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your discouriging me......

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jon mcguckin

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
I have been reading this forum for the past several days and cannot help feeling somewhat discouraged from entering this profession, the result of finding and reading this Forum. Don't get me wrong, I never expected going into this profession would be all roses. I guess what I am trying to say is I need more encouragement!

Let me give you a bit of background. I make a decent living with great benefits for myself and the family but I hate my job. sit at a desk in a cubicle for a company that has grown so much it's management staff has mostly been promoted from within which leads to some incompetent management in my opinion. especially mine. anyways, I hate my job.

I have had a couple of personal real estate investment transactions the last year and have noticed the backlog of work the appraisers in my area have (Northern CA foothills) and researched what the work entails. I figure that I love to work for myself (have done several re-hab houses on my own in which I loved, making my own schedule and my own decisions etc) and figured that appraisal was a great fit for my lifestyle. It also appeals to me the change of scenery in the day to day activities of an Appraiser.

I enrolled in an online Appraisal course (Allied Appraisal School) and am working dilegently to pass the course and start the studies for the State Exam befor July 2003.

After reading some of the topics on this Newbie forum I am a bit discouraged by some of the feedback from the long time Certified appraisers on such things as.......

1-don't quit your day job.
I can't see myself devoting the time needed to do a good job in this field if I kept my demanding job that I have and did Appraisals in my spare time.

2- expect to work for peanuts the first few years.
I cannot work for peanuts! I do realize that the first few years will be the learning and growing years and that the fruits of my labor will follow, but peanuts?

3-finding a good mentor is almost impossible.
It seems to me that an appraiser in our area would be happy to bring on an "apprentice" to help with their workload. Is this not the case? an appraiser would rather be backed up for 2 months?

Beleive me, I am the type of individual that once I set my mind to something, I usually succeed. I am a believer of the "think positive" attitude and those who know they can succeed, do succeed. Success has come in many forms in my professional and personal life and I attribute alot of it to my positive attitude and belief. Oh, and also to my wife!

Maybe I have not spent enough time on this thread to find the "positive" parts (most of my time has been spent reading all of the posts on the Newbies forum) but I sure could use someone to post a great "success story". Maybe they should also have a forum called success stories. A forum of encouragement to help us newbies keep a positive attitude of our future in this profession.

thanks

by the way, this is my first post and I cannot figure out how to do the spell check. anyone?
 

Michael T. Hiester

Freshman Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2002
I found the same thing when I first started considering a career in Appraising. Initially I became very discouraged. Then I made the conscious decision that I would not allow others to bring me down. I continued to read threads on this (and other) forums and I would take the valid points and seriously consider them. It was/is difficult to strip away the negativity and take the comments for what they are worth.

Once I had done that, however, I was able to make a well-informed decision. I think the comments from the veteran appraisers are not always intended to be negative. I am sure most are simply trying to share their thoughts and feelings to help all of us newbies out.

I will tell you that the most beneficial advice I took from this forum prior to getting started was to find a mentor prior to committing to the training/career. I did this and my stress level has been so much lower. My mentor had me working even before I was licensed. Don't worry you all - it was office work and such - not appraising. Had I jumped in like I had planned without having a mentor first, I would have gotten through the class and passed the state exam 6 months ago. I would have gotten discouraged at not having a mentor and possibly ended up quiting before I even got started. Now I have a great mentor, waiting on my license to arrive, and have had a very positive experience over the last 6 months in the appraisal field. I know I am very very new and some of the old timers are out there reading this saying "this kid is too new to know anything." But I am trying to relate to you a positive spin that might be a bit encouraging to you.

So just blow off the negative comments. Focus on what you want to achieve and go for it.
 

Willie

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Tennessee
M. Heister said "So just blow off the negative comments. Focus on what you want to achieve and go for it."

And after 3 years of training and making 15K a year and Michael is wrong, and the doomsayers(for good reason) are right can you go back to your steady job w' benefits? If not there is always McDonalds.

Don't mean to be harsh. Also, I've known quite a few appraisers that hate their jobs. I happen to like it, most of the time.

Listen to this. If your given field has any room for an entreprenuer, why not stay with what you know, even if it at your own company?

An old appraiser told me that Appraising is a good field if you can afford to work for basically minimum wage for 2 or 3 years. Commercial appraising say 4-5 years.

Is it worth it? Maybe.
 

Michael T. Hiester

Freshman Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2002
William, you have a valid point. I would never encourage anyone to jump into a new career without being prepared for all possibilities. This is why I have not quit my good paying job and plan to use the next 8 years to learn the field and gain experience. Then, when I am 40, I will retire and Appraise as a second career.

The point I was trying to make is that we should take the comments offered by the veterans, but forget the emotional negativity that so often accompanies those voices of experience.
 

jon mcguckin

Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2003
could you elaberate on how you manage to hold down another full time job and also do appraisals. is this working for you? How? you plan on this arrangement for the next 8 years?

thanks in advance for your reply.
 

Michael T. Hiester

Freshman Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2002
I guess I should first make it clear that I have no intentions of making a fortune in appraising, nor do I plan to open my own shop in a couple years. As I said earlier, I want to gain experience so that I will be able to go on my own when I retire.

Over the next 2-5 years I must complete 2000 hours to get rid of the "trainee" tag to my license. At 4.5 hours for a complete summary report, that equates to about 445 appraisals (more or less). More if they are 2-4 Families, less if they are limited and so forth. This is based on the matrix used by Indiana. I don't know if other states use a similar system or not. I plan to complete an average of 2 appraisals per week. This is 104 a year and will allow me to complete my required hours in a little over 4 years. I am also fortunate to have a tremendous amount of vacation time accumulated which I will use as the volume at our shop periodically surges with the normal ebb and flow of a typical appraisal shop. Realistically I think I will have my hours done in 3-4 years. This gives me a buffer if volume falls off. I work in a two man shop under the supervision of a CG. He ran the numbers prior to taking me on to ensure that he could support me with adequate work to complete my required hours.

At 2 appraisals a week, that equate to about 10-15 hours a week (at least for me). I have been going on appraisals with my supervisor under this schedule for a couple months and haven't had a problem juggling a fulltime job (7-4) and appraisals on days off, lunch (courthouse records pulling), and evenings/weekends.

I have read other posts on this forum that tell of someone working fulltime and still doing 5-15 appraisals a week. I don't see how that can be done. Like I said, it takes me 5-8 hours per appraisal to pull records, inspect, and do the report. That allows me no more than 2 a week. Granted I am new and it might speed up some as I figure out what I am doing, but I don't think I will shave much time off. Besides, I would rather do quality work than quantity anyway. I should make it known that since I am awaiting my license back from the state, I haven't done any appraisals yet. What I am relating to you is the "shadow" work I have done following my supervisor around. I am fortunate to have a very ethical, experienced, and knowledgeable mentor.

Jon, I hope that I was able to explain how I am pursuing appraising and keeping my job at the same time. Everyone's situation is unique. I put a lot of time into coming up with a feasible plan. My mentor spent the better part of a month thinking about taking me on before committing. And I am appreciate of that.

It's not always easy, with working an extra 10-15 hours a week. But I do love appraising so far.

Hope that helps.
 

Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
I think I will contribute a few comments on this thread.

First of all, all of us were trainees at one point. That is the key word - trainee. Believe it or not, this is a complicated, detail oriented job that requires far more training that taking the course and passing the state exam.

I found a mentor first and that is really the key to the whole thing. The mentor should be able to give you an idea of what your approximate expectation of salary would be - mine certainly did.

Secondly, even though we have all been very busy the last year, the experienced appraisers realize that it is a very cyclical business and all of us have been through ups and downs in volumes before. Most of the more experienced appraisers believe we are getting ready for a downswing. But that doesn't mean that no one will get a job or keep a job - it just means that the established appraisers hesitate to take on a trainee and then not be able to deliver the promised results.

Thirdly - "helping with the workload" is likely way down the road. A mentor will spend an enormous amount of his/her time (or should) training you before you can work at anywhere near the same pace. So, it has to be a special person to take a trainee, give them business and also give up their time in training them. I figure it cost me about $10,000 this year training my trainee.

But, if you really like it, go for it. I love appraising and I especially love the diversity - outside work, inside work, independence, etc. You might consider adding "home inspector" to your skills as well. That might help fill in the money while you are being trained. I'm too old to climb through attics, but the guys in my office said they would certainly consider that if the appraisal business slows down. Good luck!
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Hi Jon,

Look at it this way....we are encouraging you to fully understand what you're going to be faced with as a trainee so that you can be successful.
If we don't tell the truth and present only the positive aspects of the profession, you might end up losing everything you've worked for up to this point.

Truth is, I've yet to meet a wannabe who didn't think that they were somehow going to shine above the rest. Each and every one comes with a resume and/or background that they feel makes them uniquely qualified for the job.

Sadly, the majority are oblivious to the fact that they will have to make significant sacrifices with their time and income security if they wish to eventually succeed. It's not that most wannabe's couldn't someday be excellent appraisers, it's that very few can afford to take the emotional and financial hit that is required to get through training and become competent enough to go it alone.
 

Mike Simpson

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2002
Jon-

I'm with Dee Dee on this issue...maybe hearing the other side is a good thing. Coming into this field I had certain expectations which have definately fallen far short of what I'd anticipated.

The very fact you've found this website is a good indicator of what you could face if deciding to proceed. Afterall, this site appears to have been started as a result of overwhelming lender pressure.

Having said that, there are exceptions to every rule. There are niche markets which could provide one with more security than strictly mortgage loan appraising.

Weigh all the information. If you decide to proceed you might be best served by concentrating all your eggs in one basket (that's right...I said it...all your eggs in one basket). Once you become established work hard thereafter to diversify.

Good Luck

-Mike
 

Ultraviolet

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Arizona
Like many, I started as office help in an appraisal office - 20 years ago :) While I realize that this may not be the ideal way for someone who wants to make a lateral move, it is one possibility. Competent office people are very difficult to find and it is a great way to learn not only the research and data entry, but to gain experience with clients and different types of appraisal assignments on a daily basis. Many employers also provide benefits.

Just my .02
 
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