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So Far So Good

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Jim Williams

Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2003
Back in March I joined this board and proclaimed that I was going to be an Appraiser. Wow, what a bold statement that turned out to be.
Well since that time I did move back to Portland and finished my classwork. I passed the tests and miraculously found a mentor to work for who is great!
I've found out many things since running my mouth those many months ago.
The biggest thing I found out is that, I can do this. It's one thing to think you can do it, it's one thing to take the classes and think "this isn't so tough" it's another completley to get out their and have your mentor hand you a file and say "this one is yours" and wonder "can I really do this?"
My mentor actually did an inspection, but I did my own on the same property. He said to do the report and we would compare what we came up with and why the following day. I was very nervous working on this first report and was up pretty late getting it done and just kept telling myself that I had done the best I could and that if it was terrible at least this was part of the learning experience.
The next day he looked at my report, kind of smiled and said "you got it" My final determination of value was only $2000 different than his. We looked it over and he said it was really "outstanding" for a first report. Needless to say I was ecstatic about it and felt like for the first time in a long time that perhaps I had made the right decsion about something.
Don't get me wrong, one of the many other things I have learned is that I don't know anything. My mentor Appraises many rural areas, and I don't think I have had any one property be similar to another.
I want to be GREAT right now and put a lot of pressure on myself to try and do the reports perfect every time, but have not, and know I will not for quite some time. My mentor will make changes in my reports and I'll get kind of thin skinned about them and he'll say "it's really pretty good"
Anyway this is where I'm at after about 5 weeks. I'm doing about two a week and if we are not driving a long distance I can do the inspection with him, find the comps, and have the report done the next day. If we did more Urban properties I'm pretty sure I could do 3 a week.
Being a newbie, I am always worried about the back log and am anxious to do enough to not cost my mentor but to help make his business profitable while making me profitable. I can see that is going to take awhile for both, although he told me today that he is confident enough in me that after we do the inspections together, he will start letting me select comps and go take the pictures by myself. I feel good about that and feel like I'm ahead of the curve at this point.
We just upgraded to Clickforms and I find most of my time I'm learning something knew with the software or trying to get the #$^% scanner to work. I like gadgets and technology so I purchased Street Atlas USA for my location map and for future route planning and it 's great! I am getting faster, but to hear how fast some of you are amazes me.
Only one major setback. I let my daughter go with me on a drive by the other day and she wanted to take a picture too. We bobbled the hand off of the camera and it hit the pavement. It jammed the lens pretty good and it won't move anymore. I don't know if it's worth fixing, but I bought new one because I can't be withought one. Hopefully I can get it fixed for $200 of so and have a backup for when the new one takes a dive.
Thanks for providing this forum. I come here often and have found many answers to questions I have had, and it's nice to read about the experiences of others. High rates or not, I'm sticking with this. I know I can do this. I know I can be good at it, and more importantly I like doing it.
Thanks all.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Jim,

Good luck and keep going. Doing rural properties to start is always a plus. Not seeing the same thing twice really helps in the future. I started with rural properties before moving into a more urban/suburban market with some rural areas. Now when I get orders for rural properties or come up against some unique property I don't sit there scratching my head. I have seen appraisers that have only been doing urban/suburban properties from the start that run scared when they get an acreage property or a unique property. It really helps the education and the learning curve goes up. Good luck in the future.
 

Jim Williams

Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2003
Thanks Ryan,

I've thought to myself that this will help down the road by doing these different types of properties. The other day he gave me a duplex to do. The inspection was easy enough and finding comps wasn't too bad, but when doing the report I just kind of sat there and said "now what" My mentor is great in that he lets me just do it and then we'll sit down and look at what I did and he'll tweak it and explain why he's doing this or that. I take notes so I won't make the same mistakes. I get a copy of the finished report for my file and then I look at it and compare it to what I did originally. There is so much information to fill in, my biggest problem is that I miss a field or two, or I'm not quite sure what to say in the comment fields. The nice thing is that my mentor knows I see, or get the big picture and that my clerical errors will go down with time and I'll know what to put in the comment fields as I progress as well. Down the road I'm hoping to do more urban properties as I'm located in Portland and I know the neighborhoods better and know where the heck I'm at. Sheez, in some of these places we go, it seems like we spend most of our time finding the comps lol. Oh well, part of the fun, it's summer, the countryside is beautiful and I could be stuck in some crap job that I hate. I'll take this anyday.
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Glad thing are going well for you. Sounds like you are doing things like any newbie, slow and unsure, but have the desire and open heart to learn. Keep on pluging. Over time, you'll learn all the little tricks to increase your production.

As for the camera, get it fixed and keep one as a back up...... that won't be the last time that happens. I know. ;)
 

George Hatch

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
John,

Thanks for the update. I find your account to be inspirational, both for your acknowledgement of the difficulties that new trainees face as well as the steps you are going through to maximize the opportunity that meeting each such challenge provides. From your description, it sounds like your supervisor has a pretty good plan going there; he lets you take your best shot and then steps in only enough to smooth out the rough edges. Likewise, your ambition toward perfection is also a good plan. You're trying real hard not to make the same mistakes twice. The first few such experiences you have will go slower in the beginning, but they will pay off later as you become adept at thinking your way through your problems rather than simply giving up and running to someone else. It's very common for appraisers to want to bounce ideas off of their peers, but that's usually more for feedback or additional data than it is because we don't know what to do. An appraiser would have to be pretty arrogant to think that there's only one way to do everything or one way to parse a set of circumstances.

Now all you have to do is to stick with the program and keep working for your goals.
 

Steve Gish

Sophomore Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2003
Congratulations on getting off to a good start. Sounds like you found yourself in a good spot. I'm still looking in and around KC for a mentor, but still have hope. :D
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Whenever you can, get into some of the recent workfiles your mentor did and look through them, read the finished report. The more you read through, the better you'll get at filling in those blanks.
 

Jim Williams

Freshman Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2003
Thanks everyone! It's funny you mention that Pam because I was talking to my mentor last night about the duplex I did and I told him I left some of the comments blank as I really didn't know what to say. I'd had a bit of a brain melt down just working on and finding the rental information. I suggested that if I had some files to look at and make copies of, I'd at least have an idea what's supposed to go in there and then try to put the information from my appraisal in there with my words. He was very receptive to that, but still suggested that I just read what the comment field is asking for and just going for it. He said that if it has to be tweaked later, that's fine as I will still be learning what to put into the comment fields and how to say it. I have found that the comments need to be in Appraiserease so as the end user will understand what it is we are trying to say lol.
I finally feel like I was initiated as well last week. We went out to do this property and I had to measure the detached garage. Well the front was easy enough, but one side had a fence and car parts lined up against it which was out, and the other side was lined by trees and bushes, THAT was a pisser! 33 ft. and nothing to do but try to shimmy through. Right when I got to the end, and I look at the end of the tape, the homeowner says "it's 33 ft.!" It was right on, couldn't help but chuckle.
Oh and George, thank you too. Sticking to the plan will seem to be the biggest hurdle through this journey. I know what I want out of it eventually, but getting there sometimes looks very far off on occasion.
Steve, good luck to you and hang in there. I've read many of your posts and you seem like a guy who once he finds a mentor will do very well at this.
If anybody reads this from the Portland area give me a holler, would be nice to talk shop and have a cold one!
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
33 ft. and nothing to do but try to shimmy through. Right when I got to the end, and I look at the end of the tape, the homeowner says "it's 33 ft.!" It was right on, couldn't help but chuckle.
LOL

I've had them tell me 36' BEFORE I measured it myself because they were hoping I'd just believe them. Reality might be 30' and they won't say a word after that.
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Hi Jim,
Did you consider measuring the garage from the inside :) ? Just hook the tape up outside of the open door and run it through to the back of the garage, then add on whatever is needed to account for sheetrock, studs and exterior siding (usually around 4-5 inches).
 
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