As the global real property valuation profession’s leading professional association, the Appraisal Institute has created a special project team – the Residential Appraisal Project Team – that is dealing with residential appraisal-related issues.
AI President Jim Amorin, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, has directed RAPT to enhance the value proposition of the Appraisal Institute’s SRA designation to the residential appraiser. AI formed the team at the beginning of 2017 as part of its commitment to supporting and growing the residential sector of the organization.
RAPT, which is developing recommendations for consideration by AI’s leadership, consists of: Stephen Wagner, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, chair; Woody Fincham, SRA, AI-RRS, co-chair; Edward Cline, SRA, AI-RRS; Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS; Leland Trice, SRA; Alex Uminski, SRA, AI-RRS; Jean Gannon, SRA, AI-RRS; Rick Larkin, SRA; Frank Lucco, SRA; Charles Baker, SRA; Ernest Durbin II, SRA, AI-RRS; John McMahon, SRA; Jennifer Marshall, SRA, AI-RRS; Danny Wiley, SRA; Donald Boucher, SRA, liaison to the Admission and Designation Qualifications Committee; and Jefferson Sherman, MAI, AI-GRS, liaison to the Strategic Planning Committee.
This team is diverse and, more importantly, full of passionate professionals who want to see good things happen for SRA members and the residential appraisal profession in general. Team members’ practices range from mortgage lending to litigation to relocation to corporate staff and RAPT’s combined experience exceeds a century.
How We Got Here
Appraisal Institute research shows that the number of licensed U.S. appraisers has declined nearly 23 percent since 2007, a drop of approximately 3 percent each year. AI research suggests that the current trend could continue, with the number of appraisers decreasing at a comparable or higher annual rate over the next five-to-10 years. The decline (from a number inflated by a then-booming real estate market that markedly fell when the bubble burst) is due to retirements, fewer new people entering the appraisal profession, economic factors, government regulation and greater use of data analysis technologies.
Much of this attrition has occurred in the residential area of the valuation profession. The 10-year trend has been one of continuous decline, with a decrease of approximately 29% in the number of licensed/certified residential appraisers over the past 10 years and a decline of approximately 15% during the last five years. As the nation’s largest professional association of real estate appraisers, the Appraisal Institute has directed RAPT to create a meaningful value proposition for residential appraisers that will attract and retain residential members at a significantly higher rate.
Innuendo and Conjecture
There has been some noise in the blogosphere about the Appraisal Institute, the SRA designation and residential appraising. Most of the innuendo and conjecture is simply that. Like my father used to say: “If you are going to complain, have a solution. Otherwise, you are just whining.”
For example, the suggestion that AI is only looking out for commercial appraisers is simply false. The Appraisal Institute benefits from all of its membership prospering, not just one part of it. In fact, the Appraisal Institute devotes tremendous resources on behalf of SRA Designated members, including in the area of advocacy. There is no organization that is more active or vocal than the Appraisal Institute in Washington, D.C., and state capitals on residential appraisal issues.
It’s worth noting that the formation of this group has been several years in the making. I was among those who approached several members of AI’s executive leadership over the last few years. Now that it is underway, it will be a process that is conducted over time, not something that will happen overnight. Whatever changes that come about need to be meaningful and long-term.
The SRA designation still holds value for many clients. In fact, I have several clients who have engaged me specifically because I have the designation. I have heard the same message from others both on and off the project team. Further, members of the project team report many other benefits to holding the SRA designation, including higher earnings, diverse client types and enhanced professional opportunities.
While the designation holds value for many, it has lost its attraction to some lender clients. The team is examining that issue, among others, and plans to create a meaningful plan to improve it. The profession is made up of more mortgage-use appraisers than any other area, and that is a client base that needs to be engaged. SRA Designated Members possess a level of education, experience and training that should be desired by lender clients.
There will be more coming from the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Appraisal Project Team over the next several months. I am always happy to discuss our work with anyone who has questions or comments, and I am sure that many of the team share that view, as well. If you have a great idea that might help, please don’t hesitate to share it.
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