Author Topic: Any property appraisers here?  (Read 2280 times)

mpg350

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Any property appraisers here?
« on: April 23, 2015, 08:34:47 AM »
Recently been thinking of a career switch and this looks like a career that I would enjoy.

Any here? how do you like your job?  What are the negatives with this job?

Mark


unmetamorphosed

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Re: Any property appraisers here?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 10:11:13 AM »
I'm not an appraiser myself, but I work in the GIS/Mapping department at a county appraisal district.

Obviously the pay and other factors are going to vary tremendously depending on where you are, but from watching my appraiser coworkers it seems most of them like the job. It's a pretty stable one too, especially if you live in a city/county with a lot of growth. We've hired a bunch of new appraisers in the last year, and most of them are pretty young. It's one of those fields that's going through a transition I think, in that most positions are held by older folks who are going to be retiring soon, so younger people are needed not just in that aspect, but also because everything is transitioning from paper and pen to electronic systems now and younger people definitely adapt better to new software systems, general internet usage, etc.

Day to day wise, there's the chaos season where taxpayers come in to contest how their property has been valued, and then I know the other half of the year the appraisers are out in the field going by the properties and updating their information. Also depends on each location, but you might not even be required to have relevant experience. Most of the young people that have been hired here shadowed one of the older appraisers for a few months and were given on the job training, etc. You do have to study a lot to pass some exams and keep your certifications up to date I think.

Let me know if you have any other specific questions!

wjquigs

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Re: Any property appraisers here?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2015, 10:41:53 AM »
It does seem like an interesting job, but wouldn't you be concerned that it's one of those jobs that will eventually go away thanks to the Internet? Like travel agents, taxi dispatchers, and human resources departments (and probably eventually your family doctor), it seems that computers are getting pretty close to being better at it than humans. I'm not saying that's good or bad, just something to be aware of.
I know real estate agents *loathe* Zillow, but there are a whole lot of houses in my neighborhood that sell for +-15% of their "zestimate". I think it will require a pair of human eyes to determine whether the house is a dump, or if it was remodeled properly or incompetently, but it seems like there would be less value in that than in the appraiser's role today.
Bill

PathtoFIRE

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Re: Any property appraisers here?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2015, 11:11:44 AM »
I too contemplated this as a potential post-FIRE gig. I just recently had my home appraised as part of a refinance, and given the cost versus the amount of work that seemed to go into it (30 minutes taking measurements as my house, running a few comps, assembling a long-ish report that seemed largely automatically generated), it seemed like a sweet gig. The certifications portion for the appraiser showed a number of certifications and courses taken, so I'm sure there's a fair amount of work to get up and running. However, I do have to say that the appraiser's convertible Porsche 911 looked awfully nice parked in my drive on the picture of the front of the house.

Chrissy

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Re: Any property appraisers here?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 11:12:42 AM »
My father was an appraiser.  It was his 3rd and last career, and the one he had the longest.  He liked the job, but retired from it as soon as he could.  Positives are that you're a one-man band, and on-site visits don't usually take very long; most of the job is paperwork that can be done at home anytime.  It's not physically taxing, though it requires mobility.

Negatives.  When you're working on comps, occasionally you get the cops called on you, since you're driving around taking photos of houses.  Once, in a rural area, the homeowner gave chase in his car, though it turned out okay when Dad pulled over and explained.  Also, dogs and terrible conditions.  Mom could never buy new furniture because my father's standards had been lowered by seeing that most people live like rats in a nest. 

He could never raise his rate.  He knew all the other appraisers' rates, and no one was able to break the $400/appraisal mark (this is a midsized town, Midwest, 5 yrs ago).  If you tried, the banks stopped hiring you.  His rate was $300-$350 from the late 80s to 2010.

You have to open checking accounts at banks you want to hire you, and you have to go in, physically, and flirt with their reps.  They give business to people they like.  My folks had 10+ checking accounts, spread all over town.

As banks nationalized, they would insist on coastal standards for appraisals that were unreasonable in the Midwest.  For example, they would send back some of his cases multiple times, INSISTING that the comps be within 1 mile, have the same number of bedrooms, etc.  Unfortunately, the one-room shack in question was 2 or 3 miles from the nearest dwelling, which was a 4-br McMansion.  His explanations were met with radio silence.

He hatched his escape plan during the boom, when banks put the pressure on for inflated appraisals, which he felt was unethical.  They don't have to be overt about it, though they sometimes were.  If you turn in an appraisal, and that bank doesn't hire you again for 6 months, you know they are displeased.

You have to retain the appraisals for 5 years or something.  My folks had a basement full of document boxes.  Try downsizing your home with all that around!  Twice, his appraisals were contested in court, years after the fact.  He never had to appear, but sent the lawyer his written explanation, and won both times.

So, it's not a panacea, but it's a good gig.  Dad offered his business to me several years before he retired... I seriously considered it, but didn't want to return to my hometown.

At his height, I think he made ~$70,000/yr.  That was when he had my retired mother doing most of the data-entry, so he could take on more cases.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 11:18:29 AM by Chrissy »

mpg350

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Re: Any property appraisers here?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 11:50:56 AM »
Thanks Chrissy for the info.

Sounds about what I expected.  Sounds like he worked on his own and didn't work for a company?

 
 

Chrissy

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Re: Any property appraisers here?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 03:54:17 PM »
Thanks Chrissy for the info.

Sounds about what I expected.  Sounds like he worked on his own and didn't work for a company?

Freelance.  I'm not sure there was/is such a thing in that part of the country.