Monday, 8 August 2022 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

Through the Eyes of an Appraiser Trainee

Jason Vargo, Appraiser Trainee at Appraisal Camp-Sedona

Things are pretty wild here at Appraisal Camp-Sedona. To bring you up to speed, Appraisal Camp-Sedona offers appraisal trainees real world experience, on-the-ground case-study training, all while completing required courses for licensing and certification. We examine and study basic standards of practice, explore the importance and application of honesty, integrity and respect throughout the process, and engage with experienced professionals that specialize in everything from basic appraisals to complex assignments, appraisal review, litigation, and education. Currently, there are three trainees enrolled. Trainees are ‘on the job’ full time, Monday through Friday, and split their time between taking the requisite courses and applying what they’re learning to the actual appraisal practice. Trainees are shadowing and assisting with inspections in the field, practicing the particulars of observing and taking notes, measurements, etc. Back at the office, we’re learning how to apply our observations, findings, and analyze relevant data.

The first month was a whirlwind. When I arrived, I couldn’t have even defined for you what an appraiser does. I might have given you a fairly good guess, but after completing both Basic Appraisal Principles and Basic Appraisal Procedures from the Appraisal Institute, I can assure you that I am now much more equipped to answer that question. Applying myself to completing those courses was a challenge I haven’t experienced since my school days. Now, add that to a consistent flow of appraisal work and relevant daily in-office instruction, in real time, and you’ve got a recipe for a mind-blowing amount of new information.

I’ll be honest, as exciting and informative as this has all been, I’m not yet ready to dive into the epic volume that is The Appraisal of Real Estate. Perhaps I’ll wait until the 15th edition to get the very most out of the experience.

And the stories…oh, the stories here at Appraisal Camp. Many of you may recognize the name Julie Friess, and I couldn’t hope to have a better or more qualified mentor than her. Outspoken, capable, competent,and frankly, a Rock Star in her field. Her stories shed light on the experiences she’s had, the obstacles she has had to overcome, and the trials, tribulations, and changes in the industry over the last 30 years. I’m excited to be part of the future ahead of us.

This opportunity found me through perfect timing and perfect contacts, old and new. I realize every single day the gift I’ve been given to be able to work with someone as knowledgeable and experienced as Julie.

I’ve been amazed at the “scope of work” involved with this career path, and the potential impact the work of the appraiser has on the rest of the real estate and lending world. Here at Appraisal Camp, we’re dedicating ourselves to maintaining the integrity of the service we provide in a field that has a less-than-perfect track record. We are taking the responsibility very seriously, and are looking forward to infusing the industry with new, capable, well-trained and competent new appraisers.

Even though we have not yet completed the USPAP 15-hour course (it’s next on the list, and taught by Julie herself), we’ve been made aware from the very beginning a very important-perhaps the most important-aspect of the appraisal practice, stated in the first half of the first sentence under the Ethics Rule of USPAP:

“An appraiser must promote and preserve the public trust…”

This statement profoundly reflects the work that Julie has done over the last 30 years, and sets the tone for the work we are learning to do here at Appraisal Camp. I’m looking forward to a bright future of bringing fresh energy into the ranks of appraisers, season by season, among the beautiful and unique surroundings of Sedona, Arizona, and sharing more about what’s going on here at Appraisal Camp.

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