If you’re looking for a change and want an equally rewarding career to real estate, consider real estate appraising. The industry is in need of appraisers, and real estate agents who are seeking a career after retirement or who are coming back to work after having a family may find it to be a great fit.
According to data from the Appraisal Institute, 57% of Appraisal Institute members have been appraisers for 20 years or longer, and 51% are between 51 and 65. An additional 11% are older than 66.
“We are a profession that has an average age that approaches or exceeds 60 years. For example, my dad still works full time, and he’s 80 years old,” said Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, 2016 president of the Appraisal Institute. “Certainly, that leads to a number of retirements or leaving the profession.”
What you’ll do
Professional real estate appraisers develop opinions of several types of property value and assist in decisions about real estate. These opinions are based on a systematic valuation process. An appraisal is the act or process of developing an opinion of value, according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. USPAP sets standards for the appraisal profession, developed by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation.
While the most common type of appraisal assignment is to develop an opinion of market value, appraisers also can provide a wide range of additional appraisal services, such as investment consultation or advice on business as well as personal financial decisions.
What you’ll need
It’s a full-time career that requires a lot of training. A college degree is required for entry into the profession. But, according to Robinson, many people think that means they have to have a college degree in real estate or real estate appraisal. It doesn’t. Business degrees in economics, finance, general business — even English degrees — gain entry to the appraisal profession, according to Robinson.
While 10% of AI member appraisers make more than $200,000 annually, the largest segment, 37%, make between $50,000 and $99,000. Just 16% report they bring home less than $50,000 a year, according to the U.S. Valuation Profession Fact Sheet December 2015, by the Appraisal Institute.
In addition to a great salary, real estate appraising also offers work-life flexibility and stable income.
“I’ve got two children, and they’re both into sports,” Robinson said. “I was one of the few fathers who was at their sports events just about all the time. I could work a little harder before and after, and I work for myself, so I have that freedom. I think that’s a great selling point for this career.”
Richard L. Borges II, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, AI-RRS, former president of the Appraisal Institute and co-owner of Rick Borges Real Estate Services in Greenwood, Ind., started his career as a real estate agent and later became a broker, but spends his career as an appraiser.
“I think the thing that really took me from sales into valuation was the stability of income,” Borges said. “In sales, it seems like either you’ve got stuff going and times are good, or you’ve got nothing going and there’s no income. It’s much more I think stable in appraisal, over the long-term. It will have its ups and downs, but it’s still stable.”