Saturday , 20 January 2018

Taking on a Trainee

Shelley Bogenhagen is a Certified Residential Appraiser in Colorado who recently took on the responsibility of a trainee. With the discussions of the lack of appraisers in her area, and the aging of the profession, the Buzz sat down with Shelley to discuss her motivations, her experience so far, and her role as a supervisor.

Buzz:  Shelley, thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to The Appraisal Buzz. First, give us a brief idea of your professional experience and your path to becoming a Certified Residential Appraiser.

Bogenhagen:  I have been appraising for approximately 25 years now in the Colorado Springs metro area. I started as a registered appraiser and took the classes necessary and jumped to Certified Residential.  I had an awesome boss back in the 1990’s and stayed with his organization for five years.

Buzz:  What led you to take on a trainee?

Bogenhagen:  The trainee I accepted struck me as being motivated and intelligent. When we met at a CAREA (Colorado Association of Real Estate Appraisers) in September 2017, I had no intention of taking on a trainee and before I knew it my mouth said “let’s get started.” Am I ever glad my mouth spoke before my brain could act. It has been awesome so far.

Buzz:  Appraisers often use the argument that taking on a trainee is just training your competition, it doesn’t make financial sense, etc. How do you respond to that mindset?

Bogenhagen:  The average age of the appraiser in Colorado is 59, we wish to slow down and work part-time, at least I do. We are experiencing tremendous growth in Colorado Springs and there is room for more appraisers. As for financial sense, I guess there are some risks there. My productivity has gone out the window, but I feel I am becoming a better appraiser for this experience. I have had to refresh my memory on Appraisal 101 Principles. In short order though I expect payback as my trainee can take over some research duties. If my trainee leaves just when she becomes productive, that’s ok too. I wouldn’t have gotten the payback I’d have liked, but I’m still a better appraiser for the experience, so I guess I’d call it even. I figure if I properly reward her financially and she continues to learn, we both win.

Buzz:  How did you find your trainee? What traits or professional experience were you looking for?

Bogenhagen:  As I said above, I met her at a CAREA meeting, she found me. I was not looking for a trainee, but I was struck by her motivation and intelligence.

Buzz:  How has the experience been going so far?

Bogenhagen:  It is the most rewarding experience you can imagine. I’ve been re-reading a lot of material on the basic principles of appraising so that I can explain things better, therefore,  I know I am a better appraiser for it. Sure my productivity has taken a nose dive right now, but that’s ok, in my opinion, we are both growing from this experience.

The best part of this experience has been CAREA (Colorado Association of Real Estate Appraisers) and their complete support they have provided to me. I was at the president’s doorstep within 48 hours of accepting a trainee telling him I had no idea what to do, and how to do it. There was very little information available at our state website, and the rumors about liability and the cost of a trainee just had me drawing a complete blank about what to do. We have now put together a separate committee about the subject of mentors and trainees, and we had our first casual get together on Dec. 21 and the turnout was awesome. We are in the process of getting mentors together with trainees, and also have the information available to those appraisers who may consider a trainee.

Buzz:  What advice can you give to someone who is contemplating taking on a trainee in 2018?

Bogenhagen:  By all means, take the leap. I jumped in despite having no one to help me and answer questions, but I was forced out of my shell and on to the local trade organization for help. I found that there are so many people out there willing to help, that all I can say is “Do it! Just jump in and do it.” My trainee and I are still muddling through the petty things like making file sharing easier, and just making sure she has all the necessary things DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies) be asking of her. We are trying to find out what works best for us.

Buzz:  Anything else you would like to add?

Bogenhagen:  I know that appraisers in the US are getting older, and this is a great profession to be in, let’s pass down our knowledge and expertise to those who wish to enter this profession. It’s rewarding beyond your wildest dreams. For me to have found out that our local trade organization was there 100% for me was amazing. Now my goal is to get other appraisers in our area on board and give it a shot. It will make you a better appraiser.

Buzz:  Thank you for your time Shelley! We wish you and your trainee the best during this process.

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

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