Certified- On Your Way!
Welcome back to the series about the appraisal industry. In previous chapters we have covered topics surrounding the industry, getting started, education, and what takes place your first couple years in the field. Today we will be discussing the topic of what happens once you have completed your work experience, education, and certification exam. At this point, your value in the industry has just gone up because of your new level of certification. Did you know that most financial institutes will only work with certified appraisers? This could lead to a new source of income, but what about the company that you have been working with for the past couple years? Until now you have been working under a supervisor, but is that what your future holds? There are a few choices you have because of your certification.
One of your options is to stay where you are. Depending on your initial contract, you may have seen a steady increase in your pay split, but may appraiser do not think far enough ahead to spell out what will happen once you are certified. Staying put has a few advantages. One is that you do not have to start from scratch. Building a business can be a daunting task, and it is not for the faint of heart. Another is that a multi-appraiser firm has the ability to pool more customers and perform internal quality control. The third advantage is that you do not have to foot bill. Most supervisors provide some level of resources for you to do your job (ie- PVA subscriptions and MLS ). Lastly, you may have the opportunity to be more productive; if you are part of firm that has its own office staff, you won’t have to worry about billing, collections, and the daily operations of running an office.
Another option is to start your own company. This can happen two ways; you may be forced to leave once you have your certification, or you could leave under your own terms. As I stated before, make sure you spell out in your contract what will happen at this point. If you have decided you want to be out on your own, make sure you are planning before you get your certification. If not, you will face a very steep learning curve compounded by the lack of income. My advice is to be open with your supervisor and do not take advantage of the resources he has given you to work for him.
There are several advantages to owning your own company. The first is you keep all the income. Depending on where your split is at, you could see as much as a 50% increase in income. The next advantage is that you are in control of which customers you work for and you decide where you will operate. It is very liberating to be in a position to fire a client that is a pain in the neck. Once you have all the low paying, demanding, incompetent clients weeded out, you can start to enjoy what you do. Through this process, I had developed several wonderful customers that I truly enjoy working for. Before we move on, I want to mention that there is a lot that goes on as a business owner. We will be covering this in-depth later on.
Training & Credentials
More training, really? Get used to it, as a professional you will be spending the rest of your life learning. Certification is the start of many options to specialize in the appraisal industry. Credentials are the alphabet soup that comes after someone’s name, and it indicates that the individual has specialized in some area. To find out more specifics on individual credentials, I would recommend you visit the Appraisal Institute’s website (as a starting place) and see what the qualifications are for the different fields. Does agriculture interest you? How about finance? Maybe commercial properties? What about litigation? These are all different areas of expertise within the industry and some of these areas have specific credentials that go with the territory.
In closing, certification is an important step in your appraisal practice. It is the fork in the road for many appraisers. They choose to work for themselves or the work for a company. Lastly, continue your training. Not only are you required to take at least 14 hours of continuing education each year, but you will become a better appraiser because of it.