How Many Appraisers Are in North Dakota?

Dave Towne

Dave Towne

Certified Residential RE Appraiser at Towne Appraisals
AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003.
Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com
Dave Towne

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How Many Appraisers Are in North Dakota? - Appraisal Shortage Saga LingersThe answer is 153, who are individually licensed in North Dakota. I didn’t segregate the three different license types. This figure came from a download of the ASC appraisal registry of ND licensed appraisers, and not counting duplicate name appraisers with multiple licenses in other states.

Many of these appraisers are ‘dual licensed’ in more than one state, in most cases immediately adjacent, but sometimes in states far distant from ND.

What’s the population of North Dakota? According to Wikipedia:

The United States Census Bureau estimates North Dakota’s population was 755,393 on July 1, 2017, a 12.3% increase since the 2010 United States Census. This makes North Dakota the U.S. state with the largest percentage in population growth since 2011. The fourth least-populous state in the country, only Alaska, Vermont, and Wyoming have fewer residents.

The point of this is to state the population density per appraiser is 4,937 people.

I am pretty certain this is far fewer than other states.

Yet the Governor and a state regulator in North Dakota – per the article below in American Banker e-newsletter – want everyone to believe there is a ‘shortage’ of appraisers. Actually, I suspect what they, and the state small bankers, really are peeved about is appraisals take more than a week to get submitted after the date of assignment. That’s not unusual elsewhere.

One thing to keep in mind is the possibility for ‘appraisal waivers’ is part of the original FIRREA law passed back in the late 1980’s.

But it’s only been recently that smaller banks have been pushing to get waivers approved. One bank was denied their request, one state applied, then dropped their waiver request, and now ND is pushing for this.

If ND is successful in this quest, will other states be far behind? Time will tell.

North Dakota seeks waiver from appraisal requirements

By Kate Berry
Published August 06 2018, 2:48pm EDT

North Dakota has become the first state to ask for a federal waiver from real estate appraisal requirements to allow banks to do their own property valuations.

Gov. Doug Bergum and Lisa Kruse, the commissioner of the Department of Financial Institutions, requested the temporary waiver, citing several factors including a drop in appraisers located in the state and a 12% increase in the state’s population.

Appraisals in some parts of the state are taking up to three months, according to the state’s 105-page application for a waiver from the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council’s Appraisal Subcommittee, which has oversight of appraisal programs.

Technically, state officials are asking to raise the limits that trigger an appraisal requirement on a loan to $500,000 for residential mortgages, from the current $250,000; and $1 million for business and agricultural loans, from the current $500,000.

What this means in actual practice is EVALUATIONS can be performed by people who are not licensed appraisers… something that is allowed in banking regulations, driven by the de minimus value. Can you now appreciate why it’s important for appraisers to band together cohesively to lobby on behalf of all appraisers, and quit standing on the sidelines?

The mortgage industry has been sounding the alarm for years of a shortage of appraisers as a result of the aging industry, lower pay and heavy workloads. The government has responded by seeking to reduce licensing requirements and suggesting states apply for waivers.

In a press release issued Monday by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Kruse said banks in the state are well qualified to take appraisals in-house.

“North Dakota financial institutions are community based and relationship oriented,” she said. “They are well prepared to fairly and accurately assess property values, which will provide relief to the existing supply of appraisers.

That’s kind of an odd statement. Perhaps not correctly quoted.
 

Image credit flickr - Drew Tarvin
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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42 Responses

  1. Mike Richard on Facebook Mike Richard on Facebook says:

    As a North Dakota appraiser, the governor’s letter rang completely hollow. Are there a handful of counties in which appraisers are more difficult to come by? Sure, but not impossible. But a statewide waiver? That’s a textbook that case of jumping the shark.

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  2. Bill Johnson says:

    Although I’ve estimated my local San Diego county numbers for some time, here’s what a search today told me. Per the Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers, and specifically by entering the county of San Diego (Company location on file / licensing), they show 919 active licenses. With a population of 3.1 million, the resulting population density is 1 appraiser per 3,373 people. Neighboring Riverside county has a ratio of 1 / 3,527, and the poor appraisers in Orange county have a ratio of 1 / 2,306. Don’t know if this helps or hurts the greater cause, but its reality none the less.

    Seek the truth.

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    • Mike Richard on Facebook Mike Richard on Facebook says:

      One cannot compare a statewide figure to a county by county figure, especially when those are high population counties. I live in the highest population county in ND but appraise in 9 others (8 of those being very low population rural counties). How would that skew the numbers if county residency was the only factor in determining a county’s coverage? A county of only 5,000 might have zero resident appraisers, but 5 who travel and appraise there like me, which would bring the ratio down to 1:1,000.

      I agree that we should seek the truth, so I am hopeful someone will publish the licensees per capita for all 50 states. That would be interesting to see an apples to apples comparison.

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      • Bill Johnson says:

        If you consider the entire state of ND as your local work area, and I consider a single county as my primary work area, then there are some similarities to my appraiser ratio. It gets a little more difficult locally if one assumes the appraiser population (+/- 2,700), covers all 3 counties (San Diego, Riverside, Orange) thus the ratio for San Diego county coverage could be as low as 1 appraiser for every 1,148 of the population.

        Seek the truth.

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        • Mike Richard on Facebook Mike Richard on Facebook says:

          There are 53 counties in ND. I service just 9. No I do not consider the whole state my work area. I think the state to state numbers are far more useful since there is often county crossover, as you have stated. Since we are licensed by the state, not the county, it just seems to be a more useful basis for comparison.

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          • Bill Johnson says:

            With a state population of 35 million, and +/-9,800 licensed appraisers (not including trainees / +/- 730 ), the state of CA has a ratio of 1 to 3,571. As my county has a ratio of 1 to 3,373, perhaps my situation (a like ratio), is similar throughout the entire state. 1 in 8 of all appraisers live in my state.

            Seek the truth.

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          • Mike Richard on Facebook Mike Richard on Facebook says:

            My memory may be off, but as a former California appraiser, I seem to remember there being over 20,000 appraisers back in the mid 2000’s. If there’s just 9,800 left, it’s amazing how many left the profession. I decided to leave my home state and settle in the great state of North Dakota. Doing my part to help with the so called “appraiser shortage” I guess.

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    • chris says:

      I agree, I ran a great business when we could talk to the loan production teams, told them what they needed to know, had them ask the upfront questions to the homeowners (on refi’s), we worked together and made good money without wasting peoples time or appraisal money (as best we could)….now the AMC wants the money, SORRY They NEED the money, so no talking to loan, don’t tell them they have no chance of refi -ing…we NEED their money…..Well they do, I don’t….the public loses and the owners of AMC’S win.

      That is the real problem they created with AMC’s. Very SAD !!

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  3. Dude says:

    The issue isn’t so much appraisers it is the lack of property information by the county or city. Many times the age, square footage, etc is not known on most properties and a lot of sales are private. How would an appraiser perform a credible report with very little information that can be substantiated.

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    • sdMike says:

      For those reasons, I’d expect that an appraisal would be pretty expensive, based on the amount of research work that the appraiser would have to do. The lead time would also be fairly long too.

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      • Mike Richard on Facebook Mike Richard on Facebook says:

        Right now, I’m at 3 weeks. I charge about 40% more than a typical appraisal in the metro area I reside in. Is that unreasonable?

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        • chris says:

          I am also on 3 weeks.

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        • sdMike says:

          I’d say you need to match your price against the time spent. If you spend 40% more time on the rural properties, then it’s fair. If not, charge more. It sounds like the market may be flexible due to the difficulty.

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        • Bill Johnson says:

          Locally Mike, and I’m busy, the expected turn time is no more than 5 days, and 3 to 4 days if you have a chance at getting work when bidding. Just yesterday I completed a rush assignment due in 24 hours of receipt. At the heart of the matter, when as a single county we do 4 times as much work compared to your state (4 to 1 population ratio), lenders by appraisal volume think whats done here, should be replicated in your state. OUR issues, are federal, state, regional, county, and city specified, but the powers that be want a one size fits all approach.

          Seek the truth

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    • Mike Richard on Facebook Mike Richard on Facebook says:

      This property information is usually available by calling or emailing the city or county directly. It is rarely publicly computerized though, so how on earth could any AVM be accurate? It is true that a good portion of the rural sales are F.S.B.O. which makes finding comps in an already low volume area all the more difficult. If anything, rural areas are where the investigative skills of the appraiser are needed most.

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  4. chris says:

    Some fools out there got it in their heads 5 day turn time was realistic.

    That was YEARS ago.

    Let them wait…I wait for my dentist, I wait for my lawyer, my accountant and EVERYTHING else when I need a professional.

    Let them WAIT for OUR work, which we can be sued over for years….and sometimes decades !!!

    Only a idiot thinks you can do appraisals in 5 days these days. No full time working appraiser is doing 5 days !!

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    • Bill Johnson says:

      Not to speak for all big city appraisers Chris, but many have become firemen, meaning we have no time (fast due dates) to schedule out days and weeks in advance, but rather daily or in a few days time we are expected to act (put out fires) or lose work that may go to other appraisers (919 appraisers all within 25 miles of me). Five days is a luxury, 3 to 4 is expected, 1 to 2 days for a rush, and thank God for the VA (7 day turn times). Instead of being able to group assignments together for maximum efficiency, much of the time the fireman approach results in many assignment being one offs due to fast due dates. If by volume the norm here is 3 to 5 days (4 to 1 ratio, San Diego county versus the state of ND), then its no wonder lenders want to complain about due dates there (3 weeks) and are exploring appraisal waivers. We are in this together, but lenders want a one size fits all solution.

      Seek the truth.

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      • chris says:

        Sorry to hear. I learned a long time ago, when companies try to manage my time to maximize their profits, my company’s profits were hurt, very sorry to hear that you still have to work under those conditions.

        Sounds like you still have an over suppy of appraisers problem.

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        • Bill Johnson says:

          Don’t feel bad for me Chris, at least those 3.1 million fires (county population) are within 25 miles of me. Year around 80 degree weather, what’s to complain about.

          Seek the truth.

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            • Bill Johnson says:

              Don’t tell FEMA this E J B, but I wish every week they would declare my county an emergency hit county. It’s amazing how fires in less than 1% of the county, can trigger disaster inspections for the remaining 99% ($100 a pop). Back in the day, (2003 ?), pre-HVCC and working in a large office, I can remember having over a hundred active disaster inspection reports that needed to be done (due in a week). There’s nothing like saying with 100% confidence that a 24th floor condo was not adversely affected by a rural fire from some 40 miles North.

              Seek the truth.

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              • Earl Brown says:

                I can agree with that but I bet I haven’t done but 5 or 6 of those I’m my 25+ yrs in the biz. Every now and then we’ll have a bit of flooding rain or maybe a tornado. The ones I’ve done are between 150 – 200 because of my rural area which requires a 50-75 mile round trip per inspection. Maybe that’s why I don’t get many. I guess the new “Professional Inspectors” will get all those now.

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                • Bill Johnson says:

                  They used to hand them out like candy (at the lenders expense), but now a days I’m lucky to get a handful after each disaster. Keep in mind, I only took the ones inside the county, but outside the disaster area. How from a driveway only view (the rural house not visible), can I tell if the house or perhaps its rear facing canyon location sustained fire damage, fire dept. damage, etc.

                  Seek the truth.

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                  • Baggins Baggins says:

                    Yes, mis the pir’s, simple drive by’s, all of that. I don’t think the figures for how much lost income we’ve experienced as a group are accurate. Raised deminimus, loss of pir, alternative non licensed people picking up inspections at discounts, day one cu, just all of it took away one hefty portion of work load at a time.

                    If lenders think we’ll continue to be able to provide similar costs for full on appraisals without all the bread and butter simple work in the future they’re wrong. Fewer appraisers, higher product and insurance costs. An almost complete elimination of simple more profitable services. The full 1004 should have tripled in cost by now and it’s moving that direction swiftly. For every substitution they make, this drives the consumer cost for full service upward dramatically. The distributors reluctance to support our necessary comparative income base is why so many appraisers continue to quit. I do the same thing my parents did and I do it much better. My income is a fifth of what theirs was when I first moved on appraisal 15 years ago. What the hell happened on this rock? When my wife is done with college, well, I already have one foot out the exit door. I don’t exist as a licensed appraiser and pay all these big dollar fees for overhead and access just so I can save a stranger a dollar or a day.

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                    • Baggins Baggins says:

                      Man that was fast. The second I finished posting that, new AI newsletter article.

                      There goes the majority of condo work for freddie guys. Bye bye, never coming back.

                      Freddie Mac Expands ACE Eligibility for Condominium Purchases and Refinances

                      Add 25% minimum cost increase to all future requests, if not much more than that. Calculate the previous income from all condo work in a year, extract what percent of your total income that was. That is your new cost of service increase multiplier. Multiple your remaining work product fee by 1.x to compensate.

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      • sdMike says:

        Like you Bill, I was a San Diego appraiser and turn time was king. Rarely did I have an appraisal on my desk after the inspection, for longer than 24 hours. It worked for me and my clients appreciated it. Therefore, I was always busy. VA appraisals were like being on vacation but I still tried to move them along. Lead times of one to 4 weeks seems long to me but I’ve heard of that being the rule in many areas. I suspect it’s due to the lack of data and drive times and that makes longer times more reasonable. I now live in UT and next week I’m going to let my clients know I’m ready to accept orders. Be interesting to see how that works with a non-disclosure state(!).

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  5. Jeff Weeks says:

    Some AMC’s and a few big cat lenders may be overlooking the fact that appraisers lack of willingness to actually work with them may be a root cause of their dilemma.

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  6. Dean Rylander says:

    Correction

    Currently today the State of North Dakota does have roughly 225 licensed / Certified Appraisers living and practicing in the State. along with countless numbers traveling to the state from afar.

    Our current turnaround time today is about 2 to 3 weeks just like everyone else.

    Our fees are in line with scope of work for the project and also inline with similar rural areas in other states. No – information is not available on-line. Yes – sometimes we do knock on someones door to find out particulars on a sale or measure a comparable sale property for square footage.

    “This takes time and we as appraisers invest a lot of time and money into our education. We deserve to get paid for our time.

    The issue is not necessarily a fee issue, The issue is a perceived appraiser shortage. A false perception. Of the lenders that have sent letters of testimony, I have only worked for a few. the rest have never called me nor am I on the approved appraiser roster panel. The issue is, they just don’t want us and they are going to take swing at it.

    As President of the North Dakota Appraisers Association – We are on this. We have Assembled a Task Force and have the people resources to combat the issues at hand. Our response will be accurate and detailed with true facts and data.

    The ND Appraisers Association does have currently and growing everyday 150 members.

    Appraiser shortage – Not hardly.

    Thank you for your attention on this matter, It is important to us all, not just in North Dakota but across the Nation. If we loose everyone looses.

    Sincerely

    Dean Rylander

    President

    NDAA.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Although this website is focused on the East coast, the focus is on national appraisal process correction and rehabilitation. The site owner is a working appraiser whom runs this on personal time and money, the administrator group will post any article or letter which your group has written, on request. This website gets top hits in google. Contact link at the bottom and a really nifty historical site map link on top with a comprehensive historical article search feature as well. Big lenders seem to be testing the smaller groups in an effort to change engagement nationally.

      For the first time in years I had the opportunity to exchange emails with an individually licensed mortgage banker. The sentiment that separation from loan production is counter productive is a commonly held opinion on both sides. Some mortgage bankers already feel the process is moving too fast and the consumer is under too much time pressure already. Thank you.

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    • Dean,

      Please let us know if we can help our fellow ND appraisers in any way. We will be happy to assist, publish NDAA’s announcements, call to actions, etc.

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    • Dave Towne says:

      Dean….thank you for your service to your peer appraisers in your state. It’s a labor of love which I fully respect. (I have done so in a different capacity in WA so have worn similar loafers.)

      It’s really important to ‘count’ people correctly. The ASC Appraisal Registry is useful, but just by itself pulling up appraisers in a state, it is not 100% accurate. (Neither is the National count.) I downloaded the Excel list of ND appraisers, then went through that line by line to eliminate ND appraisers by the same name which also hold licenses in other states. Now granted, I may have missed a few, but not over 70 as your ‘count’ implies. So I think the count I did is reliable. (It does not include Trainees, which you may include.)

      I recall when I downloaded the ASC list it indeed showed over 225 appraisers in ND.  But that’s a compilation of all licenses, not of non-duplicated individuals. As an example, one of your appraisers holds 10+ licenses in various states. That appraiser was counted 1x on my list.

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      • Kathy Berry says:

        Dave,
        Based on a spreadsheet from the state licensing office, and removing assessors and distant appraisers, the actual count of actively working appraisers in ND is 179 with license classifications Licensed, Certified Residential or Certified General. These are the appraisers living in ND and, like myself, border cities that are dually licensed but work ND on a constant basis. I live in a sister city across the state line in MN but work out of Fargo, ND. My work load is about 70% ND and 30% MN due to the geographic nature of the population. Additionally, there are 31 active apprentices in ND at this time as well – with a good handful up for licensing upgrades at the next state board meeting. Using these numbers (not including apprentice appraisers) our ratio is about 1:4,220. This number is truly not that far off of your CA statistics of 1:3,571.
        The biggest issue here in ND is the geography and lack of public records. The majority of our population is in 4 cities/metro areas leaving a vast majority of the state with low population – and low sales activity. It does not pay to live in a remote area and work full time as an appraiser. There is not enough work there. This is why many appraisers here work from a metro area and cover several counties, like previously stated by another appraiser from ND.
        ND is the nineteenth largest state in physical area, the fourth smallest by population, and the fourth most sparsely populated state (per Wikipedia). A huge majority of the state has no MLS service and these appraisers spend copious amounts of time tracking the sales and trends in these areas.
        Additionally, the state STILL accepts deed recordings without actual sales amounts on them – even though we are no longer a non-disclosure state. Picture, if you will, a state where public records are non-existent in much of the geographic area as well (many rural township records are in the township officials possession – in their homes – not located in readily available public places or online!) Many officials here are volunteer or part time. There is often long lags in their return on correspondence when tracking information.
        That being said, I believe this says a lot for the time involved in the appraisal process in rural ND, the difficulty in the scope of work, travel and research necessary to produce credible results. With such difficulty in tracking this as a full time appraiser, I find it hard to believe that a blanket waiver in ND- where there is little ‘readily available’ evidence of marketability or statistical data (in the rural areas) is a basis for safe and sound lending decisions.
        The appraiser number count is not so far off other states, but the availability of data in the state is far behind most others. ND lenders have a history of historically low foreclosure rates – maybe, just maybe, it’s due to the quality of the work being produced by the appraisal profession in the state. Kudos to my fellow appraisers.

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        • Kathy, the solution to the challenges you cite (and they are very real issues) is actually very easy but the stakeholders have to want to do it. Uphill battle though with the banks because they WANT waivers.

          Any who read these blogs know I’m no fan of CoreLogic. Despite that, YOUR state is exactly the kind of scenario where use of their Regional (statewide?) Matrix system could really be a blessing to all appraisers, and even agents. Unquestionably it benefits sellers and possibly buyers.

          The day of the dinosaur local mls is over as the only information source (though they COULD still survive by encouraging professionalism.and other local services). It’s something that perhaps the NDAA may consider looking in to.

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          • Baggins Baggins says:

            Yet it’s probably safe to bet the ratio of foreign investors is lower in these areas than incorporated mls areas. I’d gladly pay double to be in one of those last remaining independent arenas.

            Oh the jr days of swinging by the county seat, driving by many sales with accompanying county paper records. Sorting then forming a comprehensive market picture. One time they even supplied me dot matrix printouts. No problem and I’d still prefer those formats if they were available. Local data is just that, and sending it elsewhere does nothing more than bring in out of area interests. Big picture.

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        • Kathy Berry says:

          Side note 1: As per the state lilcensing board, there are currently 335 active appraiser licenses total in the state. This includes 33 apprentices and those licensed from areas like Minneapolis, MN, Sioux Falls, SD and Billings, MT – who though about 3 hours from ND have many appraisers in large firms who routinely work on large appraisal projects within ND.

          Side note 2: Though I have been nicknamed Kate by a few people in my life,  I am not the same person as Kate Berry who contributed to the article, nor am I related to her in any way.

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    • Dean, good job! Let us know if we can be of any assistance.

      (714) 366 9404 or name link

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  7. Baggins Baggins says:

    Because only rich people whom purchase over 500k homes deserve the checks and balances protections provided by traditional appraisal service.

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  8. chris says:

    Urban appraising is always easier that rural or far suburban, (i have done all). They all come with the good and bad. For Rural, I spend so much time driving comps, I put on the comedy channels and laugh my rear end off.

    Urban, you have to fight the traffic, in a good market reports are easier to write, in a low market, they take longer, 2 many factors to consider ONE size fits all.

    Some reports take 1.5 hours to write, others can take upwards of 5 or 7 for the real tough ones. I could write a no brainer in 1 hr. (that would be almost no adjustments, easy sketch, a few photos and a very short addendum.)

    Who ever said “they want one size to fit all”, is right.

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    • Bill Johnson says:

      As a self labeled big city appraiser, i would choose suburban, then urban, then rural as it relates to difficulty. That being said, living in a diverse market in part this week I completed an urban assignment (24th floor / panoramic Ocean/Bay view), a suburban assignment (1.3 million dollar PUD), and have a 5 acre rural assignment due next Monday. On my plate for next week is a detached condo, an age restricted (55+) twin home, and a fourplex purchase for (1.1 million). Although overall I agree with you, big city appraisers perhaps have it more difficult when it comes to the requirement of constantly switching gears relating to property types and forms.

      Seek the truth.

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  9. Dave Towne says:

    Kathy (Kate)…thank you for the very nice explanation. Turns out your number and my number are only 26 people different! Yes, there are dual-licensed appraisers who live outside ND, but work there. You are one of them. That’s the problem in trying to communicate with those upstream of appraisers that there really ISN’T an appraiser shortage……….. anywhere in the country. Dual-licensing complicates the metric for counting, and trying to make a comparison from state to state for number of available appraisers per population density, which seems to me a reasonable measurement.

    The biggest issue that I see is this, coming from the state burro-ocracy:

    “In a press release issued Monday by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, Kruse said banks in the state are well qualified to take appraisals in-house.

    “North Dakota financial institutions are community based and relationship oriented,” she said. “They are well prepared to fairly and accurately assess property values, which will provide relief to the existing supply of appraisers.

    Kathy made the point that property data is pretty sketchy and variable across North Dakota. Since that’s the case, how can we believe the ‘banks’ can do a better job performing EVALUATIONS than appraisers doing APPRAISALS?

    The other issue is EVALUATIONS have no known standards by which they must be performed, as we have with USPAP. Bank A can have EVALUATIONS performed under their guidelines, while Bank B’s may be totally different and uses a different type Evaluator than Bank A uses.

    An Evaluator can be anyone the bank chooses, and doesn’t have to be licensed. I’m not even sure if there is any kind of ‘required’ or suggested training necessary to become an Evaluator.

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How Many Appraisers Are in North Dakota?

by Dave Towne time to read: 3 min
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