Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No sir, I am not a calculator.

I am a real estate appraiser working out of my home. This sounds/sounded like a great idea when one isn't really thinking too hard about it. Seven years ago, my next door neighbor asked if I would like to type for her. The appraising business was booming under the weight of 5 3/4% refi's and new construction loans. It was great. I loaded the program on my computer, and for $10/hour typed from home while my son slept, played, cried, messed things up. It soon shifted into typing and setting appointments. $10/hour-not as much fun. It is not fun to try and pin people down to a time and date that isn't a Sunday evening at 9 PM because they're "just to busy" to look after their finances until then. City offices close at 5PM people. A year or so later, my next door neighbor hooked me up with another person to type for. For $25/ appraisal I copied his reports word for word onto my computer program because he did not want (at 68) to go through the buying a computer and joining the information superhighway with the rest of us. Banks no longer accepted hard copies and so a partnership was born. He became my mentor. Appraisers start out by obtaining the necessary education and then partnering up with a licensed appraiser for 2,000 hours in order to receive their own license. It's tedious, stressful and yet still worth it. I was lucky. It sort of fell right in my lap.

And so I embarked upon my own appraisal career. I still type for my mentor, but not my neighbor. It gets busy trying to juggle my own reports with his...and then there's the kids (and sometimes the husband) who forget that I ACTUALLY HAVE A JOB THAT NEEDS TO BE WORKED ON...That is one of the downsides. Another downside is that people tend to ask me (after I've sketched their house, measured it, taken pictures, made small talk, petted their dog, talked about the current situation in Iraq, admired their landscaping) "Sooooo...what's she worth??" Because I should know right then,right? After all that training and typing and testing I should be able to just click off numbers in my head. I should know what the taxable value is without looking, I should know what land is going for without researching...Dammit! I should KNOW THIS! After all, they're paying me money through the lender/title company who will have to be rebilled 1,231 1/2 times before they actually PAY ME...even though they take that money from the homeowner on closing day.

Why am I telling you this? I'll let you know when I figure that out, but it felt good anyway.

It is now 8 PM and my family still is waiting to eat. Better go...

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