It’s a song we’ve heard time and time again—we need more appraisers as more and more people are retiring and leaving the profession. The problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon—appraisers are getting older and older. According to these numbers from the Appraisal Institute, 70% of appraisers are over the age of 50!
With the market being so hot and the demand for appraisals being so high, it’s critically important that we recruit more appraisers to join the profession as trainees and eventually, as fully licensed appraisers. Here are our thoughts on how to do that.
Increased Awareness About the Profession
Efforts to replenish the pool of appraisers have run into roadblocks, and one of the biggest is a lack of awareness about the profession. Most appraisers enter the industry by chance rather than considering it a career choice when they’re in college or even in high school.
College students don’t know what an appraiser does or think that it is a viable career choice. Many appraisers become aware of the career through a family member or a friend who is an appraiser. They may also have organic exposure to the profession through work at a bank, as an agent, or as a lender.
Seasoned appraisers can educate and make the job seem worthwhile and interesting enough to pursue. They can go to career fairs and speak at high schools and colleges to raise more awareness about the appraisal profession. This could also be a good role for the Appraisal Institute—they could be more involved in presenting this career choice to students in high school and college.
Share the Benefits of the Job
The upcoming generations entering the workforce value a flexible schedule, remote work opportunities, and plenty of vacation time, but they also want the stability of health insurance, retirement, and other benefits that come with a more traditional job.
Appraisers don’t usually receive all of these benefits, but telling the next generation about flexible hours and possible remote work can make it appear more appealing. Plus, people who are potentially interested should know that a commitment to the industry could mean a significant salary one day (we regularly send $10k+ biweekly checks to appraisers). Appraisers can make very good money, and it’s a very stable industry, and wages continue to go up.
Plus, there are quality-of-life factors consider. Appraisers get to spend time outside the office and some of the most beautiful homes on the planet. It’s also a challenging, problem-solving profession, and balancing the art and science and math of appraisal report writing is key. Plus, you get to network and work with lots of smart people along the way. As we like to say, it’s kind of the ideal American profession.
Technology May Make Waves
Technology is key to a thriving appraisal industry both now and going into the future. Technology makes the appraisal industry bigger and better. Most important of all, using technology the right way will protect appraiser jobs by keeping them as an integral part of the process, not eliminate them.
The next generation is extremely comfortable with technology and wants to use it at work—it could be a selling point for them. Continuing to evolve the role technology plays in the appraisal process may be one of the keys to attract more people into the industry, especially because it can really make an appraiser’s life easier.
Change Training Processes
Prospective appraisers must take courses before they get a trainee license, and most states require a 4-year college degree. Additionally, the number of required on-the-job hours has gone up to 2,500, and most states require no fewer than two years of experience to become fully licensed. The requirements for education, exams, and experience are quite onerous and may steer people away from entering the profession. Adjusting the training process would likely help attract more people to the profession while still keeping it safe.
This issue is compounded by the fact that many trainees don’t make much money at the beginning of their training period, but it is possible to make decent money, and those success stories need to be shared more. It also may make more sense to approach the appraisal trainee period as a training internship or additional schooling rather than a job.
Making it Easier to Find Supervising Appraisers
Finding a supervising appraiser is one of the other challenging parts of entering the profession. Right now, appraisers are limited to having no more than three trainees. It’s challenging to make a living if you’re a training appraiser right now. Changing regulations to allow appraisers to have more trainees would make it possible to train people and to making a viable living, opening up the pool of supervising appraisers.
Alex Todak, our president, is also the new National AMC committee chair, and he’s dedicated to opening up this conversation about how to get more appraisers into the industry. It’s important for all of us to do our best to bring more people into this fantastic profession.