Why are Lenders not Allowing Trainee Appraisers?

Dustin Harris
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Why are lenders not allowing trainee appraisers?Appraisalbuzz recently posted a ‘White Paper on Training the Next Generation of Appraisers. I thought it was a good enough read to repost to my subscribers.

Please read the article HERE and see my comments below:

I commend the authors of this well-thought out article. Though I do not agree with every suggestion contained within, I support the general purpose of the article and I thank those who have taken the time to put it together. There are some great suggestions and ideas in this article and every appraiser ought to read it and be a part of implementing a solution to this ever-growing problem of the shrinking appraiser pool. The overall goal must be to bring new and highly-qualified individuals into the appraisal industry. This can ONLY be accomplished if there is economic incentive for both the Trainee and the Supervisor.

I spend time in the businesses of small-shop appraisers across the nation. There are very few Certified appraisers who do not want to bring help into their offices tomorrow. Universally however, they do not feel they can because “our clients will not allow a Trainee to do a dang thing without direct supervision by the Trainer.” There has always been the problem of ‘training your competition’ as a deterrent to bringing a Trainee into your business. However, that was offset for many appraisal business owners by the fact that a Trainee could be trained fairly quickly (within a few months) to be quite competent at doing the inspections. Within a year or so, a Trainee can be quite adept at the more-technical side of the appraisal process (the actual appraisal and write up). Allowing Trainees to work allowed the Supervisor (and thus the business) to do more volume. As it took 2-3 years for a new Trainee to move to licensing, the Supervisor had a few years of actual help which offset the negatives that come with training. Now, there are very few lenders which allow a Trainee to do anything without a Supervisor breathing down their neck. If I must be in every inspection, where is the incentive to hire a Trainee beyond altruism?

In a market where most appraisers are struggling to make ends meet, altruism is not incentive enough to hire and train a new appraiser. Though there are many aspects to this problem that should be looked at and fully vetted, the bottom line is this: Until lenders/clients begin allowing the Supervisor to decide when their Trainees are ready to go out on their own, there is little to no financial incentive to hire new appraisers. There is a high unemployment rate and plenty of interest. There must be incentive to hire and this change alone will make a HUGE difference.

Believe it or not, when I was trained, my Supervisor was in another state (he had a license and was geographically competent in the area I worked)! Though he was required to periodically do interior inspections on the properties I worked on, he was able to do a majority of the training long distance. Every report was fully checked (as it was his rear-end on the line). Technology is now much better and long-distance training is more possible, but not allowed by those who hire us. Again, I am not suggesting, necessarily, that this ought to be allowed, but these are items that should be part of the discussion.

The bottom line is, assistance is allowed by USPAP (as long as proper reporting is done), but not by those who send us the paycheck. Why is that? Does anyone actually believe that the quality of appraisals have increased by not allowing Trainee assistance? As has always been the case, the Supervisor should take FULL responsibility for a report done (in part or in full) by a Trainee. That is incentive enough for us to be VERY CAREFUL with what we allow our Trainees to do. Sometimes Trainees are more careful than us old-appraisers who think we know it 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 e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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2 Responses

  1. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    A moot point since there are extremely few trainees dumb enough to enter or remain in this business….don’t you think?

    The trainee dropout rate on this chart indicates what I have suspected all along; trainees are showing more signs of intelligence than the fully licensed appraisers (by moving on):

  2. Avatar Future Appraiser says:

    well this is very discouraging, I’m currently in the middle of studying for my Trainee license and wondering did i make a mistake.


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Why are Lenders not Allowing Trainee Appraisers?

by Dustin Harris time to read: 3 min