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Runner / Apprentice Splits

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alexleo75

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2003
Hello Appraisers,

Here is my situation: I have met all the educational requirements in CA to be an appraiser (trainee). I submitted my application to the OREA in mid-Feb. There is a 90 day period to sit for the state test. Approaching two months now. In the interim I have contacted over 50 Appraisers / AMC's throughout Southern California for runner / trainee work(OREA allows 400 hours before being licensed). I've been speaking to a guy over the past month who runs an AMC (been in business over 20 years) and has a staff of 10 appraisers only in So Cal. After speaking with him, he concluded that since I had a college degree, knew the industry lingo, and was somewhat knowledgeable about appraising terminology, techniques, market trends, etc. he'll give me a shot. He is offering a 40% split for my work @ $350 per appraisal. He told me to be able to complete 2-3 reports per work. Is this accurate info? Some of his guys are doing a minimum of 3 a day, and even up to 5 in some instances. Is this doable? He says his company completes about 300 appraisals per month in Southern California. Is this possible? He must have a really high volume of work (Approved lender list of over 200!), some of which he tells me he must turn away. Should I pursue this? How much training can I really receive if the appraisers are busy completing their own work, and have to take time out to help a new guy learn the ropes? I will begin doing ride alongs in 10 days.
 

Patricia Dominguez

Freshman Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2002
40% is really good for a trainee, go for it. In an office with 10 appraisers you will probably be able to find someone who is willing to answer your questions, we had a guy like that if it wasn't for him nobody would know what they were doing. And if there is no one at least you will be able to hunt for another mentor while your getting paid and experience.
 

DavidBrown

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2003
Maybe you can do it. 40% is my split as a Trainee is well. I have been at it for two months and can do one report a week. But, you may be a quick study.

Dave
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I can tell you this much:

I don't know one THOUROUGH and EXPERIENCED appraiser that can complete three full (1004/URAR) appraisals per day on their own, even in urban cookie-cutter areas, at least not for any extended period of time.

A THOROUGH and EXPERIENCED appraiser will tell you that it's too easy to miss important defects or problems that could land you in court or standing with your hat in your hand before the state board IF you're going at that rate of speed.

I can also tell you that there are more than a few appraisal shops where office help gathers up the preliminary research information, comparable sales, and does the report typing. Call me paranoid, but this appraiser would never ASSUME that another party in the process is anything other than grunt monkey labor who certainly won't be the ones who will be held responsible for errors, negligence and/or liabilities. Their signature isn't the one at the bottom of the appraisal report.

A 40% split is fair to a newbie, but more important than income is the quality of one's training during the apprenticeship stage. Most lousy appraisers have no clue that they're bad. They assume that because they make it through their training period without being disciplined or sued then they must be good appraisers, and they're destined to pass their work habits on to trainees of their own once they break away from their mentors and become licensed themselves.

Because of the changes in many market areas (which include increasing foreclosures, fraud and declining values), it's important that new appraisers realize that the gravy train is about to slow down. In most areas housing prices have seen steady increases in value over the past ten years or so, and because of that fact many negligent appraisers have been able to make a decent living without getting into trouble. Over that time frame the market has quickly absorbed pushed values made for the sake of keeping the brokers happy. Most lawsuits don't pop up until at least two years after the appraisal is done, so if the market continues to flounder I believe we can expect a bit of a culling process to occur soon.

For this reason, I would highly suggest that all newer appraisers take the time to continue their education beyond the preliminary courses that allow them to get their registered (trainee) licenses. This forum is one of the best resources available. NEVER believe that your supervisor is always looking out for your best long-term interests, because only those who have been in the business for more than ten years truly understand the repercussions of a market that isn't appreciating.

Lastly, don't decieve yourself.
The primary motiviation behind licensed appraisers taking on apprentices IS NOT because they want to fill the country with well-rounded professionals, it's because they want to make more money, otherwise it's not worth the headaches. They know that it's only a short period of time before their apprentices will feel that a 40% split isn't enough, and those trainees will be leaving as soon as they get licensed. Because of that, quality takes the back seat behind quantity in larger shops.

Best of luck to you.

Dee Dee
 

alexleo75

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2003
Thanks for your responses. They were very insightful. Still have some more questions though.

How steep was the learning curve? For example, did anyone have problems pulling comps? What was the most amount of home inspections done in one day? I realize that it takes time to actually thoroughly complete a report. Were you guys paid per week, cut a check. How did transactions occur? As a trainee, will I just be doing home inspections, measuring, acquring basic data? What about the reports? Is the supervising appraiser ultimately responsible for the completed report, and obviously signing off on it? I just want to make sure that I get the right training and know exactly what I am getting in to. What does everyone think of the wintotal software? Reccomend it? Is it user friendly?

How about the Sony Mavica digital cameras? I heard that using a 1.0 megapixel is really all you need out in the field.

Thanks for any or all input..
 

Farm Gal

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

I am not going to directly address your trainee comments, other than to reccomend that you run through most of the posts in this forum... Some of your concerns are addressed, the rest I will leave to current trainees to answer. Most of your questions need to be answered by your mentor employer! I would ask there were it me!

On the Mavica query though I can reccomend you to two methods of inquiry:

1. Go to the tech forum and peruse it for camera and MAvica comments.. and/or

2. use the search function which can be found at the upper right corner of you screen, just above the text box of the posts... it works very nicely to pull up exact posts on a specific word or string of words such as "Sony AND Mavica"

You may also want to do a general "camera" search, as there has been some discussion

make sure you notice the little drop down box that says posts in last 30 days and set it a little longer as some of the comments were more than 30 days ago.

This forum is a GREAT resource! :beer:
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Originally posted by alexleo75@Apr 8 2003, 12:43 PM
Thanks for your responses. They were very insightful. Still have some more questions though.

How steep was the learning curve? For example, did anyone have problems pulling comps? What was the most amount of home inspections done in one day? I realize that it takes time to actually thoroughly complete a report. Were you guys paid per week, cut a check. How did transactions occur? As a trainee, will I just be doing home inspections, measuring, acquring basic data? What about the reports? Is the supervising appraiser ultimately responsible for the completed report, and obviously signing off on it? I just want to make sure that I get the right training and know exactly what I am getting in to. What does everyone think of the wintotal software? Reccomend it? Is it user friendly?

How about the Sony Mavica digital cameras? I heard that using a 1.0 megapixel is really all you need out in the field.

Thanks for any or all input..
I'll try to give some general answers to some of your questions.

The learning curve is usually significantly steeper than most newbies expect unless you're working in areas of cookie-cutter housing tracts. Many believe that the cookie-cutter neighborhoods will soon be monopolized by the use of AVM's that will make appraisers unnecessary in those areas, or that appraisers do work in those areas will be AVM monkeys who work for low fees to do inspections and feed the information into a data bank that will supply lenders with enough information on that neighborhood that they can opt not to have a human appraiser to qualify the borrower for a loan. I don't have an opinion one way or another on this, I don't work in that type of area very often.
Pulling comps in for properties in outlying neighborhoods, all custom neighborhoods or for unusual properties is always a challenge. Depending on the accuracy an availability of sales data for the subject you are appraising, some areas are very difficult and may require regular trips to the local courthouse for sales information, while others may be easily searchable online.
I've heard of appraisers that do 10 inspections a day, but inspecting is only a fraction of the job. Most appraisers prefer to get sales and county information on the property prior to inspection, as well as asking questions of the homeowner while scheduling the inspection, then taking a close look at what (if any) potential comparables are in the subject's vicinity. Most perfer to take comparable photos on the same trip as the inspection if it's possible. All of that research takes time, and it's not unusual that more than one trip is necessary in order to complete an inspection of both the subject and comparables.
Most trainees are paid a commission on completed appraisals, and a good mentor should be teaching every step of the appraisal process. You'll need to ask your mentor what you will be taught. The supervisory appraiser is ultimately responsible for the work that his/her trainee performs, but it is your responsiblity to figure out if your supervisor is cutting corners or unethical. This is difficult when you are new to the business, so maintaining contact with other appraisers and asking questions is very important.

As LeeAnn suggested, please browse through the newbies/wannabes section of the forum. Many of your questions will be answered but if not you can always ask.

Best of luck....
 
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