Your Appraisal Business in 3 Years?

Your Appraisal Business in Three Years?

What Does Your Appraisal Business Look Like in Three Years?

If I were to ask you to paint an accurate picture of what your appraisal business looks like three years from today, could you do it? If you can’t answer this question, perhaps you are getting hung up on the word “accurate”. Any individual can guess what the future might look like, but can you make that prediction with some sentiment of reality?

In an exercise such as this, it is easy to get paralyzed by so many unknowns that are outside of our control. What will the markets do?  Will Fannie/Freddie come up with additional requirements?  What will my state board decide with that proposed rule change?  Meanwhile, the things we do have some control over can equally stump us. What will my family dynamic look like in three years? Will that great new assistant I just hired stick around? Will my health hold up that long? There are always the ‘what ifs’ of life. The question is: can you create some sort of game plan despite the hurdles that will surely come?

As I have studied the Greats, I have found a common theme; successful people have vision. Those who find achievement in this life do not just sit back and allow it to happen. Rather, they take the proverbial bull by the horns. They look to a point in the future, spend some time visualizing what it looks like for them, and create a roadmap to get from here to there.

On the other hand, 98% (Brian Tracy’s number, not mine) of all people have no vision beyond what they are planning to have for their next meal.  Indeed, most people could not tell you what their business and/or life looks like one year from now, much less three years down the road.

As I interact with appraisers in person and online, I find a common theme, we appraisers in general are discouraged and generally fearful of the future. It is not surprising given what we have been dealt over the past few years. Scope creep, lower fees, challenges beyond our control, and hints of being replaced by some super-special Zillow matrix make it difficult to keep the old chin up on our present condition, much less our future. Despite this doom and gloom, there are plenty of appraisers who are making a decent living and loving what they do. How?

Though there is no one, single success model that fits all achievers, there are some general patterns that I have noticed. Firstly, they keep mostly to themselves. Rather than paint a bulls-eye on their chest, they go about doing their jobs and running their businesses quietly. Secondly, they generally have a good attitude. I have heard the axiom “attitude is altitude” ad-nauseum, but there is still merit to its overall sentiment. I notice some appraisers spend so much time and energy complaining that I have a hard time figuring out how they have time to do any appraising. Successful appraisers have a system. They are continually refining and making their models better, and it works… consistently. Finally, business owners who have vision last. Not only are they setting goals (which is better than setting no benchmarks at all), but they can tell you exactly what their business looks like at the end of this year, next, and three years from now. It is not a vague “I hope I am still around in 36 months,” but an illuminating “I will be doing 60% non-lender business, working 35 hours per week, have three employees, and netting $145,000 per year.” The more specific the plan, the more focused one can be on its achievement.

The problem with most of us is that we either don’t stay focused on our plans or have no plans to begin with. Frankly, the latter is probably the case more than the former. We work day-to-day and paycheck-to-paycheck. A house does not get built without a blueprint and a business does not change without a plan for doing so.

We should all be actively involved in changing our current appraisal climate on a grand-scale. Join a coalition. Be active in what is going on at your state board. Write letters. Attend think-tank organizational meetings. Speak up! Do not be satisfied with the status quo, but real change is faster and more effective within the walls of your own office.  hat are you doing to make your life easier tomorrow than it is today? What will your business look like in three years? If the answer to that question is, “About the same as it looks today, I suppose,” perhaps it is time to sit down and create a vision.

As first seen in the Appraisal Buzz

Dustin Harris
Latest posts by Dustin Harris (see all)
Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on

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34 Responses

  1. Benjamin Brossette on Facebook Benjamin Brossette on Facebook says:

    Nice article.

  2. Herb Martin on Facebook Herb Martin on Facebook says:

    If all goes as planned I will be out of this god forsaken business and that’s something I thought I would never say.

  3. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    A regurgitated article from “The Appraiser Coach”.  It is true that more and more appraisers find themselves practicing “Kaizen” on a daily basis.  For those of you who don’t understand, Kaizen translates to mean “constant improvement”.  The appraisers who practice Kaizen today do so because it is drilled into their skulls by the large corporations (Toyota, Amazon, etc.) that they work for.

    Inquiring minds are dying to know:

    Is he still making $500,000 per year by doing strictly residential appraisal work?  If so, wouldn’t his time be better spent appraising 80 hours per week rather than coaching others?

    Does he still employ a chauffeur to drive him around so he can use his time more efficiently?

    Does he still outsource his typing and answering service to overseas agents?

    Searching for more efficiency today in the appraisal profession is like trying to improve a “self embalming kit”.  Why bother when AMCs are doing the work for you?  If it’s true efficiency that you searching for you would do well to study the post 2009 appraisal ordering process (AMCs).   The new process is rivaled only by the efficiency of Nazi extermination camps.

    • Avatar Bill Johsnon says:

      On another site Retired Appraiser I have the following advise for Dustin. Apply your income from Idaho Falls to other parts of the county by way of a cost of living calculator to see if most should be as happy as you are. Do your preaching’s and practices hold up? How does an Idaho mandated $450 VA appraisal fee compare to the SAME fee that is paid in my area of San Diego/Carlsbad? If you apply a cost of living increase (80% higher / Bankrate calculator) then to make the same amount that CA appraiser SHOULD BE PAID $810 AND NOT $450. If you turn it around and say that Idaho appraiser should make 80% less than the CA appraiser, THEN ARE YOU STILL IN BUSINESS DUSTIN AT $90 PER APPRAISAL? As most in this profession aren’t located in the sweet spots (apparently Idaho) of the nation, I would ask you to write your next blog from the though of making 80% less of what you make now. Again, will your message be the same? What would 3 years from now look like Dustin if you were paid at a rate of $90 per appraisal? If you live in Idaho where fees are $450, the median house price is $185k and rent is $600, then your prospective of reality might be off.

      • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

        All great points Bill.  Perhaps I am more harsh on Mr. Harris than I should be.  I am a fan of his thoughts in theory since they would work very well if applied to the appropriate business.  Appraising is simply not a business model that these techniques could (or should) be applied to.  Residential appraising today is zombie business.  Most owners perceive that they own something of value when in fact their kingdom is purely virtual.  I believe that if Mr. Harris were to redirect his marketing and teaching skills towards a larger target (small businesses nationwide) he would discover massive success.  I would also recommend that he consider joining a success seminar circuit as a speaker.  It’s obvious that his true passion lies in teaching the principles of success.  I predict that if he chooses to follow that passion he will increase his income ten fold within the next 3 years.

      • Bill, we could really use your help in the AGA. I have two burning personal issues I want to focus on and am unable to give the attention that is needed.

        (1) Defending member appraisers from unwarranted charges; and or trying to help them mitigate damage when they make an honest error (non fraud related!);

        (2) Getting REASONABLE fees adopted within Dodd Frank’s ambiguous “C&R” fee requirement.

        Can’t offer a discount to practicing appraisers, but I CAN promise as much uncompensated volunteer work as you are willing to take!

        FYI-we now have a “Retired Appraisers or patrons” membership category that DOES have a very reduced fee…they are still working on the name. We wanted to take advantage of an awful lot of expertise that exists out there, but could not do so since the people were outside of our charter.

        …now who around here could possibly fit the new category………………….

  4. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Since HVCC and Dodd Frank I disagree with the statement that what most appraisers now have is a business. If in fact 80% of all work now goes through AMC’s, tell me how the mostly sole proprietor appraisers are business owners. Policy is written for this super majority and it is designed to attempt to in essence make you an employee without benefits. The AMC’s pre-determine fees via TRID, they pre-determine due dates, deadlines move up after the inspection, it’s required that the appraisers pay delivery fees, phone scripts are provided, clothing tips are provided, we are told we can’t include invoices. Dustin, I must be one of the great ones as I have a vision, but unfortunately is double vision based on my long hours, low pay and high stress level.

    • bubba jay / Retired Appraiser II bubba jay / Retired Appraiser II says:

      you are correct bill. its easy to have a positive attitude and say i want my business “here” in the next three years and here are my goals. its easy to have a good attitude about something you think you may have some control over.

      but the other side of a good business plan is always evaluating the business’ outside influences, and other things you mentioned like long hours, low pay and high stress levels that all have an effect on a business. we can all write a list a mile long about all the negative influences that are out there right now, cant we?

      having a positive attitude is nice, but having a blind positive attitude can eventually get a business in big trouble. appraisers are not stupid, and their numbers continue to dwindle fast because they know that just about everything is a train wreck right now, and for many, they are saying “screw this nonsense”. people will tolerate getting their butts kicked for only so long. thats not a bad attitude, thats just having a little common sense and understanding.

      anyone besides me know of other appraisers who have gone back to school or are sending out resumes trying to find something else? i am guessing most appraisers do. talk to them about their new goals and i promise you, you will hear the true definition of a positive attitude.

      the bleeding continues . . . . .

  5. Dustin is right in terms of business building. I personally know appraisers following his methods (to some extent) and they are successful.

    The real issue is the degree to which positive attitude and informed business planning can be applied in the current real estate appraisal; business valuation & International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), “Big Data” & banking special interests environment.

    Its actually relatively easy to be ‘successful’ today. The ‘trick’ is to be able to succeed without sacrifice of personal values, and within American legal & ethical constraints. Somewhere along the way most of us also want to enjoy a ‘reasonably secure or comfortable’ quality of life. The order these are listed in is important.

    While specific flexible tactical business planning is still possible; broader strategic planning in our business is tougher today than in pre 2009.

    The rate at which special interests are able to carve out exemptions or “special privilege” in both federal and state legislation is much faster than the rate at which professional and consumer “Guardians” can identify, examine / analyze and oppose them. When they can be opposed at all.

    How many years did it take to repeal HVCC? How many of it’s most damaging aspects were reversed? How many MORE years did it take to get Dodd-Frank with it’s intentionally ambiguous; nearly unenforceable  C&R fee ‘after thought’ provision?

    Sure, appraisers CAN plan strategically for three years from now. But they can no longer count on the tactical steps to get there, being available to them for even one year.

    Dustin Harris is (imho) one of the ‘good guys’ who will try to help others to ETHICALLY increase productivity. Not all of his methods are however suited for all of us. Personally at this stage of my life, I don’t want to work that hard; OR depend that much on technology. I WILL however take some of his ideas for my own use-such as his regression webinar.

    I think a much bigger concern for appraisers is taking back our profession, rather than simply learning how to survive in it as outside, self serving, forces dictate. In this he, and I believe most bloggers here are in agreement.

    More than ever I urge ALL to join the American Guild of Appraisers (AGA) of the OPEIU / AFL-CIO at or by calling Jan or Leo at (301) 220-4100.

    I follow events and attend TAF meetings when I can. There is a giant freight train full of change about to run over all of us. Some legislators and regulators are willing to help us. Some other interests take the approach of either get on board or get out of their way. How do you think we became “valuators” instead of appraisers? Why does it increasingly appear that core ‘principles’ are no longer PRINCIPLES?

    IF you can answer the following question correctly you probably have no need for the AGA or state coalitions. If you cannot, then its time to rethink your position.

    How many seats on the Appraisal Practices Board of The Appraisal Foundation are currently held by foreign nationals who’s listed office address is located in their home nation?”

    Was FIRREA created to bring AMERICAN REAL ESTATE APPRAISAL practices into alignment with other discipline’s practices? Was it’s purpose to promote trust in Appraisals by AMERICAN CITIZENS & Taxpayers, or foreign national interests?

    • Bubba Jay / Retired Appraiser II Bubba Jay / Retired Appraiser II says:

      mike, lets hope the changes you are talking about are positive changes, and changes that will IMPROVE the profession. this constant “our way or the highway” mentality is BS and destructive. any more destruction will only push more appraisers out of the profession.

      if this is the plan, it is working flawlessly.

      the bleeding continues . . . . .

      • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

        Bubba, the changes I see are not the least bit positive. Back when the AICPA (primarily CPA business “valuators”) had their internal turmoil about adopting USPAP it did not take long for their influence to be felt in TAF; USPAP and even in how the AI and TAF now describe us as “valuators” performing valuations rather than real estate appraisals and appraisers.

        Their is a LOT of opportunity in international business valuation. A LOT! It is also only available to a comparatively small segment of “appraisers”. AI is trying to move that way; ASA has had entre to, and of respected business valuators for decades.

        Here is the problem. THEY (BV community) comprised of ASA; NACVA and AICPA PLUS tax attorneys & others are FAR MORE organized and powerful than ANY real estate appraisal organization. ASA covers BOTH real estate and business, along with personal property (art and gems) and equipment appraisal, etc.. They are highly respected in their own right. As is NACVA, and I’m told AICPA is the accountants version of the AI; but perhaps pricier.

        Because of the tremendous amount of international money moving through Wall Street associated with “products” which in turn own huge bundles of real estate “interests”, some believe ‘valuation’ of these “products” (say bundled securities or REITs, or hedge funds) can or should require that ALL real estate be valued the same as they are. They never understood that REAL ESTATE appraisal of a specific piece of real property is NOT valued the same way as a business entity is.

        They (and we) call the three approaches by the same name, BUT we do not apply the techniques in the same manner! Nor, do we have the same generally accepted sound appraisal practices guiding HOW we apply these practices to the established techniques.

        Ever since TAF formally adopted rules for business valuations; intangible assets, etc., we have seen the line between business valuation and real estate appraisal deliberately blurred. The IVSC is a further move in that direction.

        Think back to 1989. Was FIRREA drafted, passed and implemented for the benefit of international securities dealers, or was it created to restore faith in the  American Banking System and through it’s Chapter Eleven; to restore trust in Real Estate Appraisal reliability, credibility and integrity?

        I met an appraiser (RE) in Nevada last week who firmly believes we need to allow a new lower set of standards that would enable him to provide a hedge fund manager with a “quick, down and dirty” product that can be delivered for only $50 or $100. I told him USPAP already DOES allow that, but he replied that the hedge fund manager doesn’t want more than half a page “analysis” without all that limiting condition and disclosure filler nonsense that adds another 4, 5 or 6 pages; AND most especially does not want to pay full appraisal fees.

        My response was “Right, what THEY want is a product that is so short that it can appear to give assurances of value but which really has less utility and reliability than a double ply sheet of Charmin. They want a product that they can use to facilitate their committing fraud on an international basis. Fraud that will “make us more competitive” with how “values” are determined in many foreign nations. Like Mexico; Peru, Abu Dhabbi, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, Qatar, Egypt, Indonesia, China, Russia, Ukraine and so on.

        Places with sound track records of only the highest standards of morality and open honesty in business dealing, right?

        I’ve named several discipline professional groups and I do not mean to impugn their integrity or reputations. Being different from us does not make them ‘bad’. It merely means that we ARE different. Our products are used differently. American Real Estate Appraisers should NOT have to be concerned about “what the value added is” to the (hypothetical) downstream end user of our “product or commodity.” Period.

        I repeat my question of yesterday. Who knew we had non American, foreign national(s) on the APB of TAF?

        The special interests driving THIS train range from Congress all the way down to your locally based international tax attorney whether they are on 5th Avenue, in San Fernando, or in Chicago.

        IF you like the concept of your appraisal being a commodity over which you have NO CONTROL after completion BUT still have nearly unlimited liability to unknown end users, then perhaps there COULD be something positive about the juggernaut headed our way.

        Personally, I’d prefer the Charmin.

        Is YOUR state coalition also dealing with this issue? It really IS time to join the American Guild of Appraisers,#44 OPEIU/AFL-CIO. Call direct to the Guild at (301) 220-4100 (Jan or Leo); look them up at Yes, if you have any questions you can call me on my cellphone at (714) 366 9404 up to about 10:30 PM PST and preferably not before 10 AM.

  6. Avatar BC says:

    My business plan will look the same in 3 yrs as it is today which is VA/FHA/USDA/FNMA/Private.  Notice what is missing?

    • Avatar bill johnson says:

      Your business plan may be the same BC, but what happens when the current 400 page mortgage letters become 500? If it turns into 800 pages in 3 years how will this effect your time and income? Your fees will most likely be stagnant while you spend an extra 25% more time completing that same assignment.

    • The Angry Appraiser The Angry Appraiser says:

      If you don’t mind, post your name and address.  We’ll check back in with you on February 4, 2019 to see if you’re still in business.  We’ll also check to see if you’ve filed for bankruptcy if you don’t mind.

    • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

      That’s quite a business plan BC.  You must have spent weeks constructing it


      If you don’t mind I’d like to purchase the rights to that plan and sell it to others for $500 each.  I’ll be happy to forward a 25% royalty check to you each month for the next 3 years.  This amazing plan has the potential to not only stop the outflow of appraisers but bring the 30,000 who fled the business back into the fold.  If only they had the insight that you have to offer…

      • Avatar BC says:

        My business plan works for me Retired Appraiser, you old curmudgeon! and allows me to earn $200,000+ per yr and be diversified owning rental property, so to answer Angry Appraiser, (are you 2 of relation?) I will happily follow up with you in 3 years, In fact I’m going to get the date Tattooed on my arm as soon as I finish this post.   Retired Appraiser, you spend a lot of time on appraisal blogs for someone who quit, you really need a hobby man!  This cannot be good for your health and I could care less about the 30,000 appraiser’s who have left, STAY GONE I SAY!  If you were any good you would have figured out a way to survive. Lots of Hate from you both, whats up w/that?  Just TROLLS I guess!

        And to answer Bill Johnson who asked the only sane question, I have raised fees recently due to FHA’s increased inspection and scope of work.   FHA 1025 to $775 and FHA $1004 to $575.  VA caps fees by State which is $415 for a 1004 in my state, however they only require 3 comparables and are a pleasure to deal with.

        This will be my last reply as I have to get back to work and cannot waste time responding to angry Despots!  Toodles

  7. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    BEHOLD: The power of web research. BC aka Big Charlie aka Mike Ford

    One appraiser/blogger in the U.S. uses the term “curmudgeon”. Google: “Mike Ford Appraiserblogs Curmudgeon” and you’ll find the answer. He’s used that term with reference to me countless times on this site.

    When it comes to bragging about your income Mike just be honest with us about where your $200,000 comes from. According to your website: You do commercial work, residential work, you do work for the IRS, the FBI, tax offices, and attorneys. You also do consulting work and own income property. Your Linkedin account confirms my suspicion that you also do expert witness work at the Superior Court and Federal Court levels. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that your wife is an attorney or judge or a real estate broker. Did I mention that your company covers the entire state of California?

    You are about as transparent about your source of income as the HUD-1 is with regard to appraisal fees. I might also add that you are as about as close to being the typical residential appraiser as George Washington was to being an average farmer (50,000 acres). I respect what you’re doing in trying to fight for appraisers and I respect what you’ve accomplished but…. Anyone who boasts of how great this “profession” is and how much money they make at it owes readers FULL DISCLOSURE. 

    Do you expect the average Joe working in the appraisal trenches (septic tank) to believe you are an average residential appraiser? It’s easy to turn away a $300 appraisal assignment or even claim you refuse AMC work when you have cash flowing in from commercial work, the IRS, the FBI, attorneys, and rental property. Am I wrong?

    I choose to overlook your comments about me being a despot, a troll, and your implying that I was a poor appraiser who couldn’t cut it. You’ve lost my respect however with your latest post. I suspect that you’ve also lost the respect of other hard working “authentic” residential appraisers who have or intend to walk out of this sweat shop. If you intend to preach to residential appraisers, do so from the ditch in which they dwell rather than from your mountain resort. Angry? No…but I do thrive on exposing B.S. Artists.

    Toodles La Despot Troll

    • Avatar BC says:

      I am not Big Charlie, and I’m NOT lying at all, I had never heard of Big Charlie until the other day when he responded to one of my posts, which was you and Bubba doing your usual stick and I’m not Mike Ford, but he typically makes good points and has keen insight towards the industry and tries to advocate on our behalf.   I did however steal the “Old Curmudgeon”  line from someone a long time ago, as it is you to a TEE, so I will cop to that.  

      Would you like a copy of my tax returns for the past 3 years? I’d be happy to send them with personal info redacted.  Keep doing what your doing RA which is WHINING on Blogs! Different strokes for Different Folks! Toodles

      • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

        Save it.  BC & Big Charlie share the same avatar icon.  Mike Ford is the only appraiser on this planet who uses the word “curmudgeon”.  Case closed.

    • RA, BC is NOT Mike Ford. Mike Ford doesn’t hide behind some pseudonym. He always signs his name, shares his info including his telephone number. Give him a call. In his last comment, he mentioned he wanted to talk to you personally. You can reach him at  703-366-9404

      We monitor all comments. All comments have an IP address. BC’s IP address is from the East Coast. Can’t tell you the State since he obviously wants to remain anonymous. He uses his real name in his email address. Mike Ford is in California. He also uses his real name in his email address. Big Charlie is also not BC, a different person, with different IP and different avatar. Big Charlie’s avatar is red while BC is similar to yours.

      Edit: there was a typo in Mike’s phone number we posted above. Area code should have been 714.

      • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

        Wikipedia Info: IP Address Spoofing  Quite common and easy to do.

        How many people do you know that use the term “curmudgeon”?  How many appraisers use the term and how many people use it on two separate websites?  I know of one who has used it on both this website and the AppraisalBuzz website several times.  Mike has also been known to brag about his income on this site before (oddly enough mentioning $200,000 before as well).  Thanks for playing the role of peacekeeper but I have no desire to speak with him unless he’s in need of a sound cursing.  For the record Mike, I prefer being called a b*stard MFer.

        La Curmudgeon Despot Troll

        • RA, BC’s email address matches his information on LinkedIn, AppraiserSearch, etc. ASC record shows that he’s in the East Coast. His appraisal business is in the East Coast. He uses his last name for his appraisal business and it is NOT Ford. He is not Mike Ford. He looks nothing like Mike Ford. We have his information! If you two (BC and RA) agree, we’ll email you both so that you can continue this in a private email.

          You and Mike Ford have contributed enormously to our blog. You may have not seen eye to eye about many issues but have always had respectful and thought provoking debates!

      • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

        Mike Ford is a unique bird indeed.  According to the appraisal directory that you guys own ( Mike Ford uses a west coast address but an east coast (Virginia) telephone number.  No need to spoof an IP there.  If he has an east coast telephone number he certainly has ready access to a computer on the east coast regardless of where is in the world.

        Case Closed

      • (714) 366 9404 is correct AC. Honest mistake on AB’s part. If I remember right my old Falls Church and Herndon Virginia area codes used to be 703 when I lived back there. *g*. It would drive him batty to know I actually LIVE in the (562) area code and I think my BH Office AC is 310 but since I never use it except for outgoing calls-don’t really know (or care).

        While I could PROBABLY manage to learn how to mask my id, I simply don’t care to. Right now I’d just be happy if I could figure out how to get my primary email account into my smart phone. GoDaddy hosts my web and domain registry but I forward everything through Yahoo and my “main” email is actually a sub account of a yahoo account my old business partner set up years ago. My NoteII could handle it but my replacement android cant unless I somehow figure out how to manually change the settings.

        Oh well, maybe I can research that on a day Im not up until 4AM answering emails.

        “Thanks, Des” but you cannot convince people that have already made up their minds. One day I will have to bore everyone with listing all the cities and states I’ve lived in over 64+ years; but California really is home. Left wing radicals; Gov. Moonbeam, sanctuary cities and all.

        IF it weren’t for the four year college requirement for General Certification, I WOULD relocate to Florida or Alabama.

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      LOL! You found my old Statewide Zone map when with my former partner we DID have a statewide network! RA there are (or were) over 2,000 pages on my website and not nearly a majority of them can ever be updated in a timely manner.

      You apparently missed the significance of the TIME frame when I was employed by the IRS. The day before I departed, MY Complaint went all the way up to Geithner’s office via Malloy. I have remained friends with my old appraiser associates there; and spoke with one just today helping him pull comps FOR FREE. It’s true I diversify my client base. I do THAT because back in the good ol’ days BEFORE LSI became a bottom feeder the multi state organization I worked for had them as their near exclusive 95% of volume client, and could not do anything but accept their later demands for ever increasing fees.

      As for my ‘wife’ being an attorney, my live in girl friend is a (legal) Mexican immigrant from Tijuana that prefers staying at home to working and we live in what can only be honestly described as a semi barrio in the Harbor District of the City of Long Beach in the gang area controlled by the West Side Longos who in turn owe obedience to La Eme IF I understand the hierarchy properly. Admittedly, I live here by choice. I simply do not fit into Beverly hills; or Carroll Par, Torrance or Palos Verdes; though growing up & even when I moved off living aboard boats I lived in several of them. As for real estate, my net equity interests don’t even allow the illusion of being a ‘proper’ slum lord. I just don’t own more than enough to provide for a very MODEST fall back retirement if I became unable to work tomorrow.

      I understand low fees RA. When I left IRs and had no viable business to fall back on I even took full URAR fees as low as $250 a couple times. How the hell do you think I know how much of a trap working in the shallow end of the pool can be? MUCH less competition in the $2,500 end of the pool. Now it IS true that I no longer go out and do daily inspections. Some weeks I don’t go out at all.

      At 64 years of age (soon to be 65 God willing) I have now developed as much as a support and referral base as one can do without being forced to ‘grow’ beyond what I want to do. After working for for the better part of 49 years of my life I HAVE learned a few things about budgeting and money management, tough I will admit the heart attack in ’05 with no insurance was “inconvenient”.

      As for curmudgeon, MY neighbors think and refer to ME as the cranky old white guy, but they ALSO know I will help them push start their car by hand; will offer a jump start at 3AM in the rain and will loan tools or a floor jack when a neighbor has to fix his car at the curbside.

      But…as for my “success” in business, and I KNOW I have mentioned this to you before; I am NOT a quitter. Not ever!

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Ummm, did I ever claim I am ‘just an average appraiser’? I don’t think so. I am “just an average American” RA, but I am an outstanding real estate appraiser. Businessman? Not so much.

  8. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    RA you are adding 2+2 and arriving at 5. IF I want to insult a person I do so under my own name. I also list my direct cell phone right here in this blog just as often as not. I have no monopoly on the word curmudgeon; though I have referred to you that way in the past in a friendly, ‘digging’ post.

    My personal cell and business number is (714) 366 9404. It is an orange County California Phone Number; and dates back to pre 2005 when I shared a corporate phone account with a boating partner out there. I’ve always kept the number.

    the 301 area code number you see me post for AGA is in Baltimore Maryland which is where the AGA/OPEIU is headquartered. I am unafraid to use my real name; phone number or even home address of 1956 Fashion Avenue, Long Beach, CA. It is my official home office. My Beverly Hills address is where I go to meet specific clients.

    Anyone foolish enough to think it would be safe to harass or try to harm me or my family at the home address would find out just how quickly a friendly Republican Union Organizer former Marine can turn very nasty indeed.

    I don’t know what aside from a word that MANY people would describe you by makes you think I have attacked you somehow, but trust me IF I ever DO launch a personal attack against you or anyone else there would be NO DOUBT in anyone’s mind that I had done so.

    I offer the continued hand of friendship and mutual respect for a long time appraiser, but it does NOT carry any willingness to kiss your ass or anyone else’s in the process. Your choice.

  9. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    BTW RA I have NEVER claimed an income of $200K. TOP was just about $100K although I DID once have a $28K MONTH which IF it could be extended over a year evenly would command the kind of numbers you are attributing to me, but I have never hit anything close to that mark for 12 months. I think you will also find as many posts remarking how the year AFTER my top salary income dropped to less than 25% of that amount and had to be rebuilt from scratch. RA I don’t brag about gross annual to anyone. I DO crow about the odd $3,000 to $4,000+- SFR fee once in awhile, but they hardly happen every month. The ONLY income I disclose these days is one that INCLUDING social security is a gross somewhere between those two numbers of $25k to$100K.

    I have been blessed by having an appraisal income near both ends of the predominant personal sole proprietor income range for many appraisers. HOW do you think I understand and relate to the hand to mouth existence of the small single person office? On the other end, I ALSO know it cannot be counted on to continue from one year to another unless one is willing to bend the rules. So far I have always preferred to see the income go before my personal values do.

    I’m a pretty open person RA. You can read about my background and willingness to tackle “big foes” dating back to the mid 1980’s (about 1986-1990; Redondo Beach, CA  via The Daily Breeze; Easy Reader, Redondo News, and a couple times in the L.A. Times.) Read up on Harbor Users Rights Committee & how an entire City was forced into rewriting their entire General Plan rather than just the Housing Element of it. Not bragging by any means. It’s just that I have a very low tolerance for how much shyte I will take from others before I push back.

    Whatever else I may be, I AM a Constitutionalist and a patriot that believes in his country. I DEMAND my elected leaders treat me accordingly and urge others to do the same.

  10. Avatar Tom D says:

    ohhhhh, soap opera or attack of the last appraisers.  this movie title should be “last and furious”.  mike, this year i’m going to be collecting ss, and dropping the $28,000 a year family medical insurance that i pay.  i do plan on working till 75. i will be calling the next 10 years, the profitable years.  however, i am thinking about giving you free help when i decide full, or part till 70, after 70 when i think it will definitely be part.  i gotta think with the average age being old, in our group, maybe we could at least group together as “the appraiser avengers”.  i, like general sherman, want a scorched earth policy on our enemies.

  11. We were hoping that BC would come forward and apologize to Retired Appraiser for his derogatory comments which started this all off. We offered BC an opportunity to come forward when we sent out an email to BC, Retired Appraiser and Mike Ford. However, his lack of response did surprise us.

    Retired Appraiser commented the following on another post, which we are copying and posting here. We greatly appreciate his acknowledgement, his effort to clear Mike Ford’s name, and his words of commendation.

    “Retired Appraiser: Regarding Last Weeks Appraiser Feud: Mike Ford Vs Retired Appraiser

    Although a great deal of evidence suggested that Mike was behind last week’s derogatory remarks the owner of has spent two days attempting to convince me that another appraiser was involved.  The information that she sent to me is equally convincing that another appraiser was involved.  Since I have no absolute proof of who was behind the remarks I am offering you a conditional apology.  If you were not involved then you have my full apology for bringing your name into this. I am now informed that Brendan “BC” Campbell of Boston launched last week’s personal attacks. After seeing Mr. Campbell’s photo I am comforted in knowing that the man was damned in this life from day 1. Thus the feud hopefully comes to an end.

    I extend my heartfelt apology to Mike Ford if he was not involved in this matter. I stand impressed by his resume and the fact that he is trying to help appraisers through his work with the AGA.  I extend my heartfelt sorrow to Mr. Campbell for simply being. Lastly, I would also like to express my apology to the blogs owner for any stress that our argument may have created.  Hopefully something positive came from this and a few more readers were added as a result of our bickering.

    I have monitored every worthwhile appraiser website since 2008 and continues to be the number one blog by far.  This is the only site that consistently covers issues that real appraisers are concerned about. This fact that this feud was allowed to appear online is confirmation that the owner and creator is not a fan of overly sanitized blogs. Appraisers have a rare gem with because it’s the only meeting place that allows TRUE freedom of speech.”

  12. RA. I was not involved in the attack on you in anyway (aside from my own subsequent denials about being involved) . Conditional apology cheerfully accepted. “Feud” is ended.

    I consider the work that my Guild is trying to do to be far too important to allow individual personalities to sidetrack the real issues. My own, or others. You’ve raised many valid points since I’ve been following this blog. I hope you will continue to do so. For my part there are no hard feelings at all. Lets get back to identifying issues of concerns for all appraisers, and how we can best find solutions.

    As for BC, I’d prefer to have the benefit of any experiences he may have than an apology that is not heartfelt. We talk about a lot of issues here. Our views are diverse and often passionate. At some point in our lives most of us have offered comments that were either intemperate or rude as can happen when we are ‘fully engaged’. Let’s let it go at that, ok?

  13. Avatar BC says:

    I would also like to end this feud.  I was responding to Dustin’s well written article about a 3 yr plan and stated that Govt work has worked well for me.  I then responded to RA’s comment which I felt was attacking me and insulting.  I was angry at what I felt was a snarky comment and made some comments which were not respectful or professional.  I really love being an appraiser and this career has been beneficial to me and my family.  I hope all who read this can accept my apology and move forward.  I really respect Mike Ford from one Veteran to another, especially the time he invests going to meetings and keeping us abreast on the industry changes.  RA, I would like to move forward and am sorry for resorting name calling and Mr. Ford, I’m truly sorry that your good name was dragged into this.



  14. Baggins Baggins says:

    The pot called the kettle black.  And the king of fee undercutting just suggested I plan for my future.  Brilliant!


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Your Appraisal Business in 3 Years?

by Dustin Harris time to read: 3 min