Appraiser and Investor

10 Replies

BP Friends,

I am happy to be a part of this growing community of real estate enthusiasts. A little bit about me: I am a licensed CG (Certified General) real estate appraiser currently living in Searcy, Arkansas where I teach Finance and Real Estate at the college level. I hold an MBA from University of North Carolina and have work experience at CBRE (in commercial valuation), Ernst and Young ( in transaction real estate), and confounding a residential appraisal company (Texas Appraisal Services). I also held my real estate license in Texas. I have experience with both flips and buy and holds.

Long story short, I have done my investing on the residential side and currently own a couple residential rental units. I really want to grow this, specifically in the Dallas/Ft. Worth market. My goal is to one day own 100 units. I know DFW market well from my years spent doing appraisal work there, and I see that market being a great place to invest long term. 

I would love to meet as many of you as are open to it, specifically any investing in the DFW market. 

God bless you all,

Josiah Smelser

Welcome to BiggerPockets, Josiah Smelser. 

An appraiser/re instructor? You should make a LOT of new friends here on the site.

Have you set up your keyword alerts yet? Reserve at least one for your local area, to keep up with conversations and connect with investors in your area.

A few things about the site. We have these forums that you have already found, but did you know that we also have a blog? Written by investors much like you, they share their experiences and ideas.

Take a little time to poke around the site. We have a top-rated Podcast with new episodes every week. 

Welcome to the community. Are you a fellow Bison? I'm a relatively new investor in the Searcy area. I have an apartment building in Judsonia. What do you think about the Searcy market? What makes you choose DFW over your local market?

Hey Josiah Smelser

Great to have you here on Bigger Pockets!

It's awesome to have someone with your experience here.

Looking forward to connecting with you through your Real Estate adventure!

Best wishes,


Hello All! 

Yes - I am a Harding alumni. Thank you all for your warm welcome. You folks give me hope in my RE goals! Glad to find a group of people pushing towards the same goal. 

As for the Searcy market - my 2 cents is that it is a good area for cash flow properties but appreciation prospects are bad. That is why I am choosing to invest in DFW. Not knocking the Searcy market, but as I worked as an appraiser in DFW for several years, I know and love that market.

hey, well I would like to pick your brain on some options. I am not in your area, but being that you have been and are on both sides, I think you could help me. 

What do appraisers look for, and how do they come up with their number (price). Is Square Feet the key, or overall appeal and layout of a house? The reason I am asking is becasue I am about to build a nice little 4 bedroom house 2 bath. It is around 1500-1600sq ft. And I am wondering should I add on porches? How nice should I make it, or is Square feet the Key. I could put a mid grade Kitchen and make the house larger. I could safe on porches and carport and make the house larger. What will give me the best value? 

For example... I can build this 1500-1600 sqft house for 45K (Me building it, not paying others). My brother wants to buy the house. I need it to appraise for over 100K so that I can essential build 2 house for the price of one ( instead of paying me cash, I am investing my salary into an identical house). So I need to get the most bang for my buck.  What are the must and the bust in the appraisal field? 

I know you might can't say what it will go for, but what are key factors. I am in South Georgia. 

With the second house I build I will own it free and clear and want to borrow against my house to build 2 duplex. That's why I need to really build up my equity. 

Anyone feel free to help. 

@Tyler Merrell

For a single-family property, an appraiser is going to focus in on comparable sales for your specific property in your specific market. Square footage and property condition are big drivers of value as is the underlying lot value (location). Each market has its own leanings and some markets value things like porches and garages more while other markets might not value them as much. The best advice I could give you is to look at comparable sales in the last year in your immediate neighborhood and see what they are going for $/SF wise. Try and find properties very similar to the one you will build. Since your property will be new, try to find homes built within the last five years. Hone in on why different properties are selling for different $/SF figures. Does one have granite? Does one have 3 bedrooms instead of 2? You will notice trends as you look at more comps. The best I can tell you is that based on your market, it depends. You will be able to drill down into the data and determine what is driving the value. I hope that helps you. Good luck!

It does, and I will do this.. The only thing bad about my situation is that it really isn't a buy and sell market here. I live in the country and you either have land or you don't, which means you own a house or rent. I DO NOT want to ever sell my land (they don't make more land) so thats why I want offer my community nicer rentals in the area. Right now peep are renting trashy mobile homes that consist of about 900-1200 SQ ft for $500 month. I can rent them a new house for that. Plus new city ordances are starting to close down mobile home parks, which means they have to have a place to live. My timing is good, I just want to make sure that I am gettting out of it what I am putting into it. I will call some local appraisers and find out more. The one I spoke to early said SQFT is the key in my area. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

We hate spam just as much as you