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Am I Making A Fair Amount?

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Robert Faber

Freshman Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
As soon as the limited license I just earned is hanging on my wall, my employer is going to bump me from the $9.60/hour I have been making at their firm for the past 8 months to $13/hour. I will receive no benefits, but the firm will provide all equipment and expenses henceforth, and guarantee 40 hours a week until I have my own state license (which with our current production will take less than 14 months). The firm is a small with two state licensed appraisers and a semi-retired certified general appraiser. There are no processors or other unlicensed assistants, not even a receptionist.

My skill set has grown in the 8 months that I have been working there; I can practically complete a 1004 or 2055, with nearly any additional form, do sketches, maps, and photo optimization, comp searches and grids, data collection of all types. I am proficient with ACI, Wintotal, and Excel, I can write C applications, and I set up and run our computer network. We handle 60 or so appraisals a month, all types from 2055 ext only to self contained reports for the state Department of Natural Resources.

The experience has been and will be invaluable, but the pay seems lousy by comparison after discussion with other limited appraisers in my 2-4 family class and some of the arrangements I have read here (though it is far better than others). Should I tough it out, or look for a better deal but that might have less security?
 

Patrick Egger

Sophomore Member
Joined
May 29, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
Robert ...

Don't get caught up in the $$$$ ... step back for a minute and take a look at some other factors.

1) do you like where you work
2) are you getting good training
3) do you get enough attention/guidence from your supervisor.

Money counts, I know ... and not doing as well as some of your peers can get you wondering, but in this business, who trains you and how well they do it is more important at this point in your career.

Its a challenging business, working with people you like and those that make time to give you the proper guidence are invaluable ... don't discount that for a minute.

Several years ago I took on a trainee that was 1/2 through their training (just wasn't getting along or happy with his super) ... I had to start from scratch ... I was amazed at what he had been told and how he was trained ... he was amazed at what he hadn't been taught .... its been three years now and what a difference. He's making plenty of money and is comfortable in his abilities.

Don't just compare what you make with your peers, take a good look at the overall package ...
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
What are you worth? What a question....as said in this forum all the time...."it depends".

My wife works for Walmart Corporation at the local Sam's Club. She has been with them for nearly 15 years and makes about $16 an hour. Of course there are benefits that kick that up substantially. My point is...after 8 months a jump of more than 30% sounds pretty good to me.

Things to consider.....what is the job market in your location. I don't know where you are located, you didn't include that, but in this market that would be a pretty good deal for a trainee in their first year. $13 an hour equates to about $27,000 a year.

If you are learning a trade that will eventually pay you two to three times that much a year...suck it up, bite the bullet, put your shoulder to the wheel, your ear to the ground and get on with your life. It is sorta hard to work while doing all those things at once, huh?
 

Steve Gish

Sophomore Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2003
I'd drive 30 miles each way, every day for $9.60 an hour. <_<

$13 and hour for 40 hours a week is over 25K a year gross. From what I've read here on the forum, that's pretty ok trainee wages anywhere in the country. If your only working 40 hours a week what do you do with all that free time?

Take it and finish getting your cert. B)

I'm still looking...
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Robert;

It depends.

(you will come to understand that this is my standard answer to most questions :p )

If this IS anything close to a living wage in your area of Michigan... run with it.

Pretend you are a starving college student, tighten your belt, and do the best you can... as others have said, you need to consider this as an apprenticeship, which is exactly what was originally intended.

Sadly many folk get less training and more money. They will become your competition. ;) This is not a good thing for the profession nor the nation. :angry:

Inquire as to others compensation in your area if you must, but frankly if you are getting anywhere the level of training I hope you are, the set-up (smaller multi-person office) sounds as close to ideal as is possible, and will probably result in a better level of understanding and ability on your part than you are likely to achive elsewhere else.

Would you really want to work someplace that paid higher wages at the start, with even less job security, in a country where layoffs are becoming the norm? <_< ummm that would sound like a no win scenario. :blink:

When you are done, hopefully if there is anything left of this profession, you will have a limited quantity marketable piece of paper and the training to use it properly...
 

George Hatch

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
It's not like you're going to be stuck at this wage level for very long. As your skills progress and your employer spends less time and less stress with your deals, your pay rate will increase.

You don't want to be in too big a hurry to get to full fee work, either. Most people's technical progression slows to a crawl the moment they decide they're too smart to work for someone else. I've seen a lot of appraisers with 2 years experience 10 times over. Yeah, they've been around for a while, but their expertise is severely limited. The days where an SFR appraiser with minimal skills can financially thrive may be coming to a close pretty quick here. The more you know and the better you are, the higher your chances are for long term success.

Stick around. Take full advantage of your situation and consider it time well spent. A lot of trainess never even get to work for a GenCert, hence never have access to someone who routinely has to think beyond how to fill out an SFR form properly. Play your cards right, and assuming you have the desire to do so, you might even be able to work your way into non-residential work. Lemme tell you from experience, becoming a GenCert can really help your career over the long haul. I vividly remember during the last recession hearing from the residential guys who were starving while I was constantly running a couple weeks backlog.

Pay those other guys no mind. Half of them are lying anyway, and at least some of the other half are involved with things they shouldn't be. We'll see how many of them are around in five years.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
It Depends is the normal answer in the business for everything. Working for $13 an hour with gurantee of 40 hours a week is not that bad all things considered. During the slow times an appraiser can starve with 1 or less a week. While you are still getting something. When all is said and done depends on your work environment. Alot more considerations as well. What others tell you at the classess take with a grain of salt. Just like HO's at a party bragging about what a great deal they got for selling their house can be much higher than what reality was. Also consider you get to count on what you get paid from week to week. While an appraiser never fully knows one week to the next.
 

Rich Hahn

Senior Member
Joined
May 2, 2003
Professional Status
General Public
State
Colorado
Steve come visit Lucy's Trailor Court.
I can afford it and you'll learn tons, you will get a tough skin real fast.
No gaurantee on volume.
"Times they are a changing"
wasnt that Bob Dillon?
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Make sure you get directions to the "New and Improved" ...

and it is uptown now: PARK not a musty old court :rofl:

the old place apparently needing spiffing up :rolleyes:
 
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