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Keeping your day job

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ocvillas1

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2002
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
California
I have recently discovered this forum and, being new to the REA field, I find it an amazing source of sound advice and information. I feel I’ve learned browsing this site more than I did from my appraisal course! A heartfelt thank you to all of you sharing your knowledge and time to the benefit of neophytes like me!

A recent repost of Doug Smith‘s Advice for New Appraisers asserts “Keep your day job!”. I was wondering to what extent this is feasible, and how much can you really get done as a part-time appraiser. Any opinions?
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Greetings Roxana :D ,

I think that what Doug meant was that, if you are quitting a decent job that pays your bills with the anticipation of making big bucks when you first start appraising, you may be in for a big shock.

The reality is that you will probably be making below poverty wages for the first six months and that there is no guarantee how much work you will have from one week to the next. A sizable portion of what you earn will be eaten up in expenses such as gas, car maintenance, digital camera, computer stuff...etc..

If you don't have a second job, spouse or trust fund to financially back you up, I would suggest having at least six months living expenses stashed aside before diving in full time. Remember...it's difficult to get any kind of loan if you haven't been employed at a job for at least a year, and there are no guarantees that once you actually start appraising that it will be all you had hoped it would be.

When I was going through my apprenticeship I watched about half of the other rookies drop out, usually within their first five months. The main reasons were that they couldn't make enough money, that the learning curve was far steeper than they had expected, and that it required more organization skills that what they were capable of (this was my biggest hurdle :oops: ). Other reasons include finding out about the politics and manipulation (they don't really get into that part when you take your classes), the outrageous working hours required before getting established and making a decent income, and the frustration of never having a set routine like most jobs have.

Having said all of that:
The wannabes who haven't gotten mentors yet are rolling their eyes and think that somehow it will be different from them. :roll:
The newbies who are just getting started are nodding in agreement....NOW they understand. 8O
And the old timers realize that you gotta pay your dues, but once you get through it there can be many rewards. :D

Best of luck to you!

Dee Dee
 

Gary Leduc

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Georgia
Very good reply Dee Dee.
I am a new trainee working with a mentor and it is rough.
I have been at it now for a whole two months and have taken
home about $800.
Have worked on 31 inspections/reports and have been paid
on less than half to date.
Much below poverty level. I can make more flipping hamburgers
at McD's.
I just am concerned that I can hang on long enough to get to where the
money is coming in a little better than it has been.
I have an evening job lined up for the Christmas Season starting
this coming Thursday.
What I probably will have to do (after Christmas) is find evening work to supplement the income until the appraisal business can hold its own.
Roxanne, it is an interesting career but what Dee Dee has said is absolutely true.
Best to you,
Gary Leduc
 

Gary Leduc

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Georgia
Roxana,
Sorry I spelled your name wrong in above reply.
Gary
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
I agree with Dee Dee's post. Most new people make below poverty line. And Gary pointed out a good thing you almost have to have a part time night job just to make ends meet (somewhat). When I started I found a night job as a bartender at a local salon (beer only). This just barely helped and I still went into debt. I belive it was not until the second year when I was finally able to aford to live just from appraising alone. The second thing I would recomend money managment. Like many say you do not know what the next pay check will bring. Some paychecks you might clear $2-3K then then next couple might be $100 each. You just never know. So always stash money for bills and other things (gas/food).

It is a tuff road but sometimes it is worth it.

Ryan
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Gary & Ryan,

Thank you for backing me up. :)
It's common for those who haven't started actively working as an appraiser yet to believe that those who are established are making up horror stories just to keep them from entering the field.
If I had not had a spouse who could cover the bills while I was training, I never would have made it. I was working long hours and had a family to tend to, so a part-time job in addition to my training job would have been impossible.
Rookie enthusiasm over what they can accomplish financially is usually far from realistic (nearly everybody learns this the hard way). This job takes time to learn if you're going to do it right, and it's not as easy as most think before they start actively working. The added stress over the lack of anticipated income only increases the chances of failure.

I really enjoy it when you guys post in this forum.

Dee Dee
 

ocvillas1

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2002
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
California
Thank you all for your feedback. I did need to hear that from people that have gone through this phase. You know what it’s like, you start out with a lot of enthusiasm but fairly blindfolded, and are prone to hit many walls if you don’t plan ahead carefully. I’m at a stage where I’m trying to do just that, setting up my next moves, as I’m not in a position to afford too much risk. Your advice is really appreciated!
 

Farm Gal

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

Or you could do like ME and hubby did... :?
Hang out your shingle, at the same time as you pack up your pride and move back in with Mom.

Then starvedand live off credit cards for two, three or was it four(?) years...come to think of it maybe I am STILL doing that to some extent 8O

Truely, there are few in this field who went into it and made $$ right of the bat, and more importantly there are very very few who are encouraging their friends and relatives to join them in this endeavor.

It used to be a field where you got in by being related or knowing someone and were 'brought on' slowly and carefully. Those days are gone. In large part due to the family/friend elders honest opinion that hte game has changed to the degree it proably won't benefit their student(s).

DO read some of the threads about the percentage of mortgage loans that are being automated (computer run) or simply eliminated.
 

ocvillas1

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2002
Professional Status
Real Estate Agent or Broker
State
California
It seems like everybody thinks things used to be so much better. But isn't this just a matter of perception? Don't we all call upon the "good old days" just about for everything from time to time?

And even if some appraisals are being computer generated, I'm thinking there will always be a need for inspection for more complex properties...

What do you think it takes for someone to succeed in this field?
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
Guys/Gals

Ponder this...If you're not making big bucks now, what are you going to make when the mortgage market normalizes. Forget about AVM's, etc. Just think about when the mortgage market normalizes..the rate cuts can't go on forever. The guys who are mentoring you now will keep all the business for themselves just to bring home a paycheck...their paycheck. You will be long gone. I've seen it happen all too often. Cannon fodder used to benefit the boss guy's business during boom times.

I don't want to be Mr. Gloom and Doom but I have 4 kids and I've said it before on the forum, none will be an appraiser. They've seen me work at it for 29 years and none will follow. They have me and a retired MAI-SRA available to train them (Pop-their grandfather) and still no takers. Although my daughter is an appraisal underwriter at a regional mortgage company.... she's not planning on doing that forever.

If I was starting out today, I would never enter the appraisal field because I don't think you can count on a long term career in it making big bucks. Most of the older guys on the forum, like me, at 49, can ride it out until the end. I don't think you younger guys/gals can afford that. Who wants to wake up at 40 and have to retrain for a new job and then wait 25 more years for retirement. Just do that job now and if appraising is still around when you retire and don't need the big bucks, try it then as supplemental income. I'm at the point where I'm beginning to see my high school and college friends think of retirement (with full benefits) because they worked at state or federal jobs. Me, I have no such luck. I get to work until I die, basically. Thankfully, you can "string a tape" for a long time in this field as it is not physically demanding.

Why don't one of you start a poll on the main forum to see how many forumites are truly "first career" appraisers and how many are second career appraisers (people that have a retirement income from their first job to supplement their appraisal business income).

Just a thought.

Ben
 
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