Starting an Appraisal Business the Right Way
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a substantial impact on many lives and businesses, but it also poses several opportunities. A forecast of real estate industry revenues notes that the necessity of shelter, combined with low-interest rates, is enticing more people with stable finances to purchase homes.
So if you’re interested in starting your own real estate appraisal business, now is a good time to do it. With more consumers buying and selling properties, licensed appraisers who can estimate the market value of real estate are in demand. Here’s how you can get started:
Choosing a niche
Real estate is an incredibly competitive industry. In the past, real estate agents and property appraisers may have worked with both commercial and residential buyers or sellers, but many are now choosing to find their niche or specialty. It’s not enough to have general knowledge; most potential clients are looking for specialists they can be confident with.
Choosing a niche ultimately depends on who you want to cater to. Think of a specific audience, location, or property type you want to target. For example, you can be the go-to appraiser for attorneys handling divorce settlements. Consider your strengths, expertise, and property types you enjoy appraising, but don’t ignore the particular type of clients you prefer to assist as well — they may be a niche for you.
Obtaining a license
You may already have a standard appraiser license that allows you to do work on general property sites, but you can better cater to a niche if you obtain an advanced license. Aside from giving you access to a broader range of real estate, most lenders and financial institutions will also only accept appraisal reports from someone with a Certified License.
You can apply for a license upgrade depending on the type and value of properties you want to work with. Each state would have unique licensing requirements, so it’s good to read up on those. Applying for an appraiser license in most states would necessitate meeting specific standards for course hours, work experience, exams, and college-level education.
Hiring the right people
There is only so much appraisal work you can do on your own in one day, especially if you’re juggling business operations too. If you want to grow your business, hiring a team to assist you will enable you to complete more monthly reports. Of course, this depends on finding the right person, appointing them to the right area, and training them effectively.
Some crucial roles will include financial managers and business analysts, who are all specifically trained in their field and hold accredited business administration degrees that allow them to specialize in such fields. These professionals are in high demand, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that there will be 476,200 new jobs in business and financial operations from 2019 to 2029. Financial managers can keep track of your budget and develop strategies to reduce costs, while business analysts can review market trends and figure out how to improve your services. Aside from people who can help you manage the business itself, you may also want an appraisal assistant who can inspect properties too — if your state permits.
Investing in branding and marketing
If you want to elevate your appraisal business a step above the rest, investing in branding and marketing is a must. Devote some time and energy to cultivating an online presence so you can interact with potential clients. A great website with concise, useful information about you and your services can show clients what makes you different from your competitors, while social media platforms allow you to connect with more people and establish your brand.
Once your name is out there, you have to work on providing consistent, excellent service. If you’re thorough in your work, clients will trust you enough to avail of your services again or refer your business to others.
Utilizing the right tools and technology
Following the pandemic, tons of businesses have moved to the digital space. This can work to your advantage as you can reach more clients outside of your immediate area. More importantly, there are exclusive digital tools and technology that can propel your appraisal business even further.
One such tool is Valcre, an end-to-end appraisal software solution that provides an automated commercial real estate appraisal process and online database. Valcre guarantees USPAP and CUSPAP compliant Word and Excel templates, allowing you to craft engaging and effective reports that are up to industry standards. It vastly improves your business' efficacy and reduces tedious administrative tasks. It also comes with a dashboard that gives you quick access to active jobs, calendars, maps, and billings. With Valcre, you can stay on top of projects at all times, wherever you may be.
Does your appraisal system need improvement? Contact Valcre to schedule a demo today.