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Meeting with an appraiser tomorrow

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Michael Irvine

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2002
I know this post seems kind of sudden but tomorrow I will be meeting with an Appraiser (family friend of my cousin) who is looking to take on someone at his firm, he has been in the business for 23 years and is looking for someone he can trust, an individual that will not go off and do his or her own thing once he trains them.

Thanks to this forum I have learned just how important it is to get an honest and loyal mentor, in return I hope that I can someday reciprocate my appreciation and loyalty towards him for taking a chance on me. I may be one of the lucky ones who just happens to "fall into" a great situation, I want to make the most of this opportunity, the saying that you never want to burn any bridges is something I have always believed in.

That being said, I will be going out on an appraisal with him, what sort of things should I focus on, what questions should I ask him? One thing I know is that I will stay out of his way, however I hope this isn't perceived as a disinterest in what he is doing.

Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated
 

Farm Gal

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

This may be overly simplistic, but:
Offer to hold the accutrements (camera, measuring tape, etc)
Ask most of your questions on the way there and back not during.
Ask in advance what s/he wants you to do during the project!

-Some appraisers have thier own form they fill out on site, some just make notes, ask which method he uses and why.
-Ask how a new person would perform due dilligence and what features are important in YOUR market to look at closely.
-Watch and observe what he does (as opposed to what he says), taking either mental or actual notes on your very own clipboard.
-You may be put to real work, or you can show initiative (again ask) by doing your own sketch as you go through the process.

If this person is willing to take you on as a trainee you are likely to learn a lot, congradulations on being in a position to learn! It sounds like he is the right sort to learn FROM also!

You might also run back through some old posts on this or the old forum on inspection methods.

You may at some point in the furture want to observe how other appraisers run their physical inspection process, most of us have a fairly consistant plan of attack and follow it with few deviations, (so as to avoid those embarrassing oops I forgot to look at ........x........!)

There was a fairly good article a few months years back in Harry Harrisons Real Estate Valuation Magazine... unfortunately I cannot recall which edition/issue.

and above all don't forget to Have FUN! this is the best fun you are ever going to have in the biz! No real responsibility and all the joy!
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Hope you enjoy your training experience.

When you are assisting, your job to start with may be as simple as holding the dumb end of the tape. Take a pad or field inspection sheet and fill it out as you both walk through. Compare notes. When leaning how to do the inspection, you may miss a lot. That is why you are in training, to develop the skills, "photo memory", and knowledge of what to look for. That comes with experience. At first, you may have to take a lot of photos as you walk through. That is okay, store them on CD to keep in the file. Take lots of notes, the appraisal includes ALL of the data in your work file...not just the appraisal form.

When finished with the inspection, in the car on the way back, he may ask you what you saw and have a discussion on what he saw. Back at the office, He may have you fill out the first few pages of the appraisal form. The first one may well take you all day, due to learning the appraisal software, and thinking about what to say. SAVE the file often! Nothing is more frustrating than having it half written, and the computer crashes.

Most important of all, enjoy having a job that does not keep you cramped in an office all day. :mrgreen:
 

George Hatch

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Here are some good questions to ask.

1. Face Time. A trainee will need a lot of face time, at least in the beginning. Depending on the size of the fee shop, the head honcho may not have that kind of time. If that is the case, he should assign you to one of his best appraisers. Ask if you will have that one mentor. If the answer is "no", then try to find the best appraiser in the shop and approach them directly when you need advice. Don't ever solicit advice from the shop's slacker, if there is one.

2. Samples. The easiest way to learn the shop's 'system' is to have several copies of what the chief appraiser considers to be 'good work'. You just use those reports as a template and as examples of how to solve the different types of appraisal problems. These samples are not for you to copy or submit as your own, but merely a guide to help you assimilate with the group.

3. Equipment. You will need to have at least some equipment. Make sure you run off of their operating system, and set your computer up the way they set their's up, so that they can use your computer and vice-versa without having to figure out personal nuances. Again, the goal is to assimilate. Use the exact same equipment the shop uses.

3a. Technology. As a group, we are tech-heavy in our work. If your shop is heavily dependent on photocopies and pasting comp photos onto addendum pages (with glue or tape), then it increases your time requirements and cuts into productivity. Try to guage how well technology has been integrated into their operation. If you are tech-savvy, maybe you can contribute to thier operations.

I paid almost $3,000 for tech support for my office last year, not counting hardware or software.


4. Classes. Pre-licensing education to pass the test and continuing education to keep it. Coursework never ends for us. You will be required to average 14 hours/year for the continuing ed. See if there is a specific ConEd provider the shop favors and get their schedule. Start taking the classes on your own and rack those hours up. This demonstrates committment and will also help you be a better appraiser, both from the course content and the exposure to other appraisers.

5. Hours. You will need 2,000 hours of experience to get your permanent License. The first 400 hours can be as an assistant, but the remaining 1,600 hours must come as the result of you basically doing your own work with direct superivision and assistance on an "As Needed" basis. Hopefully, your shop's program will be to train you well enough in the first 400 hours to cut you loose, enough so that you can make unsuperivsed inspections and fieldwork for the simple assignments. Ask if there is a defined program of hours; not necessarily rigid but just as a goal for everyone to shoot for.

6. Trainee License. Hopefully you already have yours. If not, your goal should be to get those courses and the test under your belt ASAP. It is possible to earn a permanent license without ever getting a trainee license, but you will be more vulnerable the entire time until you get it. Whereas with a Trainee License from the state there is slightly more protection for your hours, once they are logged in.

7. Appraisal Log. As a Trainee and in order for you to earn your permanent License, you are required to maintain an experience log based off of the states "Log of Appraisal Experience" format. Your supervisor has to sign off on those hours. You can download the form off the the OREAs website. Start your log immediately, on day one of employment. You don't need to be obnoxious about it, but each hour does count (within reason) once you get into the actual appraisal work.

8. Stress your self-motivation. While it isn't a good idea to be a loose cannon, you will need to have a lot of self-discipline to determine in advance what will be required and then execute the plan. That goes for all of your coursework as well as your day-to-day employment work. This job does not end at 5:00.


Anyways, the best way to start a relationship is to understand the nature of it up front. Communicate. You want to break in and will do your part to contribute to their success, but you will require at least some help in the beginning in order to achieve your own success. Remember, you are not just trying out for another job. You are trying to break into a profession that has at least some potential for self-employment and a reasonable income in the years ahead. Do not take the short view and treat this like some gopher position. Treat the opportunity with some respect, because there will not be many like it in your lifetime.



George Hatch
 

Paul Ness MAI

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
Someone else mentioned looking at templates, or previous appraisals, of similar properties. This is a good way to get a feel for adjustments. However, I trained a number of resi appraisers in a previous life, and one important part of learning is feedback. When you turn in an appraisal, make sure you will get the opportunity to sit down with your mentor and hopefully he will have the time to review your work with you personally, instructing you on why he may revise something on the report. If he stops the personal feedback and starts making changes himself (perhaps because he is too busy to sit down with you) then you've lost your training. The close feedback should continue beyond the time you get your certificate.

Another thing I hope he shows you is all the prep research and post-inspection research and work involved. So many people think the time spent at the property is all it takes, but it's only the "tip of the iceberg" in the appraisal process. Thorough and efficient research is a real skill and is critical to the process.

Compensation and the employment agreement is another issue (also employee vs independent contractor status), perhaps you should start another thread on that topic.
 

Ed

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
I can appreciate what you're about to go through. I'm currently an Assistant, with only 3 weeks under my belt (full time). My mentor let me work part time for a month and a half, to see if I wanted to "Press On". Time is very valuable to an Appraiser SO DON'T WASTE HIS/HER TIME.

Make sure this is what you want to do. My wife sees me in the morning and then when it's time to go to bed at night. However, she knows what the big picture looks like.

I love it, and I look forward to going to work. Time goes by so fast when I'm at work. A 12 hour day is a blur. Sacrifices are part of the job, I work every Saturday and I put in at least 12 hrs/day.

Take lots of notes and don't expect to "Get It" over night. I'm still only doing part of an inspection. The first page, the scetch and photos are where I'm at now. Soon to jump into measurung. It's alot to to learn and it's a challenge.

Good Luck and enjoy. I certainly am.
 
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