Governor Kristi Noem has tried to distract from her intervention in her daughter’s real estate appraiser application process by claiming that she’s trying to streamline a certification process that’s holding up economic development. Watertown appraiser Brad Johnson wrote last week that Noem can’t do much streamlining, since appraiser standards are set at the federal level. Now Aberdeen appraiser Amy Frink tells KELO-TV the same thing—the feds set the standards, and the one extra step South Dakota requires protects the industry and the public:
Frink stressed all but one of the requirements to obtain an appraiser credential in South Dakota are federally mandated. South Dakota’s program required a trainee level exam, in which trainees could “take it as many times as it takes” and “very few people don’t pass it.”
“It’s more of an aptitude and basic concepts test,” Frink said. “If you don’t pass it or you find it difficult, then maybe this isn’t for you and you get to find out right away. I don’t see it as a stumbling block to get people in; it’s more to protect the public, competency-issue” [Eric Mayer, “Is It Too Hard to Become an Appraiser in South Dakota?” KELO-TV, 2021.10.07].
Frink says that South Dakota already cuts new appraisers slack in a way other states don’t:
Frink noted unlike many other states, South Dakota allows appraisers with no experience, known as “state-registered” credential, to appraise. To reach the second level of a licensed appraiser, a new appraiser needs six months and 1,000 hours of endorsed work by an “appraiser supervisor.”
“We can change the market if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Frink said. “You can sway how the market could go” [Mayer, 2021.10.07].
Even if Governor Noem wants to further deregulate appraiser training and licensing, there’s not much she can do at the state level. Given how much is at stake in appraising real estate correctly, it seems there’s not much she should do, either. With irrational exuberance driving buyers to offer unusually high prices for South Dakota property, it is more important than ever to have experienced appraisers who can temper that frenzy with rigorous, rational, reliable appraisals.