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It is every bit as tough as they say!!!

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DavidBrown

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2003
Hi everyone,

I am finishing my second month of Appraisal as a trainee. My mentor is terrific and I have learned a lot. Still, it takes me about a week to 10 days to finish an Appraisal. Usually, it goes through many edits until it is worded and executed correctly. My two month total for earnings is about $600. And I worked at least 40 hours a week.

I am a part time College Student, so just took a part time job at the college to help out. Although I feel I will improve, I could never imagine how anyone could get an appraisal per day, or even more amazingly, 2 per day done. I am working on my Masters in Comp Science and hope the economy will turn around and provide me with some options.

I would highly advise those thinking of leaving there day jobs to think twice, maybe three times before doing so. You cannot appreciate the learning curve and time it will take just to not make a fool of yourself.

I think of it like a School Internship. You must pay your dues. Anyone care to tell how long it took to become even adequate?

Thanks,

Dave
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
I'm always still learning.

Started working with a builder in 1970; construction inspections, working up purchase/sale agreements, working up closings, doing the closings, etc.
Licensed real estate agent in 1972; sold new and used houses; worked with a developer and surveyor; completed FHA project reviews throughout the state of Michigan.
77/78; worked at a mortgage lender, selling mortgages (hated it)
I've rehabbed and rebuilt some houses, often by myself.
Took my first appraisal course in 1994 because it was what I'd wanted to do for many years. Started over again with the first course as a newbie in Florida in 1995.

That provided a lot of real estate knowledge prior to starting to appraise. Beginning to actually appraise made me feel slow and dumb. I can't imagine starting to appraise without the knowledge/experience I already had. It took about 3 years to start supporting myself. It took over 5 years to begin to feel financially OK. I'm just now beginning to be able to actually save something.

I'm always still learning.

David, Thank you for posting this! If your mentor is going over your reports like you've explained, you are one of the lucky ones that has a mentor that cares, is teaching you and making you think.

Welcome!!!
 

DavidBrown

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2003
Yes, my mentor does make sure that everyone of my reports is up to par. I am not to worried about them being reviewed by a court or the state. my mentor is very fair with me and I am happy to be working under such a pro. I just posted because I wanted to signal a warning to those thinking about changing there lifestyle and going into Appraising.

I really like doing it. But, with my part time job I have now, it will even take me longer to complete an Appraisal. I feel terrible and apologized to my mentor. I went in as dumb as a stump. I am 27 years old and have worked construction before, but it helps me only at the inspection site.

As much as I really like Appraisal, I also have a $900/month mortgage and $250/month car payment. My wife just took a second job to help pay the bills. Bottom line, there is no way I will survive long term. My wife is now working over 60 hours week. She said she does not mind doing it short term until I get some experience and can make some money. Problem is, it could be a long, long time, before I can carry my weight financially.

To all those considering Appraising. You will be looking at less than $100/week, at least for the 1st six months or a year. I guess we could move back in with my mom, but I think my best option is to look to something new.

Dave
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Still, it takes me about a week to 10 days to finish an Appraisal

That sounds like my experience in 1992-93. I could not for the life of me see how I was ever going to get 3 - 4 a week out the door let along one a day. Mind you, I basically was on my own at the time, and the closest of my mentors lived 30 miles from me. At the time, the quality of everyone's work was in flux. In particular, older appraisers used to providing letter reports basically were adapting to USPAP. My own construction appraisal - 1991 - was a 4 page report. Cover letter, URAR 1, 2, Pix page of comps.

I now have a good memory for a lot of data. I can tell you where the R-O zoned property is in my small hometown and I can tell you where the R - 1 zones are. I know when and where the flood maps are critical. etc. etc. its just a few seconds thought now, that was 10 years ago something that I had to research closely.

But, I found that as I accumulated data, and organized it, I had an ever improving memory for sales. Unlike a newbie, I can search the sales in the MLS and visualize the property location because I know where it is almost certainly and that just sticks in your memory better. And in the Sales Comparison approach, when I get an assignment I normally can think of 2 or more of my comps off the top of my head. I have spent untold DAYS trying to get comps for properties that, today, I would pull off the top of my head in a few minutes. And even if I did not already have the data, I could research the comps in a few hours, not days. It just takes time, and don't be discouraged. In rural areas, once you know a small subdivision, you will know the approximate age of the houses, quality, etc. so when you get an assignment of a similar house in a similar sub without sales within it, you will know which subdivisions to search and not waste time on the newer or older subs. This is particularly useful in subdivisions we call RURBAN in my area. Those are lot and block developments outside the city limits and basically unzoned except by covenants.

I have an appraiser or two that cannot do more than 3-4 URARs a week but often these are value added (fee above average) large property tracts, etc.
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
Great post David. Whether you stay in the appraisal field or you change to something else, the thoroughness you are learning will make you valuable to all but the incompetent.

Anyone care to tell how long it took to become even adequate?

Been doing it for over 15 years..........not absolutely sure on every appraisal that I am yet....... :lol: Actually, you will find that, with your present training schedule, you will be adequate relatively soon. And when you balance the vagaries of being a comp engineer on someone elses payroll against the joys of being able to work 80-90 hours a week on your own, are yousure finishing your college is worth it??? :rofl:
 

DavidBrown

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2003
Been doing it for over 15 years..........not absolutely sure on every appraisal that I am yet....... Actually, you will find that, with your present training schedule, you will be adequate relatively soon. And when you balance the vagaries of being a comp engineer on someone elses payroll against the joys of being able to work 80-90 hours a week on your own, are yousure finishing your college is worth it??? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I think that most challenging jobs carry with them the basic rigors. For example, a friend of mine works Computers in an Industry setting. He works your basic 60 hour week, but many times must get out of bed in the middle of the night to go in and trouble shoot the problems that come from 24/7 business.

At this moment, I feel discouraged, but I love my mentor and I enjoy the work. I have a strong math background, which is an added plus.
I posted because I wanted new people to hear from someone who is struggling. In 12 months, I could be doing 3 Appraisals a week (if I improve enough) or I could be one of the many who come in like a house of fire and leave with my head down. People really do need to know that for most, all this $500/week and 100K in a few years is a bunch of BS, in my humble opinion of course.

I will continue to post on my progress!

Dave
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Dave:

With some degree of sympathy for your financial predicament, I still think you should thank your lucky stars that you have a mentor who is NOT pushing you to full steam ahead and DAMN the torpedos... there are torpedos out there for those who blindly forge their way through perilous water.

I suspect that you are learning the business and profession in a manner that few trainees are afforded these days. With slightly wry cynicism I am forced to add "or can afford" :( .

If you are putting in an honest 40 a week on the process, I suspect your learning curve will increase significantly.

The ability to do "two a day" is pretty astounding and barring a few specific areas of the country (you *may* reside in one of them) is difficult to accomplish, as the Automated Valuation Models are taking over much of this segment of the business.

That notwithstanding, I thank you for posting (and Pam for making it a sticky) as so few appraisal wannabes believe those of us who are IN the business when we warn of the difficulty of starting out. Neither do they believe us when we say that pumping reports out the door in a production shop isn't appraising. Believe it.

I wish you well in your attempt to balance 'learning the profession' with 'surviving'... it is a neat trick to wrangle.
 

Stone

Elite Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Wisconsin
Dave - Terrel made a very good point about getting better remembering data. It is hard at first, because not only are you spending time and energy remembering the properties and sales you are visiting, but you are working on learning a process. You cannot devote as much of your brain to remembering basic data because you are expending so much thought remembering everything that goes into an appraisal. When I started out, I was always amazed at how well my father could remember every property we saw, yet I had to constantly stare at notes. After a couple years I realized that I was remembering everything much better than I had been. It will come in stages and then all of a sudden you will realize how easy that part is.

Good Luck. It is a fun job.
 

DavidBrown

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2003
Their is a lot of good advice and support in this group. One question. I have read a little bit about the AVM technology. From my experience in Comp Science, it seems their are too many variables to make this a viable replacement for an actual Appraisal. Is it the threat to the industry that many on other parts of these boards say it is?

I understand credit score bases statistics. However, as many insurance companies have learned, when those stats are off (does not take much especially playing it aggressively) the losses can mount.

Dave
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
the losses can mount.

Dave, you DO belong here. :wink: 8)

AVM's are okay for cookie cutter subdivisions, where you have 5 plans to choose from. It seems the days of slam, bam, crankin' out 10 of those per day may be over. BUT.... when the credit scores don't add up (too many new cars & boats), and it is not a perfect urban/suburan market, they will need us! Learn all you can, hone your skills by working with your mentor and tackling the hard ones. Over time, you will get the hang of it. BTW, never let go of you ethics. As a newbie, you will have MANY test. But if you stick to what you know is right, the truly profession lenders will want to use you.
 
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