Niche Success:  How one appraiser is having his best summer in three years

Q: What’s your local market like?

Our area is in pretty good shape.  Our economy is energy based (natural gas and coal power plants), so employment is good.  As far as the housing market goes, home sales up to the $350,000 range are still good. We probably have a year’s supply of homes in the $350,000-$500,000 range, and the market for houses over $500,000 is definitely hurt.  There’s appraisal work to do, so those of us who have been here for a while are doing ok.  Those that haven’t been in the market very long are struggling.  Our local market is doing better than the average, though.

Q: How’s your business going?

Business is good. June and July have probably been the best months I’ve had in about 3 years.

Q: Where has your recent business come from?

Basically, it’s coming from refinance work, opportunity from new FHA guidelines, and marketing to non-mortgage niches.  One of my niches is estate work, which I prefer because people aren’t fee shopping and are generally not in a hurry.  I also like that there are no underwriters to deal with.  Of course, there’s always the opportunity that you may be dealing with the IRS if they question it. But, normally, these clients don’t even ask me what the fee is.  They’ve been referred to me by a CPA or trust attorney and told that I’m fair and honest, so they don’t even ask what the fee is.  And consequently, I try to be fair and honest and do the best work I can. When you’re being referred to a client by someone who has the potential to refer many more clients over the years...