Mid-Life Career Change. to Appraiser?

Discussion in 'California' started by jvollmer57, Apr 15, 2012.

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  1. Flygirl 152

    Flygirl 152 Senior Member

    0
    May 3, 2006
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Residential CA licensing:
    AT (Trainee license)
    AL (Licensed)
    AR (Certified license)

    One of the biggest hurdles is finding someone to train you the right way. Downward pressure on fee's has created a problem for the mentor-trainee relationship. In years past, trainees would get roughly 20-30% of the total fee of the appraisal. When they became licensed, the split usually increased to 40%, or the newly licensed person went out on their own, and in CA was allowed to complete non complex assignments under their own AL license.

    It was not uncommon for AL license levels to run their own companies, and many who had been appraising for years never went the additional step to test for the Certified license. However, in this climate, very few lenders and AMC's (appraisal management companies) will accept reports from AL appraisers anymore since their underwriting guidelines require a certified appraiser even for non complex assignments.

    There were no college educational requirements to become an appraiser in years past, other than the required coursework by the State. Recently those requirements changed, and to become a certified, appraisers are required to have Associate degrees. From what I understand, as of 2013, entry into the profession will be contingent on a bachelor’s degree. (My colleagues will correct me if I am wrong on this issue.)

    Let's say you found a mentor to train you. You need to take and pass the trainee license exam. Then you need to work under that mentor until you reach the required 2000 hours to test for your AL license level. Typically that takes about 3 years of being trained and working under your mentor for a flat fee or fee split. After you receive your AL license, you will then need to accrue 500 hours to test for your AR (certified license). Other appraisers I have spoken too said in years past it took them roughly 3-4 years before they were able to test for their AR.

    Finding a mentor that has enough clients which pay a decent fee is going to be difficult. My opinion of a decent fee for a non complex standard property is $375-$400. Unfortunately due to the current economic climate and mortgage melt down, those fees are few and far between. If you read other categories on the forum, you will see that many appraisers are being forced to accept fees from appraisal management companies which can range between $175-$250. Let’s say your mentor gives you 30% of the fee which is let’s say $200. 30% of $200 is $60. Of that $60, you are going to have to pay for the cost of wear and tear on your car and gas driving to the subject property, as well as driving and photographing 5-8 of the comparable properties. Then you will have to go back to the office and sit to write the report which can typically take anywhere from 6-10 hours depending upon complexity. As a trainee, it may take you even longer. Then if you a decent mentor (like I did), your mentor will sit with you and review your report, explaining everything you did incorrectly, or didn’t know to include based on the property and neighborhood. In the beginning, this can take a few hours of you and your mentors time. Then you have to pay tax on that $60 fee, and often times you are paying the cost of the software which you need to complete the report. Roughtly, one report will take you 1-2 days for $60, and you will not receive any type of benefits. When you consider that you can go work at Starbucks and earn more than $60 per day as well as tips, and if you work 20 hours per week, you get full medical, dental and vision, as well as stock, Starbucks could be the better choice.

    I just had an AL call me the other day and tell me when she did her taxes, that she made less in 2011 than she did in 2010 working for the same mentor, even though she did more appraisals in 2011 than she did in 2010. She has been in the field for 5-6 years now trying desperately to get enough hours to take her licensing exams in hopes of someday making some decent money for her family. She is feeling extremely discouraged, and said that she feels as though she has invested more money trying to BE an appraiser, than what she has earned being an appraiser. She has been considering changing gears because she just feels that even if she does get her AR, there isn’t much future in the job anymore.

    Best of luck to you in whatever you decide.
     
  2. Flygirl 152

    Flygirl 152 Senior Member

    0
    May 3, 2006
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    California
    I should have added "AND AMC's (appraisal managment compaines)"
     
  3. Micki

    Micki New Member

    0
    Aug 4, 2008
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    California
    I'd sure like to know how one goes in to this side of appraising too. Not for myself, but for my partner in our appraisal business. In another life, he used to own a commerical food processing machinery design and manufacturing company. He was quite successful as a self-made engineer and designer, and he knows machines like nobody I've ever seen before.

    If you'd be willing to give me an idea of how one might get more information on this career, I'd surely appreciate it. I'm also assuming it doesn't require the same kind of certification that real estate appraisers have to have. The problem with my partner is that he can't upgrade from licensed to certified at this point because he doesn't have the college credits needed ... and at 57, he doesn't really want to go back to school for the monetary "reward" available to residential appraisers nowadays.
     
  4. leelansford

    leelansford Elite Member

    13
    Mar 29, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Certified Residential Appraiser
    State:
    Illinois
    The American Society of Appraisers is multi-disciplinary and has a very strong presence in Machinery & Equipment. Though probably not frequently or next door to where your friend is located, the ASA does offer excellent courses on this subject. Go to www.Appraisers.org
     
  5. TEL2002

    TEL2002 Elite Member

    1
    Jan 16, 2002
    Professional Status:
    Retired Appraiser
    State:
    Louisiana
    Micki, have your partner call me if he/she is interested. I would be glad to chat with either one of you and fill you in on what I know. Most afternoons 12-4 central time I'm teaching classes and not available, but other wise just about any time is good for me.
    My cell is 2; 2; 5....61,,5,,64 1, 1.

    Delete the commas, spaces etc. I'm trying to foil the spammers & scammers of the world.





     
  6. Micki

    Micki New Member

    0
    Aug 4, 2008
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Thank you for the information. I took a look at the ASA site, and it looks like maybe there's some hope that my buddy's previous business ventures could substitute for a degree. Having a strong machinery background and personal property acquistion and sales experience (he also owned an antique store at one point), that might just do it.

     
  7. Micki

    Micki New Member

    0
    Aug 4, 2008
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    California
    Thank you for your reply and generous offer to speak with us. He'll probably take you up on it sometime next week. The rest of this week is taken up with preparing for a "sound gig" for a private party this weekend ... one of the many things we do to fill in the gaps between appraisal orders. Sometimes it comes in handy to be a Jack (& Jill) of all trades. :D

    Looking forward to hearing more about this interesting appraising alternative soon.

     
  8. Doug Wegener

    Doug Wegener Senior Member

    0
    Apr 14, 2005
    Professional Status:
    Licensed Appraiser
    State:
    California
    early retirement

    Not Residential appraising for sure. Possibly if you can find an opportunity to apprentice under a good commercial appraiser it might be worthwhile although you are looking at a long period of time to get competent.

    What is your current career?
     
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