Joining and getting involved with your state Real Estate Appraisal Board should be a priority that appraisers need to take advantage of. Imagine actually creating change in your work environment, and consequently, the industry? We sat down with Cristy Conolly, current Chair of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board and Chief Appraiser at Nationwide Appraisal Network, to get an inside look at the process and benefits to joining the Board.
Buzz: How did you begin in the appraisal industry?
Cristy: I was introduced to the appraisal industry 17 years ago when I began working in an appraisal office. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but quickly realized I loved the appraisal world and it was a great fit for my analytical and detail-oriented mind. I began my apprenticeship and never looked back.
Buzz: When / why did you become involved with the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board?
Cristy: I was appointed to the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB) by the Governor in 2016. I’m passionate about the appraisal profession and wanted to get more involved. In my role at Nationwide Appraisal Network (NAN), I work heavily on the compliance and regulatory side of the industry, specifically pertaining to AMCs. When I saw there was an open seat for an AMC member of the FREAB, I thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I’m a residential appraiser and began my career working in the field, then transitioned into my current position. This gives me a unique perspective, knowledge and experience to be an AMC member of the FREAB.
Buzz: What was the process to get on the Board?
Cristy: It’s very similar to applying for a job. You submit an application to the Governor’s Appointment Office. They review it and interview you if they feel you possess appropriate experience and expertise to fill the seat sought after. Then the Governor makes his determination and selects the best candidate. I was fortunate to be the one appointed as the 2nd AMC member of the FREAB.
Buzz: Why should appraisers become involved and join their State Board?
Cristy: Appraisers should get involved so they can learn more about the industry as a whole and work with others in the industry to make a positive impact. I hear appraisers complain about various aspects of the industry and often times are misinformed or misrepresenting the facts. If they became involved with their State Board or other organizations that bring different perspectives and experience, it would be a great benefit.
Buzz: What’s been your greatest achievement as a member?
Cristy: I don’t think there is one thing that is greater than others. All the work we do as Board members impacts appraisers and AMCs in our state. We take this responsibility seriously and I’m honored to be a part of it and to have been voted as the Chair for 2019. One change that I had the privilege of being a part of was the appraiser trainee requirements. It is a hot topic right now and everyone is trying to make it easier for appraisers to enter the industry. Florida used to have a requirement that trainees had to be accompanied by their supervisor for 12 months. This prohibited a lot of appraisers and trainees. As a Board, we lowered this to 6 months.
Buzz: Are there any challenges/barriers that you could offer advice on for future appraisers?
Cristy: What I see as a real challenge is appraisers who are afraid to grow and change with the industry. Our world is constantly changing, and appraising is no exception. There have been many changes over the years that have improved the industry and made an appraiser’s job easier. For example, appraisers used to have to physically visit county offices to verify information for properties. Now, almost all information needed is available online. Appraisers welcomed this change and it helped them be more efficient. There are a lot of changes and new things happening now that I hear opposition to. I think appraisers should keep an open mind and remember that life is ever-changing and if you aren’t able to change with it, you will be stuck in the past.
Buzz: What’s one thing you wish to convey to appraisers about being on the Board? Are there any common myths you’d like to address?
Cristy: I think a common misconception is Board members are scary and unapproachable. Board members are people, just like everyone else. They want to do good for the industry and their state. They aren’t “out to get” anyone. They are charged with protecting the public and sometimes that means disciplining the “bad actors,” but that typically includes educating them so they can learn from their mistakes and improve themselves.
Thank you again to Cristy for answering our questions. Have any comments or would you like to submit an article of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.