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Expectations for Commercial Appraiser Trainee

Discussion in 'General Appraisal Discussion' started by Susie Que, Jul 3, 2011.

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  1. Susie Que

    Susie Que New Member

    Jun 17, 2011
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser

    I am interested in a career in commercial appraisal in California and was hoping to survey some of the appraiser mentors out there. I have previous experience with land development investments and also recently achieved an MBA performing at the top of my class in real estate and finance related coursework. I think I may be well suited for this profession, but was hoping to find out if the 3,000 hours of training is financially feasible for me. I am familiar with all other requirements of a general appraiser in California.

    I understand trainees generally start off on an hourly wage and work their way to a fee split. How long should it typically take a commercial appraiser trainee to work their way to a fee split?

    And what is a competitive fee split for a good trainee?

    How many hours should a trainee expect to work per week?

    Who typically pays the cost of education?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Terrel L. Shields

    Terrel L. Shields Elite Member
    Gold Supporting Member

    Top Poster Of the Month

    May 2, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    I respectfully suggest you weight your options. Appraising is a very poor pond to drive your ducks to right now. I don't know if it will get better.

    I would expect to not even break even for 2 years or longer if I were you. The liability that USPAP and regulators have placed upon the supervisory people are so enormous it simply isn't worth it for most people. I would think about insurance adjusting, assessor work, petroleum landman, or other similar employment and kinda watch and see what appraisers do in the next 4 or 5 years. Short a big change in the regulatory environment, it simply isn't a "good deal" for someone who has a degree compared to most career choices available.
  3. Michael S

    Michael S Senior Member

    Mar 18, 2009
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    New Mexico
    I've been a commercial appraisal trainee for about a year and a half now.

    * In my case I won't be working on a fee split until after I'm certified, even if I'm completing assignments on my own before then and my supervisor is simply reviewing and signing them. I have a bonus system that's based on the billings of my supervisor and I.

    * Don't really know.

    * A typical week where we're not really busy about 45. When it's really busy 50-60 (nights and weekends) My supervisor are generally pulling long hours than that because at the end of the day the onus is on them to finish a report by the deadline.

    * I get a $500 annual allowance for education, which basically pays for one of my required classes through the AI. Travel, lodging, etc. are all on me. So far all of my classes have been out of state requiring air travel, rental car, and a hotel. So I've tried to take classes in cities where I have friends/relatives I can stay with for free and/or borrow a car to help defray some of the cost.

    Right now the pay is enough to survive on and support my family (barely) but it's one of those cases where you pay your dues for a few years and then your income potential doubles (or more) within a few more years. At the end of the day it seems that income is directly tied to the amount of work. I have a family and other commitments so I probably won't be working 12 hour days regularly which will limit my income potential.
  4. rbrienza

    rbrienza Member

    Sep 16, 2007
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    Welcome to the forum.

    Your going to hear a lot of opinions ... good and bad.

    I have been appraising 4 years (3/2007) I got my CG in 9/2009. How my mentor had it set up was generally 50% fee split, from day 1. (this was very generous). I paid for all my training. I worked at my home office, paid all my fees, software etc. Work hours per week... depended on work flow... you work as many hours as necessary to get the job done.... a commercial job takes 100+ hours (more at the beginning) When I started, I worked 14-16 hours a day. My mentor gave me the templates that he uses and guided me through the process and then usually rewrote a lot of the report, (as time progressed he had to do less and less, but I feel this was a good way to train).

    As far as my hours, when I upgraded I had 3500 hours. I had to wait the 30 months. And due to the way I was trained made a well rounded commercial appraiser.... (Not saying I knew or know everything). My background is of land development and construction (residential and commercial).

    Skills that appraissers need is being able to research properties and learning to question everything and dig until it makes sense or until you you cant go any farther. Know USPAP and understand it and be able to explain it and apply it.

    My thoughts on the future... go for it. I see a need for good ethical commercial appraisers. (also residential)

    - Ray
  5. Mike Garrett RAA

    Mike Garrett RAA Elite Member
    Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    Simple answer...what ever the owner of the shop is willing to pay.
  6. Restrain

    Restrain Elite Member

    Jan 22, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified General Appraiser
    I've been around the block, started in the 70's, and seen it all, done it all, getting ready to hang it up.

    My suggestion, do not go into appraising, residential or commercial. The downside is far higher than the upside. Find another career, even in real estate sales, mortgage lending, tax appraisal, etc. Tax representation for tax appeals is a very lucrative business and will only go up.
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