside and outside the property, to maintain a safe and healthy environment.
  • Functional systems: The heating, cooling, and electrical systems should be in working order for residents’ comfort and safety.
  • Sewage disposal: Ensure that the property has a sanitary sewage disposal system in place to prevent health hazards.
  • Water supply: Confirm access to a clean water supply and adequate sanitary facilities for daily living needs.
  • Structural integrity: Check for any signs of fungus, mold, dry rot, or termite damage that could compromise the structure’s integrity.
  • Adequate size: Ensure the property meets the minimum size requirements for basic living necessities.
  • Ventilation and accessibility: Verify that crawl spaces, basements, or attics are adequately ventilated and accessible for maintenance purposes.
  • Access to property: Confirm easy access to the property from the street for convenience and safety.
  • Safety hazards: Ensure the property is free of safety hazards to protect occupants and visitors. Anything deemed unsafe must be noted and rectified prior to loan approval.

While this is not a home inspection, VA appraisals are much more in-depth to make sure that homes purchased by veterans are appropriate for living.

VA appraisal requirements

To become a VA appraiser, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Five years of experience appraising residential properties as a Licensed or Certified Residential Appraiser or Certified General Appraiser
  • Two or more letters of recommendation from fee appraisers
  • No conflict of interest between your employment and performance as a VA fee appraiser
  • Not an employee of the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fannie Mae (FNMA), Freddie Mac, or the United States Post Office (USPS)

You can access the full list of qualification requirements, as well as counties currently looking for VA appraiser applications, on the VA’s website1.

If you’re interested in becoming a Veterans Affairs appraiser, you’ll need to learn about VA appraisal requirements and what these assignments entail. You may have questions like, “What obligations do appraisers have when performing a VA appraisal?” and “How is it different from performing a traditional appraisal?” This course not only answers them, you’ll also get a much more in-depth look at everything you need to know to successfully complete these appraisals.

How to become a VA appraiser

To complete a Veterans Affairs appraisal, you must be on the VA appraisal panel. State-licensed or state-certified real estate appraisers who meet the VA’s qualification requirements (below) may apply to be on the panel. However, you will only be able to apply when there is a need for VA appraisers in your local area.

There is no fee to apply or maintain membership on the VA panel.

How does the VA appraisal panel operate?

Here’s a breakdown of the VA appraisal panel and how it works, including information on how appraisers are selected for individual assignments, as well as VA appraisal fees and how much you can earn.

VA appraisal panel vs. FHA appraisal roster

Most residential appraisers are familiar with the FHA appraiser roster. It is important to note that the VA appraisal panel works very differently from the FHA appraisal roster.

As one example, the FHA roster is open to all qualifying appraisers. If you meet the FHA roster requirements, all you have to do is apply, and you will be added to the FHA roster.

Conversely, the VA panel is only opened up when the VA Regional Loan Center (RLC) has a need for appraisers in certain geographic areas. For example, there might be a need for appraisers in one city, and the VA will open up the panel and accept appraiser applicants from that city. But if you are from another city where there is not a perceived need for appraisers, the VA will not add new appraisers to the panel from that city.

VA appraiser selection

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not originate or underwrite individual loans, but the VA does select the appraiser who will complete the appraisal for each VA loan. It uses a rotation system to select appraisers to complete appraisals on VA loans in a certain geographic area.

For example, let’s say there are four VA panel appraisers in Anytown. They are:

  • Jane Doe
  • John Smith
  • Mary Jones
  • John Q. Public

If a VA appraisal assignment becomes available in Anytown, it will go to Jane Doe because her name is at the top of the list. After she receives the assignment, her name rotates to the bottom of the list, and the list now looks like this:

  • John Smith
  • Mary Jones
  • John Q. Public
  • Jane Doe

The next VA appraisal assignment in Anytown will go to John Smith, then his name will go to the bottom of the list, and so on. It’s a simple yet effective system, and it protects and maintains appraiser independence.

The VA differs significantly from the FHA when it comes to appraiser selection. For FHA, the lender (or the AMC working as an agent of the lender) is permitted to select the appraiser. For VA loans, the VA selects the appraiser, period. The originating lender has no input into who is selected to complete their appraisal.

VA appraisal fees

Another difference between traditional and VA appraisals is that the VA sets maximum allowable fees which are based on geographic areas. The fee schedule is available on the website of the VA Regional Loan Center (RLC) that has jurisdiction. This is in direct contrast to FHA, which does not set or establish fees. An appraiser may negotiate with the lender or AMC to establish an FHA appraisal fee that is agreeable to all parties; not so with VA.

The maximum allowable VA appraisal fees vary by county and are available on the VA’s website.2 The VA Lenders Handbook, Pamphlet 26-7, provides some additional information about appraisal fees.

Learn more about VA appraisal requirements

Want to learn more about VA appraisal requirements and how to become a VA appraiser? Enroll in our 7-hour continuing education course, VA Appraisal Requirements and Guidelines. Whether you’re a current VA panel appraiser or you’re considering applying to be on the VA panel, this course is for you. Learn all about the appraisal-related aspects of the VA loan guaranty program and the appraiser’s obligations when performing a VA appraisal. Enroll now.



  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Appraiser and Inspector Qualification Requirements. Available at
  2. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Appraisal Fee Schedules and Timeliness Requirements.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on December 15, 2020 and updated in September 2023.