Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day are both celebrated in March. In honor of these events, Appraisal Buzz sat down with three women who are leading the appraisal profession in the 21st Century. Our second interview is with Susan Martin-Phipps. She is Secretary of the Board of Trustees for The Appraisal Foundation. Susan has been a Rhode Island Certified, Residential Appraiser since 1993. She has a B.A. from Providence College, an MEd from Rhode Island College, and completed graduate work in Holistic Counseling from Salve Regina University. She has taught real estate classes on the state and national levels. Susan is active with the National Association of Realtors, and has served as chair of NAR’s Resorts and Second Home Forum, as well as a member of NAR’s Appraisal Committee.
Buzz: What drew you to the appraisal profession?
Susan: I entered the wonderful world of appraising real property from the real estate sales realm. We were part of a family run real estate firm and while I enjoyed helping buyers find their dream home and becoming part of the American dream, or helping investors find that perfect opportunity, I needed something a little different. I wanted to continue to make my own hours, to work for myself, to have the flexibility of time and location, a constant change of scenery, and most importantly, I wanted independence.
I found that in real estate sales I was consistently adjusting my schedule to someone else’s, often someone very unrealistic and very demanding. I had three young children at the time and my husband was also in real estate sales. I didn’t want to continue missing the weekend basketball game or the Sunday family brunch because we had to schedule an open house or take that out-of-town buyer to see a home on late notice. I wanted the flexibility of looking at a property on a more fluid time schedule and doing the analysis and write up of the report on my time. This meant 2:00 am was acceptable because that worked with MY schedule! I loved traveling all over the state appraising diverse properties, from a cabin in the woods in the morning to a penthouse in the city in the afternoon. I love the challenge of the really difficult appraisal that requires the deep analysis and the extensive appraisal process. It was and continues to be the perfect fit for me.
Buzz: How does your work with appraisal organizations benefit the profession?
Susan: As a member of the Board of Trustees at The Appraisal Foundation I am able to interact with a diverse group of professionals from the various appraisal fields. We are able to bring practical experience to the policy decisions of the appraisal process. We are able to provide validation to those programs and processes that work while also providing thoughtful critiques of those approaches or policies that do not forward accurate valuation, consumer protection, and stewardship of the process.
Buzz: What advice would you give women who are entering the appraisal profession?
Susan: The advice would be for anyone entering into the appraisal field: Be rigorous in your approach to the profession, and continue learning every day. Be ethical and consistent in your engagement of the process. Be tenacious in articulating the importance of accurate valuation. Find a supervisor/mentor who is rigorous, ethical, and tenacious. Be bold finding the questions to ask and don’t hesitate finding the answers. Question everything, take nothing for granted. Ask for help when needed. Join appraisal organizations and blogs. Attend your state appraisal board meeting. Go out and meet other appraisers and ask them questions! Volunteer with associations and organizations that are advancing the profession and ensuring that the public trust is held in the absolute highest regard.