Appraisal News and Business Tips

Use appraiser directories to get your firm on the Internet

This article was last updated in 2007. It is a Blast From the Past!!
There have been significant changes since then. Directories are not very useful now, but I do find appraiser contact information on directories when doing a google search, particularly for appraisers that do not have web sites. 

I regularly write about appraisal marketing topics
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Internet appraiser directories – worth the cost?

Note: This is a very short version of an article was previously published in Appraisal Today (June, 2000, updated March, 2007) and was written by Ann O’Rourke. It is copyrighted. For reprint permission, Contact Us. Links in this article were updated in 9-03. 

One of the most frequently asked Internet questions asked by appraisers is whether or not they can get assignments from the Web. A few appraisers get many assignments from their Web sites, but most get only a few, if any. But many appraiser directories are free, or have a basic free listing. Yellow Page Web directories don’t take any time or effort as you are automatically in them.

I am getting some appraisal assignments from the Internet, mostly from Yellow Page directories, and that business is increasing. How do I know? I always, always ask where the caller got my name. Of course, now I’m listed in many of the directories in this article, especially the free listings!

Types of directories

Appraisers are listed in many types of directories:

  • National Appraiser Registry lists all licensed and certified appraisers
  • Yellow Page directories. If you’re listed in the phone company Yellow Pages, you’re on the Internet. Some directories allow for “enhanced” listings for an additional fee.
  • Appraisal and real estate-related associations – national, state, and local. A directory listing is typically included as part of the membership fee. Some have “enhanced” listings.
  • Other organizations’ online directories, such as chambers of commerce
  • For-profit directories, either as part of a site or the whole site. Some are free, some charge a fee. Some are exclusive, some accept all appraisers.

Free vs. fee directories

If a directory is free, I don’t see any reason for not being listed, unless you don’t want any business from the Internet, or want more control over what information is listed.

Paying a fee is a harder decision. If you pay $50 per month for a listing (on the high end) and you average one residential appraisal a month or get one commercial assignment in a year, it is worth the money.

Some directories have a fee for each appraisal, rather than a flat fee. The fees for residential are typically around 10%. (7/00 update).

What about “enhanced” listings, where you get additional promotional benefits? You could try a basic listing, to see if you get any appraisals first, or, if the directory fee is relatively low, you could give it a try for a few months.

How to check out a directory

Factors to consider include:

  • Amount of the fee
  • How much is spent on promoting the site to prospective customers and who is targeted
  • How and where is the site promoted? Banner ads, print ads, email, etc. Get specific information, such as which sites and which publications.
  • How many visitors to the search appraiser part of the site, and how many searches are done
  • What information about your company can be included
  • A link to your Web site is particularly useful for marketing purposes.
  • Exclusive or nonexclusive – takes all appraisers
  • See how many appraisers are listed.
  • Get names of appraisers who are on the site to contact and see if they have received any assignment referrals from the site.
  • See who is listed in your geographic area. How can you get the top listing? Call appraisers who are listed and see if they every get any assignments.
  • Test the site at www.google.com and www.yahoo.com  to see if the directory Web site shows up in the first few pages. Try appraisers, find appraisers, appraiser directory, appraisers in your city, etc.

Residential vs. commercial

Since the vast majority of appraisers are residential, many of the directories are set up for them. For example, a zip code search is very useful for residential appraisers as their market is often much more local than for a commercial appraiser. They don’t need searches by property types.

In contrast, commercial appraisers often work a larger geographic area (sometimes the entire U.S.), and most appraise many, but not all, property types. A directory that allows more commercial-oriented information supplied by the appraiser may work better. Or, at least let prospects know the appraiser doesn’t do residential work.

Exclusive vs. non exclusive fee based directories

Obviously, association directories are exclusive. Yellow Page directories are somewhat exclusive as many appraisers aren’t listed.

For example, should you pay to be in an exclusive directory that takes only a few appraisers from specific geographic areas? Of course, we’d all like to be the only appraiser (or one of a few) listed. How well the directory works depends on its promotion and advertising to the target client market.

On the other side, many clients, particularly lenders, would prefer to have many appraisers in the directory, particularly in areas where it can be difficult to find an appraiser.

All the directories reviewed in this article are non-exclusive.

Yellow Page directories

The Yellow Pages listing information cannot be copyrighted, so there are many online directories. If you’re listed in the telephone company Yellow Pages, you’re in the directories. An “enhanced” listing for a nominal fee may be worthwhile.

A few national directories are:

National Appraiser Registry

The Appraisal Subcommittee keeps the national appraiser registry of all licensed and certified appraisers. The online version was started in October, 1997 at www.asc.gov .

The directory is funded from the $25 fee every licensed and certified appraiser pays to the ASC to cover their expenses, including the directory.

Some states, such as California, have directories of their licensed and certified appraisers.

What about other directories?

Most national appraisal associations have their member directories online. Some chapters also have their member directories online.