Making $300,000 a Year: Clarified

Editor’s Note: WRE received many questions and comments in response to last issue’s Making $300,000 a Year Appraising. We sent them to the appraiser profiled in the story for his response.

Making $300,000 a Year: Clarified

By John Ugrotzi, Jr.

First, yes, $300,000 is gross. I wish it were net. When I was in Colorado and did large, high-dollar homes, my average fee for those expensive homes was $1,100. At two to three of these a week, the money adds up quickly. Plus I had one appraiser working with me.

2007 was not a banner year as in the past but I still, in my opinion, did well. I added up all the reports over the past few years and came up with the following stats regarding the types of reports I do. The percentages are: sixty percent were 1004s. Of these, about fifteen percent were new construction – just a vacant land inspection plus plans and specs. Twenty-five percent were 1004Cs (manufactured). These were mostly new construction – just a vacant land inspection plus plans and specs. Fifteen percent were a combination of 2055 Driveby Exterior only, Field/Desk Reviews and Vacant Land appraisals.

Yes, I inspect all properties. Do I have to be a “number hitter” to create this kind of volume (1,000 appraisals per year)? How about working seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.? This, in my opinion, will allow one to achieve that kind of volume. Complain all they want but until they (appraisers who complain it can’t be done ethically) go beyond the average 40-hour work week, they will only get average results.

I’m sure there are “number hitters” out there. However, I have a great client base: AMCs, foreclosures, refinances, divorce work, brokers wanting my help in establishing an asking price, etc. Orders don’t come with “estimated values” or “can you hit this number?” on the request sheet.

It is a shame that a few appraisers (maybe more than a few) have a difficult time appraising a property if they do not have some kind of indication of what value the client needs or what the sales price is. I have an extensive background and career in the assessment profession: 20 years to be exact. During my assessment career, I had to value properties without any predetermined value and if a taxpayer objection arose, I had to defend those values.

This is what appraising should be: a good, straightforward valuation based on market data and the appraiser’s interpretation of that data, along with good, solid support for one’s value conclusion.

For more, see Profile: Making $300,000 a Year Appraising, How to Make Six Figures Appraising and How to Make Six Figures Appraising (Part 2).

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