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Appraisal Institue Designations

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David kirby

Freshman Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2002
First of all id like to say i have learned a great deal from the topics on this board and teh conversations it has produced.
Bakground about myself before my question. I am a registered appraiser in the north Ga. area <Cartersville> and currently working for some who really turns out the reports company wide. I have been told by my mentor and several review appraisers that my work is very good for my experience.
I am about to come up on the halfway point of the 2000 hours i have to work before i can take my test for my license.
Heres my question, I am strongly thinking about going after an Appraisal Institue designation as soon as possible in my future. Will this help me over my competion? My goal is to be the best appraiser in the state and will the learnings i recieve from attempting to get this designation help accomplish that goal? I dont want to be a come today gone tomorrow appraiser, will this make it easier to build a client base form scratch? Any advice, suggestions or feedback would be great appreciated.
thx in advance , David
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Good question. I guess that depends on what you want to do. Have you ever been asked if you had a designation? The only time I have ever been asked was if the job was a commercial building or something out of the ordinary. I was asked if I was an MIA. Other than that no one has seemed to care if I had a designation or not.

So my opinion is it will not matter unless you are going to work toward a Certified General and do commercial work. If your going to do residential I think most lender don't care about your qualifications. Just your turn around time and if you hit the value. I am sure others will have other opinions on this.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Gaining a designation will never hurt you! While it is true that lenders don't pay much attention to them these days, your peers do. The best part of getting designated is the education.

Back in the dark ages, I was working on the RM® designation from the Appraisal Institute prior to the merger with the Society. I took all the course work at the University of Colorado on the main campus in Boulder, Colorado. It was so nice to "get away" for a week and become a college student.

The interplay between appraisers from all over the country was a great educational experience.....much like the sharing that occurs on this forum. I honestly believe those people entering this business who take correspondence or "on-line" courses really miss out on a blessing.
 

David kirby

Freshman Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2002
Jeff, Mike thx for your feedback. All the feedback i get makes me a more informed newbie lol.
i had a wonderful teacher when i took my classes to get my registration. Hes is an older gentlemen that is very precise in what he does and teaches. After the class was over he agreed to sign off for me but i had to get my own work. Thats another long and frustrating story. I do not get alot of business through him because i havent been able to get a mortgage company to use me other than a few times in 9 months. I am also contracting for a guy but the draw back to this situation is that he had to low ball his fee to get a big contract with a few mortgage compaines. I have read the board and have seen the company name LSI come up a few times and that is who is on most of the work i do for him.
He keeps me busy and i am learning every day but my i need to start thinking bout growing my future business and thats the reason for the question in the last post. Again thx for your feedback and please any knowledge you can pass along will be accpeted and appreciated.
thx David Kirby
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Have you considered the NAIFA? The Appraisal Institute, although it does have residential appraisers, has most of their emphasis on commercial appraising. The NAIFA, although it does have commercial appraisers, has most of their emphasis on residential appraisers. Their web site is http://www.naifa.com
 

Patrick Egger

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

There are some very good ... and some very bad appraisers ... both with designations ... the same can be stated about those without one. As pointed out in the posts, going after one will help you learn and develop your skills ... and having one won't hurt.

I think the most important consideration at this point in your career is education and experience. Working towards a designation can help you in that area ... and anything you can do to broaden your experience and increase your skill levels will be beneficial.

Being the "best in the state is a lofty and admirable goal" and I wish you luck. As Mike said, the designation will likely mean more to you than anyone else ... it’s a symbol of personal accomplishment ...

On the other hand, your reputation with your clients will make the difference in your appraisal business ... and your reputation is what you live with day-to-day. That being the case ... I'd focus on improving my knowledge, experience and the quality of my reports.

I'd also invest some time in improving my business skills, customer service, running a business, etc ... this is an area often over-looked. You'll be faced with lots of challenges in dealing with customers and running your business, marketing, complaints, etc ...

Having good communication and problem solving skills (as they related to customer service) along with understanding how to run a business won't place little letters behind your name on a business card ... but they will make life a lot easier in the long run.

As an appraiser ... you're in the problem solving business ... how you deal with your clients and the challenges they pose will say a lot about how good you really are. Appraiser's are in the customer service business ... sometimes we forget that.

I've been around this business for a long time ... when I think of the best appraisers I know, they're the ones with great appraisal skills ... the ones that will tell the client what they need to know, not what they want to hear ... so that the client can make an informed decision regarding the property ...

They're also the ones that will call the client with a problem before the client has to call them ... and when they call, they don't just report the problem ... they have ideas and suggestions to help the client ... they're knowledgeable and informed, aware of the client's business needs and they can accomplish all of this without violating the rules ... they know the appraisal business and they also understand their client's business.

If you want to be the best ... I'd head in that direction. Good luck.
 

John SRA

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
David,

There has been lots of good feedback so far. Let me add my two cents.

Most of my lender clients don't really care about designations. They produce large volumes of work, and they judge appraisers by the quality of that work. However, designations can be very good in marketing for other work.

Attorneys and accountants seem to pay more attention to designations. This is good, because they are also far less price sensitive. When looking for an expert witness, attorneys do not get excited about hiring someone who has met only the minimum standard.

However, there is a much better reason to get a designation - you will learn a lot. Many mentors, and many basic courses simply train appraisers to go through the motions of appraising. It is astounding how many appraisers really don't know the "why" behind the "what."

In order to get a designation you will be forced to demonstrate understanding of all the underlying theory. You will be equipped to be much more than just a "form filler" or "number hotter." You will have the tools to be an actual appraiser!!

Patrick stated, "I'd focus on improving my knowledge, experience and the quality of my reports." Going through the designation process will do just that, and do it in a structured way that provides lots of feedback.

The networking you will find in a local chapter is awesome. The exchanges at chapter meetings are the real world version of this forum. In the last twenty years I have learned much from my mentors in our chapter. I have probably learned even more by taking on the mentoring role myself a few times.

I know very good appraisers who hold no designation. I know very bad appraisers who hold several designations (having the right tools is, unfortunately, no guarantee of having proper ethics). It is not an answer, only an aid.

In conclusion, I echo Patrick's advice related to problem solving and client relations. Clients don't appreciate finding out about a problem only when they read the report. We provide unbiased opinions, but we also understand that clients want to know about problems as soon as possible. When you are an appraiser it is easy to look at a situation from an appraiser's view. Try to also look at the situation form the point of view of a paying client.

Best Wishes

JC
 
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