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Good Advice Needed!

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DavidBrown

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2003
Hi everyone,

My name is Kelly, and Dave was nice enough to let me post this question to you. He has stated that you have all been very nice to him, and that I should express my concerns and see what you all think.

I am 31 years old and decided to try my hand at Appraisal in January, after completing my courses. I am a former High School Math Teacher. I was laid off earlier this year due to cut backs.

I began with a mentor who runs her own small business and has never worked with anyone else before. Our relationship is great, but despite talking with her about my concerns, I dont feel I am improving. As a teacher myself, I feel their is something missing, yet, I am afraid to hurt her feelings by leaving and also afraid that no one else will train me.

The office gets about 2-3 orders per week and we do NO direct business with lenders or lawyers. Primarily, people call themselves when they want an Appraisal. Maybe they are thinking of selling, or refinancing, and want to know where they stand.

My first appraisal was a 3 bedroom cape. This was back in January. It took over 5 weeks to complete. I handed it in 6 or 7 times for review, each time additional revisions were made. Finally, the person who ordered it called and was so angry, we finished that day. Several times when I handed in the Appraisal for review, it took several days to get it back with the needed corrections.

Since that time, it has taken me on average 2-3 weeks on every Appraisal. A lot of that is waiting for revisions to be made. My total income has been under $1000 for almost 4 months worked. My mentor is very thorough, and as a teacher, I appreciate that. But, on my last Assignment, after it was all printed up, she notice that in the adjustment grid, I made a $3,000 adjustment for a bedroom. She had no problem with the amount, but notice their was a comma, like above, after the 3 and before the 0. My fault, she does not want commas in the adjustment grid. So, I had to reprint the entire report. Still, I wonder if the client would have thought it sloppy if the adjustment was $3,000 and not $3000. If it were my student, I probably would have pointed it out, and stated to check more carefully next time.

I have observed that it usually takes her at least a week on every one of her Appraisals, and I have answered the phone quite a few times with people wondering where the reports are.

My concerns are as follows:

1) I know speed is not everything, but the State only allows about 5 hours per appraisal. At the rate I am going, I don't think I could get my Licensed Residential within any reasonable amount of time.

2) I have begun to wonder if her turnaround times have anything to do with why we deal with no banks or lawyers.

3) I feel I am missing the boat on the technology part of Appraisal, since we use no E-mail programs at all.

4) I am not afraid of working for free. I did a 16 week unpaid Student Teaching experience to get licensed. Still, I see no progress at all after 4 months.

I cried myself to sleep quite a few times over the last few months. I wonder, is it me? Is it a combination of both of us? Is it worth it to continue? My husband does make good money, so I am not crying broke. But, I would like to feel like I am making progress. I talked to her about these issues, and she states I will get there! Still, I wonder.......

Thanks for your attention!! I appreciate any advice you may have.

Kelly
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
1) I know speed is not everything, but the State only allows about 5 hours per appraisal. At the rate I am going, I don't think I could get my Licensed Residential within any reasonable amount of time.
Not only that, but in GA, if you don’t complete the credit hours in a reasonable time, they expire/cancel out.

2) I have begun to wonder if her turnaround times have anything to do with why we deal with no banks or lawyers.
Yeap, probably so. I can get a typical residential report out within 2 days after inspection. 3 weeks for a residential is not so hot. Commercial, now that is a different thang.

3) I feel I am missing the boat on the technology part of Appraisal, since we use no E-mail programs at all.
Yeap, probably so. I don’t send paper reports, except narrative/commercial ones. I love e-mail! Quicker, easier, and more profitable.

4) I am not afraid of working for free. I did a 16 week unpaid Student Teaching experience to get licensed. Still, I see no progress at all after 4 months.
I don’t think a mentor will expect you to work for free, but you should be doing more that you are; and bringing in a bit more than $1,000 per quarter year. ;)

Just be sure that if you decide to leave, you leave the bridges standing. Read some of the problems here.
http://appraisersforum.com/forum/index.php...=ST&f=10&t=7300
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Turn around times can be a big thing with banks. Typically takes me 3 days after inspection to complete but I am working on several others at the same time. It does take me start to finish 5-8+/- hours per report. But I have figured out how to complete and speed up my report. When I started it would take about a week to complete a report with all the required revisions. One thing you can do is reread your reports prior to handing them to her to review (when you do this though set it down for an hour or two work on something else then come back fresh to that report). Learning over time is what you have to do just like teaching takes time to learn the ropes. Tech is hear to stay in appraising IMHO emails online searches I don't know where your located but here most of the counties are online with zoning, tax information, sales, assessor records, recording numbers, MLS online, and any other information.

My mentor is very thorough, and as a teacher, I appreciate that. But, on my last Assignment, after it was all printed up, she notice that in the adjustment grid, I made a $3,000 adjustment for a bedroom. She had no problem with the amount, but notice their was a comma, like above, after the 3 and before the 0.
Looking at the small things helps you have to notice these. It sounds as though she is really thorough and may be good for you to learn from her. But the money and time situation may be something to consider in the future. Looking for another company or mentor to work for once you get past the learning curve of appraising.

Ryan
 

Tim The Enchanter

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Sounds like your mentor is thorough but very slow. One appraisal = 1 week? For a "normal" property? And the long waiting for revisions can't make clients happy.

Questions 1, 2, 3, yes yes yes. I think you're answering your own ?'s there.

It's the hardest part, but maybe you should look for another / additional mentor. Or try a little marketing of your own and have the mentor review it. But speed is always an issue. <_<

Good luck. :D
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Kelly, ....... What's all this silly talk about...."crying yourself to sleep" ? Haven't you heard ?, there is no crying in appraising ! That's for the client to do when you don't hit the number they "need" ! So, who is the David Brown fellow who is letting you post this message to the Forum? I'd work with him, and consider dropping this other mentor you have described. Cast any notions aside that you don't want to hurt her feelings. There are other trains leaving the station, and you need to get on one of them. Start calling around, or better yet, walk through the doors of appraisers who have a business address posted in the yellow pages. As for getting any first appraisal "done" in five weeks.......yes, I'd be a very angry client too ! You need to get that 5 weeks stuff narrowed down to 5 hours, the sooner the better. Best wishes.
 

DavidBrown

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2003
I know that I am kind of thinking out loud with my post, but thank you for your response! Dave was right about how quickly you guys address questions.

Yes, it usually takes my mentor a week or two to get an appraisal out. I would say our area does not have cookie cutters, but I would consider them normal assignments. 3 & 4 bedroom homes. You just have to look a little further out to get comps.

I guess I have come to a semi-conclusion that it would be unreasonable for my appraisals to be reviewed and sent out faster than she does her own. So, I think I am looking at 1 Appraisal every couple weeks until I get licensed. I feel like I owe her a debt of gratitude for training me. I am having a hard time deciding whether to take a regular full time job and do some side appraisal, or try to find someone new. She has been in the business for 12 years.

I guess maybe my class room mentality is hurting me a little too. When I gave an assignment at the beginning of the week that was due on Friday, I wanted that assignment done, unless something unforeseen happened.

I have to give credit too you guys, when low wages was mentioned by many for the first few years, I never imagined $250 a month. Since I dont have any big plans until September, which I will attempt to land another teaching job, I will continue forward.

Kelly
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
It sounds like your mentor is very thorough - to a fault. "Time is money". If you're an experienced appraiser and not inspecting an average of at least 2 a day and getting them out, you're in the wrong business, both for you and for your client. Now, we're 2 weeks out, but that's due to backlog in inspections, not generation of the product. And the clients know the turn time when they order the report.

As an aside, I would recommend the Institute's Residential Case Study class. It's a good study on how to complete the residential report and how to consider the various adjustments. It should speed you up as you get more familiar with what you're doing.

So, I wouldn't cut your ties, but no one said you had to have only one mentor. If you've made some contacts, why not see who is overloaded and needs help? In my case, I've got two trainees and they're well worth it. Is there a monthly IFA or Institute meeting in your area? Check the IFA and AI websites and call - they'll be happy to talk with you. Also, don't be afraid to accept a job as an appraisal assistant. You can learn a lot and gain your hours doing research for a busy firm.

Also, some AMCs will accept an appraisal trainee for certain properties. Check their websites.

It really sounds like you need to work with another appraiser before you give it up. You show that you want to learn the business and are willing to work hard, which is 90% of the job. Too many people get into this thinking it's easy money and don't want to spend the time or effort to learn properly. So get on the phone and put that drive to work finding another or supplemental mentor. Good luck
 

Tim The Enchanter

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Kelly, you are getting great advice. I see George Hatch is looking at this post as I type. Pay attention to him for sure! :D
 

George Hatch

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Honestly?

I've never met a 12-year veteran who requires this much time to complete an assignment or that much time to review a subordinate's work. I assume she's going with you to the property, so she knows what there is to know about that portion of the assignment. For example, let's assume its 6 months for now, you have hit your stride and are faced with a relatively strightforward assignment. Once you have all your data together and understand how to use your report software, writing a report shouldn't take more than a couple of hours, from the time you start your report until the time you send it out. There are a lot of appraisers who are familiar enough with the features in their software that they can turn out a resonable report in about an hour, again assuming they have their data. There's no reason her review should take more than about an hour; really, less if she's been there. There should be no need for more than the one review and then a double check to ensure you covered what she pointed out. Multiple reviews on the same report means she's not catching things she should be seeing the first time around.

It could be (it almost certainly is) that her "thoroughness" is costing her clients. When it comes to turning in perfect work there is a point of diminishing returns. These reports are not intended to be literary works of art, they are working documents. The idea is to communicate the process and the analysis in an manner that will not be misleading to the reader, not write the great American novel. If I had to guess, I'd say that either your boss is somewhat insecure about her work and is scared to death someone might find a mistake, or else she is trying to avoid a "pressurized" environment where she's having to multitask and work to deadlines like the rest of us. If she were working for a salary, most lenders would cut her off for being too slow and unproductive. This kind of attention to detail is great if you're planning to testify as an expert witness in front of an obnoxious attorney at trial, but is unnecessary for most other types of appraisal work and possibly exceeds the scope of work neccesary the assignment.

A shop that's only pulling in 2-3 orders a week is never going to get you to 2,000 hours, not when a 'typical' report only gets credited with 5 hours. The 5 hours/report requirement tells me your state board is accustomed to seeing that kind of productivity among their trainee applicants. I'm not suggesting that it's appropriate to slop them out, but if more than 1/day is a doable load in the state's eyes then there something wrong with someone whose idea of a full load is 2-3 week.

It looks to me like you may have lots of potential. Sooner or later you're going to get your rythym up and your boss's 2-3 reports per week quota on her business isn't going to be enough for you to make a living. At that point, you'll be turning them out, but she'll be spending more time reviewing them than you spent writing them, again with minimal extra return. That's bound to eventually cause friction between the two of you. Ask me how I know. I once worked for a guy like that and at the end of the year he was quite preturbed when my net as a fee split subcontractor was higher than his. Last I heard, he works in the computer industry.

Sad to say, but its probably time for you to move on. Really, you'll be doing both of you a favor.


George Hatch
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
George, well said.
 
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