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Are We Or Aren’t We?

I’ve been an appraiser for more than twenty years, and I still don’t know: Am I a professional?

According to Wikipedia:

There is no standard definition of a modern professionalBeyond the classical examples (lawyers, doctors, etc.) there are many groups that claim status as a profession, and many who would dispute that status. For example, school teachers often refer to their occupation as a profession, even though it is not exclusive (people teach others outside of the traditional school environment), nor is entrance competitive, nor are they self-regulating (laypeople in state legislatures or on boards of education typically set the rules for and regulate teachers)

In order to be a professional, there needs to be a specialized body of knowledge and there needs to be self-regulation. While steps have certainly been made in this direction, state licensing laws regulate the extent of the education required and there is no central regulatory body. (The AQB of the Appraisal Foundation relegates this function to each state.)

Membership in certain appraisal organizations vary from paying a fee to satisfying a rigorous program of education and experience. And yet, members in either organization may call himself (herself) an “appraiser.”

Given the confusion and the wide range of skills held by those calling themselves “appraisers”, the public view of appraisers is also quite varied. I maintain that if we act like professionals and hold ourselves to a higher standard, then we’ll be viewed by the public as professionals.

That means that in rendering a professional estimate of market value, we must add value to the process (no pun intended) and do more than blindly take 3 comps from the file and conclude to the mid-range. We’ll leave that to the guys who got their appraisal membership by sending in boxtops.