I’ve Retired & I’m So Glad I Did
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