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Stephen Chilcoat

Freshman Member
Jun 23, 2003
Ok... I've seen a couple of experience appraisers speak of "sweatshops" on this board. I've been considering pursuing real estate appraiser as a new career and one of the first things I did is research job availability for trainees. I found a few that were willing to start you out at what I thought was a fairly reasonable wage.

The companies I've seen work like this:
1) they hire you as a trainee
2) you are required to complete a minimum number of appraisals per week (usually 4)
3) you submit them to the company when finished and they pay you a 30%-35% split on a regular bi-weekly pay schedule.

This seemed like a fairly reasonable option for a traineed fresh after passing the state test. Is it? What are the downfalls of working for a company like this when you are just starting out?

Here's what I saw as the benefits/ drawbacks:

1) Steady reliable income if you complete your required quota
2) Training to get your 2000 hours (or whatever is required by your state)
3) Fairly decent income for a trainee

1) 4 appraisals per week seems kind of high for a trainee
2) No "hand-holding" by another appraiser
3) You are fired if you don't complete the quota each week

What do you more experienced appraisers think?

jeff samolinski

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2003
Run like hell away- Its supposed to be supervised training which means you work directly with someone who knows what they are doing. Sounds like a sweatshop to me


Elite Member
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
1. You'd better have at least SOME idea of what you're doing before going into a company like this. I would definitely talk about mentor/supervisor support for explanations, instructions, training, etc.
2. As an employer, if you're taking up space on a computer and turning out 1 appraisal a week, showing no improvement, you need to find another job. This ain't rocket science, especially if you're being given cookie cutters as a beginner.

So, if you're a real newbie and barely know what a 1004 is, this is not the company for you. You need a company that will train you extensively. And that means a company which will tolerate bringing you up to speed. And such a company will want a long-term commitment from you for your training, and possibly a non-compete agreement.

However, be aware that slow work means low income. Just a fact of life.

Roger Strahan, SRA, IFA

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
Try your best to find an appraiser who will train you one on one. He or she should have you accompany them on inspections. 30 % is a pretty low split...especially if you work from your home and have your own equipment.

If they want to send you out on your own right away...."run like the wind".
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