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A black and white photo of Chris Tindal sitting, smiling and looking in a direction slightly to the left.

The graduates are trickling in nine months after the first ever launch of the Practical Applications of Real Estate Appraisal (PAREA). It took off commanded by the Appraisal Institute (AI). Sticking the landing as the first person to complete PAREA is a stay-at-home dad in San Antonio named Chris Tindal (pictured, left). He spoke with the Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board (TALCB) about his May 13 finish.

“It's a different process, so for the first portion of the program it's 10 assignments. And you have to work through the steps,” Tindal said. For the first five, they'll stop you halfway through to meet with your mentor, go over anything that you're having issues with. Once you're done with all 10, you go to the final assignments.”

Tindal finished the first 10 practice assignments in five months; the three final assignments took three months because of time spent waiting on mentor feedback, he said. Being the first to go through the program, both he and AI admit there is some trial and error.

“We started a pilot program in September for the LR [licensed residential] and initially enrolled 15 people in that program,” said Scott Dibiasio, AI’s manager of state and industry affairs. “And the intent of that was to try to work out all the technological glitches in the system and make sure that the mentors were up to speed and doing the right things with the participants.”

AI matches each PAREA participant with one of five mentors it currently has on staff. Mentors were required to complete the program themselves before taking on mentees—which, at one point, totaled 154 students.

“So, it's taking folks a long time to be able to get through the program, a lot longer than we expected,” Dibiasio said. “From a regulatory perspective, that’s actually, I think, a good thing because it shows that people are being appropriately challenged in the program. The mentors are having to go back, in some cases, and reeducate the participants in certain areas where they're struggling.”

AI is discovering some of its PAREA participants are unprepared for the program, despite having completed qualifying education prior. The AI team is now contemplating an entrance exam to distinguish between PAREA-ready applicants versus those who may need remedial education. And their long-term plan includes hiring more mentors, but that is dependent on funding.

Tips to Take Before PAREA

Tindal, moved to San Antonio from Alabama with his child and wife two years ago for her military medical residency. For him, PAREA just made sense; it worked around his life. This is his advice to future participants.

Set a Schedule

“When you work in the course, it's just like a work schedule. I have 2-and-a-half-year-old now. When he goes to bed at night, I get my work done. So, it was very beneficial—something that was online as opposed to being an appraiser trainee.”

Set a Standard

“Speak to your mentor. Speak to them about your goals in the program and the pace that you're hoping to move through. For my mentor, I was going at a much quicker pace than she had anticipated. Once she knew what my goals were, she was able to accommodate and work with me.”

Ask Questions

“A lot of times you can feel dumb for asking a bunch of questions, but you're doing it as somebody that has not worked as an appraiser before. I don't really have any knowledge coming into it about the expectations for what a report would look like or what was expected. They're pretty good at breaking it down for someone that's somewhat of a layman.”

Why PAREA Over Traditional Experience?

“That was kind of twofold. A friend that I have that is an appraiser—we were under the impression that he was able to be a supervisor. So, we got to the point where I was about to start filling out paperwork and realized that he didn't have the three years of experience required to be supervisor. So, what are my other options? I didn’t really have any other contacts in the field.

"I also feel like going through the program left me with a better base of knowledge than probably the traditional route would have given me. A lot of times, [in the traditional method] you're paired with a supervisor, and they have one particular way of doing things or finding results or making adjudgments and you don't really get the whole scope of all the potential ways to do those things and all the concepts that are covered in something like PAREA.”

Tindal feels the downside to going virtual is missing out on hands-on experience. That is what he looks forward to now.


The graduate right behind Tindal is also a Texan. At AI’s last check, there are 45 people working through PAREA in Texas.

TALCB already has and is prepared to quickly process PAREA applicants and support them through next steps, because it was proactive in anticipation of the program’s launch. The Board made many changes to be ready, including rule changes.

Changes are also coming to the PAREA world. The Appraiser Qualifications Board recently approved AI’s Certified Residential PAREA module. Right now, AI is the only organization in the market offering PAREA programs. However, the Appraisal Foundation reports five providers are actively developing their own.

If PAREA is not for you, TALCB is working to make it easier to get and log traditional experience hours. One tool is the online Notebook.

TALCB does not endorse or recommend any education provider.