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Just looking to hear from some seasoned pros.

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bayberuth

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2007
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
Arizona
I just moved here to Arizona from Chicago to get into the profession, but I'm not sure where to even begin. I didn't know this was so complicated, nor there was so much up in air so to speak. I just wanted to ask some advice here from folks that already are doing this for a living. What am I really looking at here? I'm not sure where or how to find a trainer. I'm looking at going for a Certified General Appraiser, so I know all the requirements. I'm going to start school in January, and did not know that I could start the "apprenticeship" hours before even starting school.
I've called a couple trainers, and they immediately said that I needed to bring in my own business. I didn't know this, nor do I have any contacts being that I just moved here 6 weeks ago. Is this normal? Is the training or apprenticeship time usually paid, and if so, is this why? I looked at the Arizona bulletin board today and I see "bored". That makes me a bit nervous, should I be? And today I hear about BPO's, is this something that is affecting the industry and I should possibly look into as well while working towards a license?
Again, just looking for a little help or advice from some professionals for a newbie if you wouldn't mind. I'm 34 and currently only have ambition, integrity, and a desire to succeed to bring to the table, and I'm starting to wonder if it's enough from what I keep reading. Thanks for any help.
Eric
 

Liz Mura

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
It's pretty difficult to get work these days. In my "normal" years, I typically do 250-350 appraisals a year; this year I had 22. Mentors DO pay trainees, but with so little work available, without bringing you own Clients into the firm, you are taking food out of their mouths while they train their own competition. Lousy system, bad market. Not a good time to get into the business. Not a good time to BE in the business. I've had to find other work. On the good side, I hear the commercial sector has not been hit as badly as the residential.
 

Peacemaker

Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona
It will likely come down to how badly you want to do this. If you are willing to work a paying job on nights/weekends to support yourself, and work during the week appraising, you can probably find someone to train you, and get a start at getting your hours in. I would not expect to get paid in this current market, unless you do indeed bring in some work. I haven't done an appraisal in 6 weeks, luckily I have plenty of freelance work from my old life to keep me going. This is a cyclical business, if you can get your training done while things are slow, you might be able to make a living when things pick back up (could be a few or 5 years IMHO). AVMs and BPOs are never going to entirely replace appraisers but absolutely they reduce the amount of work out there. Who knows what that will be like in 5 years? And heck once that Zaio thing really gets going, it's going to put us all out of work.

Real estate is all about supply and demand and so is the appraising business. Right now there is a huge supply of appraisers and not much demand for our services. How long are you willing to wait for that to turn around? Personally I don't plan on going anywhere but I'm also realistic that it could be a heck of a long time.
 

Sheikh Yerbouti

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arizona
Eric,

I've been a commercial appraiser in the Phoenix area for over 25 years, been certified general since that all started in 1991, and I just went through such a slow summer I have actually taken a part time job doing consulting work for a certain Canadian outfit that has been the source of much mirth and merriment on this forum (I'm trying to get you the shirt, Wendy!). Commercial appraising can be just as cyclical as the residential side, but for different reasons. The good thing is that being a commercial appraiser does offer more opportunity for specialization and concentration away from lending work.

First of all, do you have a bachelor's degree? Going to need one after January 1. Also, what skills do you have? Writing? Math, including statistics? Are you good at research? How do you feel about court testimony? Where are you going to take your classes? If you're serious about going for the general, I wouldn't bother with any of the proprietary schools; go with the Appraisal Institute program. It's expensive, and you'll have to travel, but it's your best bet at getting your foot in the door and the classes are top notch.

If you're being told to bring your own business, you're talking to the wrong people. If I were you, I'd get about 80 or more hours of AI courses under my belt, then go apply at the large national MAI firms like Integra or Cushman & Wakefield. Be willing to do grunt work for $10 an hour. You may even have to relocate. Also, start attending AI chapter meetings. By the way, I am not an AI member, but I'm realistic enough to know that is the surest path to a commercial career.

It's a long road, if you start now and do it the right way, you may get your general for your 40th birthday. That's not too late, the complaint is that the population of generals is aging, and there's going to be a shortage down the road. It's worth pursuing if you have the patience and the financial means to live on poverty wages for the next several years. Good luck.

Anyone else from the Carumba Cartel want to add anything? :D :new_all_coholic::new_all_coholic:
 
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Ultraviolet

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Arizona
Anyone else from the Carumba Cartel want to add anything? :D :new_all_coholic::

Sorry ... I'm too busy doing exteriors for $10.00 per hour ... :laugh:

I want a shirt, too !! Do you think I'd get in trouble for wearing it to inspections? :icon_mrgreen:
 

Squareitup

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
District of Columbia
Why start out now in something that's so restrictive? Habit 10, Logic 0? On the bright side international markets might recover by late 2008 once global banks have reduced borrowing rates but that involves a delay before trickle-down takes effect, so perhaps by mid 2009 if you're lucky the credit crunch damage and appraiser oversupply will be overcome. Market wiz kids say the US will avoid a recession next year but doing little more than shadowboxing before anything resembling a bull market trend picks up any steam. I think the writing on the wall is that you have to make your own wealth by creating value.

Go buy a shack, fix it up and make more on the resale than you'd make as an appraiser in 10 years. In New Orleans. Monitor the locales where Brad Pitts team are focusing; not much of a secret. That's just one example.
 
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Karl

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona
Where in AZ are you?? Don't want to burst your bubble, BUT You couldn't have picked a worse time to get into this business. I wouldn't take the buy fixer up homes advice just yet, too many available & still too many $99 investor graduates still out there still trying.

Most of Dave's advice is very good.
 

Sheikh Yerbouti

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arizona
Where in AZ are you?? Don't want to burst your bubble, BUT You couldn't have picked a worse time to get into this business. I wouldn't take the buy fixer up homes advice just yet, too many available & still too many $99 investor graduates still out there still trying.

Most of Dave's advice is very good.


Most????????
 

Kevin Pennick

Sophomore Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Bad time indeed! I would suggest going to a rural county and asking appraisers there if they would mentor you. The old thing about "the only game in town" is true. I know, because I own a second business in NE AZ and its doing quite well, as opposed to my business in Phoenix which is slooooowww baby, slow.

I have mentored a few, including Wendy, (who was great by the way), but that was when times were better. I too came in here from Chicago, 15 years ago and I basically grabbed the yellow pages and went door to door for about a week and then found something. Again, times were better then.
If my son or daughter wanted to get into this business I would advise them against it.
Have you eber thought of becoming an itinerant preacher. You set your own hours and the pay is good if collections are good. LOL
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Don't go the rural county route!!!! We already have about a dozen appraisers from Phoenix and Tucson coming here. They may be very good appraisers in the Phoenix or Tucson area but they have absolutely no idea what they are doing in our area. So some really off the wall opinions of value get presented. Nothing is computerized, about 60% of the sales are for sale by owner. You have to know who is related to who to determine if a sale is arms length or not. It takes three to four hours to get here, the only way to research is to go into the assessor's office and look through their note book of Affidavits of Value, which are three months behind by the way. Then after looking at the Affidavits you have to dig through their files for the property record cards to find out if the sale is a site built house or a manufactured home, when the home was built, how much square footage is in the house, look up the map to determine the lot size, then try to find the sale (addresses are hard to read or non-existent), talk to the home owner since it is a FSBO, then drive the three to four hours back home again. Oh yes, you also have to go into each zoning office to find out the zoning and the flood map--which are brand new and very difficult to read. You can do some searching on MLS, they are adding the FSBO info gradually, but not consistently or up to date. Which reminds me of a pet peeve when I am reviewing an out of town appraiser, they will list a MLS number for a FSBO--that is not a second source. The second source has to be conversations with either the buyer or seller. And there are local people who think becoming an appraiser would be neat, but we three local offices don't have the time to train any one, so there isn't much chance for any local wantabees. My suggestion for the Maricopa area would be to apply at the assessor's office. That would be exposure to the assessment and taxation procedures in Arizona, becoming familiar with legal descriptions, assessor's maps, etc. And some day when the market comes out this slump (which might be five to seven years from now) you would have a better background to go into fee appraising.

Also if you find an appraiser in a rural county that offers to mentor you as you stay in Phoenix--tell them no. There are some appraisers that have already lost their license because of that activity (now if New Mexico would just follow through).
 
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