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Keep Your Day Job???

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Freshman Member
Apr 21, 2002
Doug Smith's advice in the sticky posting for beginner appraisers is, foremost, to "keep your day job". But, I don't have one...

I am very drawn to appraising and confident that I'm capable of success at it. I take my first course next week and meet the appraiser with whom I hope to apprentice.

I'm quickly discovering the high costs involved with pursuing the training and education for this career. I do understand, though, that the investment is necessary for later success. Things would be much easier if I did have that "day job" to help financially. I graduated college last August and had no luck finding a career with my degree. That's when I recently made the choice to travel a different avenue and pursue what really interests me: real estate appraising. I managed in the last year to do some temporary work to "get by" and I have a small amount of savings that I'm wiping out to get started with appraising. But, it won't last long.

So, my question is, how long before I make my first buck? Now, I realize from the info. of other postings here that the first couple of years isn't greatly prosperous, by any means. That's okay with me. I just need to know that I'm going to be able to make my car payment. The gentleman who is considering mentoring me has offered me 40-50% commission on appraisals that I perform. But, how long before that? How long is the learning curve for the BASICS, considering one's a fairly quick learner? I'm guessing that for some time, I'll just be my mentors shadow and drown him in questions. Can any of you share you beginning experience with me in reference to this matter?


Dee Dee

Elite Member
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
My mentor had me shadow her for the first 2 months, and a LOT of my time was spent learning to do research. The first 50 or so appraisals she was with me on all inspections. I was amazed at how long it took me to put together my first 50 reports, and how many goofy errors I made before they passed her reviews. She didn't miss anything. There were more than a few times I felt as if she was picking on me, making me do things over and over until they were right. Now when I look back I realize that she was an excellent mentor. Her mission was not to make sure I made a lot of money (and she never promised that). She was out to make me a good appraiser. Her supervision gave me the tools that I needed to go out and make it on my own. Very rarely are my reports questioned, but when they are my files are thorough and I can back everything that's in them.
You will probably have to pick up some kind of part-time job unless someone else is paying your living expenses.
Good luck!


Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
In most cases the client pays 30 to 45 days after the report is turned in, Yes some pay sooner, some even pay COD, though sooner or COD is not common, at least for my clients. Then the question is how son after the office receives, payment does the office pay you well that is usally up to the boss how often the checks are made out.

So after you do your first paying assignment start the clock and then expect the check. 1st Check is always the longest wait, but if you are completing assigment regularly the checks will come in the same way.
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