Real Estate Appraiser Lifestyle

Real Estate Appraiser Lifestyle

The Lifestyle of a Real Estate Appraiser

As I write this, I am watching my two youngest children as they participate in gymnastics. It is a Friday afternoon and most of my peers are sitting in a cubical somewhere.  We have had a very busy week, but all has gone smoothly and my assistants are just wrapping up a few loose ends before the weekend. Sometimes I have to step back, shake my head, and say, “Wow, I am very blessed!”

As I lurk the various online appraisal forums, I see a whole lot of discouragement. Rightfully so. We as appraisers have experienced a lot of change over the past few years. Many of us built up a business empire only to have it washed away practically overnight with HVCC and Dodd-Frank. Some of us have restructured and have been able to see a resurgence, but not everyone. “Requirements are up and fees are down…” or that is what I hear.

Nevertheless, I cannot help but wonder why more appraisers do not jump ship and find another career if it is so bad out there. Now, I am not without compassion. I know it is not as easy as trading in your clipboard for a spatula. Changing jobs is a difficult process and does not happen without much consternation and heartache. However, I tend to think that so many of us are sticking it out because we still have a pretty dern sweet gig!

All work has its challenges. I have a friend who pumps septic tanks for a living (insert ‘crappy job’ jokes here) for heaven’s sake. Appraisers are no different. We deal with ridiculous regulations, difficult assignments, picky underwriters, and collections every day of our lives. I remember walking around an old, dilapidated house in Dingle, ID one early spring day.  The snow was beginning to melt, but it was still quite cold outside. As I came around the corner, a large amount of wet snow slid off the metal roof and landed on the back of my neck.  Instantly I was soaked from head to toe.  Some days I wag my head and ask myself why I am doing this. It is on those days that I must remember that snow down the back of your neck is not the norm.

Most days, I enjoy a beautiful drive through the most gorgeous country God ever created. I enjoy audio books as I travel, pleasant conversations with home owners, and time with my staff and my computer in the afternoon. Most days, I go home between 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM.  Sometimes I work a bit after the kids go to bed, but usually on things other than appraisal. My children are young still so I try to be there for them. From gymnastics to piano lessons, dad is able to spend a great deal of time with them. I am able to travel and take days off when I need or want them.  I do not have to go to a boss to ask permission for any of these things. Sometimes I deal with employee issues, budgets, and angry customers, but all of that is minimal as well.

In the end, I love my chosen career as a real estate appraiser. Though the news may predict doom and gloom for the future of our industry, I have only optimism.  As I look around at the economic conditions, the kind of work my neighbors are doing, and other challenges, I am happy to be where I am.  Being a real estate appraiser is one of the best jobs in the world!

Dustin Harris
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Image credit flickr - Eugene Peretz
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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Real Estate Appraiser Lifestyle

by Dustin Harris time to read: 2 min