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Real estate appraiser worth getting into as a side job?

Fernando

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
House half block down sold in which the sellers made $600,000 in profit.
It was sold last year at a low price in August, had some fixing up and closed escrow last week.
Flipping a house is more lucrative than appraising. Has to get a house with right fix up (avoid foundation problems, new roof, and such).
You get to continue getting income from your current occupation but find a good deal in a good location. Has to be good location and you can make good money.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Having had one foot in the food business for decades, and the other as a real estate broker and salesperson in Wisconsin and California, and now an appraiser in CA for 20+ years, here are my thoughts for your consideration.
If you are in the catering business, and winters are slow, I would say: "who is my customer and where will I find them?" So winter events, winter birthdays, skating, school events, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, end of year employer/employee bonus events, sports venues... maybe a catering food truck to attend specialty events, snow/ski stuff, car shows, etc. Catering is a functional money-maker already for you. You have the equipment for the most part to expand that.

In a cold weather climate, typically most real estate sales are from mid-February (starting first warm day when folks come out of their igloos saying, "oh there WILL be a spring", to end of July (parents want to know where their kids will go to school). A good chunk of appraisal business happens subsequent to real estate sales sales. Right now we have good re-fi business b/c rates are dead low, but that cannot and will not last. I recall when a "great rate" was 10%, and 16.5% with 6 points FHA was horrible... all the way to folks now thinking 7% is way too high and 2.15% is "do-able". Those folks who re-fied at 3% for 30 yrs are not going to refi again once rates spike, although they may take out an expensive 2nd in future. So limited market there for you by the time you get your appraisal license.

If you are an analytical "numbers person", and prefer to spend much of your work day in your own little work zone, appraising may be a way to go, but the education required is a time-consuming hurdle, and finding a "mentor" to get you in synch with lenders' 'comfort zone' is likely to be challenging. While working with a mentor, you will earn while you learn, but it won't be at top pay. If you don't get your CERTIFIED Residential Appraisal License, you will miss out on a LOT of work, as FHA requires Certified, and most lenders want several years' experience behind you. If you go out on your own eventually, you can make more money, but then your time is virtually owned by your clients' needs. Part time still requires you to have access to MLS, sales database, E&O insurance, software, and that will easily cost you $5000/year...plus your Continuing Education and license renewal, which will likely average another $500/year. So will all your 'part time effort' just go to pay for you to be in the appraisal business?
Then there is the competency question. Do you have special knowledge and skills, such as construction, financial/loan expertise that can be an asset to you in your appraisal work? I suspect part time appraisers have been full-time for many years, and may go part-time closer to retirement. It just costs too dang much to keep all the licenses and education and insurance and software leases and customer base functional to work only part time. And in a cold climate where the bulk of demand is seasonal, it seems to me to be diminished Return On Investment.

Oh, here's another idea for you: re: catering: sell cookies on-line! I know it sounds weird, but there are quite a few cookie and dessert specialties sold online through Etsy! And winter is the season!
 

ZZGAMAZZ

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Having had one foot in the food business for decades, and the other as a real estate broker and salesperson in Wisconsin and California, and now an appraiser in CA for 20+ years, here are my thoughts for your consideration.
If you are in the catering business, and winters are slow, I would say: "who is my customer and where will I find them?" So winter events, winter birthdays, skating, school events, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, end of year employer/employee bonus events, sports venues... maybe a catering food truck to attend specialty events, snow/ski stuff, car shows, etc. Catering is a functional money-maker already for you. You have the equipment for the most part to expand that.

In a cold weather climate, typically most real estate sales are from mid-February (starting first warm day when folks come out of their igloos saying, "oh there WILL be a spring", to end of July (parents want to know where their kids will go to school). A good chunk of appraisal business happens subsequent to real estate sales sales. Right now we have good re-fi business b/c rates are dead low, but that cannot and will not last. I recall when a "great rate" was 10%, and 16.5% with 6 points FHA was horrible... all the way to folks now thinking 7% is way too high and 2.15% is "do-able". Those folks who re-fied at 3% for 30 yrs are not going to refi again once rates spike, although they may take out an expensive 2nd in future. So limited market there for you by the time you get your appraisal license.

If you are an analytical "numbers person", and prefer to spend much of your work day in your own little work zone, appraising may be a way to go, but the education required is a time-consuming hurdle, and finding a "mentor" to get you in synch with lenders' 'comfort zone' is likely to be challenging. While working with a mentor, you will earn while you learn, but it won't be at top pay. If you don't get your CERTIFIED Residential Appraisal License, you will miss out on a LOT of work, as FHA requires Certified, and most lenders want several years' experience behind you. If you go out on your own eventually, you can make more money, but then your time is virtually owned by your clients' needs. Part time still requires you to have access to MLS, sales database, E&O insurance, software, and that will easily cost you $5000/year...plus your Continuing Education and license renewal, which will likely average another $500/year. So will all your 'part time effort' just go to pay for you to be in the appraisal business?
Then there is the competency question. Do you have special knowledge and skills, such as construction, financial/loan expertise that can be an asset to you in your appraisal work? I suspect part time appraisers have been full-time for many years, and may go part-time closer to retirement. It just costs too dang much to keep all the licenses and education and insurance and software leases and customer base functional to work only part time. And in a cold climate where the bulk of demand is seasonal, it seems to me to be diminished Return On Investment.

Oh, here's another idea for you: re: catering: sell cookies on-line! I know it sounds weird, but there are quite a few cookie and dessert specialties sold online through Etsy! And winter is the season!
Having matriculated through the Food & Beverage industry, for 20 years, I agree with Sandra. It took me 10 years just to obtain the basics of the culinary lexicon, and now 15 years to gain a functional knowledge of the appraisal bizz. Only difference is that food & beverage requires about 14 hours a day, 6-days-a-week; and the appraisal bizz requires one to be available like 18 hours a day, 7-days-a-week, if one hopes to remain competative. Old saying in the restaurant bizz that "You're only as good as your last meal cooked" goes full-tilt in the appraisal industry because as indepenent contractors we remain virtually at the beck-&-call of our clients. However, when I watch a guy crawl under a raised foundation to fight rats; or see these gardeners scurrying like crazy for $10 an hour, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
 

AMF13

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
I'll stick with appraising for money.
For my birthday coming up I am making an apple pie from Grandmas recipe.
Maybe a batch of St Nicholas cookies too. :p

I doubt this would be worth doing for money though.
Too time consuming and the price would have to be too high to be worth while.
Even though the results are really good. :shrug:
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2005
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Just saw a Spectrum LA special re: DOANs Bakery in Woodland Hills. They currently sell their Tom Cruise's favored special bundt cake with butter cream frosting encapsulated with shredded coconut for $99 each including overnight delivery. Who says it doesn't pay to be sweet? :clapping:
 

ZZGAMAZZ

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
I'll stick with appraising for money.
For my birthday coming up I am making an apple pie from Grandmas recipe.
Maybe a batch of St Nicholas cookies too. :p

I doubt this would be worth doing for money though.
Too time consuming and the price would have to be too high to be worth while.
Even though the results are really good. :shrug:
I was just staring in wonder at my beat-up tape measure that's been busted and taped together, and my old cell phone with a broken screen that I use to take photos . . . which are the basis of annual $100K++ revenue . . . like Paul Simon sang in "Lincoln Duncan" . . . just thanking the Lord for my fingers, for my fingers . . .
 

NachoPerito

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Washington
I’m looking for some honest advice and opinions to see if this would be the right profession for me to get into. I work in a family catering business and enjoy it but I was looking at maybe venturing into becoming a real estate appraiser as well. I live in MN so the winter season is always a lot slower when it comes to catering because people just aren’t planning as many events, so I figured an appraiser job would help keep me busy during the slower time. From what I’ve read it’s a profession that can be done part time. I like to keep busy so I wouldn’t mind balancing both careers if that’s possible to do. I’ve always had an interest in real estate so I think I would find it fun and interesting. Is this something worse pursuing? I’m aware of the coursework and training needed. A licensed residential appraiser is the highest level I’d shoot for. A few questions I have:

Once you complete the coursework and become a trainee how hard is it to find a certified appraiser to work under to complete the 2,000 training hours?

Is the training all done physically with the appraiser at an office or is a lot of it done at home on my own time?

Would it be pretty easy to get hired on as a licensed residential appraiser at a company?

Are most of you driving into an office everyday or can a lot of the reports be completed at home?

When working for someone can I truly treat it as a part time job or isn’t that possible? Online makes it sound like that but I don’t know what to believe.

Thanks for the help, I figured this would be a good place for honest info. I know the main goal people have for this profession is to work independently but I’m more interested in working for a company as a side job to keep me busy. On the other hand I’m wondering if it would be worth it to go that route.
Work under someone as a trainee as a 2nd job because you won't make any money. When you get certified you can quite your main job if you like appraising.
 

Fernando

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Work under someone as a trainee as a 2nd job because you won't make any money. When you get certified you can quite your main job if you like appraising.
I never been a trainee and I can't imagine being one (I was grandfathered in). You don't get much of the rewards. Once you get certified, you have more control and keep more of the money.
Past week I'd been very lucky. I got similar floor plan homes within a block of each other. Not one but two of these assignments. So happy.
 
Last edited:

USPAP Compliant

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Work under someone as a trainee as a 2nd job because you won't make any money. When you get certified you can quite your main job if you like appraising.
One factor is you will have work when the supervisor works, Appraising part time is very difficult. Clients have deadlines and don’t care about your schedule. When you can work and when the appraiser wants to work may not be the same. Inspection
to be on dry days and in daylight. Lots of factors to consider.
 

Bert Craytor

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
I’m looking for some honest advice and opinions to see if this would be the right profession for me to get into. I work in a family catering business and enjoy it but I was looking at maybe venturing into becoming a real estate appraiser as well. I live in MN so the winter season is always a lot slower when it comes to catering because people just aren’t planning as many events, so I figured an appraiser job would help keep me busy during the slower time. From what I’ve read it’s a profession that can be done part time. I like to keep busy so I wouldn’t mind balancing both careers if that’s possible to do. I’ve always had an interest in real estate so I think I would find it fun and interesting. Is this something worse pursuing? I’m aware of the coursework and training needed. A licensed residential appraiser is the highest level I’d shoot for. A few questions I have:

Once you complete the coursework and become a trainee how hard is it to find a certified appraiser to work under to complete the 2,000 training hours?

Is the training all done physically with the appraiser at an office or is a lot of it done at home on my own time?

Would it be pretty easy to get hired on as a licensed residential appraiser at a company?

Are most of you driving into an office everyday or can a lot of the reports be completed at home?

When working for someone can I truly treat it as a part time job or isn’t that possible? Online makes it sound like that but I don’t know what to believe.

Thanks for the help, I figured this would be a good place for honest info. I know the main goal people have for this profession is to work independently but I’m more interested in working for a company as a side job to keep me busy. On the other hand I’m wondering if it would be worth it to go that route.

You probably won't get an honest answer from most appraiser websites, as they are trying to sell appraisal as a career, especially those involved in teaching. This is however, I think a pretty good ranking of job satisfaction:


You won't find appraisal in the top 200 jobs. You will find surveyor at number 144 and real estate agent at 170+.

Things may change. A "valuation engineer" also does statistics, software development, data analysis - and these jobs rank near the top. So, one might expect things to change as the profession changes. That will take time. I do appraisal because of where I think it is headed; not because of what it is.
 
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