QUESTION: I found your blog while searching real estate topics on the web. I am an appraiser of 17 years whose business has collapsed in this downturn due to all of my clients going out of business. Can you help me with any suggestions as to what I can do now to make a living. I am too old to retrain for another field so I am really desperate. Thanks Fred
ANSWER: I could probably write a book for this answer. Well, my first suggestion would be for you to follow the money. Where is the money right now in the real estate market? I would have to think that if there is money in a certain area (niche) in real estate, there would also be money for appraisers, too. I’m not sure where you live because you didn’t include this information in your email. Here are a few ideas for you to consider..
1) A few areas where agents are doing very well is bank foreclosures, short sales and distressed properties. Could you become an expert on valuing these types of properties? Your expert services might be helpful for banks owning the properties, real estate agents in pricing the properties and finally with buyers in evaluating the properties. Notice how I’m starting to switch who your customer is? Can you offer and get paid for providing Broker Price Opinions? I’m not sure – I’m just asking…
2) I’m assuming that your in the States based upon your situation. Could you start and market a new service for home sellers who are trying to sell their homes? You could charge a flat fee and provide them with unbiased accurate pricing to get their home sold in today’s soft market. I could see the advertisement now… "Don’t listen to your real estate agent about the price of your home…" Yes, I’m knocking real estate agents with this marketing, but I think it might just work for you. Something to think about.
3) What about commercial properties and apartment buildings? These properties and lenders haven’t been hurt as badly in the States as residential real estate has. Could you offer appraisal services on these properties?
4) After 17 years in the business, I would think could you start a new program or class teaching other people how to determine value on properties. Serious real estate investors would want to take a class on how to value properties in a down market. I just gave you the name of the class… By learning specific valuation strategies, investors might be able to increase their investing profits by buying properties at the right price points. We have all seen mistakes of investors paying too much for their investment properties. You can teach them how to avoid this costly mistake in your class. They would obviously have to pay for this class.
In a nutshell, you need to change how you see your business. There are opportunities all around you. You must stop and look for them. Where is the money flowing? Where is they demand? Can you change who your customer is? What services do people need in a soft market? Hopefully a few of these ideas sparked something for you!
Blog readers, please feel free to add any comments you might have for Fred in the comments section for this post. I’m sure he would appreciate any ideas you have.
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