Kyle Arnold, SRA
Option: 45-Hour Residential Demo Package
Which options did you select to pursue SRA designated membership (GMAT college degree alternative, 21 credit semester hours college degree alternative, residential equivalency exam, Narrative Demo or 45-Hour Package option) and why?
I chose the 45-Hour Package, and also took the residential equivalency exam (some of the courses I took at the beginning of my career were not from the Appraisal Institute). Before starting to fulfill the requirements for SRA designated membership, I had little experience with narrative report writing. After hearing from other appraisers that the Appraisal Institute’s 45-Hour Package was very useful and informative, it seemed like a good opportunity to increase my knowledge and skill while meeting one of the SRA designated membership requirements. I’m glad I did it, as I now use skills learned in the class routinely in my work, especially when appraising complex properties.
How did the Appraisal Institute help you on your journey to designated membership?
The requirements for attaining the SRA designation are listed on the AI website’s Path to Designated Membership page. For the most part, the steps of the process were self-explanatory. When I did have questions, I found it easy to get answers by email or phone.
One of the last steps of the process is to have 10 of your reports screened by one of the Appraisal Institute’s Experience Panel Screeners. After my reports were screened, I spent two hours on the phone with the screener, discussing both the weak and strong points of my reports. The process was very informative; I learned a lot, and it was good to get some feedback on my work from outside my office.
What was the biggest obstacle you faced during the process and how did you overcome it?
I’d say the toughest part of getting my designation was passing the 45-Hour Package. I have a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Vermont, and I found the Appraisal Institute’s course to be as challenging as anything I did in engineering school. That said, the instructors were very available and willing to help. A lot of material was covered in the course, and it was definitely a good challenge.
What surprised you the most about the membership process?
I was surprised at how much I learned in the process, especially during 45-Hour Package and report screening. Before becoming a Designated member, I viewed SRA membership as just a notch on my belt to bring in some work and increase my prestige in the industry, but it has really changed the way I do my job. I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did in the process. I am much more focused on providing market data for my adjustments in the report, and now have the writing skills to effectively convey my analysis.
What is the biggest benefit of becoming a designated member?
The biggest benefit has been that I’ve been doing a lot more appraisals of complex properties, which are more interesting to work on and pay higher fees. I’ve gained a new client who only deals with high-end homes and pays five times more per appraisal than what is typical in the market. These assignments give me an opportunity to really put my narrative skills to work, and I really enjoy them.
What advice do you have for Associate members working towards designated membership?
Keep at it. It takes awhile, but it’s worth it. More than just the increased work volume it brings, it will make you a better appraiser.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different, knowing what you know now?
I probably would have taken all of my courses with the Appraisal Institute. Other companies offer courses at slightly lower prices, but I find the Appraisal Institute courses to be far superior.