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Potential For Commercial Appraisers

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Matthew Nolan

Freshman Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2003
I've read a lot of info from the newbie section but it appears to deal more with residential appraising. I'm currently a financial analyst for a high-tech company with extensive education and experience in finance, but I'm looking for something different. I've been researching the real estate industry and appraising sounds both challenging and intellectually stimulating. I also think it's a field where I can apply my skills.

I'm curious what the earning potential is for a commercial real estate appraiser, both as an apprentice and as a certified appraiser.

Also, what are the pros/cons of fee based vs. in-house appraising?

I appreciate your feedback.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
In house is a plus for newbies. Commercial work is often niche oriented. Requires skills in Business Enterprise Valuation (BEV) for many operating businesses. I suspect the pay would be very low for the first 2 years. Dramatically increase thereafter.
 

Andrew Urbanek

Sophomore Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Well If you are soo well educated and heeled...why dont you just type job salaries as a search in yahoo...then select the proper region!
 

Luzette Eaves

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New York
Matt, believe it or not, finding the right mentor is more important than your advanced education and experience. network in your area and you will be able to find the right answer to your questions.
 

Steve Wyrick

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2003
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Matt it helps if you provide a location for a question like this. Obiviously if you live in New York City that is one type of commerical, if you live in Fargo North Dakota it is a different type of commerical.
 

Paul Ness MAI

Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
Your background is very favorable for commercial appraising. It will help to understand the underlying financial and economic concepts, and I trust you have good writing skills. I started in residential appraising (in-house) and after three years moved into commercial and have been in commercial appraising for the last 16 years, first as a fee appraiser and for the last 6 years as a review appraiser for a commercial lender. With a finance background similar to mine, I believe you will find commercial appraising more rewarding IMHO. Nothing against residential appraising at all, but personal preference. Also, the money can be better depending on the market and type of work you get into. You may not make much more appraising the corner machine shops of the world, but you can make some big bucks appraising larger types of investment property such as shopping centers and multi-tenant offices, and going-concerns such as retirement facilities and hotels. Also, forensic appraising can be very lucrative. There is no question you want to apprentice with a reputable and knowledgable firm. If you live in a metro area, larger firms may offer the best starting opportunity. I suggest you visit the Appraisal Institute's web page for more info at www.appraisalinstitute.org. They have pages with info on starting in the profession as well as an employment page. Good luck.
 

Steve Owen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Missouri
Paul gave you the right answer - I'll just add some other things you might want to think about. There is a lot of demand for commercial appraisers in many different market areas. However, it is importatnt to remember that the independent fee appraisal business is pretty nearly pure competition; that means your mentor will be training his competitor. Don't worry too much about that, most are willing to do it if the "fit" is right. What kind of income you make will depend a lot on the type of niche you get into.

A lot of different entities hire appraisers. Some examples are banks, state transportation departments, cities, large companies with multiple locations, educational or training companies, and of course, appraisal firms. Finding the right mentor, or firm to start with is important, as is your location, but this should be something you can do with your skill set. I think the most important ability you need is understanding of economics, but other things you might not have thought of can come into play. My experience as a taxi driver and factory worker (when I was young) have both been useful - the first helps me know how to find properties and the second is useful when actually producing a report.

One thing you should consider is whether you want to specialize in a specific type of property or be more general. The answer may depend on whether you want to travel, as well as whether you are in a large city or more rural area. You'll probably make more money appraising skyscrapers than turkey houses, but quality of life issues can come into play too. This is a job you could do as a "hillbilly" but you would probably have to be willing to take on a lot of different property types, including residential. Another question is whether you want to continue to work as an employee or whether you want to be independent (eventually). This is like asking whether you want to work for the same company every day or a different company every job. You might have all the skills needed to make a great appraiser, but still not have the skills (or inclination) to be head of an appraisal company or an independent appraiser.

I assume you have already checked this out some. Also, you are probably good at getting around on the net. However, if you have not been there yet, you should go to the ASC page

http://www.ASC.gov/

and the foundation at

http://www.appraisalfoundation.org/

It would also be a good idea to check out your state regulatory body as well as the Appraisal Institute and other appraisal organization web sites.
 
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