Not all property appraisers start out in the appraisal field right out of college. Many of today’s appraisers had a previous career, but then decided to make a career switch. We recently asked our appraisal community, “What career did you have BEFORE you got into the appraisal business?” While some were drawn to the appraisal profession after working in a related field like real estate sales or mortgage lending, many reported that they started out in a totally different career field.
What career did you have BEFORE you got into the appraisal business?
Real estate sales (14%)
“After many years in real estate sales (as agent, associate broker, and regional relocation director), I made the decision to transition into the appraisal field, and I’ve never had reason to look back.”
“I hold a real estate license but also am a co-owner and accountant of another business. I am more analytically minded than sales/service. Having the real estate background enables me to understand the minds of the market and the accounting background enables me to analyze provable data to derive the most credible value estimate.”
“Started as a real estate agent, then a real estate broker. Appraising fit into what I was already doing and I like it better than sales.”
Mortgage lending (8%)
“I was an auditor for [a mortgage lending company]. During audits I would see appraisal reports and found appraisals the most interesting part of the process, so…I pursued a career in the appraisal business.”
“I was a loan officer. The first loan I closed was for a homeowner who had a 475 credit score!! I can’t believe I did that job for two years.”
“My husband left an insurance company, took the relevant courses, and began learning through an existing appraisal firm. He was so happy working many more hours a week with a smile on his face, I decided to pursue an appraisal career [too].”
Assistant or admin work (5%)
“I started out as an office manager for an appraisal company during my county’s revaluation project. I was then offered a position with the county as their appraisal program manager, and I was able to take my classes to further my knowledge to be better at my job.”
An appraiser who used to work as a contract coordinator said, “after my son was born (30 years ago) I wanted a more flexible career that would allow me to be supermom and have an income. I am now super-grandmama and still love this profession!”
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“I started out in retail credit/collections [then] moved into banking where I changed my college major to Real Estate Finance. I was a loan supervisor and title rep, then got my real estate license, sold real estate, became a sales manager. All before I started over as an appraisal trainee. Appraisal was my favorite class of all the real estate courses. After I took it, I tried to transfer into the appraisal department with the bank I worked for. It took three years to find a way in, and then a booming market to boot. That was 1976. I still enjoy the puzzle that appraisal presents.”
About two-thirds of survey respondents reported that they started out in a previous career other than the jobs outlined above. Here’s a snapshot of the wide variety of “Other” responses we received:
- Property manager
- Construction worker
- Energy auditor
- Market analyst
- Restaurant manager
- Computer programmer
- School bus driver
- Flight attendant
- Social worker
- Military/Air Force
- Police officer
- Park ranger
- Professional musician
One appraiser who used to work on Wall Street said, “I commuted two and a half hours each way to work every day…I worked inside an office all day and in the winter time rarely saw the light. The appraisal business gave me a life with more free time and [allows me to] enjoy the outdoors part of the day. Best career decision I made.”
A former flight attendant reported, “I wanted a career that did not require me to sit behind a desk exclusively. Perfect mix of being on the road and computer time without many days away from home.”
“In my previous job, I worked 18 years in the IT Dept at a large private corporation, the last 15 years in management. I grew tired of the political nonsense that was growing, and especially got tired of the 5-10 meetings that I had every day. A lot of my day seemed to be a waste…Therefore, it was time for a change; time to work for myself and do what I knew was the right thing at a fair rate.”
“I was in education before appraising. I wanted more flexibility and less stress! Appraising gave me more time to spend with my daughter at a crucial time in her life.”
What previous career (if any) did you have before you became a real estate appraiser? Are you glad you made the switch? Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Or, sign up for our newsletter to get a new survey question in your inbox each month.
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