A Tough Decision

by 19 Feb 2010

In the coming weeks, I will be blogging about my life as well as other appraisers and how, because of HVCC, it has changed. Recently I made the decision to take on another job. The appraisal requests I receive is very few. 6 in November of last year. 3 in December of last year and 3 in January of this year. These 3 individual months are usually slow for an appraiser, but under normal circumstances, I would have a reserve to live on from work generated during the spring and summer months. Well, thanks to HVCC?s implementation on May 1st 2009, the spring and summer months were 70% lower than normal. So I have no reserve, in fact, I have been living on a barely sustainable income. What really angers me is the continuing notion that we appraisers need to just accept the lower fees. Well, if I was single, did not have two young adults living with me, no mortgage and all of the other responsibilities that go with my life, if I lived in an apartment or could rent a room in a house for $600.00 per month then yeah, I could probably accept $200.00 to do an appraisal. The majority of us became appraisers because of the ability to start our on business and make a living doing it. None of us could have predicted what was to become of our profession yet here we are. And keep in mind, appraisal inspections can only be done in daylight hours. So when you factor in travel time to the subject?s area, drive time to photograph the comparables, time to inspect the subject and then drive home time, depending on the distance between one appraisal job and the other, the most one can do in one day is 3.Then comes the desk time of typing the report, research, etc. This can add an additional 2 hours per appraisal. So how can one make a living doing this for $200 dollars or less, while still paying for your car insurance, car payment, gas, appraisal license, continuing education, E & O insurance, MLS data source, Title sources and appraisal software? The answer is..?You can?t! So, I am now working part time at job that has nothing to do with the real estate industry, and I am working on obtaining another part time job. What I find interesting in all of this, is the recent proliferation of job opportunities for real estate appraisers to work directly for banks and lenders. In other words, if you don?t want to work for an AMC become an employee for a bank or lender. Most of my appraiser colleagues do not want to lose their independence. I may have to accept that being an appraiser may no longer be something you can do for a living or independently. More to follow???.


  • by Dave the Appraiser | 2/19/2010 11:15:59 PM

    I am an appraiser with about the same time in grade as you. I have operated my own appraisal business since 2006, after having worked for two other 'shops.'

    With all due respect to you, I must be doing something very wrong and perhaps you can help me.

    Would you share with me how you can research and write up an appraisal report in "2 hours per appraisal" as you mention in your blog post.

    What am I missing? Or maybe I should ask 'what are you not including?' My peers and I in my area typically take 6+ hours to complete a report...after doing the requisite inspections in the field. And most of us do only 1 assignment a day, not the 'up to 3' you mention. But then again, we are in suburban/rural areas where driving distances are increased.

    I'd really love to see one of your reports, and out of courtesy to you, I will send you one of mine. We can do peer reviews of each other's reports and maybe can learn from each other.

    This is a serious request, so I'd love to hear from you. Use dtowne (at) fidalgo [dot] net to contact me.

    Thanks and best regards.

  • by LamarrBanks | 2/20/2010 1:08:38 PM

    Hi Dave,

    I appreciate your concern. Many fellow appraisers become sensitive to an appraiser's claim to how much time it takes to do a report. The 2 hours I mentioned is in addition to the time needed. I did write "an additional 2 hours per appraisal". The 3 per day means the day after is reserved for typing and research. So maybe I should have stated up to 9 appraisals in a 7 day period? I didn't mean to imply that I am so much faster than anyone or that I "cut and paste".

    I hope this clears up the confusion. I will be more precise in describing time needed in the future. And yes, I am surrounded by the greater L.A. area, so my driving time may be a little less than what you experience.

    From one fellow appraiser to another, I do not wish to get into a comparison of one appraisers work to another. I respect how other professional appraisers do their work. My writing here in this blog is my opinion of the market place, the unfair practices taking place in regards to the ability of appraisers to obtain work and how we as a group are affected.

    This blog is simply my opinion. And I thank you for responding, and clarifying the need for me to be clear on time spent on appraisal work.

    Thank You Dave!


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