How To Become A VA Approved Appraiser?

Whenever a person wants to get a mortgage to buy a house, the lender of the money will need an appraisal in order to find out what’s the value of the home.

There are different types of appraisers based on their license after they get their trainee appraiser status.

Depending on the property’s value and type, you’ll need a licensed residential appraiser, certified residential appraiser, or a certified general appraiser. But what about a VA approved appraiser?

A VA approved appraiser is a special type of appraiser needed when an army veteran applies for a mortgage loan via the Department of Veteran Affairs.

You may have many questions such as: How to become a VA approved appraiser? What does a VA approved appraiser do? How much does a VA approved appraiser make? 

If you want to know about all of this and much more, read our article and find out!

How To Become A VA-approved Appraiser?

Becoming a VA appraiser is no easy task. Because you’re dealing with the Department of Veteran Affairs and army veterans themselves, you have to fulfill some strict requirements.

To become a VA approved appraiser, or VA fee appraiser as it’s also called, you need to fulfill the criteria set by the Department of Veteran Affairs (that’s where the VA in the name is derived from).

The criteria are as follows:

License Or Certificate

  • Before you can apply to become a VA approved appraiser, you must first have a residential appraiser license or certificate from the state where VA appraisals will be completed.
  • So you can’t become a VA appraiser immediately after becoming a Trainee appraiser.


  • You’ll need prior experience to become a VA appraiser and a lot of it!
  • To be eligible to apply for this type of license, you will have to submit a resume that will show that you have at least 5 years of experience doing appraisals of residential properties.
  • So it takes a lot of time working as any kind of real estate appraiser before you can apply to get approved by the VA.

Proof Of Good Character

  • You will be required to submit 3 letters, which will attest to your good character and experience as an appraiser.
  • 2 of these 3 letters must be from free appraisers, in other words, appraisers who don’t work at the same office or agency as you.
  • This is to reduce the chance for favorable references submitted by a colleague you’ve worked with for years.

No Conflict Of Interest

  • There can’t be any conflict of interest between your regular employment and performance as a VA appraiser.
  • This means that, for example, if you’re a real estate agent for a property, and you’re doing an appraisal for that same property, that’s a clear conflict of interest.
  • For the same reason, employees of The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), and the Postal Service are not eligible to apply for a VA appraiser.
  • However, employees of the Local or State government can apply. Still, care must be taken to ensure that their assignments don’t lead to a conflict of interest or an appearance of a conflict of interest.

No Debts

  • In case you decide to apply for a VA appraiser license. In that case, field stations will use the Credit Alert Interactive Voice Response System (CAIVRS) to check whether you have an outstanding delinquent debt to the Federal Government.
  • If, in any case, you do have a debt to the Federal Government, you must provide evidence of payment in full of the debt. 
  • Besides this, you can also provide proof of an acceptable repayment plan and confirmation that you’ve executed a promissory note for the entire debt.
  • Make sure you absolutely have no debts to the Federal government. Otherwise, your application won’t be approved.

Credit Report

  • By completing the application for becoming a VA appraiser, you are giving permission to the VA to get a credit report on you.
  • Credit reports can show a lot. For example, suppose an applicant doesn’t pay back his loans. In that case, it’s doubtful he will be trustworthy and professionally committed to his profession.
  • You need to make sure your credit report is clean as a whistle; otherwise, there is no chance you’ll be getting approved by the VA.


  • Unlike other licenses, in order to become a VA approved appraiser, you don’t need to take any written exams.
  • Instead, you will be required to do a demonstration appraisal. These are done either on two types of forms; the Freddie Mac Form 70 or on a Fannie Mae Form 1004.
  • Before the demonstration, you will be provided with instructional and procedural materials that you need to complete the appraisal the best you can.
  • You can’t receive any help from another person during the demonstration. You will have to certify this on the demonstration appraisal.

Geographic Competence

  • Based on your experience and qualifications, you may get designated to more than one geographic area where you can work as a VA appraiser apart from the place where you applied.

Submitting The Application

  • You can get an application online from the official Department of Veteran Affairs website.
  • Apart from the basic info that you will have to fill in like your name, SSN, address, etc., you’ll also have to fill in this information:
    • The number of appraisals you’ve done in the past 5 years
    • Your employment history for the past 10 years
    • The maximum number of VA appraisals you can take per week
    • The maximum number of VA appraisals you can take at one time
  • When submitting your application, make sure you attach a copy of your appraiser license and the three reference letters we mentioned above.
  • When you fill it all out, you can send it by mail or email to the VA Regional Loan Center of Jurisdiction.

What Exactly Does A VA Approved Appraiser Do?

Rdl How To Become A Va Approved Appraiser

At first glance, a VA appraiser’s duties don’t vary much from any other type of real estate appraiser.

However, there are some big differences.

VA appraisers are designated to do appraisals for homes when veterans apply for a mortgage loan to buy a house. This type of loan is known as a VA loan.

Because the state wants to give back to the vets who served in the army, these loans are guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

This means that the requirements for eligibility for a loan are much lower for VA loans. Also, there are no down payments for buying a house this way.The state also requires VA appraisers to do the appraisal because VA appraisers go much further than regular appraisers in checking houses for defects.

A VA appraiser’s job is to do a home inspection-like job of checking the house for defects, including reviewing the foundation, gutters, plumbing, mechanical systems, and ever checking for carbon monoxide detectors.

This kind of house check protects the buyer of the home the highest way possible, making sure there is as little risk as possible for the buyer.

How Much Does A VA Appraiser Make?

Although the requirements to become a VA approved appraiser are not easy to fill, and the workload is pretty big, it does pay off.

First of all, every year, more and more veterans are relying on VA loans to buy houses. All these transactions require a VA appraiser.

However, the demand for a VA approved appraiser does vary depending on the state. 

You should get some info on the amount of VA loans given in your specific state before you decide you want to go through the process of becoming a VA appraiser.

When it comes to salary, the VA fees are determined by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Because of this, the costs vary from state to state.

They go anywhere from around $425 as it is in South Carolina up to $900, which is the VA fee in Montana.

On average salaries range from $63.000 to $69.000, so it’s good money.

Last Words

Becoming a VA approved appraiser definitely isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

You need a lot of prior experience, a license or certificate, reference letters, a clear credit report, and no federal government debts.

The amount of work you do is also larger than what a normal appraiser does. You have to check almost every part of a house to do your job the right way.

Taking all these things into consideration, it still pays off. 

You make a nice amount of money. Besides, you can keep working as a real estate appraiser, so long as you don’t have a conflict of interest with your VA appraiser side of the business.