That’s a wrap on the Appraisal Institute 2019 Annual Conference


A good time was had by all at the Appraisal Institute 2019 Annual Conference in Denver last month. They say good things come in three’s and as a Gold Sponsor of the conference for the third year in a row, this year was especially noteworthy for us in the Mile High City.  

First and foremost, we were joined this year by one of our new Valcre teammates. In year’s past, the conference crew has included our four co-founders and members of our business development team. This year we were joined by one of our Sales Associates, Joe DiFabio. It was exciting to see how much the team has grown and evolved since last year’s event in Nashville.

We kicked things off Sunday evening in Denver at the Leadership Development and Advisory Council (LDAC) alumni reception. Our CEO and Co-Founder, Lucas Rotter, attended the gathering on the Denver City Terrace. The LDAC group gathers once a year in Washington, D.C., so the opportunity to connect with fellow appraisers in such an intimate and unique environment was definitely a highlight.

Monday was the official first day of the conference. The Valcre team prepared their booth inside the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center before hundreds of attendees filed in. In the afternoon, we heard from Keynote Speaker, Allison Massari, who talked a lot about leadership, adversity and the importance of resiliency. One standout quote from her keynote was, “Sometimes in life, there is no break. There is no quick fix. What you do is you dig deep and survive it.” This perspective was a great reminder to put our shoulder against the wall and keep pushing.

Monday evening the Valcre team headed to the Offsite Reception at Coors Field before hopping across the street for our Happy Hour event that was co-hosted with CompStak. We invited industry professionals to join us at the ViewHouse for food and drink, networking and an incredible view overlooking downtown Denver. We had a great turnout with more than one hundred people attending!

Day Two of the conference involved several games of Valcre corn-hole and many, many Valcre demos in the exhibit hall. A huge thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth, inquired about Valcre and to those who signed up as new users of Valcre. A highlight for us was sharing the news about our special discounted rate available only to AI professionals—a new membership perk available to all AI members as of this year.

Wednesday was the final day of the conference for our team. A couple of our favorite breakout sessions from this day were, “The Modern Appraisal Practice: Selling a Product, a Service, or a Solution” and “Bringing Appraisal into the Modern Era.” Our industry continues to shift and evolve at a rapid speed, so every opportunity we have to learn how to better navigate the landscape, better serve our users and ultimately help businesses grow is incredibly valuable.

All in all, our trip to Denver was a success! The Valcre crew is already looking forward to Appraisal Institute 2020 Annual Conference, which we just learned will be held in sunny Orlando, Florida. Until next year!

If you want to learn more about Valcre - drop us a line at

See you in Denver! The Appraisal Institute 2019 Annual Conference


The event of the year for the appraisal industry is just a week away! Hundreds of valuation professionals will gather to celebrate another year for the valuation industry at the Appraisal Institute 2019 Annual Conference. The three day-event kicks off July 22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Valcre team is honored and excited to be back as a Gold Sponsor of the event for the third year in a row. 

What to expect

The theme of this year’s conference, hosted in the “Mile High City,” is “Climbing Even Higher,” a key ingredient for our team of innovators and entrepreneurs. Denver is a unique metropolis in that it sits at an elevation of 5,280 feet (one mile) above sea level, a point of pride for Denverites. The city boasts a variety or urban adventures, cultural attractions, thriving craft beer breweries, great live music and one of the hottest restaurant scenes in the country.

The main conference will feature dozens of speakers, educational sessions, opportunities to connect with fellow appraisers and an exhibitor showcase featuring cutting-edge valuation products, services and organizations committed to driving the industry forward. 

Visitors who stop by the Valcre booth will have the chance to see our industry-leading appraisal software in action. Our team will be offering live demonstrations for all visitors plus a sneak peek at the platform reshaping the appraisal process for leading professionals. Ask us about our special AI member rates, gain access to our free regional analysis tool and make sure to snag some Valcre swag.

Valcre & CompStak Event: July 22, 2019

We had such a great time partnering last year with the CompStak team, that we’re doing it again this year! The Valcre and CompStak teams will be co-hosting an event at ViewHouse in downtown Denver July 22. The happy hour will begin at 8 pm, right after the AI Offsite Reception happening across the street at Coors Field. Stop by for food, drink, views and great company!

If you want to learn more about Valcre and schedule a private one-on-one demo ahead of the conference - drop us a line at

Stop by our booth (#211) in the Exhibit Hall at the 2019 Annual Conference in Denver to learn more and schedule a one-on-one demo to see how we can help your business grow.

Q&A with Valcre user: Chris Ponsar, MAI, SRA of Ponsar Valuation

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There is no better way to determine whether a product or service is right for you than talking to someone with firsthand experience.

We sat down with one of our users, Chris Ponsar, MAI, SRA of Ponsar Valuation (Honolulu, Hawaii) to discuss his experience using Valcre’s appraisal software. Read on to learn why Valcre is a must-have for his valuation business and how Valcre made the transition from a major national firm to Ponsar Valuation seamless.

How long have you been a Valcre user and how did you first learn about it?

We’ve been using Valcre for 2 years and 2 months. I first learned about it through a mainland bank reviewer who recommended the product. They said it was really streamlined and state of the art so I gave Lucas a call and got a demo.

Tell us about your workflow as a commercial real estate  appraiser before you started using Valcre?

We started using Valcre immediately after I left a major national appraisal firm. We’ve been a Valcre user since day one of Ponsar Valuation. I was brought up in the appraisal business by a boutique firm that wrote reports the old fashioned way. After my colleagues and I joined a national firm, we were exposed to their report writing and database platform and began to see its potential. In terms of workflow, some appraisers think of the appraisal business in terms of dollar volume per month. I like to think of the appraisal business in terms of the number of opinions (appraisals) per month. When I was with the national firm, my primary associate and I were doing probably six or seven opinions a month.  Now we probably generate between 12 and 14 opinions per month.

What was your first impression when you tried Valcre?

It was super modern and bug-free. The platform that I came from was originally built in the late ‘90s so it had bugs and would crash from time to time. I was also impressed by how fast the online database was - it was lightning quick and intuitive.

At what point did you realize Valcre was a must-have for you?

When I worked for the boutique firm prior to working for the national firm, the boutique firm never had real integrated appraisal writing software or technology. When we moved to the national firm it was apparent that there were efficiencies, so I knew when I started my company I would need something similar. While I briefly looked at the competition, it was pretty obvious to me that Valcre was the most complete product and totally modern at the same time. When I did the demo with Lucas, I was convinced instantly that we wanted to give it a try. It’s definitely a must-have now that it’s so integrated into our fabric and our team is now totally trained on how to use it. Within 90 days we knew that Valcre was a long-term partner.

In general what has your user experience been like with Valcre? Easy-to-use? Does what it says it will do? Technical support?

The tech support we receive from Valcre is great. It’s been especially helpful because Hawaii has idiosyncrasies about how real estate is appraised, especially when it comes to leasehold properties or how our addresses and tax map key systems work. We requested some tweaks in the very beginning that we recognized were different than what people on the mainland use and the Valcre team was very accommodating and made those changes right away for use. This was a nice departure from the national firm I worked for where there was a committee making decisions on proposed changes. Valcre has been super flexible and responsive in customizing the database and templates for our needs. They definitely have the small business feel in terms of response time.

What do you like most about Valcre? What is the one Valcre feature you could not live without?

I like that it’s a complete package and it will do everything from job logs to database to contacts to workflow calendars. It tracks our billings, does our invoicing and even puts together proposals. It’s really an integrated package and it’s turnkey when you’re starting a new appraisal firm and don’t have any formats to work with or a database platform. With Valcre, you run your PayPal and you flip the switch and you’re in business the next day. If I had to choose just one feature, I couldn’t live without the database.

In what ways does Valcre’s online software create value for commercial real estate appraisers?

The interface is sexy. It’s slick. When clients come to the office and we’re talking about data or comps, I can quickly pull it up in the Valcre interface that is as good as or better than CoStar or anything else competing on the market. Valcre is a super professional product and I know for a fact that it’s a better looking product to clients than those used at the national firms. Valcre is the sizzle on the steak that helps sell the idea that even though we are a small shop, we’ve got big technology behind us.

How does Valcre help you stay competitive in the industry?

Valcre definitely makes us more efficient, which keeps us competitive. We are a six person team - three people here locally in Hawaii, one user in Uganda and two support staff close to Denver, Colorado. We’re all able to use the database no matter where we are.

Would you recommend Valcre to other appraisers? Why or why not?

Yes, definitely. I have recommended Valcre to several appraisers and several have signed up. Anytime anyone asks me, I give it a full-endorsement.

In just a handful of words, how would you describe Valcre to fellow commercial real estate appraisers who are not familiar with the software?

It’s the secret weapon for medium and smaller appraisal shops to compete with the big boys.


For more information email to get started today.

Ponsar Valuation is a Real Estate Appraisal and Consulting Company based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Chris Ponsar was the 2017 President of the Hawaii Chapter of the Appraisal Institute and a Commercial Real Estate Appraiser with expertise in Hawaii’s Resort and Industrial sectors. He has been engaged as an expert witness and arbitrator in numerous ground rent reset and litigation matters.

Appraisal Institute partnership to bring top appraisers discounted access to Valcre


2019 is off to a quick start for the Valcre team. At the beginning of January, we finalized an agreement with the Appraisal Institute (AI), which will make Valcre’s industry-leading platform more accessible and affordable to top commercial real estate appraisers. The affiliation is in perfect alignment with Valcre’s mission to revolutionize real estate technology for everyone.

The AI’s global professional association is nearly 18.000 real estate appraisers strong. One of its membership perks is discounted access to more than a dozen industry-leading tools, all of which are geared toward propelling appraisers.

So what exactly does this new agreement mean for Valcre? Top professionals from nearly 50 countries will have discounted access to Valcre’s cloud-based appraisal software. Depending on the subscription plan, users could receive up to 29 percent off the industry’s most innovative and intuitive appraisal technology platform.

Valcre remains dedicated to creating a new industry standard for real estate analysis. Its platform, which provides institutional level quality tools to firms of all sizes, is now available to AI’s vast network of commercial real estate professionals at a discounted price.

Earlier this month, Valcre announced a partnership with FUEL Enterprise. FUEL is a state-of-the-art cloud-based platform powering the next generation of valuation, forecasting and transaction underwriting for CRE. The partnership will integrate Fuel’s cutting-edge cash flow modeling into Valcre’s industry-leading appraisal software. The update will benefit companies of all sizes and bring faster, more accurate commercial property valuations to its users.

Valcre is a company of innovators and entrepreneurs. We design, build,and support modern technology, and we find creative and novel ways to apply new technologies and processes to solve important challenges.

“We measure our success through the success of our users, which is why affiliations with organizations like AI and FUEL are key for delivering true value,” explains Lucas Rotter, founder and CEO of Valcre.

For more information visit the Appraisal Institute benefits page or email to get started today.

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Valcre’s 2018 Year-in-Review: A record-breaking year

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For Valcre, the past 365 days have been a whirlwind. The year 2018 can be summed up in two words for our team: rapid growth. In 2018, we increased our users by 148%, increased our revenue by 162% and are now actively serving appraisers and valuers in multiple countries and continents. We expanded our team, added new features and capabilities to our platform, sponsored a number of industry events and even received a variety of media coverage along the way highlighting our efforts.

As Valcre continues to chart new territory, our mission remains the same: provide an innovative appraisal software platform for the commercial real estate industry. Our technology now serves appraisers and valuers in U.S., Canada, and Australia. To keep Valcre’s worldwide users firing on all cylinders, we integrated metric compatibility across the entire platform.

In addition, we added enhanced and intuitive map searching capabilities to our online database allowing our users to easily search and navigate their own data with ease. A new regional analysis tool was introduced to show employment rates from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics at the National, State, Metropolitan,and County levels, which is available for free here.

This year we added several new faces to the Valcre team. Our founding team continues to fine tune and oversee day-to-day operations. The new team members include expanded Sales, Support and Development teams which ultimately work to provide firms of all sizes our industry leading, fully integrated appraisal software.

With a jam-packed event schedule, the Valcre team found themselves jet-setting from one event to the next. In April, the team hosted a Commercial Appraisal Forum alongside First Citizens Bank in Portland. In May, our CEO Lucas Rotter, represented Valcre at the Appraisal Institute’s Annual Leadership Development & Advisory Council (LDAC) in Washington DC.

In July, the team met in Nashville for the Appraisal Institute Annual Conference where Valcre was a Gold Record Sponsor. More than 500+ industry leaders visited Valcre’s booth, where they saw live demonstrations of Valcre's all-in-one commercial real estate appraisal solution. The team rolled out its new free regional analysis tool at the event, giving interested parties a firsthand experience with Valcre.  In the evenings, the team explored downtown Nashville with other conference attendees and co-hosted a networking event with CompStak at the iconic Acme Feed & Seed. Read more about Valcre’s experience in Nashville here.

In September, the team exhibited at CRETech’s Los Angeles event. The event was attended by a record-breaking 300+ industry professionals and discussed how technology is revolutionizing the industry. That same week, Valcre was in San Diego to sponsor the IRS Valuation Symposium, an educational class hosted by the Appraisal Institute where nearly 100 attendees learned about regulations pertaining to the valuation of donated real estate and conservation easements. In October, the team headed to Seattle for the Appraisal Institute Fall Real Estate Conference which featured keynote speakers, presenters, breakout sessions and networking receptions.

At these events, Valcre connected with thousands of top commercial real estate professionals. Valcre is already looking forward to another busy event schedule in 2019 - especially the Appraisal Institute Annual Conference happening in Denver, July 22-24, 2019. Valcre is a Gold Sponsor for this event as well as the North Texas Realty Symposium happening in Dallas, January 25, 2019.

Valcre kicked off 2018 being accepted into the Junto Institute, which is a mentorship program for entrepreneurs looking to fine tune their leadership skills and emotional intelligence. The team graduated from the program in December at an event in Chicago. Since joining Junto, the team has become a better-aligned group and looks forward to more growth in 2019.

Throughout the year, Valcre was featured by several news outlets. At the tail end of 2017, Valcre was featured on CRETECH in its feature “How Emerging Technology is Changing the CRE Appraisal World.” Geekestate Blog interviewed Valcre’s CEO Lucas Rotter about the future of Valcre and what keeps him motivated as a leader in the commercial real estate tech industry. And most recently, Valcre was featured by Daily Deal Flow as a Startup of the Year.

In conclusion, 2018 has given Valcre the opportunities and inspiration to continue leading the commercial real estate appraisal industry. As we head into 2019, the team is excited to share what’s on the horizon for Valcre. But first, a pause to say thank you to our community of users, peers, mentors, family and friends. The Valcre team is grateful for your support and wouldn’t be where we are today without you. Happy holidays!

Valcre in Music City! The Appraisal Institute 2018 Annual Conference

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Early this August, the Appraisal Institute’s 2018 Annual Conference came to an end in Nashville Tennessee and the Valcre team enjoyed their experience participating in this inspiring and collaborative event. The unrivaled attraction of Music City was a draw both inside and outside the event for attendees with days filled with informative sessions and evenings filled with honkytonks and networking with peers.

As a Gold Record Sponsor, the Valcre team would like to thank everyone who attended. It was enjoyable speaking to everyone who visited the booth in the exhibit hall. Attendees were able to see live demonstrations of Valcre's all-in-one commercial real estate appraisal solution and meet the team in person.

At the booth, a new tool was introduced to those interested in getting hands-on experience with Valcre’s intuitive software, and that tool is now available for free at

The Valcre team is addressing the growing challenges on the horizon head-on, by redefining commercial real estate appraisals with a modern way to run an appraisal firm by providing tools that allow appraisal firms of all sizes to evolve alongside technology instead of being left behind. Schedule your own live demonstration and see for yourself how Valcre can help your business grow.

The Appraisal Institute's 2018 Conference is in Nashville!

Downtown Nashville

We are less than two weeks away from the Appraisal Institute’s 2018 Annual Conference in Nashville Tennessee, for which Valcre is proud to be a Gold Record Sponsor. It is the premier annual event for real estate valuation professionals, and this year’s conference, hosted by Music City itself, promises not to disappoint. Nashville’s rise as a destination hotspot for music, cuisine, and southern charm means there will be just as much to see outside the event when the conference sessions end. Inside the event, you will be sure to see coverage of top-of-mind regulatory, economic, and technological trends at work in increasingly volatile commercial real estate markets.

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Come visit Team Valcre at our booth!

If you want to witness technology truly redefining commercial real estate appraisal, be sure to come by the Valcre booth while you are at the conference. We will be conducting live demonstrations and providing a hands-on experience of our industry-leading Software as a Service (SaaS) platform that offers efficiencies and production volumes previously only achievable at national firms. Learn how you can use Valcre to expand the production capacity of appraisers and increase billings.

FREE Regional Analysis Tool!

For those visiting our booth, we will be giving away a new free Regional Unemployment & Employment Data Analysis Tool to help you with your appraisal report writing even if you arent a Valcre customer yet. We will also have Valcre swag including hats, guitar picks, pens, and other fare, that you won’t want to miss. The new tool will graph the unemployment rate over the trailing 18 months and over the last 10 years for National, Regional, State, MSA, and County levels for all US states, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Also included is a table to show employment rates for the last 10 years at the State, MSA, and County levels. The data is always as up to date as possible, pulling directly from the website.

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It's an efficient way to include unemployment or employment graphs and tables in any report that uses the data to help demonstrate the purpose of the report and its findings. Efficiency and productivity are critical to the success of today's commercial real estate appraiser. Learn how the efficiencies of using Valcre add up, allowing appraisers to avoid wasting valuable time and administrative resources, and focus on appraising. Valcre leverages a super-efficient system to create higher quality reports and increase the production capacity of every appraiser.

Stop by our booth (Number 111) in the Exhibit Hall at the 2018 Annual Conference in Nashville to learn more, and schedule a one-one-one demo to see how we can help your business grow.

5 Critical Components of an Appraisal Platform that Appraisers Can Not Live Without!

Efficiency and productivity are critical to the successful survival of today’s commercial real estate appraiser. At the same time, technology innovation in the commercial real estate (CRE) space has lagged relative to other industries. CRE appraisers simply can’t afford lost time experimenting with cobbled-together upgrades wedged into an outdated infrastructure. As Software as a Service (SaaS) providers enter the commercial real estate industry, an all-in-one CRE appraisal platform can offer firms of all sizes increased efficiencies and production volumes previously only achievable at national firms.

What are the key components essential to evaluating an all-in-one CRE appraisal platform?


1. One Place, Accessible Anywhere

First, it is fundamental to have a cloud-based solution available from anywhere for all stages of the appraisal workflow, from intake to invoice. The platform must provide a scalable, easily-searchable, database of all your key data, including sales, leases, surveys, and income/expense comparables. Intuitive dashboards should be included for quick access to the job status of every appraisal, with all the important information at your fingertips. Additionally, one-click professional service agreements and invoicing with hassle-free tracking of accounts receivables are must-haves to fully leverage efficiencies and production gains. 


2. Seamless Integration

Fully-integrated, customizable, branded, and USPAP-compliant Excel and Word templates should be provided. One-click importing of property information, comparables, and market data into the valuation template should be standard. Synchronizing charts and text into the appraisal template must be efficient and effortless. Mapping subject and comparable properties should be built in and automatic. Efficiencies add up, allowing appraisers to avoid wasting valuable time and administrative resources, and focus on appraising.


3. Privacy and Security

Privacy and security of data in the cloud are critical today, especially for CRE appraisers who are in possession of sensitive client data. Any SaaS provider should be transparent about how your data is being secured and protected. They should be providing strong encryption, following globally accepted certifications and standards for data protection policies and controls, and have geo-redundant backups stored in multiple locations. Your data should always be protected, secure, and available – and visible only to the people you choose.


4. Training and Support

The availability of training and support are crucial to the success of any software implementation, and are a measure of a provider’s commitment to you and your success. Time-strapped CRE appraisers are continually extracting efficiencies from their tools to increase productivity and require unlimited ongoing support to be included with their software investment, free of charge.


5. Outsourcing Tech Trend

Following the playbook from other industries, commercial real estate firms are outsourcing technology to experts, rather than trying to accel in both tech and CRE. Besides the headache being offloaded, there are efficiencies and productivity gains offered by all-in-one solutions, especially for CRE appraisers, if the right provider is chosen. A cloud-based SaaS platform offers a largely turnkey solution that saves the commitment of your own resources and significantly shortens the implementation time, by offloading the complexity of setup, customization, and maintenance to the provider.

Make Valcre Your Appraisal Platform

The right CRE appraisal platform is a complete software solution that frees appraisers from the burden of tech management. At Valcre, we built the best appraisal technology platform supporting all stages of the appraisal workflow. Our cloud-based database stores your data centrally and securely, and gives you complete access, anywhere and anytime. Easily keep track of jobs, clients, properties, sales, leases and expenses. Our robust search and mapping functionality let you find the data you need, when you need it.

Whether you are a solo appraiser or a large firm with many appraisers, assistants, and administrators in multiple offices, keeping your data up to date takes just minutes. With everything organized in one place: your appraisals, files, job due date calendar, comparables, clients, and much more – everyone has a lot more time to focus on what’s important – appraising.

What used to only be available to large firms with huge technology budgets, is now available to everyone – with ease in the cloud. Our industry-leading Software as a Service (SaaS) platform provides end-to-end job tracking and invoicing, one-page data entry, fully-integrated Word and Excel templates, automated mapping, one-click datasheets and summary reports. Valcre leverages a super-efficient system to create higher quality reports and increase the production capacity of every appraiser.

How to get your MAI

By: Joe Creech, MAI

What is MAI?

The MAI is recognized throughout the commercial real estate (CRE) industry as the top designation that can be achieved for a commercial real estate appraiser in the US. The MAI is the launching point for business careers in the commercial appraisal industry and is a base requirement to join most appraisal panels for lenders, corporations and law firms. Regardless of your career goals as a commercial appraiser, obtaining your MAI designation is a worthwhile venture. The education, resources, and prestige outweigh the costs (financial & time) spent to earn your “letters”.

One of the largest hurdles of obtaining the MAI designation is the substantial overall time commitment to get through the process. As appraisers, we spend our days looking for efficiency. Anything that takes away from producing reports is viewed as time misused. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the benefit of investing in your long-term career goals, which should include the MAI designation. Plan on spending at minimum five years from start to finish to complete the process. Here are the main points to consider and the steps you’ll need to take.

How to get started? If you are completely new to the industry or still considering appraisal as a career path, it is important to choose a firm that will nurture your development. Larger firms tend to have training programs in place and will pay for your appraisal courses, license fees, etc. However, working at a smaller firm with a senior MAI at the helm can provide better depth of knowledge in your training through more one-on-one mentoring.

As you progress through the trainee process, you will accumulate education requirements towards your general certification license as you also complete 300 classroom hours, as outlined by the Appraisal Institute (AI). Some of your undergraduate course-work may count towards these requirements. Economics, real estate and business courses are all generally helpful but check with the AI to verify which courses (and how many hours) count towards the education requirements.

Earning a general state certified license is an important milestone in your appraisal career. At this juncture your compensation typically shoots up, you can typically perform inspections independently (for many clients) and you will be applying your signature of excellence to each appraisal report. As your name is added to more and more reports in your market, clients will begin to get a comfort level with your work, which will eventually help with creating your own book of business. In my experience, it takes about five years to establish yourself within the commercial appraisal industry.

What’s next?

After earning your state license, this is the point where pursing an MAI designation starts to make sense. This is when you contact the Appraisal Institute to request a mentor to assist in navigating the process. A mentor is a MAI in your market that is volunteering their time to help motivate you to keep moving forward towards your goal. They will also be able to answer questions, provide advice, and insights along the way. 

What are the steps? Here is a logical order to follow when completing the four basic steps to earn your MAI; (1) upper level courses, (2) comp exam, (3) demo report, and (4) experience log.

1. Upper Level Courses

Along with the classes required for your certified general state license, you will also need to complete five upper level classes to obtain your MAI. While the state-level courses are typically available through various education providers on a regular basis, with minimal travel, the upper level courses are all week-long classes and are offered only through the AI with a more sporadic schedule. It can take five years to take all the classes if you prefer not to travel.

I recommend setting up a list of the courses you need to complete and check the AI website for when they are offered near you to avoid additional delays or travel costs. Keep in mind that as these courses are all one week long and the travel costs (airfare, hotel, meals) can be as much or more than the class itself. Also, classes can fill up early so make sure you sign up as soon as the classes are announced. Note that the AI requires candidates to pass a basic Excel mastery test to qualify to take the upper level courses. This is a newer requirement but considering you have likely been appraising for at least three years to this point, you should be well-versed in Excel and this step is more of a formality.

2. Comp Exam

The comprehensive examination (comp exam) includes four separate modules. The four modules include a 1) General Concepts, 2) Cost/Highest and Best Use (HBU), 3) Sales, and 4) Income. The most taxing for most candidates tends to be the Income module. The best advice for passing this exam is to take it as closely on the heels of the Advanced Income Capitalization course as possible. Since the comp exam includes four separate modules that take information from all five of the upper level courses, it is recommended that students attend the Advanced Income class last. Although students sit for all four modules, it is possible to sit for only one module at a time. Most of the information covered in the exams will come from the upper level courses and reviewing your handbooks from each class is a great place to start studying. The Appraisal of Real Estate is an important resource as well, especially the first 150 pages (+/-). Topics covered include a broad overview of the profession and is great for the General Concepts exam. Ted Whitmer offers a popular comp exam review program, with details here: Ted Whitmer Comp Workshop.

3. Demo Report

The demonstration report (demo) has long been regarded as the most daunting portion of the process of obtaining the MAI designation. The institute completed a survey and found that a large portion of candidates wound up giving up at this point in the process. The numbers were so staggering that alternative solutions were researched. The AI website lists the seven various options available here: Appraisal Institute Demo

The most traditional method is to write a demonstration report on a property that you select. The report must include all three approaches to value (Cost, Sales, and Income) and needs to include quantifiably supported adjustments in each approach. The various requirements for the report are considerable are listed here: Appraisal Institute Demo Guidebook. Once the report is complete, a reviewer approved by the AI is engaged to grade your report. It can take a few months to get the report back and it is rare for a report to come back without comments, with candidates often required to revise certain sections. Because of the requirements of the assignment, it is highly recommended to pick a fairly homogeneous property type where adjustments can be more easily supported. Industrial or multifamily are historically the most popular choices for a demo report. A candidate can use a property they have already appraised, but only if they satisfy the USPAP requirements for confidentiality and receive permission from the client involved in the prior report. The value date cannot be more than five years from the date of submission to the Institute and cannot involve a property in litigation.

One of the most compelling alternatives is the Demo Writing Class, which has a very high success rate. Candidates are provided information on a sample property, with all the details needed to complete a demo report. Students are given a couple of months to review the materials and begin writing the report. At the end of the two months, students attend a week-long course to complete the demo under the supervision of trained instructors for the institute. At then end of the course, the reports are handed in and graded, with results available much more quickly than under previous requirements. The advantage of the new project is that appraisers spend less time researching their project and more time analyzing the data and completing the report.

4. Experience Log

Getting your hours and completing the experience log is considered the easiest and most beneficial step as it is completed within the natural course of your work. The institute currently requires proof of 4,500 hours, with a maximum of 2,000 hours in any given year. This process can therefore take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to accomplish, depending on your workload. The number of hours per job or assignment is subjective and the Institute provides tips on the process here: Appraisal Institute Exp Log Guide.

Its worth the time

The path to achieving the MAI designation is certainly not easy, but it is because the process is difficult, that the designation carries weight in the industry. MAI appraisers are recognized throughout the commercial real estate industry as highly qualified experts in valuation. The mere fact that a candidate has endured such a process speaks volumes to their dedication to their profession and the appraisal industry.

Additional Resources:

Valcre Team Offsite, Looking Forward to Lots of New Features in 2018


Team Valcre just wrapped up a four-day jam session in Los Angeles hashing out the next round of features that will lead to even greater success for our commercial appraiser partners. Going into "lock-down" with an offsite allowed us to analyze and consolidate months of customer feedback that we will turn into upgrades and new features for our customers.

From day one we've listened to the needs of the market, making adjustments along the way. Our team's measure of success is continuously expanding the value proposition to our customers and their clients.

We are committed to acting as a partner in their success and will continue to strive to offer the most advanced and intuitive commercial appraisal platform on the market. That is our commitment to the CRE industry.

Thanks for your continued support!