Welcome to the fifth installment in our series, “How to Make More Money as an Appraiser.”
We’ve discussed managing time, upgrading your certifications, utilizing human capital properly, and managing business expenses. Let’s look at another way you might be able to earn a higher income: move to a higher-paying state.
This seems like a pretty drastic move (no pun intended) just to make a few more bucks. In some cases, you’re right, it is a pretty drastic move. In other cases, however, it might actually make sense!
As you know, the average income for real estate appraisers varies state by state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the 2019 median pay as $57,010, or $27.41 per hour. If we compare state to state though, there’s a significant gap of $57k between the top earning state and the lowest earning state. The top earning state, District of Columbia, had an average income of $97,200 versus the lowest earning state, West Virginia, with an average of $40,360. That’s quite a difference!
Let’s look at this a bit closer by examining the top 12 states. We’ll take into account the states’ cost of living rating along with the states’ average appraiser income. The cost of living rating is indicated as higher or lower than the national average of 100%. For instance, if a state has a cost of living rating of 143, that means it’s 43% higher than the national average of 100, ouch! (Nevada and Nebraska are not included as the BLS had no income data for them.)
- District of Columbia ($97,200)/162.4
- California ($85,970)/148.53
- Alaska ($80,160)/122.88
- Washington ($79,080)/122.18
- Colorado ($77,580)/107
- New Jersey ($75,950)/124.28
- New Hampshire ($75,260)/105.25
- Ohio ($74,810)/91.56
- Connecticut ($74,340)/121.59
- Massachusetts ($73,530)/128.44
- Minnesota ($72,550)/103.56
- Iowa ($71,840)/91.12
The lowest state (West Virginia) is another $31,000 below Iowa’s average. With such a large gap between the top states and the lowest states, considering the wages in prospective states might be a good way to go for an appraiser. However, keep in mind that the higher wages are watered down by the higher costs of living. The top earning states all have above average costs of living ratings, except for Iowa (and Minnesota is pretty darn close to the average mark).
Is it Worth It?
Relocating simply for the chance to make more money is the most drastic step out of our tips for making more money as an appraiser, but if you have other reasons to relocate and your choice is between California and Oregon or New Jersey and New Hampshire, for instance, considering the income increase along with the cost of living rating might help tip the scales as to which state to move to.
Do You Want More Tips?
Interested in more tips on how to make more money as an appraiser? Here they are!
Watch for two more posts in this series: “How to Make More Money as an Appraiser: Obtaining New Clients” and “How to Make More Money as an Appraiser: Adopting New Technology” in the next two weeks!