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As the mortgage industry seeks to increase access to housing for everyone, lenders and appraisers are also examining the best ways to build a more diverse workforce. The industry has faced scrutiny for potential racial bias in appraisals, with a majority of appraisers being white and older. This lack of diversity has led to concerns about a shrinking appraiser workforce, particularly during periods of high demand, like the housing surges of 2021 and 2022.
In lieu of these industry challenges, New American Funding (NAF), a large mortgage lender partnered with Valligent’s Appraiser Training Program (VATP), to promote diversity within the appraiser community for current and future generations. Valligent is a prominent property valuations services company, and sister company to Veros Real Estate Solutions (Veros).
Through the VATP, NAF committed to ordering appraisals from trainees and their supervisors to help trainees complete the 1,500 work experience hours needed to become a residential certified appraiser.
Trainees begin with education, then, over 9-12 months, are supervised by experienced, certified appraisers who direct, oversee and take full responsibility for each assignment. The Valligent supervisor ensures the trainee can access the most recent technology tools, resources and hands-on guidance to complete all the state requirements to become a fully certified appraiser. With close oversight from a trusted trainer, New American saw little risk in getting involved with the program.
New American’s first trainee, a young Black man, was looking to jumpstart his career in the appraisal industry. His mother was one of the many appraisers who had begun retiring, leaving a gap he knew he wanted to fill. Due to her retirement, his mother could no longer help train him, so he found the VATP. Upon joining the program, the trainee was trained and supervised by a Valligent Supervisory Appraiser, who underwent various training and tests to become a certified supervisor.
The trainee embarked on a comprehensive journey during the initial month, closely shadowing the Supervisor to gain a vast understanding of the appraisal process from its inception to its culmination. In the later phase of the program, the trainee engaged in mirroring, aligning their appraisal techniques with the Trainer’s established methods.
The Valligent team was impressed by the trainee’s educational background, self-motivation and profound comprehension of the appraisal industry. To challenge and nurture the trainee’s capabilities, they were assigned demanding tasks and projects with tight deadlines, all of which were executed with remarkable speed and precision. As the trainee continued to excel in their responsibilities, their confidence grew, and Valligent afforded them increased independence.
It’s essential to note that this independence did not signify a hands-off approach from Valligent. Both the Supervisor and Valligent’s Chief Appraiser provided robust quality assurance for the trainee’s work, ensuring that all appraisals were conducted meticulously and met the highest standards. This quality control reassured New American, eliminating any concerns about the trainee’s output. While the trainee carried out the appraisals, their supervisors meticulously reviewed every aspect of their work before granting final approval. In essence, trainee appraisals underwent more rigorous evaluations than other assessments.
Michelle B. Rogers SRA, Chief Valuation Officer at NAF, remarked that she did not hear of any problems, which was a positive sign, indicating that the quality of work from Valligent remained consistently exceptional. This arrangement resulted in a win-win-win scenario: New American received top-notch service, the trainee gained invaluable experience, and the industry took a step closer to addressing the appraiser shortage and promoting diversity and inclusion.
Through extensive hands-on experience and guidance, the trainee rapidly achieved a high degree of independence. Thanks to their quick adaptation and receptivity to feedback, the Valligent team felt confident in assigning them independent projects, with the Supervisor serving primarily as a quality control reviewer for the completed work.
In summary, the trainee garnered invaluable experience through the VATP and is prepared to enter the appraisal industry. These experiences allowed the trainee to transform theoretical knowledge into practical skills, setting them on a promising path toward a successful appraisal career.
Check out the full case study on the VATP with New American Funding, below:
Click here, to learn more about Valligent’s Appraiser Training Program.