Bridging the Learning Gap

It is a tale as old as time, majority of appraisers do not participate in mentoring a trainee. For some appraisers, they may not know where to enroll in a mentoring program and for others, their assignments cannot be accepted by a lender if a trainee conducts it. Although the industry guidelines have changed over time for trainees, mentoring has many more pros than cons.  Ask yourself, how can the future of the industry properly do their job if they are not properly educated, taught, or trained?

Mike Brocker-Querio with Amrock has focused his career on training programs which have helped him stay on his A game as an appraiser.

Buzz: Mike, thank you for joining us today. Prior to your career as an Appraisers, you were in the Army. Which we would like to thank you for your service. What encouraged you to enter the appraisal industry?

Mike: Soon after I was honorably discharged, a close friend started training as an appraiser. At the time, I had zero idea of what an appraiser did, and it took a few weeks of convincing me before I took a leap of faith and joined the team. I instantly fell in love with the profession and became obsessed with architecture at the same time.

Buzz: What encouraged you to begin mentoring trainees?

Mike: At first, it was born out of necessity. Shortly after I became licensed, I started a new position with a local appraisal firm and part of the job responsibilities was to take on a trainee. I quickly found that I enjoyed teaching trainees the tricks of the trade.

Soon thereafter, I began working with the owner of the company to develop a standardized training program. We were able to help over a dozen appraisers become licensed in my three and a half years with the company.

The feeling of accomplishment that comes from assisting someone in achieving their goals and potential was a big part of why I kept taking on trainees. I went on to train additional appraisers at my own business and now, contribute to the trainee program at Amrock.

Buzz: Have you seen the mentoring process benefit veteran appraisers?

Mike: Having a trainee keeps your skills sharp. You’re continually referring back to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) guidelines, and other materials.

As an independent or small business appraiser, it’s very easy to become isolated from the changes that are taking place in the industry. Having a trainee keeps you closer to those changes.

Buzz: Many appraisers are hesitant about mentoring a trainee. What piece of advice could give to someone who may be on the fence about taking on a trainee?

Mike: Don’t hesitate. DO IT!  It will give you a renewed passion for your work.

Taking on a trainee will help strengthen your business through the efficiencies gained by having a trainee act as a force multiplier. A trainee makes it possible to complete more work in the same amount of time.

Keep an open mind and encourage your trainee to ask questions. Encourage them to suggest alternative ways of doing things. Trainees have a fresh perspective and can see things in a different light that may simplify your current processes.

Buzz: What do you see as the biggest challenge for new appraisers entering the field? How can veteran appraisers help?

Mike: The biggest challenge I see for new appraisers is finding lenders that are willing to accept work where a trainee inspected the subject property on their own. The good news is that veteran appraisers can help by contacting their lenders and informing them that they want to work with a trainee.

Work with the lenders to get their buy-in. Explain the steps you’ve taken to make sure your trainee is doing things by the book. Also explain the advantages of using a trainee; that you’ll be more efficient and could possibly handle more work. Proactive communication with your lenders also creates better relationships that benefit all involved.

Buzz: Before we conclude this Q&A, is there anything else you would like to add?

Mike: To appraisers that are mentoring a trainee: I encourage you to explore technology, independent of what you use. Use a compare-and-contrast evaluation system to see which technology benefits your process the most. Incentivize your trainee to do this. At the end of the day, if your trainee is making you more efficient, everyone wins!

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About Michael Brocker-Querio

Michael Brocker-Querio
Michael Brocker-Querio is the Director of Staff Appraisal Operations at Amrock. He helps create policies and maintain procedures for the company’s direct-hire staff appraisers. Through his expertise and the continuous solicitation of staff appraiser feedback, Michael provides advice and expert appraisal consultation to all areas of the valuation business. After returning home as an Army veteran, Michael was employed by leading appraisal firms to train others who were entering into the field of appraisal. He eventually went on to operate his own appraisal firm from 2003 to 2010, gaining valuable experience that has helped him grow Amrock’s industry-leading trainee program. Today, Michael aims to create a strategic vision that merges the latest technology with the dynamic experience of Amrock’s staff appraisers. A natural problem-solver, Michael’s military leadership background helps him maintain an even keel and a never-ending supply of optimism.

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