Career Opportunity: Rural Markets

guest-blogger-banner-1By Michael V. Tankersley, MAI, SRA, AI-RRS

My appraisal practice started in a small town in southern middle Tennessee. Like many people from small towns in rural America, I dreamed of doing big things. From an appraisal perspective, that meant complex assignments that were interesting and challenging. So I appraised local properties and looked forward to the day I could expand my practice into the Nashville metropolitan area.

A few years went by, and I pursued the SRA and the MAI designations because I saw that I needed stronger skills to compete in the Nashville metro market. As my career progressed, I realized that I had been missing a big opportunity. The greatest opportunity for growth was not in the highly competitive metropolitan areas, but in the rural markets where I was already located.

Today, I am still in the same small town, and my primary focus is on rural property assignments. Rural property assignments include many properties found in the metropolitan areas, such as:

  • Single-family houses;
  • Multi-family apartments;
  • Offices;
  • Retail buildings;
  • Industrial buildings;
  • Subdivisions;
  • Golf courses; and
  • Triple-net leased properties

Some of the more specialized assignments I have enjoyed include:

  • Dairy farms;
  • Poultry barns;
  • Vineyards; and
  • Worm farms

During my career, I have not only sought property specific education, but I have also collected a wide range of publications from the Appraisal Institute. I use the books for self-study and as references for each new and unusual property type.

I was honored when I was approached about getting involved with AI’s new publication, “Rural Property Valuation.” The book closely reflects the current body of knowledge. It is a valuable resource for both residential and non-residential appraisers. Rural residential appraisers are constantly faced with assignments that are more complex than the typical house on a subdivision lot. The text provides examples of techniques required to properly analyze large land tracts and tracts with multiple structures. Non-residential appraisers also will find examples of more complex properties like livestock ranches, dairy farms, permanent plantings and timberland.

Rural properties provide appraisers with an opportunity to grow their practices. However, practicing in rural markets also presents appraisers with unique challenges. The data for most assignments is limited and requires the appraiser to do much more field work than assignments in more populated areas where data is plentiful. Appraisers may have to expand their search areas to nearby communities or extend their research back in time. Many efficiencies of modern appraisal practice do not work in the rural market areas. Clients who see higher fees and longer turn times may interpret the problem as an appraiser shortage. However, the scope of work required to properly perform the assignment is typically the driving issue. Better communication with the clients may help the profession with this misconception.

The path to designation provided me with the confidence and competencies to appraise typical property types. I have relied on the Appraisal Institute publications to help find answers to questions of property specific issues. The Appraisal Institute has helped open doors in my career I never thought would be possible when I started.

All appraisers can benefit from the education and publications of the Appraisal Institute. Let them help you expand your opportunities for a more enjoyable career.


Tankersley_M_2017_150x192Michael V. Tankersley, MAI, SRA, AI-RRS, is on the national Board of Directors for the Appraisal Institute as the vice chair of Region IX. He was the 2015 chair of the Leadership Development and Advisory Council. Follow Michael on Twitter: @Tappraisal