Luke Still, MAI
Las Vegas Chapter
Option: Defense of Reports
Which option did you choose (Traditional Demo, E-demo, Defense of Reports, Capstone Program) and why?
I chose the Defense of Reports option.
How did the Appraisal Institute help you on your journey to designated membership?
The people involved with the Appraisal Institute – from paid staff to my peers that volunteer their time – were very encouraging throughout the process, provided immediate responses to any questions I had and made the process a lot easier to get through than what I had anticipated on the front end of my journey.
What was the biggest obstacle you faced during the process and how did you overcome it?
The biggest obstacle in reaching my goal of the MAI designation was committing to the time necessary to finish the demonstration of knowledge requirement. I am a professional procrastinator. I started my demo report in 2007, spent two weeks doing market research and a door-by-door inventory analysis of the neighborhood, and confirmed numerous building costs, lease agreements and sells in preparation of finishing the Traditional Demo option. I set the work aside to finish some work and actually make some money, and before I knew it, I was finishing my comprehensive exam in February of 2008. I had plans to finish the Demo before the grading was complete on the exam, but I turned around and it was already 2011. When I heard about the new options the Appraisal Institute offered, I immediately signed up for the Defense of Reports option because it set an immediate deadline that I had to adhere to. As a result, I put the necessary work in and went to Chicago to finally finish what I had started many years prior.
What surprised you the most about the membership process?
I was expecting a much more confrontational interview process when I sat down with the three members that had agreed to review my reports and conduct the interview process. To my surprise, all three of them were very cordial, had very good questions that tested my knowledge outside of the appraisals I had submitted, and the four-way discussion turned into an additional learning process for me. It was a great experience.
What is the biggest benefit of becoming designated?
The two best things that have come with designation are the additional workload I have experienced and the satisfaction of knowing I accomplished the goal I had set for myself back in college. The additional demand for my services allows me to be more selective with the assignments I accept. It was also a really nice surprise to receive all the congratulatory emails and phone calls from other members after my MAI designation was announced.
What advice do you have for Associate members working towards designated membership?
My advice to Associate members working towards their designation is to pick a demo option that works well for them, commit to a reasonable date, and dig in and get it done. It is a daunting task in your mind, and certainly a lot of work, but from the rear view mirror, I can’t figure out why I did not do it sooner.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different, knowing what you know now?
I have owned by own business since 2001. It has been a great experience, but being on my own made it harder to put the time into completing the designation requirements. I had a great mentor that I did subcontract work with, but in retrospect, I should have worked more closely with a Designated member and just concentrated on getting a broad range of experience before going out on my own. It would have resulted in a quicker designation path for myself, and I would have been a more well-rounded, comprehensive professional if I had other appraisers and peers to discuss ideas and methodology with earlier in my career.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The whole experience was a good one for me. One of my favorite parts was just visiting the headquarters in Chicago. Putting a face to some of the names, and the actual interview process itself, was such a good experience for me. It has made me want more than ever to be able to reciprocate by volunteering time to the efforts of education and the general well-being of our profession. We are the smallest profession in the United States, which means our members need to do that much more to ensure the well-being of the profession. Thank you to the people at the Appraisal Institute for everything you do.