Why You Should Join an Appraiser Association

I wrote an article for Ann O’Rourke’s Appraisal Today paid newsletter. You should sign up (link)

I’ll have the full version available in December….

Are you a member of an appraisal organization? If not, why not? There are many good reasons to join one or more.

Many of us are sole proprietors working out of our homes. We work long hours in our caves and lack the coworkers found in a more typical corporate setting. We don’t have bosses to offer guidance and don’t have peers to consult with on difficult problems. Or coworkers to take to lunch. An appraisal organization can help fill these professional voids.

Do you know any of the other appraisers who cover your markets? Appraisal organizations that offer regular meetings for members to network give you the opportunity to meet other local appraisers. Learn who your peers are so you can understand your place in the local appraisal market. Build a referral network to trade leads. I would rather refer an inquiry to someone I know and trust than to a stranger.

Develop Relationships with Other Appraisers

Develop relationships so you can share advice and data. A good friend, Rich, covered my primary market area. Before he was hired as a state investigator, we would trade emails and calls frequently about appraisal problems. He was a great sounding board when I was stuck and helped me solve issues. I met Rich at our local appraiser organization, the Real Estate Appraisers Association (REAA).

Appraisal organizations are great places to meet mentors and find those folks who can help you develop your career. My friend Rich introduced me to a friend whose father was a top litigation appraiser in the region. That led me to a six-month full-time gig and ongoing mentoring relationship. I’ve met many other top appraisers through REAA and know several folks who I can reach out to when I’m stuck.

Mentoring goes two ways. I teach classes in data analysis and Microsoft Excel for REAA and other organizations. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned from others with no expectations. But if you are willing to share, you will find others will be willing to help you with advice and referrals.

The REAA Model

I am the president of the Sacramento chapter of the Real Estate Appraisers Association (REAA) and have been a board member since 2012. We are an organization of real estate appraisers in California founded in 2000 in Sacramento. We focus on appraiser education. We have grown to five chapters with local control governed by a corporate board. Our larger chapters meet once a month for networking and continuing education. In most meetings, we offer two-hour classes of continuing education approved by our state board. Smaller chapters meet every other month and offer either two two-hour classes or one four-hour class. Two to three times per year we offer half day or full day classes. We also offer USPAP renewal and Laws and Regulations every other year. We typically offer 25+ hours of continuing education at each chapter per year.

REAA is 100% volunteer and keeps fees as low as possible. We charge $150 per year for membership fees and anywhere between free to $45 for 2 hour continuing education classes. My chapter holds meetings at a social club with full kitchen and full bar (the Sacramento Dante Club) for $30 for two hours CE including dinner. We have networking for an hour in the bar and over dinner for another 30 minutes before meetings.

Most of my chapter’s members are residential appraisers so our class topics are strongly residential. Below is a list of some of the classes offered by us in the past two years.

  • Determining Appraisal Adjustments (7 hours CE)
  • Identifying and Evaluating External and Functional Obsolescence (2 hours CE)
  • Appraising Small Acreage Residential Acreage Properties (2 hours CE)
  • Diminution in Value and Stigmatized Properties (2 hours CE)
  • Casualty Loss and Post Disaster Valuations (3 hours CE)
  • Appraising Proposed Construction (2 hours CE)
  • Current Regulator Issues with Jim Martin, chief of the California Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers, and Greg Harding, representing the Appraisal Foundation (2 hours CE)
  • Appraising Homes with Accessory Dwellings (2 hours CE)
  • Time Adjustments for Residential Appraisers (4 hours CE)
  • Expert Witness (2 hours CE)

Instructors have included nationally known experts George Dell, MAI, SRA, Denis DeSaix, MAI, SRA, Richard Hagar, SRA, Ryan Lundquist, and Steve Smith, MAI, SRA.

REAA offers a place for appraisers to teach without making a large business commitment. REAA serves as the education provider and handles logistics for most classes so someone interested in teaching can focus on developing a class. You don’t need to become an education provider with the state nor handle the administrative details such as record keeping, marketing, order processing, billing, and creation of class certificates.

REAA does not have a designation program but is on the board of governors for the National Association of Appraisers (NAA). Our NAA membership offers our members a designation plus an affiliation with a strong national advocate for appraisers.

What are the advantages to this model? We meet frequently which offers great opportunities for networking. Continuing education for our membership is simple and cost-effective. With our frequent meeting model, we can offer a wide range of education for members. Those members interested in teaching can do so in a simple, supported environment.