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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have long allowed and encouraged the participation of trainees in the appraisal process, and lenders and secondary market participants are increasingly becoming more comfortable with appraisals performed by trainees, as research shows little difference in appraisal quality between real estate appraisers and trainees. (See Fannie Mae’s December 2021 Appraiser Update newsletter.)

Appraiser trainees can contribute to their supervisors' firms in more ways than just providing high-quality reports. We hear in conversation with supervisors that trainees bring new insights and skills to the table, such as innovative business practices, technologies, or analytical tools. And we continue to encourage properly trained new entrants to strengthen the profession in these ways.

One of the ways new entrants are being brought into the profession is through the Appraiser Diversity Initiative (ADI) launched in 2018. The initiative is designed to attract new entrants to the appraisal field and foster diversity by helping them navigate education, training, and experience requirements. As examples, Jessica Brown and Marcus Knight, two ADI scholarship winners, represent a new generation of appraisers.

ADI recruits candidates by holding "How to Become a Real Estate Appraiser" workshops throughout the United States to promote the appraisal profession, and interested attendees can apply for a scholarship that covers the education courses required to become an appraisal trainee. As ADI’s scholarship winners complete their qualifying education classes, they are provided with advisors who are experienced real estate valuation professionals. We encourage our scholars to become involved in the appraiser community and to gain additional knowledge by attending specialized appraisal courses, hearing from industry leaders in small group settings, and attending an appraisal conference. This allows these new members of the appraisal profession to gain insights and access to a professional network that adds value as they start their careers.

The final piece of the puzzle for these prospective appraiser trainees is finding a supervisor, and what better time to take on a trainee then when you have time to train them properly? Appraisal firms, large and small, have supported these new appraisers by joining ADI as sponsors and agreeing to supervise at least one ADI scholarship winner.

ADI is looking for more veteran appraisers in Texas and across the country interested in employing these motivated new professionals in their businesses. If you are interested in taking on a trainee or simply want more information about the program, please reach out to the ADI team. You may be able to make a meaningful difference in someone’s life, pass on your legacy of knowledge, and strengthen your appraisal business with an introduction to your next appraiser trainee.

Sergio Johnson is lead associate, single family collateral risk for Fannie Mae.