Dustin Lewis, SRA
Savannah Area Chapter
Option: 45-Hour Residential Demo Package
Which options did you select to pursue the SRA Designation (GMAT college degree alternative, 21 credit semester hours college degree alternative, residential equivalency exam, Narrative Demo or 45-Hour Package option) and why?
Basically, I knew I wanted to be an appraiser between my sophomore and junior year in college, changed my major, and worked from there. I hold a BBA in Finance with an emphasis in Real Estate from Georgia Southern University. I took “Basic Appraisal Principles” and “Basic Appraisal Procedures” as college courses and qualified for my Associate membership through the Appraiser Qualifications Board. When I learned of the 45-Hour Residential Demo Package as an option, I was in the process of working on my residential demonstration report. As the owner of an appraisal business, I had little time on my hands to work on the report while operating my business, and decided it would be a better route to take (particularly on a scale of time).
How did the Appraisal Institute help you on your journey to designated membership?
Personally, I give a lot of credit to all of the instructors for all AI curricula. Prior to joining AI, my QE and CE educational experiences were not thought provoking and banal. I did not feel challenged in taking courses. My first AI course was “Basic Income Capitalization” (Course 310), in Chicago. I was blown away by the quality of instruction (the instructor was actually a college professor at Penn State!) and was sold from then on. The quality and content of the instruction of all of the courses I have taken from AI always exceeds my expectations. The staff at the national office and chapter executive directors have always been friendly and helpful if I ever have any questions.
What was the biggest obstacle you faced during the process and how did you overcome it?
At first, the process seemed unobtainable, but there were members who pushed me along the way. Also, it is hard to stay focused on a distant goal when you are busy with work and family. There are many times that you have to make sacrifices in order to earn the designation, but it is worth it.
What surprised you the most about the membership process?
It is not impossible, and it is obtainable. No matter what obstacles you may encounter along the way, persevere.
What is the biggest benefit of becoming designated?
The biggest benefit is being recognized among my clients and peers as someone who is a cut above. Also, I get plenty of business through the membership directory. My annual membership fee pays for itself at least 20 fold.
What advice do you have for Associate members working towards designated membership?
Earning your designation will be the most rewarding experience of your career, hands down. There is also a reason the designations are earned and not given away. The wife of a friend who recently earned his SRA likened the reward of him earning the designation to her earning her master’s degree in education. I can see that.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do different, knowing what you know now?
I would have taken more opportunities to become more involved in my chapter and taken advantage of opportunities to participate in national offerings, such as the Leadership Development and Advisory Council and other national or regional meetings.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Prior to joining AI, I was discouraged to pursue the designation by other appraisers and appraisal instructors. Their argument was always that the implementation of state licensing did away with the need for designation. The fact is that they were far from right. During the past 17 years I have spent as a real estate appraiser, I have seen the necessity for appraisal organizations increase due to all of the changes we have experienced over the past several years in economic conditions and legal changes within our industry. More than other practitioners in the field, AI members are always better informed and better prepared for change.