I’ve Retired & I’m So Glad I Did
What we got, was 30+ years of complaints from the lenders and politicians who blamed appraisers for all of the lenders and political wrong doings…
I retired 2 months ago, and I am SO GLAD I did. I’ve had enough.
I decided on an appraisal career because I found real estate, and especially the valuation of homes to be extremely fascinating and challenging, and although I had heard that the appraisal profession was making changes back 30+ years ago, I “assumed” it was becoming a more upstanding, professional occupation, in the eyes of the lenders, politicians and general public, similar in stature to doctors, lawyers and accountants. In other words, they would would hold the appraiser’s opinion via “trust in the professionals opinion”.
What we got, was 30+ years of complaints from the lenders and politicians who blamed appraisers for all of the lenders and political wrong doings. And the public believed them! Why? Because appraisers NEVER got together as an organization to support other residential appraisers! Oh yes, there was the Appraisal Society and the Appraisal Institute, of which I became a candidate, but when I realized that they catered to commercial appraisers, and recently to their own needs, I decided there was no reason for me to join. Besides when licensing came along, the license was the main criteria for selecting the appraiser.
I did my job providing unbiased appraisals supported by the data via extensive research of the data, long addendums of explanations, and graphs showing that research. But the lenders and politicians did not want that. They wanted someone to “play” their game. And since I refused to play their game, I lost a lot of clients. There were a few clients who “got it”. They wanted the truth. And those are the ones who kept me in business for those 25+ years as a self employed appraiser. I consider my career to be highly successful, as I never caved to be a MAI (Made As Instructed), as a Realtor once told me what the “true” meaning of MAI was.
Now with all the new, false in my opinion, concerns of bias in appraising, which we all learned as appraiser trainees, I am done. I have spent the past 3 years working almost every day of the week, including weekends and holidays, 8-10 hours per day, and can honestly say, I have given it my all.
I am ready for a new life, where I do what I want to do, not what someone else dictates what I do, without sitting for hours in front of a computer, without all the stress of deadlines, without arguing over the fee for each appraisal, without becoming a collection agency to actually obtain that fee, without all the revision requests because the lender wants something worded either more specifically, which I can not do as I missed the day appraisers were given crystal balls, or because the lender wants something worded nebulously, so that no “red flags” are produced.
Honestly, I loved appraising. I loved meeting the people, seeing the different types of architecture, and solving the big question “What is it worth?” I felt like a detective, searching for clues and answers to solve that question. It was fascinating! It was fun! But the lenders, and now the politicians, have made it into a nightmare. No more.
In the past few years I have been asked, “How do I become an appraiser”, and I have told them, “don’t, look for another profession”. And I will keep answering that question the same until the profession is respected by the public, the lenders and the politicians as what it is: An Unbiased, Well Supported, Professional Opinion of Value.
Originally, I thought I would work part time, doing probate, divorce and seller values, but after the recent news on appraisal bias and demand for “new” regulation and training, I have decided that my job as an appraiser is done. I am tired of “new” regulation on things we have been doing all along. I am tired for being blamed for things the lender, not the appraiser, is doing.
I wish everyone still working in the appraisal trenches the best of everything; honesty, respect, more time to complete the appraisal, and higher fees, as I know how tough it is just to do the job we signed up for. I will continue to be a part of this wonderful professional group, at least for a while, as I love to read all the latest concerns in the industry.
Sincerely, and with deep respect,
Former CA Certified Appraiser
Congrats on your retirement! I feel the same way but I can’t retire yet. I’m just a few years from retirement
Ditto, ditto, ditto. I appraised for 40 years and got out for the same reasons in 2011: 90 % of clients have no ethics/just want a number, fees were extremely low post 2008 financial collapse, lawsuits filed against many appraisers with no justification, federal interference in the appraisal process, and experience and integrity were no longer in vogue. Glad that I retired and gladly gave up all my designations and state certification. It was like being a hated referee at a ball game….
Congrats and thanks for putting your honest experience into words. The AMC debacle is real.
Spot on! You said it all for me. I can not say what you have said better!!
35+ years in the profession And it once was a great ride.
Am right behind you. You have firmed up my plans to retire real soon.
That is an article which represents about 75% of appraisers. We have been manipulated into getting values, with endless addendums to wear us down to satisfy the bottom line for their profit margin each month. Major code violations’, unsafe and dangerous houses, was told , ”WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL”. The appraisal profession is now a game of profit for predatory lenders and the appraiser is in the way. RETIRED IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR, COULD NOT TAKE THE ABUSE ANYMORE
I quit all FHA work in 2019. Quit all AMC’s & Lender work in 06/2020, since then all I do is estate & market value for individuals. I was thinking of retirement at end of this year but since I have all my CE, I guess I’ll renew for 1 more year but limit myself to 2-3 per month. 70 year old !
Your still a baby, i am 75 and loved the business, i always played a game,” “MAKE BELIEVE”” with each appraisal in the beginning and until I called it quits, i made believe this was my house and put my heart into it, but lenders won’t bother with you if you work that way, really heart broken in leaving, i really loved it at one point……..
I’m afraid I might go out on inspection and not find my way home !
i would put my name and address, business card taped to my chest so if I got lost, they would see the card and birng me home.
I was 82 when I gave up my licenses and subscriptions. i enjoyed all of it except the collections. Still can’t help myself from commenting.
Around 1997 an MAI spoke to a coming crisis Said we all had to CVA as a part of our reports. He suggested some wording and I adopted those and as time went more. I return an Engagement letter for every inquiry for my services, citing my estimate, time and price, and terms of payment.
This has simplified collections, clients, expectations, & helped me understand how others work expanding my work product..
I am doing the same thing after 51 years, this will be my last renewal. Nobody appreciates honesty anymore.
We should all retire on the same day!! That would require all of us agreeing on something and backing each other up which brings us back to this article……..
I’m right behind… Ima gonna take my bat, glove and ball and go home. I pride myself in my integrity and game performance. When the players kneel and the crowd boos it’s time to go home.
I agree with the author, but I have found if you are pickier with who you choose as clients, it still can be a good profession. I rarely get revision requests, but when I do it is either a) justified, or b) from a new client, who gets told this will be the last job they get from me.
I agree. Pick better clients!
Lucky you. As a new appraiser I probably face 25 years or more in that career unless things really go towards the worse. All these stories of appraisers undervaluing homes because of someone’s skin are bull. Who in their right mind would do that? It will definitely be more and more challenging to keep on going. Sad.
After 38 years I will renew at the end of the year that should get me to when the new forms come out. I will leave this mess behind and see who they go after next. Maybe the home inspectors many of them are not regulated. Did anyone see the new info from FNMA they want to shake things up because we now have too many old white guys with years of experience and they want more “Diversity.” FNMA is all talk on the one hand the so called racists appraisers “low ball” the values in markets of “color” on the other hand the computer generated reviews check to see it we are over valuing the properties. So which one is it. Is it a case of the appraisers of color over valuing the properties in the “white” markets?
So they want to make house “more unaffordable” for people of color?? Sounds like us white folk have been overpaying for our houses all these years. Reparations??
Great point! Would love for someone at FNMA to actually answer this question.
It is a sad state of affairs. I am shocked that we are disrespected since we have all had each others backs for so long. There is NO other profession that I know of that is so disjointed. I would feel guilty bringing someone in to this “profession” no matter the race.
Personally, I have embarked on a new career field directly related to the appraisal profession that is more in line with the world of today. After 36 years in the business, that included selling, mortgage origination, and teaching in buying property, and 29 years appraising, I have found that ”REAL ESTATE PSYCHIATRY”””, is a wide open field. Last count I had a list of 177 clients just waiting for me to call and set up appointments. I promise I will let you know how I do and the progress I make.
You piqued my interest!! Go on
lol wish we were able to have this conversation years ago.
include me. But it will not work on the absent minded,
Amc’s provide untenable engagement. I’ve been only direct lender assignments and denying all amc fee and tat quotes across the board for years, really helped. The time and effort spent quoting is better redirected to scraping out direct assignment, wherever that may be. Retirement, what’s that?
I agree 100%. Expectations are too high, Data is troubling and inconsistent, regression analysis is far from perfect and our opinions from experience does not count. MEANWHILE AVM’s and other technology that are preforming the easy risk valuations do not have USPAP like we do. Appraisal Institute is like he says and although fees have come up recently the work is treacherous. I now automictically turn down the worse of the worse. It seems they always seem to find me. COVID-19 HAS NOT HELPED. No one mentions we are front line workers, going into homes where people do not respect us by not wearing masks. I am in trump land. I am not a democrat or a republican. There is a war going on in this country. With us it has been a longer period. Yes they will still blames the next time something happened. Not all of us are tooled within their demographics. Its the information that is flawed with differences from is reported by the MLS and public information. There is no accepted standard. It is not something you can learn in a eight hour class.
Oh wah. This is from one appraiser that did take a stand and do something. When I did work for AMCs, a long time ago, I had a spine and I would just say no. You want some more explanation? I don’t think it needs it, and I’m the expert, so the answer is no. Oh, heavens to Betsy (I love that saying!) no – I was warned my scorecard would be diminished – oh no – not that – anything but that! Today, I choose to not suffer the games the AMCs play. Once you realize that those poor saps have to find something in order to justify their pitiful jobs, you learn how to stand up. If you don’t learn at least that much, then live your life on your knees – but don’t complain about it – some are made for servitude. No harm, no foul – it is what it is. Just don’t waste your time telling me how hard life is – I’ve got the T-Shirt. So, what to do? Here it is – on a silver platter – just for you. Look around. Use those honed analytical skills to figure out exactly where you are in the food chain baby. It ain’t the top, baby. It ain’t the middle either. It’s the bottom. What part of crap do you not understand – what part do you want to discuss in detail? Ok – let’s go for the paycheck, which is everyone’s measure of how successful a career is – or isn’t. Still getting paid what you were ten years ago? Lie to me some more – I’ve been doing this for over 20 years – but lie to me anyway. The pay sucked then, and it sucks worse now. Is there a better game in town? Look. Suzie High Heels gets 15 grando baby, for selling a house. And she probably didn’t even put in the listing details correctly – very few do. Then they call you in – super appraiser – and you get what…? Peanuts. Yeah, yeah, but, but. No buts – it is what it is. Loan officers. 150 basis points. What’s a basis point? Google is your friend – ready to serve you 24 hours a day – use it. That’s about half of what Suzie makes – so it’s only 6 or 7 grando. Is this for real? Google it. Call some people. Ask questions. How do they survive? Run the show instead of working for someone, and that increases to about 13 grando. Anything making sense here yet? Yeah, I know you know all of this. Tell me again how much you love your job. Lie to me. Well, if you don’t hear the door being knocked down by THAT loud knocking, then you just don’t care, or you love misery. It’s hard to complain when you have a lot of money, even though a lot of people do. I tried being poor. I don’t like it. The only thing I like less than being poor is working nights and weekends and having some kid tell me how to do my job – so he can keep his – and STILL being poor, in the process. So I did something about it. You can too. Or, not. Your choice. I’ll even tell you where to start. Join Amazon Kindle – it’s their book club – costs you about $11 a month. Every book you could ever want is there. You gotta pay for the best ones, and some are free. Suck it up – are you worth the investment, or not? Download em – consume em – absorb em – and repeat. You’ll be a superhero in about two weeks. Yes – I said two weeks. IF you pay attention. I did it and I’m not the smartest one in the room. You are probably smarter than me – or at least as smart. You can do this – if you want to. Consume two books a week for six months and you will be a legend. A rich legend – a popular legend – and a legend that calls the shots and does what they want to do – the way they want to do it. Or, not. Never in the history of the WORLD has there been so many great opportunities right in front of you, for the taking, as there is right now. Never in the history of the world. Are you still sitting there, or are you going to get up and answer that damn door? Many others have done it – I am doing it right now – and many more will do it. This ain’t no infomercial baby – I don’t have anything to sell you. In fact, you can consider me your best friend. I don’t want to hear your excuses. If not now – right damn now – then when? And here is the phrase that got ME off my butt – what is holding you back? Think about that for a while. If that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, then you’re just not paying attention, and you deserve what they’ve been shoveling you. Or, maybe – just maybe – not. Maybe you deserve a slice of the pie – and not crumbs – for a change! BTW – I still appraise. It’s a great side gig. But’s that’s ALL it is – it serves me so I can do bigger and better things. I chose to not choose – I want it all – but on my terms. And, I have it. Good luck – your future awaits!
What holds me back is unadulterated laziness. That and the free time. So I guess they’re one in the same. It’s going to take a miracle.
I agree that it’s a good side gig, but what are the bigger & better things you do and what do you have that’s so great ?
I changed my business plan 6/2020 to nothing but the rush to the present moment. Each day I turn down 99% of requests and my fees are on steroids for one house. Still able to inspect at noon and deliver report in 3-4 days or less. Completing 10-12 reports per month.
It’s the greatest gig in the world. My fees are 5 to 8 times what is offered for one rush report with CMA and 8 statistical charts and scatter graphs using alamode Titan analytics.
The fed has stated low interest rates til 2023 so the refi and sales markets will continue and need rush appraisal work. Rush report ready in 4 days or less verses 1-2 months from now. Still get 40-50 requests a day. So the Simple Rush Only business plan works like clock work.
Broker/ Certified Residential Appraiser since 1980 to the present. Covering Carmel by the Sea to Silicon Valley.
Very well said, and after 47 years in the profession I feel the same way. Enjoy your retirement, I’m headed there myself, so tired of all the BS now.
I guess I am the exception to most of the commenters on this article. After 25 years working for someone else, I’m about to retire and will become an independent residential appraiser once again. I’m 66 years old and hope to knock out 3 appraisals a week or so. I can build up a client base over the next few years and sail into my older years with a manageable, fun, and rewarding job. I can’t wait to get back to appraising homes and I’m perfectly happy to navigate the AMC world and all that comes with that. I guess I’m a glass half full guy!
Amc’s are professional time wasters. They often send bids to 20, 50, or even a 100 appraisers, just to fish for the absolute lowest fees. You’ll deal with so many emails and calls. Seek out direct assignment lenders whom do not use amc’s, so you can have income stability and upfront stable fees. Otherwise it’s a continual race to the bottom. Well over 10 years later, these companies still can’t figure out how to implement a stable consistent fee program. Amc’s have a financial incentive to drive appraisers fees down and consumers fees up to increase their internal profit margins.
I agree 100% in so many cases you are dealing with people who don’t read or know how to read the reports or their machines can’t read the,m I can tell just by the damn revision requests. And as I always say, let the bottom feeders fight over the low fees, I find most of them insulting.
The important thing to convey to lenders is that the same review tools that amc’s use are available for lenders too, through the exact same distribution platforms. 15 years later, amc’s still can’t figure out how to assign orders directly at a fair fee without having to email dozens of appraisers and waste everyone’s time. Most inefficient third party injection ever implemented. Simply refuse to quote.