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Entering My Career As A Real Estate Appraiser

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Kiem Nguyen

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2002
After I got laid off in the high-tech industry, I decided to enter this area. My brother-in-law is a real estate agent, who encourages me to go here - the demand for appraisers in California is so high right now; but I dont know about later.


Well, leaving behind a 3 figure income job, and going into this field - sure is a big change for me, but I heard in the long run, you'll be better off?

Just received my training materials that I just purchased from Dynasty for $445, which would cover 15 hours of USPAP and 90 hours of BE. I hope this would help me pass my exam later.


2000 hours of Trainee is equivalent to working full-time for 1 year, that does seem long. Is it worth it after that?


For you licensed appraisers, I have few questions:

1) What made you decide to go into this profession? Is it the money, the love of the job?

2) How long have you been in the field, and do you see yourself doing this until you retire?

3) Are you a part-timer or full-timer? I heard lots of people do this on the weekend as their side-jobs.

Thanks!
 

Jim Bartley

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
I have been appraising for over 13 years, 10 on my own. I would strongly discourage anyone from entering this field. I do not know of any "weekend" appraisers. It sounds like you have gotten most of your information from people outside the industry. The very first thing you need to do is find an appraiser who will sponsor you for your hours of experience. My first full year appraising I made $15,000. If you decide to enter this field, keep in mind you are entering a field that is literally changing day by day. And these changes DO NOT benefit appraisers. We are rapidly being replaced by high tech. I am constantly amazed at the naivete of people who want to enter this field. You need to talk to some appraisers in your area.
 

J in Florida

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
This may not be a good pick for someone from the high-tech biz. While excellent computer skills are a big plus, loan officers and realtors are still WAY behind appraisers in the hi-tech department (at least in this city with RARE exception), understanding the mind set of these people is a whole different ballgame than techies. A business, real estate and or finance background is way more beneficial.

I also would not encourage anyone to get into appraising right now. By the time you are fully trained, you might not be able to make what you're used to or want to. Also, most of us feel the industry in a few years will not look much like it does today.
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
1. Grew up in a real estate family (3rd generation) and love it. Carrying on the family business.

2. All my life :lol: Before I was licensed, I worked for my grandfather and father as an assistant or a delivery boy when in school.

3. Full time. Can't do this part time! It takes lots of time for proper research, becoming proficient, and servicing the clients. I don't know who told you they do it just on the weekends, but I would be suspect of the work quality. Would you want a part-time attorney to defend your case, or a part-time doctor to do cancer surgery?

Real estate sales and appraising is hard work that takes long hours. The phone will ring at the office, the phone will ring at home, and you have to make sure that you schedule family time so that you don't end up in divorce. Not trying to scare you away, but I do want you to take off the rose colored glasses, and look at it seriously. Talk to other appraisers in your area. Network to decide if this is what you want, before spending too much more $$. It is a big career change. Like many other careers, real estate is changing with technology. If you are on the bottom of the curve, you may not be around long. This is a service industry, clients are always looking for the latest and greatest. You have to give them a reason to use you instead of the other guy, or a computer generated report.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
It cannot be done part-time.

Do not take any advise from people working outside of the field.

Try to convert your prior high-tech experience into something more
stable, the days of appraisers are numbered. It is a lot different than when I first started 24 years ago. I don't know about California, but it sounds like the exception rather than the rule. In NY it's almost impossible
to find somebody willing to train you. The last thing we need here is more appraisers, the compeition is cut-throat and most are unethical scum.

I just hoping to last another 5 years and I'm out of here. Given that I'm so
burnt-out and cynical, perhaps you should continue seeking advise. The final decision is yours and I wish you luck on whatever you decide.
 

liznindy

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Indiana
Well, I do like appraising..but not for the money!

I was previously a grocery store manager and took a huge pay cut in the beginning. First year with mentor, around $15,000. Pay has steadily increased as my skills increased.

I opened my own appraisal firm about 2 years ago and am now starting to make what I made in the grocery business.

But I wouldn't go back as I was burnt out in that field.

Advice:

Better like looking at all kinds of houses....working late to get the report out to the clients, all of whom want RUSH orders.

Could be in California, you may not have the competition we do here in Central Indiana.

This business has ups and downs, depending upon interest rates. You will be swamped one month and the next may be twiddling your thumbs.


BUT if you have researched the profession and think you will love the job (not the money), GO for it!
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
1. What got me into the business and from the sounds of it I was one of the lucky ones. My mom knew an appraiser that needed an assistant I was working making good money but hated the job and needed a change. I made less money my first couple of years than what I did at the other place. Now 5 years later I'm making decent money but still not nearly enough. What I found was after 3 years I was making enough to live and stop the bleeding (credit card usage). This year I finally paid it all back and have some saved.

2. Like I said I've been in it 5 years. Some of the doom and gloom crowd will say that we will be extinct in 5 years or so but I heard that when I first got into the biz. I do expect the profesion to change over the years nothing can stay stagnet.

3. You might be able to start out part time to learn if you really want to go at it full time, but, to the best of my knowledge no appraiser does this as a part time job.

Ryan
 

bobburnitt

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Choosing this career is one of the biggest mistakes of my life, and it came at a time when I couldn't afford to make a mistake.

I went back to college for two years to get my real estate degree before I began my appraisal apprenticeship. My first tear as a trainee I grossed about $6,000. Second year as a trainee, about $8,000. In the years since I have never grossed over $15,000. I was given bad advice by counselors and career advisers at the schools. I was not told about the glut of real estate appraisers in my state (Texas). It has been my experience that the colleges are as bad as the real estate "schools" at misleading students about the "opportunities" in this business. If I had known then what I know now about the appraisal busines, I would have NEVER, NEVER gotten into it.

What is as bad as the money situation, is the lack of respect I am treated with in this business. Everybody HATES the appraiser. Real estate agents, buyers, sellers, loan "officers", everyone involved in the process.

Real estate appraisal is the most crudely regulated of any "profession" I have ever been in. The people who "regulate" this business cannot agree on what is right and wrong in the practice of real estate appraisal, therefore you are always skating on thin ice in unknown territory. Nobody will back you up.

If you like starving to death and being treated like SH**, you will love this business.

Going back to school and re-training for a new career is an incredible sacrifice in time and money. You are doing what I didn't do, you are talking to people that are in the business, and they are telling you like it is. I consulted with college advisors, they obviously don't know bullsh** from wild honey.

Take my advice, and keep looking.

BB in Texas
 

BarbaraNJ

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Kiem,

I have been in the business for 15 to 20 years.

After reading all the previous posts, I don't think I want to be in the business anymore !!!!!

All joking aside--------

The people who have answered your question so far are being very honest with you. You may be scratching your head as to why they continue working as appraisers. There are many reasons, but here are a few:

*When the business is good, its' really good and by working very hard you can make a reasonable/good living.
*Many of us have been in the business so long that leaving appraisals and starting another career at the bottom is worse than staying where we are.
*With the onset of computers, much of the "paperwork" can be done from home, so it appeals to those who dislike the typical "office" job.
I'm sure others will have other good reasons.

Some of the "bad" that hasn't been mentioned yet:

*You are usually self employed (There are some appraisers who are employees). If you are self employed, you get no paid vacation, no paid sick or personal days, no health benefits, no pension. If you are not working, you are making ZERO.
*You will, sooner or later, be asked to go either into a home or a neighborhood where you feel your life may be in danger. When you tell a lender or your employer that you agree to cover a certain territory, there will usually be an area which you would prefer not to enter, but you cannot turn down the assignment. Be prepared to bring a friend.
*If you get to a place where you open your own business, remember that you are only as good as your last appraisal. One mistake might send your client to the next appraiser on the list. OR, if the new vice president has a cousin or brother in law in the business, the orders will slowly be weaned from you to the relative even if you are the VERY BEST in the area.

I think many of us stay in the business because of what someone once said:

"The key to success is to find something you like doing, and then find a way to make a living from it"

In other words, if you love your work, it doesn't seem so much like (hard) work. If you hate what you are doing, each day seems like a month.

I wish you much luck.
 

BigBlueGA

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Maybe I'm not as experienced as the rest of you guys, but I love appraising.. Good work, get to meet all kinds of people and not stay in the office all day long.. it's enjoyable work. Every once in a while I have to deal with morons, but usually if you just drop them you come out ahead of the game.

I don't think money is an issue... appraising can be a gateway to other real estate fields too. It's really not that bad of an area to be in on it's own, especially if you are coming from one of the computer fields and have reasonably strong computer/internet skills. You definately won't be pulling another 3 figure income unless you open up your own shop one day, but it's enough to live off of. I'm on my third year and on track for about $52k this year.

The training under another appraiser isn't that bad.. just make sure it's somebody you can work well with. Inspections with someone you despise are NOT fun. As long as you can get along with your mentor, the 2000 hours will be done with before you know it.

Be sure to make your phone number unlisted. People won't hesitate to call at 11:30 at night.

Overall it's a good field, as long as you can withstand the paycut. But then again, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong...
 
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