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Registered Appraiser Question

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jsradcliffe

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
South Carolina
As a registered appraiser, can I have my own business name? I have my own business, but I am using my mentors business name. I want to by my own software and create my own business name. The reason for this is because my mentor is really not a mentor at all to me.

I am going to look for a new mentor in the mean time. Please give advice.

Thanks
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Don't know why you couldn't, but it may be hard to convince most clients to give you a try without being associated with an established name.
 

Tom Barclay

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Oregon
I would first and foremost contact your state appraisal board for advice. The worst thing you could do would be to mislead a client into thinking, by your assumed business name that you are qualified to perform appraisals without supervision.
 

jsradcliffe

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
South Carolina
I let all my clients know up front that I am a registered appraiser and I have a licensed appraiser review my work. Also, when I am soliciting for new clients, I let them know up front as well.
 

Tom Barclay

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Oregon
Maybe to be a little more clear. If you are going to call yourself, "XYZ Appraisal", you could potentially mislead a client. You are assuming that everyone who has a business card in their hand understands the limitations you work under. If you call yourself,"XYZ, Assistant to Appraisers", then there may not be any misunderstanding. Listen to what your state board tells you, they will be the one to enforce any transgressions.
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
You also might want to check with your E&O insurance. They might have an opinion about it, especially if you are signed up under your supervisor's business.
 

Don Schram

Freshman Member
Joined
May 9, 2003
JS-

My second reply and I'm already using what seems to be a standard answer...

Depends!

Now, the explanation... It all depends on how your state classifies RE Appraisers and how you structure your business for tax purposes.

It is definitely advantagous to be your own business person. The major "perk" being taxed as a Independent Contractor. As with most things, there are definite drawbacks also. Such as, some mentors not wanting to take you on as you're 9/10 of the way out the door and they've just trained their competition.

I don't profess to be a tax expert, so I'm going to point you in the right direction. First, consult a business accountant and/or a business attorney. They can take a look at your individual situation and recommend the best course of action for you.

Secondly, a book I'd recommend is called "Working for Yourself - Law and taxes for Independant Contractors, Freelancers & Consultants" by Attorney Stephen Fishman and published by Nolo. ($39.99 at my local Border's Books store.) The title itself explains how it can help people like us.


Now, personally, I am set up as an Independant Contractor currently and am still doing work for/with the person who acted as my mentor, in addition to other appraisal businesses. Checks are cut to my business name instead of my personal account and, at the end of the year, I'm 1099'd by the companies I have contracted with. I'm allowed my own business deductions (including mileage) and make my own tax payments. When I accept an assignment of my own, the checks are, once again, cut to my business name and deposited. I have never had ANY problems with lenders not wanting to work with me because they don't "recognize" my name. (Quality service, fair cost and good turnaround times go a long way!)

Independant Contractor status was definitely the way for me to go.

Hope this helps. (If not informative, at least I'm verbose!)
Don Schram
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
jsr,.........While you are still maintaining the mentor relationship during these start-up/training months and years you do have a recognized affiliation with the company name of your mentor. Surely, those anxious months leading up to a possible split, and going independant, does allow you an opportunity to see how you prefer to be recognized when you can go solo. I did not have aspirations for immediately becoming an appraiser employing throngs of others, whereby I needed a common office for such a group to receive orders, make phone calls and collectively court clients for mass-production purposes and the obvious start to seeing all-the-greater revenue arrive in the mail. I have taken just as much satisfaction from being a one-person business, and as such felt just as much pride "selling" my availability for services based on my personal name alone. Sure, for the purposes of any advertising effort, there can be reason to go-with-the-flow and have some recognized business name, but I will always have my fees paid to my name, personally. Some may well tell me that such is not the better way to do that, and it really does freak out the administrative assistant at a larger client-office when they want to know the "company" to which they send the check. I always say that my state license has only my personal name on it, so please feel comfortable making and sending those checks to me. I sign my reports with my personal name, and not a business name, so that is how I prefer and expect that I will be remembered. Should I take on an assistant in the future I may then need to re-think the company name identity thing. I will certainly seek out that book title Don just suggested. I might well be missing some nuance and better way to do the Independant Contractor thing.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
You can do it....but, why do it? If it was me, I would work under my supervisory appraiser's company name and insurance until fully licensed. Most E & O companies will not write trainees. You can still write off your expenses as an independant contractor.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
Go for it. Depending upon the reputation of your mentor (which you haven't exactly flattered), you might be better off independent. I did it for 2 years as a transitionally licensed appraiser, a class that no longer exists. I had 4 mentors, but it was easier to get someone to sign with you then. An appraiser in training is just that. But if your state has a registered appraiser classification, you are a professional appraiser and there is no need to be bashful about it.

I disagree that
If you call yourself,"XYZ, Assistant to Appraisers", then there may not be any misunderstanding.
as a feasible option. I cannot imagine that being anything but a turn off to clients AND hardly clarifies your status. It is not misleading for an appraiser to call themselves a registered appraiser if that in fact is your state classification on your appraisal card, but it would be to imply you were a certified or licensed appraiser.

Your clients will understand that. They recognize you are limited in what you can do just as they recognize there is a difference between a certified residential and certified general appraiser.
 
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