You can hardly post anything on an appraisal forum or social media without the first 17 comments stating, “I do non-lender work.” This response reminds me of the fitness culture several years ago, when it felt as though everyone I met would first tell me that they did CrossFit, sometimes before even stating their name. Despite the way such statements are often delivered, it’s important to admit that these people are on to something.
Expanding your appraisal practice through non-lender work can lead to many benefits including increased revenue as well as greater independence and efficiency. Below are just a few of the ways appraisers can utilize their expertise to diversify their practice and earn the many – yet sometimes elusive – non-lender work opportunities that exist in today’s market.
Taking Advantage of Opportunities with Attorneys
I’ll start with an easy one that is shouted from the rooftops at industry conferences. We all know that there is appraisal work for attorneys, however, you might not know that there are many ways in which attorneys can utilize good appraisers. Divorce work is the most common, but attorneys also need valuation expertise for estate valuations, business disputes, tax litigation, bankruptcy proceedings, and expert witnesses (a per hour fee). Marketing your appraisal services to attorneys can lead to some very lucrative opportunities.
Becoming a Go-to Appraiser for Realtors during a Confusing Time in the Industry
Real estate agents and appraisers are taught different methods of valuation both in qualifying and continuing education as well as in the field. The fundamentally different ways we are taught to value a home can be one of the most frustrating differences between agents and appraisers, however, it can also lead to great opportunities.
Nobody can deny that we are living in a very strange era for real estate. In many markets, there is no rhyme or reason for list prices and cash sales, and in my own market, an inordinate amount of buyers are purchasing homes sight unseen. While this climate is very confusing for many realtors, it’s also an opportunity for appraisers to partner with successful agents in their market to perform pre-listing valuations and valuations for cash buyers. You can make a solid living by being one of the go-to appraisers in your market on the real estate agent side of the business – especially now.
Profiting from (Credible) Measuring Services
Everyone is looking to capitalize on the booming real estate market. One of the most baffling services offered to real estate agents currently comes from newer real estate marketing companies, many of which lack any true experience or education. These include measuring services from individuals who have never heard of ANSI standards, have no concept of what above and below grade means, and think a full interior-only, unfinished basement with dirt mounds, a dirt floor, and a ceiling height of 5’5” is considered a bedroom.
As an appraiser, you are an expert in measuring houses and determining the proper square footage. This education and experience is invaluable and can be marketed to real estate agents, not only as a service to provide correct measurements, but also via their marketing efforts. It can be presented in a way that real estate agents can use in their MLS listings and packets they are preparing for buyers. You really can provide a marketing service for real estate agents that can be both credible and profitable.
Becoming a Remote Appraiser
This tip is my favorite because it allows me to dream about operating an Upstate South Carolina appraisal business while on a boat in the Florida Keys. There are many products coming to market that can be used to become a fully remote operation. Mobile inspecting web-based applications, clients who are leaning on hybrid reports and video conferencing for expert witness testimonials, and education opportunities are just a few ways in which an appraiser can be fully remote. Diversifying your practice to use these products and services can give you the true independence and freedom that you may dream of.
Diversifying your appraisal practice has many professional benefits including mitigating the risk of a slowdown across the real estate market or economic change, in addition to gaining a newly expanded network. However, the most important benefits are lifestyle-based. You can earn more revenue. You can pick and choose who you want to work with. You can become more independent and more efficient. You can work remotely from a Sloppy Joe’s bar in Key West. But perhaps most importantly, when someone posts any appraiser question or comment on social media, you can be the first to comment with:
“I do non-lender work.”