It was fun to open the New York Times this morning and see Samantha Storey’s well written real estate cover story And the Blog Goes On on 6 real estate bloggers – with the added bonus of an above the fold photo. Even better that I was one of the bloggers profiled.

Aside from moi, others covered include Lockhart Steele of Curbed, Jonathan Butler of Brownstoner, Doug Heddings of TrueGotham, Noah Rosenblatt of UrbanDigs and Property Grunt of PropertyGrunt are all long time bloggers who have been on my blog roll nearly since day1 and continue to provide their unique take on all things real estate and whatever else is on their mind. All of us have different approaches, purposes, styles and audiences… thats what makes the blogosphere so cool.

On a personal note, I’ve never been superimposed on a mouse, especially as a long time trackpad user. I wonder if the “upside down” position of my photo could have some sort of hidden meaning? Like… “turning real estate on its head”, “being upside down on a mortgage”, “looking at things in a different way”?

Probably not.

Ok, back to work.


  1. Edd Gillespie January 24, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Look at it this way. Who’s on top.

  2. Jonathan J. Miller January 24, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Bingo! I should have thought of that!

  3. julia January 24, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    congrats, i’m a big fan of yours! i agree with the article and am happy that guys like you (and shiller for ex) are bringing more transparency to this market (the biggest asset class in usa, not less).

    hey jonathan, i would like to be an appraiser. is there any advice you could provide me? after this gigantic bubble, are there too many appraisers? or did that happen mostly for real estate and mtg brokers (and not for appraisers?).

  4. Edd Gillespie January 24, 2009 at 9:31 pm


    I appraise real estate. I hear it depends on where you are if there are too many appraisers. The turn down in the economy has definitely been tough on appraisers. I suggest if you want to appraise that you get some experience with somebody reputable, which is not easy to find, and, if you like it, then get some related college credit and as much education and variety of experience as you can.
    I think if there is going to be anything left of this profession it will be because appraisers have made themselves relevant, like Jonathan has.
    The day of walking into this profession without paying your dues first are happily over.

  5. julia January 24, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    great! thanks.

    is there a school you’d recommend to take the courses for the appraiser assistant license? or are they pretty much the same? i would like to attend the best regarded if there’s such a thing (also given that i don’t know how tough it will be to find a good mentor or supervisor).

  6. julia January 24, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    thanks Edd. “get some experience with somebody reputable, which is not easy to find” right on target. who is very good in the profession or not that’s not clear to me though. and it looks like it can determine the career in a major way. i was thinking about getting the license first (for assistant) and the experience after that (i am starting from 0).

  7. Jonathan J. Miller January 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks Julia! Like real estate agents, there will be downsizing in the industry – hopefully the appraisers that came on board during the mortgage boom who were “morally flexible” will continue to leave the business. The work now requires more substance and precision. In other words, its still a good field if you go about it the right way.

  8. noah January 24, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    CONGRATS JM! Great to be in same company with you again! Keep on truckin!

  9. Peter Comitini January 25, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Great press today Jonathan, congrats! I always enjoy reading your take on the data, and am amazed by your frequency of posting, along with keeping your day job.

  10. Jonathan J. Miller January 25, 2009 at 12:35 am

    Thanks Peter – back at you. It’s having 4 kids at home that frees up my spare time. 😉

  11. Edd Gillespie January 25, 2009 at 4:08 am

    It might be a cart and horse thing, but I thought you might want to get your feet wet before you commit the money and time it takes to get education.
    Some of the trade organizations have pretty good education. I have taken several AI courses and find them satisfactory. I would suggest enrollment in at least a junior college since an associate degree is now required to advance beyond the licensed level. Get plenty of courses that require statistical analysis and writing. Some universities offer four year programs now. I think the Universities of Denver and of Minnesota do. The Appraisal Foundation has information for education and so does your state regulator.
    As for a mentor, you are correct that they are scarce. You might ask your local AI chapter if there are some mentors willing to take on a trainee. Beware of the guys that take on trainees to make money for themselves. There are a lot of the morally flexible out there. Mentors don’t like being asked for references, but to protect yourself from wasting time ask for references and then contact them. As it is much of the business of appraising seems to end run the notions of right and wrong.

  12. Joe S January 25, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Jonathan, as an aspiring real estate professional and blogger myself, you are a great influence. Keep killing it!

  13. Jonathan J. Miller January 26, 2009 at 12:13 am

    Thanks Joe – its definitely easier to do things you love to do.

  14. julia January 26, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    thanks again Edd.

  15. julia January 26, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Edd, “before you commit the money and time it takes to get education”, i am willing to commit the time & effort needed (and don’t really need a salary for a couple of years from now), but your comment about a 4 year degree scared me. i have a couple of masters (financial math and economics) from ivy leagues and math undergrad. i went through plenty of stats and math there, but i’m very weak on the writing though as a good nerd. i got the list of appraiser qualifying course providers from the division of licensing services (at i was wondering who is the best provider among those ones.

  16. Edd Gillespie January 26, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Some I don’t recognize. In general and overall, my opinion is the AI, though there may some better individual courses. If I was looking at rural land I would go with ASFRAMA. And don’t overlook a CCIM if you care about commercial. It is for brokers, but they have good stuff to offer.
    Pay attention to learning analysis. Jonathan is doing a bang up job of presenting lots of data with some very helpful analysis. If you are in NY you should be able to incorporate what he does into your adjustments. He’s good support to arrive at a conclusion. But, analyze the market data!!! You’ll find plenty of appraisers who say they are analyzing when all they do is inventory. Even some of the texts use the word analysis for what is an accumulation of facts and other stuff. Right now its hard to get a fee that justifies the work of analysis, but the day is coming when the ability to analyze the facts and data will be the true relevance appraisers have. As it is right now, a lot of clients can get the same thing most appraisers do for the price and at the speed of a BPO or an AVM, and they know it. Just try your best to avoid that crap and hang on until the parallel universes of profession and business in appraising real estate converge.
    You’ve got plenty of education to put a really strong foundation under you, but you can learn something in every assignment you do. There is always more to learn in the profession.
    Get cracking on the writing part. You won’t be worth much in this business without it. You must disclose, disclose, disclose and that has to be in writing since appraisals have long lives and legs. You never know when or where they will confront you again and any one who reads it must be able to understand what you did. You don’t have to be a Hemingway, but you have to make sense to a broad audience. Oh, and some of them are convinced they know more than you do so make it real solid. Stay off the limbs or they will saw them off. You are on your way. Where are you going to set up shop if you don’t mind saying?

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