Making Sense of the Market

The Market: One veteran says that in 37 years of appraising 2008 was the toughest market he’s ever seen and that 2009 could be worse. Several others, also appraising over 30 plus years of real estate cycles, agree. Their take? If you can make it in these conditions, you can make it.

Professional Advice: In addition to learning how to analyze data in the context of your local market- rather than just reporting a number, the advice we keep hearing is to appraise conservatively. Everyone is “walking on eggshells” now and there is zero tolerance for sloppy or misleading reports. Lenders want the truth.

VA Appraising: Gerald Kifer, Supervisory Appraiser for the Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office, Washington, DC reports that VA appraisal work is booming- up 92 percent since January 2008. There are approximately 5,000 appraisers on the panel currently. Kifer indicates that while there are no plans to open the panel nationally, there are individual needs in pockets all across the country. He urges appraisers who want to do VA work to check with their local office and fill out an application even if there is no immediate need, as applications are kept on file and reviewed as needed. Side note: when WRE asked a San Diego appraiser how he was getting by recently, the reply was “just barely,” living on savings and FHA and VA work. This appraiser, in the profession over 30 years, said he was advised early in his career to get on the VA panel and that it has been one of the best professional decisions he’s made. Appraisal applicants can find information on qualifications and an online application to be a VA appraiser at

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