So You Want to Be a Real Estate Appraiser

How do I become a real estate appraiser? With the current educational and practical experience requirements, it is challenging today to become a real estate appraiser.  It is challenging to an employer to take you on as a trainee. The main problem is that there is a major commitment of time and money on the part of the mentor-appraiser.  This commitment is to get that trainee to the point s/he has enough practical experience, training, education, and desire to be a profit-center for the supervisor. Supervising appraisers are in the biz to make money, not provide charity.

It can take months to train an appraiser how to inspect a property properly.  It can take years to train an appraiser to analyze data, make adjustments based on those data, and then interpret the market from those analyses.  Lender clients make it even harder. So, unless your supervisor’s practice has its foundation primarily in non-lender work, there can be little incentive to hire you (unless you bring an amazing skill-set to the table). 

However, there is hope!  If you want to find a great mentor to work with, try looking at this business thru your employer’s eyes.  In other words, what financial incentive(s) do you bring to your potential employer?  Ask yourself: For example, in the beginning of the trainee/mentor relationship, are you willing to work free?  If not, at least in the beginning, there is no financial incentive to hire you.  (Remember: you pay to go to college; are you willing to pay for your real estate appraisal education, too?). This is not a popular idea, to be sure.  However, are you willing to earn your experience and truly show your mentor you are in this for the long haul?  

What can you do to lessen the potential liability your employer takes on in hiring you?   What are you willing to do to show your potential employer you will not become his/her competition just as soon as s/he trains you to the point you are state certified?  Are you willing to sign, and then abide by, a non-compete agreement? 

And, finally, be prepared to answer this question:  What are the benefits of hiring you which, until you are trained, is a drain on the time and money-earning capacity of the mentor?  What are the advantages to the mentor of hiring you? After all, you need the mentor – the mentor does not need you. Make him/her need you!

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 193 Are You Inadvertently Breaking Confidentiality Rules?

6 thoughts on “So You Want to Be a Real Estate Appraiser”

  1. Our problem here in Florida is finding someone who wants to become an appraiser. We have the facilities, the know how and the want to to offer someone a great profession and lifestyle. Our success rate to grow our office is poor at best. Being able to communicate our need for appraiser help is lacking a platform.

  2. Jessica Garcia

    I am an appraiser trainee in Austin, Texas. I am looking for a company to join. It has been difficult to join a group that is willing to hire a trainee.

  3. Teri Radabaugh

    There are a couple of major problems here. One, lenders need to allow trainees to sign a report along with the main appraiser. Two, training needs to be done through the college system to the point trainees have a license then work with a certified appraiser for at least one year. The appraisal institute has been saying this for years but nothing has been finalised that I know of. We are literally a dying breed. Almost all of us appraisers in California are old, or close to old. Something needs to be done or our industry will die.

  4. The industry is finding ways for alternative valuation products. A traditional appraisal will not be needed anymore . If I was a young appraiser trainee , I would find another line of work because it is not worth the time . You will become middle age real fast as the years move on and you could have spend those years building experience in a different business which has more of a future . This business has been excellent for me personally but there are better opportunities out there . The future for this business is for a non appraiser to do the inspection for $75-$100 bucks and then pass the data and photos to an actual appaiser who will end up doing the appraisal for half the fee at his/her desk and the software will tell him which comps to select . The software will do it for you . Run don’t walk . The future is dead for young appraisers .

  5. It is a supply and demand issue – when the demand for more appraisers (across the nation, not in small pockets or rural areas) increases, then more younger appraisers will get into the business. Right now, there is a shortage of appraisers in large areas only because of the low interest rates and a good economy, but in 3-5 years, we will all be fighting for the same slice of pie. In my area, the supply and demand is even, we do not want a large supply of appraisers to come in. A small trickle will be fine.

    1. Sorry Tac, but in the real world of appraising, supply and demand almost don’t matter. The powers that be have been purposely trying to rid the process of needing an appraiser for years by way of decreasing to stagnant fees, government sponsored appraisal waivers, increased entry standards, increased liability, decrease of time to complete, increased business costs, etc., so they can claim a shortage on there way to wanting AVM’s, or as in the case of North Dakota a year+ appraisal waiver approval. Some people close their eyes to the reality that the sky is falling, while others have been preaching for years that storm clouds are near. Are your eyes open or closed Tac?

      Seek the truth.

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