Real estate appraisal a hard road for newbies

If you think you might like to become a real estateappraiser, first read “How to Get Started in the Real Estate AppraisalBusiness” by Daniel J. Nahorney. After you learn how difficult it is toget started and the very low pay for trainees who must acquire 2,000 experiencehours, plus taking training courses to qualify for the basic appraiser’s exam,you might consider another career.

The author is not an appraiser, but he interviewed manylongtime successful appraisers who responded with glowing reports about thewonders of the appraisal profession. However, Nahorney doesn’t hesitate toemphasize the negatives of being an appraiser, such as the very low startingpay, and extreme pressure from some mortgage lenders and borrowers to “hitthe mark” and appraise for a specific home valuation.

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Throughout the book, the author emphasizes the importancefor a new trainee to embrace technology, which Nahorney says is the future ofappraisals. He explains the importance of automated valuation models (AVMs),which can eliminate or minimize the need for an appraiser, thus reducing anappraiser’s income.

Nahorney notes the appraisal industry trend for successfulappraisers is to specialize in a specific type of real estate, such ascommercial buildings or luxury houses, and then become the local appraisalexpert in that field. He also emphasizes mortgage lenders want appraisals,which are “better, faster and cheaper.”

Although the author tries to maintain a positive, upbeatattitude, he failed to interview any new appraisers or current trainees who arejust getting started. Instead, he talked with “old timer” appraiserswho have been involved in the profession at least 15 years.

Reading between the lines, it becomes painfully obvious itis very difficult for a beginner trainee to get started by finding anexperienced appraiser willing to take on a raw recruit and pay him or her aliving wage.

But Nahorney saves the worst news until the Appendix wherehe explains the even tougher appraiser licensing standards, which becomeeffective for new licensees in 2008. In addition to the 2,000 hours of traineeexperience required, the course requirements become more extensive and collegedegrees become required to appraise more than four-unit residential properties.

This realistic book is definitely not a “puffpiece” for the appraisal profession. Instead, it is a critical look at afield that is vulnerable to charges of fraud and corruption by a very fewappraisers, but in which is difficult to earn a modest living, at least at thestart.

Although Nohorney is rather charitable toward the AppraisalFoundation, which establishes the often impossible to understand constantlychanging Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) rules, herealizes their Appraiser Qualifications Board (AQB) establishes the minimumqualifications.

Chapter topics include: “Looking in at the Profession”;”From Outsider to Trainee”; “Choosing a Direction”; and”External Forces Changing the Profession.” Everyone interested inbecoming a professional appraiser should real this book, which reveals mostlyunknown downside of starting out as an appraiser.

After reading this realistic book, having been involved withreal estate more than 35 years, I find it impossible to believe any fullyinformed young person would want to tolerate all the drawbacks and become anappraiser when there are so many better real estate opportunities. The authoris to be commended for honestly writing about a very difficult topic. On myscale of one to 10, this excellent book rates a solid 10.

“How to Get Started in the Real Estate AppraisalBusiness,” by Daniel J. Nahorney (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2006, $21.95,123 pages; available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, publiclibraries, and

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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