The path to becoming an appraiser has its challenges. This exact topic has been in the spotlight within the industry for a while, but never more so than over the past year. Increased demand for appraisal services has raised the question: Is getting into the profession too hard? The Appraisal Qualifications Board (AQB) is on its third exposure draft in the process of revamping these requirements. Secondary markets (think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) have begun to use programs that waive the necessity of appraisals. There is debate between appraisers and users of appraisal services whether an actual appraiser shortage of appraises exists. In an appraisal trends study completed by the National Association of Realtors® 85.6% of appraisers surveyed indicated they are planning on leaving the industry within the next 14 years. The same survey indicates that 83.9% of those same appraisers are currently are not training new appraisers. Given all this, it’s hard to argue that we as a profession need to do something to stay relevant in the home-purchasing process.
The biggest hurdle to becoming an appraiser is the hours of experience necessary with a certified mentor. Most appraisers cite strict Appraisal Management Company (AMC) rules that require a mentor inspect all assignments with their trainee as a reason for not training new appraisers. It doesn’t make any sense financially, they say. They can’t afford to pay a trainee.
I have been of the opinion for a while now that not all appraisers can or SHOULD be a mentor. Some are bad appraisers. Some don’t have the entrepreneurial mindset or know how to make having an employee a reasonable option. I feel like I can speak to this with some knowledge, having been a mentor to more than one appraiser over the last 4 years. And yes, I have made money from it.
Recently, I enrolled in a program through the Veterans Administration and the State of Montana Department of Labor that enables a veteran employee, interested in becoming an appraiser, to use their GI Bill money as a supplement to the wages I pay. The program is designed like an apprenticeship, with a set schedule of advancement and a pay plan that accompanies it. I pay the trainee a wage, and they receive a check from the VA/GI Bill each month as a supplement. The theory is this: Someone starting at the bottom doesn’t make the same amount as someone who is experienced. That is commonsense for any profession that I can think of. You are paid a beginner’s wage. The program allows an employer to pay a beginner’s wage, and it allows the employee to still make enough to support themselves. It has worked well for me with my current trainee, and I have another starting next year who will benefit from the same arrangement.
I would love to see the leaders of our state and country implement a tax incentive for hiring veterans. This would be another huge help in the industry, and I’m only just beginning to work on the idea. I will be reaching out to some of my peers locally and nationally to help.
Hiring an employee is never easy, but there are things that can be done to help make it easier. If you would like to learn more about this program and how you could implement one in your business, please contact me.
Once again, thank you for allowing the Moore Appraisal Firm to be your residential and commercial real estate experts.