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Appraising - the next new hot employment area?

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Drew Shuller

Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2002
I like this board, I've learned more about appraising here than in any of the classes that I took. But damn, there's a lot of grousing!

RStrahan, I've read your posts before, and enjoyed them. But here you suggest that flipping burgers is a better job than appraising, and you also suggest that job-seekers find a different career than real estate appraisal. You are not the first appraiser that I have heard that from. I respectfully suggest that if you think it's that bad, then go flip burgers for a living, and open up the market for new appraisers by one person. And if you feel that law school is a better alternative, then kindly send me a check to cover the costs!

Dee Dee, another poster whom I have enjoyed reading, lumps out-of-work techies, mortgage brokers, realtors, and wanna-be appraisers into the same category, and the impression that I get from this board is that brokers and realtors are pretty much scum of the earth. Pardon me for being an out-of-work techie and an appraiser wannabe, I'm obviously not worthy to be in this profession. Damn it all!

Ross somehow (even though he admits to being a little paranoid) links wannabe appraiser/ex techies with the 9/11 tragedy, and that all these techies are going to automate the process so much that each and every one of you will be out of a job. Two things here really get my goat: please don't trivialize 9/11, and it's not the techies that are the problem, it's the people that have the money to pay them, and that means bankers. Damn, if it weren't for techies, you wouldn't have a la mode, nor would you have this forum.

Blue1 actually is giving someone a chance, three cheers to you, I wish I was the trainee that you just hired.

In fact, from all the previous posts that I've read on this board, I would be honored to train under any of you. The people on this board care about their profession, and they don't like those who give it a bad name. Why lump techies in with these people? We are just blokes that are looking for a new career; our old one imploded when the stock market bubble burst...do you guys want to kick a man when he's down, or do you want to try to improve your profession by selecting honest trainees with the right attitudes? I'm hoping it's the latter.

I want to be an appraiser because I'm fascinated with real estate values, I love houses, I like to be the expert, I want to do my part to end fraudulent lending practices and dishonest business people, and I want to make some money. In other words, I seek the truth, just like you. Now all I have to do is to BEG (see the previous posts on this thread) for a job, spend two years learning it, and then hope that there's enough work to feed me! Sheesh!
 

Frederick R. Ruffell

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Drew,

I made my career change to appraisal 5 years ago. Here is what I did. I went for career counceling. after two months of that I hit upon the appraisal industry. I liked the appeal of EVENTUALLY becoming my own boss. My specialized (bus. mgt. and economics) college education and prior career skills (construction estimating) were an excellent fit for appraising. These things gave me a a great advantage over others just starting out in this field.
Next I took an appraisal 101 course to see if it was what I thought. Well it confirmed that it was what i wanted, and started me on my way to meeting the educational requirements for licensing. I later found out that many of my college courses could be petitioned for equivalency.

Next, I got lucky and landed a position with an appraisal mgt. company and quickly accumlated enough hours to apply for the Lic. I continued to work for this company for two years and within that time upgraded my Lic. all the time making less than $25,000 per year.

The year 2001 was the first year I actually made a some of money. 60K to 65K before taxes self employed!

This year it seems that the work load has slowed, but I am just now starting to learn how to market my services. I also just submitted my upgrade application for certified general residential, they have cashed the check and I am waiting for OREA to issue the LIC.

Dave it is a long road to get to where I am, and I have yet to be fully satisified from a monetary point of view, I am completely satisified with the challenge and working conditions of the job, I love it. So if this sounds good to you GO FOR IT! Take it one step at a time and ask alot of questions, I for one will answer you honestly and will not pull any punches, if you come back for more you will make a great appraiser.
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Drew --

I think there's plenty of entry points to get into appraising. Most appraisers have come from some sort of real estate background, but it's in no way mandatory.

My recommendation is find yourself an apprentice arrangement upfront, so you know you're on track to get into the business once you've finished appraisal school.

Obtaining an apprenticeship seems to the biggest hurdle for most trainees. With your background you might be more appealing to a mentor than somebody without any previous business background or maturity.

And lastly, thick-skinned maturity is a pretty desirable trait.
 

bobburnitt

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Drew,

In Texas there over 4,000 appraisers, and over 1,000 appraiser trainees.

The problem is if you are going to be in this business, you are going to have to make a decision. You will have to decide whether you are going to follow the rules of the game (USPAP) or be one of the crooks and not follow the rules. If you follow the rules, you will be boycotted, fired, blacklisted, not paid for your services, considered 'uncooperative', called a horses' a**, and labeled a 'whiner'. If you don't follow the rules, you will be very popular and make a decent amount of money. The loan sleaze will LOVE you. You will be their hero until you get caught, then they won't know you anymore. (You will probably never be caught because enforcement is virtually non-existent.)

Are you prepared to chose between being honest and starving to death, or being dishonest and making a living? If you are LUCKY, making a living is all you will do in this business. Even the crooks don't get rich in the business because all they get for their fraudulent work is a typical fee. They don't get a huge kickback because there is such a large supply of number-hitters.

I would like to see the look on your face the first time you hand a loan salesman an honest, credible, reliable report, and you are fired for doing a good job. It will happen over and over again. No appreciation, no loyalty, and no enforcement, that is the story of this racket.

BB in Texas
 

David C. Johnson

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
<span style='color:darkblue'>Bob,

I wrote this post first, and then "refreshed my AOL Screen" to see who, if anyone, had posted prior to me getting finished with this one. I read your post just now and I like it a lot. This one is going to be similar -- but maybe even more supportive with the realization I did not know your's was on the way until "posting time" for this one. Good post. Well said! (in fact, much better said...)

--dcj

______________

Larry,

I had not read your post either. It was also good in my opinion (and certainly if Drew decides to go with appraising).

--dcj

____________________

Drew,

I can see where you are coming from. Techies have taken a pretty severe, unwarranted beating in this thread. Actually, though, RStrahan's post is not too bad. I think he is giving some pretty good advice. If you like, start a thread with a title something like this:

"Appraisers: Should Your Son or Daughter Choose Appraising?"

I do not think I would recommend it. Here's why:

There are already plenty of appraisers, and the demand for services is decreasing (as a long term trend). As practicing economists, how could we justify giving the green light to new aspirees? What is there to aspire to? True, commercial appraising should remain in demand (as far as we know), but there are plenty well established residential appraisers who are in a position to move into this market (which, incidentally, does not necessarily need all of them presently, as far as I know).

Now, yes, the real tough, tricky assignments will remain in residential appraising for years to come, but even if you get good enough to do unusually competent valuations and reports for such assignments -- as proven by the market (which is the only true measure) -- some of our state boards tend to get absolutely packed with hacks who do not appreciate good work (at all), but hardly know the difference anyway. This is no exaggeration. (Actually, you have to water-down the truth on this issue to make it even remotely believable to normal people who have never seen it for themselves -- on the other hand, your state may be fine.) So, you see, even if you get to be exceptionally good, where does it get you? Keep in mind, people don't want "good," they want their value. To many or most end users (and other interested party's) "a good appraiser" is the one who will provide it -- especially when it is not providable. Unfortunately, there are enough such "good appraisers" to take care of peoples' appraisal needs.

RStrahan's post is good. Actually, it is kind and truthful. I'm sure what Frederick R. Ruffell told about his own history is true, but those days appear to be coming to and end; and as he says, he was lucky, or maybe he's a little modest, while being atypically skillful at getting and keeping such a job with an AMC. Btu we all agree with him, welcome aboard if you decide on appraising as a career. (Hell, we might even be wrong about things.)

In my opinion, this is what is going to happen over the next few decades (having started about a decade ago): There is going to be an increasing economic divide between the "upper class" and the "lower class" -- and the "middle class" is going to greatly diminish in size. I read with amusement recently what some had to say about the AFL-CIO and other unions on this forum, while I understand why they feel the way they do. Regardless, "socioeconomic innovations" -- most notably, the Unions -- prevented this great divide in the past. Without their influence over the last century, the US today would not even be recognizable. And it would not be better (from most people's point of reference). They even improved conditions for nonunionized industries who did as much for their workers as necessary to keep the unions out. But even that is a mute point now as we are becoming less and less of a manufacturing-based economy in this country. Computerized machines can do what people did, and where they cannot, other countries will do rest, for the most part.

Regardless, where does that leave you? Well, you picked a good way to go in the past (and by the way, it will likely revive over time); if I were in your position, I would look at such fields as bioinformatics where you can use your techie skills in another up and coming field -- the interface of medicine/biology and computers. Think about it.

In the mean time, consider becoming, say, a Realtor to help finance it -- the appraisal courses will help a good bit. At the same time, learn all the course work to the point you could almost teach it yourself, then ace a masters or doctorate if you like while you continue to work (its not so hard when you already know most or all of the material -- it's even fun) -- or better still, get hired for your knowledge (or start the company), rather than your credentials -- just like you did as a techie. You will be working most of the time (except when you're goofing off writing posts), but you can read your text books any time anywhere, even while you're waiting in a driveway to show a house over the weekend or at 11:30 PM on a weeknight (except on Wednesday night for the one course per semester that you will eventually start sneaking in).

Just some thoughts.

Regards,

David C. Johnson, Commercial R.E. Appraiser & Molecular Biologist (or at least more & more so every day!)</span>
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
BB in Texas:

That was the best, most honest, up-front, no punches pulled, summary
of this business I have ever read. DITTO THAT !!!


Regards,

Ranting Joe
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Dee Dee, another poster whom I have enjoyed reading, lumps out-of-work techies, mortgage brokers, realtors, and wanna-be appraisers into the same category, and the impression that I get from this board is that brokers and realtors are pretty much scum of the earth. Pardon me for being an out-of-work techie and an appraiser wannabe, I'm obviously not worthy to be in this profession. Damn it all!

Drew,

Back up the truck! :roll:

I'm not sure where you got the impression that I was lumping techies with real estate professions :evil: , so I'll try to make my point from a different angle.

Most of the techies that I'm running into who are trying to enter into the various real estate related professions (mortgage brokers, appraisers and realtors) don't realize that in many areas, particularly where there are lots of unemployed techies, may well be commiting financial suicide.

The train of thought that I've been hearing is that real estate professions appeared to pay as well as the now elusive tech jobs once did, so that's the bandwagon to jump on. I don't think that it has occured to some techies that the real estate market in their areas was probably, at least in part, driven by the prosperity of their own field.
To be honest, I'm concerned at the number of professionals from one floundering field who don't seem to realize that they may be herding into another field that's facing a similar future. It happened in So. Cal., it's happening now in the Denver area, and I'll bet a few other appraisers who are in tech-driven economies are observing a similar pattern.

Real estate is only as prosperous as it's local economic base. If the area in which you are seeking a position in has recently seen large job losses and no new employment coming in, then you can bet the bank that the real estate biz is eventually going to take a hit as well. It may take a year or so, but it'll happen. This is basic textbook stuff. Those who are already in the business know it, so they're going to close doors on newcomers and start going into self-preservation mode. Wouldn't you?

Techie or not, it is common for those who are trying to get into the appraisal profession to feel as if there is some kind of conspiracy against them. I know that I felt that way when I was trying to get started, and surprisingly after 4 years I still find myself feeling that way. 8O
In prior discussions, which you may have missed, MOST of the wannabe's who go through their schooling aren't warned about how difficult it is to break into this business. After all, if every appraisal school out there were to tell potential students (prior to taking their money) that 75% of them probably would never end up being appraisers in spite of the finances and time they've put into their education, those schools wouldn't be out of business in no time.

Okay...I think I got through that calmly enough. Now I'm gonna tell you what I really think about your post. 8)
Do your best to visualize a woman who looks very tired, half-crazed, eyeballs bugging out, clawed hands with fingernails aimed at your throat and screaming....
"I'm working my *ss off to put my oldest son through some of the most [email protected]#$%^&* expensive Tech/Engineering/Economic colleges in and out of this country, so don't p*ss me off "
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Larry,

I think I just miserably failed your 'thick-skinned maturity' test. :oops:
 

Bryan (OK)

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
There are a few individuals in the industry who would like to keep others out. On this forum, I have seen only the opposite . . . a large dose of reality from professionals skilled in the art, mixed with a good measure of frustration from the external pressures inherent in the appraisal process.

It would be easy to mix the two types if one is looking in from the outside. Experience will teach you otherwise. I am thankful for the lessons learned from this forum. There are many wise people contributing and I appreciate it greatly :D

Bryan
 
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