Change–Threat or Opportunity?


I had the opportunity yesterday to do a webinar for the NAR Appraisal Section, for the RAA and GAA members. The webinar was: “Beyond HVCC”, and for me, it was fun to do because it was positive and embraced change. I certainly know how HVCC has turned appraisers’ lives upside down, as well as agents. But this gave me an opportunity to talk to appraisers about their business and how to think about their business in a different way.
Appraisers traditionally have not had to market the way agents have. An appraiser got established, got on the ‘lists’ of lenders, and the work came in. Lenders shared lists, and life was good. Occasionally there was a bump in the road if your favorite lender merged, closed, sold out, or your best contact there got another job, or retired. But pretty much, for many of the years I was doing lots of residential appraisals, the work just came in.
It’s a different world today; there’s pressure on fees, on turn-around time, and competition. To that end, in the webinar, I talked about ideas of other types of appraisal work that appraisers can pursue. Successful agents are into niches; appraisers should be as well. And the successful agents who get into niches realize that they are picking their own clients, instead of the other way around.
The ideas I brought forth were all types of appraisals, or types of value, or specific clients or situations. We talked about everything from learning how to do appraisals for trust work to assessment work. NAR will post the webinar shortly on their site, for interested viewers; the first time through it was available only to RAA and GAA members.
In my career, which is now primarily trainer/writer as opposed to appraiser/ agent, I find it is useful to be able to communicate to both groups. Agents don’t understand always what appraisers do; appraisers have (up until now) been able to avoid defining their market and pursing it. I still have both an associate broker’s license and an appraisal certification. At one time, I took any work in either field I could get. But when you do that, you end up either bored, resentful or both. It’s better for your clients—and much better for you—if you can focus on the work you really love—and do an outstanding job.
This world of real estate is not the one I entered in the mid 1970’s—it’s much more challenging; requires more skills; has more competition; and is simply not as easy as it used to be. But these changes are an opportunity to grow—and prosper.

Melanie McLane

Melanie McLane, ABR, CRB, RAA, is owner of McLane Solutions, a real estate education and training company in Jersey Shore, Pa. She is also a certified residential appraiser and an associate broker with Jackson Real Estate in Jersey Shore. In addition to the ABR, CRB, and RAA, McLane holds a number of other designations and certifications from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and other organizations, and she is a nationally recognized speaker.

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  1. Great article. I think you nailed it “Successful agents are into niches; appraisers should be as well. And the successful agents who get into niches realize that they are picking their own clients, instead of the other way around.” This is something real estate appraisers should seriously think about.

  2. Retired Appraiser

    Threat Or Opportunity?

    How about Dead End Careeras as a third option?

  3. Most appraisers do work inside niche markets. The problem is 99% of them work in the mortgage use niche.

  4. Smiling AMC

    Opportunity Of A Lifetime

    If you own an AMC! It’s the easiest money that can be made in these economic times.

  5. Retired Appraiser


    TAVMA claims that new HVCC Extortion Business Model has been so profitable that it may be applied to the accounting & legal professions as early as 2012. Over 2.5 billion in appraisal fees have been skimmed since May 1, 2009with no opposition in sight.

  6. Cheryl

    Is that discussion saved somewhere to be viewed again? It would be good to view it to generate new ideas for doing business. Right now I agree with the other persons’ comment and in my opinion I see it as a dead end career that is so highly regulated out of perpetuated greed. I’m actually not an appraiser, my husband is and I also work in a highly regulatted industry, but after seeing this HVCC regulations going into affect I’ve never been so disgusted. We know a handful of other appraisers and they are out of the business and my husband is trying to stay in it. His glass is half full, mine is not. But it would be good to see the webinar to see if there is light at the end of the tunnel.