Our aging Real Estate Appraisers

How old is too old to be a Real Estate Appraiser?

That question is not an easy one to answer. It is also likely that each individual appraiser can only provide their answer to the question. At 80, I am relatively healthy, and have no issues with mobility, climbing stairs, pulling a tape, or doing anything else that is generally required of a residential real estate appraiser. I am most fortunate in that I do not need any device to assist me, such as a cane, a walker, or an assistant to go with me and assist in doing any of the physical things an appraiser must do.

I am smarter than I have ever been in my entire life, and use technology that I never dreamed about, even 20 years ago. Of course, some might not agree with that when they see the results of my opinion. Be that as it may, my opinion of my work is that it would withstand the scrutiny of my peers.

Others that I know, that have long since passed the half-century mark, are among the finest appraisers that I know and have ever known.

A friend, and former student, recently retired in early 2016 at the age of 90. He is a hero of World War II. He was a radio operator in Patton’s 3rd Army, 71st Division and was one of the Army Personnel that liberated a Nazi Death Camp known as Gunskirchen Lager in Austria. Bill was a VA Appraiser, healthy, and capable until retirement.

I have met others, such as a Commercial Appraiser, in a class I taught a few years ago. He was 95 and considered an expert in his field.

There are many others, of varying ages, who do appraisals well into their senior years. They likely do so, as I do, because they love what they are doing. It is usually a matter of wanting to, not having to, continue to work.

Obviously, any appraiser, like any other person in any other profession, should know when it is in their best interest, and the best interest of the public, to stop. That may be for reasons of health, comprehension, mobility, disability, or just plain loss of interest. But, unlike some professions that have a mandatory age limit, that decision is the appraisers decision.

Generally, and from the studies I have seen, most appraisers fall into the age group from about 40 years old to 50 years old. Younger people are considering the appraisal profession, but not in the numbers that many likely thought they would. The Appraisal Foundation, among others are taking a hard look at such things as education and other requirements that will be necessary to protect the public but at the same time, fill the gap caused by attrition.  That may not be an easy task, as many younger people may look at the amount of compensation that a typical appraiser gets for their labor and expertise, and comes to the conclusion that they can likely do better doing something else.

Like real estate sales and brokerage, the appraisal profession has largely been a second career for many, not a primary career or first career. That has, for the most part, been an excellent pool of potential appraisers as many of those looking at a second career have skills that naturally fit the profession of an appraiser.

That may not always be the case, with changing technology, and the fact that at some point, some enterprising person or group may develop technology that will virtually decimate the ranks of appraisers. If the past is any indication, that may not be far off. In less than 100 years advances in technology have replaced the skills of many workers.

But for the immediate future, likely about 10-15 more years, appraisers will be there to do what we have always done. And that likely means that the aging appraiser will become even more commonplace as younger folks look toward professions with greater financial rewards.

Have content of your own that you would like to submit? Email comments@appraisalbuzz.com.

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About Don Clark

Don Clark
Charles (Don) Clark has 41 years experience in the real estate profession as a salesperson, broker, and real estate appraiser. He is a State Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser in Virginia and North Carolina, and is designated as a Green Valuation Specialist. He specializes in real estate appraisal, education, and consulting. Don also does peer review and assistance in assisting appraisers in answering complaints of state boards and other regulatory agencies. He is also licensed or certified to teach appraisal pre-licensure courses in Virginia and North Carolina. He holds a degree in real estate from St. Leo College, St. Leo, Florida, is an AQB Certified USPAP Instructor and has been active in the profession since 1972.

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