Safety in Numbers: Two South Florida Appraisers Join Forces to Establish Valuation Firm

In response to the changes in the housing market recently, two local real estate appraisers have decided to forego the freedom of being independent and join forces in a competitive market.

Fort Lauderdale, FL, November 01, 2007 --( The slowing in the housing market has been analyzed and reported in the media to the point that most of the market is aware that things have changed in the past 18-24 months. The stories that often go untold are the indirect cascading effects it has on the other players in the market outside of construction, mortgages, and real estate sales.

In the case of real estate appraisals, there are two significant changes that greatly impact the market, and the timing of them coming together at once couldn’t be worse (or better depending on your perspective).

In January of 2008, new requirements will take effect that will require General Appraisers to hold a Bachelors degree at an accredited university, and Residential Appraisers to hold at least an Associates degree. These are in addition to the doubling of the Appraisal specific training hours required in real estate schools.

Many appraisers have voiced concern that even though the market is slow right now, in the near future (when it rebounds) there won't be enough appraisers to go around in most metropolitan markets.

One reaction observed in the market is for independent fee appraisers to band together to form appraisal firms that are better positioned to survive the ebb and flow of the market.

"It really comes down to a ‘safety in numbers’ issue," explains Mindi Cohen, a certified residential appraiser in Weston.

Mindi has a lot in common with many of the independent fee appraisers in the market. After operating for the last 4 years independently, she sees the writing on the wall and decided that with the increased risk, new strategies would be needed.

"In this market, its just not enough to be a good appraiser any more," Mindi relates, “the ones that will come out of this down turn will be the ones with the best marketing, customer service, and technology – the best at Business.”

That plan seems to be working out, as she has joined forces with another appraiser, who interestingly enough, also had a diverse background encompassing marketing, technology, and of course real estate and mortgages.

Mick Werry joined Mindi in their venture, Appraise My House, Inc. and immediately saw the need to change the scope of their offering and adjust their branding. The name changed from Appraise My House, a very residential oriented brand, to Elite Valuations which better describes the services that they provide.

“With what we believe to be an acute shortage of qualified appraisers upcoming, we feel strongly that the firms that survive will need to service a broad market, encompassing litigation, mortgage, and consulting appraisal services to both residential and commercial markets,” Mick opines, “and also allows us to attract and retain the highest quality appraisers because they will always have challenges and variety.”

The strategies are already paying off. Elite Valuations has recently secured new key accounts and opened their new office in Weston- and has a waiting list of appraisers willing to buy into their vision.

Mick Werry, MBA and Mindi Cohen, are the principals of Elite Valuations, headquartered in Weston, FL. They can be contacted by emailing or visiting their site at

Elite Valuations
Mick Werry