Mary Cummins, Real Estate Appraiser, Animal Advocates, Los Angeles, California

Mary Cummins, Real Estate Appraiser, Animal Advocates, Los Angeles, California
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Friday, January 12, 2024

McKissock Learning Will No Longer Offer PAREA Due to Costs by Mary Cummins Real Estate Appraiser

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PAREA is the Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal. In order to become a licensed appraiser you currently need about a year or two and 1,000-1,500 hours of training experience as a trainee with another licensed and generally certified appraiser. You also need basic classes and other requirements. Because it was so difficult to find mentors willing to train trainees for free the government allowed the PAREA training alternative to hours with a live mentor. Real Estate Appraiser education provider McKissock Learning was going to be one of the government approved companies, organizations offering PAREA training. The Appraisal Institute is another organization offering the training. 

Yesterday January 12, 2024 McKissock emailed people who were interested in the program that they would no longer be offering the PAREA program. See below email.

"Happy New Year to you and yours. We hope this letter finds you well. With a strong commitment to responsibility and transparency, we want to inform you about a significant decision regarding the McKissock PAREA (Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal) project.

After careful consideration and thorough evaluation of various factors, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the McKissock PAREA project. We understand that this news may be unexpected, and we want to provide you with a clear understanding of our reasoning and the steps we are taking moving forward.

One of the primary factors contributing to the cancellation is the substantial resource cost required to provide a product of the quality we envisioned. In our pursuit to deliver a premium solution, the associated costs exceeded initial estimates, resulting in a higher-end price to our customers. Regrettably, we recognize that this higher cost would inadvertently create a new barrier to entry into the appraisal profession – specifically, a financial obstacle."

The cost of the program was always a major issue and hurdle to entrance in the field. You couldn't even start the program without first paying for and taking $1,700 worth of McKissock classes. The Appraisal Institute stated the PAREA program would cost about $10,000 per a July 19, 2023 webinar. All of the training would be online. There would be no in person mentorship. 

From a monetary point of view the expensive cost of the training might be a total waste without real mentorship. This is not a trial an error occupation. You need someone training you in the beginning. You won't make any money if you don't know what you're doing. The only people who could end up making money from the training were possibly the training organization. They'd make money from government grants, nonprofit grants and class fees from paying students. It'd be like those worthless online degrees.

Another main problem is the real estate appraisal market today is at its absolute lowest point. There's very little lending work. The main cause is our current high interest rates. No one is selling if they have to buy another home. Why lose a 2.5% interest rate and triple your monthly mortgage at 7.5% or so. No one would want to refinance for the same reason. Sales volume is at its lowest in about 20 years per Ryan Lundquist's fantastic statistics. I've seen the same in Los Angeles, California.

Another even bigger issue is the use of live appraisers has been decreasing recently because of appraisal waivers, AVMs (Automated Valuation Methods) and hybrid type appraisals. Even though a live appraiser is used for part of the hybrid appraisal they aren't being paid as much as a full appraisal, i.e. $75-$165 vs $300-$500. The few full inspection appraisals done by live appraisers are very complex appraisals which only appraisers with many years experience are allowed to do. There's just not as much work today for anyone.

Previously the government said there were not enough appraisers and now there are definitely way too many. If you look at Facebook appraiser groups, everyone is hurting. Many have retired or had to get side gigs. If a fully trained and experienced appraiser of 20 years can't get work, a newbie has no chance at making enough money to survive. Even people with 20-40 years of experience are quitting due to lack of work.

You'd have to really be an idiot to shell out $1,700 for basic classes, $10,000 for PAREA, $6,000 appraisal costs first year just to make no money. Few can afford that upfront cost even if they could make the money back in a year or two. Another huge hurdle is lenders only use appraisers with three years minimum experience. No one would hire you fresh out of PAREA. 

I believe that McKissock realized there probably won't be enough people willing to pay for the classes at the moment to justify their training costs. They couldn't make enough profit off the program today. Even if the government and nonprofits offered grants to pay for the training the students probably wouldn't get any work from the program. No one would be happy. There would be a lot of online complaints.

I'm actually glad McKissock is not continuing with the program at this time for the sake of the potential new appraisers. Now is not the time to start out as an appraiser because of the market conditions. I would at a minimum wait until things rebound when rates go down. Maybe by then there will be an affordable PAREA program maybe subsidized by the government for people who can't afford it. You'd still need live experience and will have to deal with all the other issues noted above but it'd be better than what we have today. 

*FTR I've been taking classes with McKissock since they first started around 1990. Back in the day they only offered in person classes taught by the McKissock's out of a small classroom in Orange County, California. Today I take bundled classes with Calypso because they're cheaper. 

Mary Cummins of Cummins Real Estate is a certified residential licensed appraiser in Los Angeles, California. Mary Cummins is licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate appraisers and has over 35 years of experience.

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