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How old are appraisers and when do they plan to retire?

Appraisalport poll – 1/7/13

If you are licensed or certified, what is your age range?
21 to 30 (2%) 138 votes
31 to 40 (15%) 1,027 votes
41 to 50 (30%) 2,095 votes
51 to 60 (42%) 2,284 votes
61 to 70 (16%) 1,113 votes
Over 70 (3%) 228 votes

Total Votes: 6,885

My comments:
I keep hearing about the “aging” of the appraisal profession. The latest average I heard was 62 (I think). The person did not know the source of the number. When I started my business in 1985, the average age (AIREA members) was 52. The poll above shows that active appraisers are not as old as everyone is speculating. I assume that users of AppraisalPort are active residential appraisers.

Like every other type of work, the baby boomer bulge is increasing the average age for many types of workers, not just appraisers. Another significant factor is that many, if notold woman driving most, workers approaching 65 plan to keep working, for various reasons. Mandatory retirement at 65 is gone for almost all workers. Retirement savings investment yields are low. Few people, except teachers, government employees, and some union workers have defined benefit pensions.

Appraisers tend to be older as appraising is a second career for many of us. (It is my third career.) The number between 41 and 61 is 72%. There are fewer newer appraisers as many left the business during the recent downturn. This is what happens in the inevitable residential lending downcycles.

The over 70 number seems relatively low, probably because the first Baby Boomers are now 66 years old. Many people I know between 66 and early 70s are still working and plan to continue. However, we are cutting back on work hours. No more 60-80 hour work weeks for us!! (I will be 70 this year.) Yes, there are a few licensed appraisers over the age of 90!!

Personally, I don’t care about the problems of lenders finding armies of trainees for the next upcycle. There will always be experienced residential appraisers needed. Lenders have been wanting to get rid of unnecessary deal-killer appraisers since they first started using them during the Great Depression.


AppraisalPort poll – 1/21/13
I plan to retire or leave the appraisal business within the next:
5 years (22%) 1,304 votes
6-10 years (17%) 1,056 votes
11-15 years (15%) 938 votes
16-20 years (14%) 825 votes
21 or more years (15%) 938 votes
Not sure at this point (16%) 991 votes

Total Votes: 6,052

yes no maybeMy comments: Very interesting and not as definite as the age poll above, which had 19% over the age of 61. I would have also expected more “not sures” than 16%. I am not sure myself when I will retire, meaning giving up my appraisal license and designations. In California, you only have a one year grace period to reinstate your license, then you go back to a trainee and do everything all over again.

I strongly recommend that appraisers keep your license if you possible can. It is not that difficult to get a few non-lender appraisals a month, which can keep you somewhat active and give you few extra bucks. Also, if you really need more money, you can do more appraisals. It is a lot easier and you make a lot more money than taking a part time WalMart job.

9/20 Update: not much has changed, except the average appraiser age is around 60. No new trainees due to AMCs requiring state certification plus 5 years experience to be approved. Baby boomer aging.

  1. camille is absolutely right and she has stated the reasons i am leaving soon too. sure the declining numbers have a little to do with age, but the endless list of requirements and regulation, more time involved in completing a report, and same pay for years has alot to do with it too. completing one report a day is the norm now. take out expenses, taxes, etc, and it just isnt worth it anymore. the only people that actually make money off of my hard work now are the AMCs.

    i also get tired of checklist reviewers, who do nothing but try to justify their existence, by constantly asking for ridiculous and unnecessary time wasting explanations and details. every year my appraisal gets longer and longer, and even though i have now managed to explain darn near everything to death in my reports, someone will always find a way to ask for more.

    anyone see the Appraisalport poll a few months back asking “would you recommend this profession to someone”? if i remember right, something like 70% of the people responding said NO. thats not good, and it has nothing to do with age. the truth is – everyone who runs the many layers of this show, thinks they are doing a good job, but we know they have done nothing but turn this profession into a disastrous mess.

    the facts are, this profession just plain sucks anymore.

  2. I tossed in the appraisal towel at age 72 after 26 years as a certified appraiser in 4 states. Because of age? No. I believe my appraisal skills – that is to say my ability to accurately estimate the value of a mix of complex residential properties – was exceptionally experienced and reliable. I enjoyed the work, had my pick of excellent local lenders who preferred objective, educated truth to form filling. So why leave the profession when personal financial realities are increasingly spooky down the road?

    The business no longer seems sane to me:

    1) Constant topsy turvy change motivated by ever more powerful giant lenders nationally dominating those changes.

    2) Nutsy go between organizations manned by untrained, brain drained clerks overseeing computerized checklists and ever more requirements having nothing to do with quality valuation.

    3) Every lender evolving its own definition of non-sense as their documents are rightly distrusted while appraisers are investing ever more resources in the escalating accommodation of pointless requirements and computers playing the tunes to which appraisers must dance.
    (The straw that finally did me in was the dumbing down of report communications, ignoring needs of lenders and homeowners who troubled to read these crucial documents by coding them in proscribed computer-speak. )

    4) But surely lenders share personal and corporate liability for the failing reliability of appraisals AT THE TIME THEY FUND AND SELL HOME LOANS to safeguard our social and economic systems from catastrophic collapse? Apparently not given the lessons of the past few years. That takes time/money when the sole concern is competitive quick/cheap turn times and nothing in that has changed. Instead the responsibility rests for years and years and years in aging appraisers’ files which Lenders’ legal armies may march through when the very practices their employers encourage ensnare millions in personal nightmares.

    5) None of these realities ease by doing a few appraisals here and there. On the contrary. You must still keep up with costs of computer hardware and software, data bases, legalities, errors and omissions insurance and etceteras. And the risk of the mailbox some day containing a thick envelope with a legal return address remains.

    6) I don’t think the shrinking numbers of practicing appraisers is due solely to the economy and competition. I think there must be some who feel similarly to me who are lucky enough to be moving on to something else.

  3. Did anyone see the similar poll over on Appraisal Group on LinkedIn? Almost shocking numbers. Out of 193 votes, only 8 of us under 30!

  4. Like Ann, I am 70 this year and Rock you’re right. There is no such thing as too old to appraise. Now too young to appraise, that is a proven possibility. And Ann is right on about lenders’ opinion of appraisers, but then who wants to pay a cop to tell you what you don’t want to hear?

    Wasn’t it the lenders that brought us open the appraiser flood gates in the 90s and AMCs in the 2000s? And here we are talking utter nonsense about customary and reasonable fees.

    How odd for a profession that syas it values education, experience, honesty, analytical acumen and designations.

    And Jim, I am one who has never used Appraisal Port unless the AMC paid for it.

  5. I also do not believe that appraiser are getting too old. There will not be a shortage in 20 years. It is supply and demand. In my area there are still too many appraisers for the orders that the area produce. I have not encouraged my kids to go into the appraisal biz since the internet is taking many of the jobs once farmed out to real life appraisers.

  6. I have a feeling that there are many older apprasiers out there that do not use Appraisalport.

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