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Moving An Appraisal Practice

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Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Montana
In sixty days, I move from Butte, Montana to Missoula MT, 120 miles to the west. Two very different towns. Butte, the largest Super Fund site in the US, has a troubled economy after the shut down of the local copper mine three years ago and the bankruptcy of one of the largest employers in town caused by the dot com crash. Missoula, on the other hand, is a booming university town with what some say is an over active real estate market that is based not only on a vibrant economy but fanned by many out of state persons moving to Montana for life style advantages. I am making the changeover to Rotary in Missoula and have been working on my adjustments from MLS reports, having signed up for Missoula MLS, six months ago. I am active in the AI Chapter here in Montana and also the NAIFA chapter which mainly expedites CE credit.

So. What is is on your list of establishing a practice far from my familar base? Two cats, Spinner and Boots and one good dog Tippy also make the move. The house is sold, at least under contract. I await the results of the appraisal and the home inspection. I care for one parent so I office at home.

Your thoughts please. Thanks so much.

P.S. I will the Keynote Dinner Speaker at both the NAIFA SO CAL and NO CAL Weekend CE Credit Conference August 15 in LA and August 22 in Sacramento. I would enjoy meeting any forum regulars. Also any newbies out there might well benefit from attending the classes or attending the dinner. You get 2 CE credits for listening to me. I really objected to CA giving my talks 2 CE credits. I expect the whole room to start reading the paper and fooling with their PDA's when I begin. ;)
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
About a year before we were thinking of moving, I subscribed to the local paper and MLS to see what was going on. When we decided to move, we drove back and forth every weekend searching for the house we needed. All the while working hard to keep it a secret, so I would be able to keep my job. When we found it, we closed the deal, and I drove back and forth for a few weekends to move some stuff on my trailer, and start setting my office up in one of the bedrooms. Two weeks before D Day, I gave my notice, and they were glad for me, but sad to see me go. On D Day, the moving van was loaded with everything else, and off we went. Monday, I turned my computer on, and started a campain to solicit work. I don't know any easy way of doing it, but to just do it.

However, since you are not worried about losing a current job if the boss finds out, I'd say start the conversion with the national lenders and AMC's at least 2 weeks before the move. It will take that long before they get you changed in their systems. Get your new phone numbers and DSL NOW. It took me a week to get mine assinged, and correct some problems. Have the phone company keep your old phone number active with the "this is my new number" message for a couple of months. They do it for free for a couple of weeks, but you will want to pay for the extended time as many lenders still will not know you have moved.

I know moving is expensive, but if any of your computers or equipment needs to be upgraded..... now is the time to do it. Get the office set, and test the equipment so your first day back in biz, you're not trying to fix network problems.

And finally, your bed should be the very LAST thing on the moving van. Belive me, you will want to set it up FIRST so you can crash.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Doug....good luck on the move, sounds like a wise decision on your part. With your experience you should be telling us what to do...not the other way around.

Very sound advice about updating equipment and software. $10,000 should give you the most modern operation available. What better time to do it than moving.

Just a thought...quite often local appraisers feel threatened by a new appraiser moving into the area. Use your AI contacts to network with some of the more successful appraisers to see if any need help on a temporary basis. Perhaps you could even cover for some of them wanting to take vacations, etc. Might be a good "in" to gain geographic competency in your new location.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Went through the same thing in the mid 80's. Worked in an east Texas oil town. Oil went bust and so did the economy. I was on the FHA panel, so I relocated to the Dallas area. Signed up on MLS, became active there, built up the business. It was about 150 miles 1 way. So, I rented an office at a office-suite operation, (you know the type. 10x10 spaces around a central receptionist and copy room) and stayed at a inexpensive motel 3 nights a week, coming home on Friday. Finally moved several months later. Never regretted it.

Roger
 

Karl

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona
Moved from New Hampshire to AZ (talk Culture shock!) U got two good things going for U well at least one NAIFA as soon as I got here I joined & went to the first meeting & was welcomed with no promblems (None that were disclosed or have been disclosed since or YET!) with your knowledge & likeability you should have no problem adjusting. Yes get all the newest Bells & Whistles when U set up give yourself at least 3 months to get all in working order Don't know about out there but here everyone works slooowww. Best of Luck
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Based on your posts, you should have no trouble.

The DSL line someone mentioned is VERY important.

Once you get connected and get the MLS, you can stay on Mapquest for days plotting sales.

Hopefully the MLS or County records will have pictures and all the dope. If not start looking at Realtor.com and down load the info for future use.

Good Luck, I was in the Army (1957)with a couple from there, great people.

Ed in the backwoods.
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Doug

what did you do the first time you went on yer own :question:

do it again and wit more flavor - your now well qualified :mrgreen:


smoookin - :ph34r:


best of luck :beer:
 

Don Clark

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
B) Doug,

I usually don't give advice to experts :) However, I was doing a seminar in Ohio where I met an appraiser who had recently moved his business to a rural area in North Carolina, and was only in Ohio to take the CE course. i was curious as to how he was making out. He told me, and I have no reason to not belive him, that in 1 year he had 50% of the business in that rural area. Now I was intrigued. He said that in the rural area he had moved to most appraisers were still using a typewriter(this was 1997), most had never seen a flood map, did not know how to find a census tract number, and very poor people and marketing skills. If even 1 of those conditions exist where you are going you should have it made. His point was, his service was better than most and he quickly had all the business he wanted.

I am sure that, given your knowledge and expertise, you will have a smooth move.

Good Luck :beer:

Don
 

Richard J. Glesser

Junior Member
Joined
May 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Doug,

8 years ago I closed down a successful larger company I owned and moved 250 miles to where my vacation/weekend cottage was located. Basically the opposite of your move since I went from urban to rural. Your business awareness and sense is both the reason and the cure for apprehension. You know enough not to take the move lightly but that appraisal experience will be what causes your new busines to thrive.

Some of your local lenders who service your present location probably have branches in your new location. Your good clients in those offices can easily make a couple phone calls to introduce and recommend you.

Some of the larger banks I worked for previously have now bought up smaller local banks and want to cover themselves with people and services they know and trust. When that happened, I not only went into the newly acquired branches, but also contacted old friends in the corporate offices which had no idea who the local appraisers were and were happy to work with someone they knew and trusted.

Stop in the realtors offices and pick up the business cards left by local loan officers. You're already active in the local appraisal organizations and I'm sure you know the value of community service to get your name out there.

If your experience turns out like mine, my greatest problem came from competing appraisers who had lower license levels and less experience and felt threatened by my opening in "their" market. To this day, one company will tell people they've never heard of me or my company when someone calls them by accident. Hopefully, in the larger urban setting, the appraisers will be beyond this - I know I previously never experienced it in the urban market. The other pitfall I've encountered is review appraisals slamming my appraisals in hopes of having clients stop using me. I've as yet to lose a review rebuttal but they've even gone so far as to make up comparable sales to "prove" me wrong. I do want to correct a previous implication - I don't think it's a small town thing, but just the individuals I competing with who can't handle competition head-to-head. I've had the benefit of meeting many quality appraisers in this area also.

In summary, relax and let your present connections and experience carry you into your new location. Best of luck. :usa:
 

Tim Cullen

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Texas
Doug,

I moved my practice after many years in 1999 from Palm Springs, CA to San Diego, CA. It was a medical malpractice situation when my daughter was born in a Rancho Mirage hospital that prompted my decision and the availability of medical treatment/experts and school & educational opportunities for my daughter in San Diego that cemented my choice to move. Like you it was a 120-mile +/- move. I wasn’t sure if my clients would provide me business in San Diego. It was a tough decision.

My suggestion to you is to contact your clients and tell them about your move. My regional and national clients merely changed their territory appraiser coverage list. They are still my clients in San Diego. I lost several clients in Palm Springs but secured many new regional clients in San Diego. A trainee I had in Palm Springs now operates my former practice. He is doing well and is 2 weeks out on work. All the clients I lost he is now working with.

Overall, my business didn’t miss a beat. I had no slow down. My current volume is 3 times more than what I did in Palm Springs due to the population base of the different areas. This gave me the opportunity to cut off many of my clients that did not pay full fee or did not pay fast enough. I did not realize there was an appraiser shortage in San Diego County until I moved here. Business continues to be strong in San Diego for the small commercial and residential market nitch I serve.

BTW, my son will be attending the University of Montana this fall. For those that don’t know but follow this chat room I am a graduate of the U of M.

Go Griz,

Tim
 
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