Local associations, no matter the size, can increase membership, member value, professionalism, and competency by encouraging appraisers not only to join the association but also to serve in some capacity on the local level. And for this you have to offer them something in return.
My association’s appraisal committee started in 2013 when we asked ourselves, “Do we want to be the association that is just the cost of doing business for appraisers, or do we want to be the association that is an integral part of the local appraiser business community?”
Appraisers are an important component of our real estate ecosystem, and we wanted not only to include them but to create an environment where they could be strong allies both legislatively and in member education.
Here are a few examples of how our small association made strides in the appraiser membership space.
Give them a space of their own
First, establish an appraisal committee. I know, the last thing any association executive wants is another committee, but this one is worth it for a number of reasons. For example, if you have an MLS, this committee can provide important input and collaboration on a variety of issues. Create a liaison leadership position in which an appraiser member sits on your MLS committee and reports back to appraisers and vice versa. If you do not have an MLS, this is still a committee you want as part of your association to show your support of their issues.
Next, we created a local chapter of the Ohio Coalition of Appraisal Professionals to meet the needs of appraisers in our area and to be an easy funnel of members to our appraisal committee. In Ohio, as in many states, there is a state appraisal organization. Check if your state has a state appraisal organization.
Nondues revenue with appraisal education
Appraisal forums for the general membership have been a game changer at our association. Members love hearing appraisers’ expertise. With the help of NAR’s brochure, Residential Appraisal Process - FAQs for Agents (available as a free download from the REALTOR® Store) and input from agents, brokers, and lenders, our forums bring together all the pieces of the real estate transaction puzzle for new and experienced members.
We also offer regular education for appraisers through our committee, which develops the classes and, in most cases, secures the instructors. Once approved by the state regulatory body, the class is promoted to all appraiser members and appraiser MLS participants. We charge a minimal fee that is still a good source of nondues revenue. Some classes have been appropriate for real estate continuing education as well, opening up the classes to even more of the membership. If not CE-approved for real estate agents, it is still open to them to attend for information only. This has been well received by all members.
Scholarships for appraiser REALTORS®
If your state association has appraiser or real property valuation committees or forums, a scholarship to attend these meetings is an amazing opportunity that they might not otherwise have or even know about, creating more value for their membership and participation.
Depending on your region, appraisers may be part of more than one association or MLS, as is the case with our association. I asked them to describe the difference between belonging to an association with an active, thriving appraisal committee and one that has none. The answer: “I feel like I’m part of the process, the big picture. At the other associations, I feel like being an appraiser member is just a job and the cost of doing business.”
Our active appraisers have created a greater understanding at my association of how all REALTOR® appraisers and agents work together to achieve the same goal: successful real estate transactions.