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Fact Check: Reviewing Governor Noem’s claims of appraiser shortages

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 10:45 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Meredith Lee, broker and owner of Lee Real Estate in Pierre knows that she needs to arrange for a real estate appraisal as soon as an offer is accepted. She says waiting for an appraiser is nothing new in her 17 years in the business.

“In South Dakota and specifically in Pierre, we’ve always been strapped for workers, this is not a new thing for us,” said Lee.

When she’s approached by someone considering a career as an appraiser, she lays out the facts.

“As I’ve been asked for years by people that want to get into appraisals, what’s the process. And honestly, all I can say is, you know it’s quite a process,” said Lee.

There are four levels to being an appraiser in South Dakota: Registered State Appraiser, State licensed appraiser, State certified residential and State certified general appraisal.

Brandon Martens of SD realtors says knowledge and experience are important for an appraiser to obtain.

“I just want to make sure that we’re giving people the opportunity to appraise that really have a good understanding of the market, and to make a good valid decision as a third party for the lenders, or the buyers for the sellers and everybody involved,” said Martens.

The preliminary appraiser’s test, which Governor Noem has voiced concerns about, was initially designed to allow those who pass to conduct appraisals on their own, clearing the way for those appraisers to enter the job market quickly. It seems that may not always be what’s happening, and the apprentice type of relationship continues.

“That need for some mentorship and working underneath another appraiser for a period of time. That’s what I feel like happens,” said Martens.

While larger cities, such as Sioux Falls have about a three-week wait time for an appraiser, across the nation, wait times in rural areas are creating the largest issue. Wait times are up to 8 weeks, and in some areas, even longer.

“It’s been very bottlenecked, you know, and it really comes down to adjusting and pivoting well, and making good decisions for South Dakota, and that’s, I think what everybody’s trying to do,” said Martens.

Concerns are still being raised by some legislators regarding a meeting held by Noem, her daughter Kassidy, and other department of Labor staff, regarding the nature of the appraisal test. The administrator of the Appraisal program shortly after accepted a $200,000 settlement regarding age discrimination.

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