Joel Schlotz is a photographer who owns his own gallery and custom picture framing shop in the Bay Area for years. But Schlotz says the picture framing and art business is "dying", so nearly five years ago, he began thinking about finding a new career that he'd enjoy as much but also make good money and leave him to enjoy his collection of classic cars.
A friend of a friend had become an appraiser and so when Schlotz had a property he owned appraised, he watched closely to see what was involved. He liked what he saw and decided to make the switch. He took a 12-week course and passed the state test to become an appraiser. He also had to put in about 2,000 hours as an apprentice trainee with a licensed appraiser.
In January 2006, he became a fully licensed appraiser. "I love the freedom of it. I work all the time. But I set my own schedule. I never schedule an appraisal before 10 am because I don't want to run into traffic. It's also more secure and doesn't have the peaks and valleys that a lot of businesses have. It's not just about valuing homes for sale. People need appraisals when they're refinancing or going through a divorce or putting property in a trust."