Career as an Appraiser

I'm a mid-30s fairly new SFH rental real estate investor (I've purchased six over the last 3.5 years or so), and am thinking about switching careers to become a home appraiser. I find that part of the business really appeals to me.

But I don't know any appraisers personally, and would like to pick a few brains before I move forward. Specifically, I'd like to know:

  1. I'm old, am I too old to start this career?

  2. I make good money right now, can I be a trainee part time if I'm willing for it to take longer?

  3. Is it true I can only find a mentor/supervisor to sign off on my appraisals at a large firm with a time commitment (i.e., they train me but I have to work for them for 5 years)? I've heard its not really "worth it" for small firms or individuals to mentor anyone.

  4. I ultimately want to be self-employed and have more job flexibility. I'm willing to work 8 or 10 hour days, but if I need two hours off in the middle I want to be able to do that. Is this something that is achievable in this profession?

  5. I live in a rural area, where businesses are based on who you know, is it reasonable to think that if I know people at the local (non-national, non-chain) banks and real estate offices I will have enough business to be employed full time?

I'm also curious about some more general questions about personal experiences: what do you wish you had known before starting this career path, what are the annoying parts of the job, what are the good parts of the job, how is business lately, what are some scams to watch out for, etc.

Any tips?

More real estate tips at Program Realty Wix site

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