Getting to know RAC members Arnold Schwartz and Pat White

by Sherry Kaley

Arnold Schwartz, SRA, SCRP

Once an Appraiser – Always an Appraiser

Coming from a family rooted in real estate, Arnold grew up in Ohio, and majored in Real Estate/Property Management, graduating from Ohio State University.  After graduation, he moved to the Atlanta to pursue his appraisal career and raise a family. 

Sherry:  What kind of appraisal do you do and how long have you been appraising?

Arnold:  I was working with an appraisal firm with residential and commercial projects, and the opportunity came up to start my own residential company when the firm split between residential and commercial.  I have been appraising mainly residential and some commercial properties for the last 52 years.

Sherry:  If you had not been an appraiser, what do you think you might have been?

Arnold:  Well, I might have been a cartoonist because I like to doodle.

Sherry:  Any hobbies?

Arnold:  Prior to CoVid, I enjoyed walking, reading, and traveling.  

Sherry:  What is your most memorable achievement?

Arnold:  My involvement in ERC over the years has been a highlight with RAC being an offshoot of ERC.  One of my most memorable achievements was participation with ERC and others to develop and co-author the ERC appraisal form and the guidebook for relocation.

Sherry:   Do you have any Weird/Wonderful memories:

Arnold:  I relish the times when the value comes in on target and you get that A+ report card!  One weird moment I recall, was after ringing the doorbell, a dog came racing to the door, lost his footing and skidded to the full view storm door, with his front paws pushing out the door panel and getting caught.

Sherry:  Do you have any thoughts of slowing down?

Arnold:  The relocation work has slowed down.  Most of my current work is divorce work, a possible result of CoVid.   I have worked from home the last 5-6 years and keep saying I would like to slow down.  It is just hard to say “no” when you love what you do.  

Arnold hopes to see everyone in September at the RAC Conference.

Pat White, CRP

A Genuine, Respected, Ethical Appraiser and Family Man

Pat still lives close to the area of this home place in Cincinnati, Ohio…never relocated, although having done much relocation work over the years.

Sherry:   How long have you been appraising?

Pat:  It has been 37 years.  Starting out, though, with a major in secondary education, I was a social studies teacher and coach until 1984.  With a poor teacher’s salary, at that time, it became time to “jump on my father’s coat tails” and change careers entering the appraisal profession.  My father was an appraiser and opened the doors.  Looking forward, the ability to slow down and yet not give up the profession looms as a challenge in the next few years.

Sherry:  What has been one of your most Weird/Wonderful assignments?

Pat:  One of the most bizarre inspections was in a Showcase Home that was also a relocation assignment.  The interior of the home displayed huge taxidermy wild game trophies from Africa, a little out of character for the Showcase suburban home.

Sherry:  When you are not appraising, what do you enjoy doing?

Pat:  I have a love of gardening… flowers, tomatoes, and greens.  Zinnias and Mexican Sunflowers are favorites. 

In thinking ahead to the retirement years, I’ve been thinking about “recycling”, my idea of “flipping homes’ as an alternative.

Sherry:  What do you consider to be your life achievements?

Pat:  Being married, being a father, and being a grandfather with 5 grandchildren are my greatest achievements.   Simple family vacations to Disneyland and to Lakeside on the shores of Lake Erie are some of the best memorable vacations.

Getting to know RAC members Mike Brubaker, Craig Stebner and Michael Cook

by Betsy Hughes

Mike Brubaker, SRA

Mike Brubaker is one of our newest members but not new to appraising. He’s been an appraiser in the Houston area for nearly 40 years and is known as the “Expert in Disasters”. He knows a lot about a lot and if he doesn’t know he’ll act like he does; it can be difficult to determine the difference. Brubaker and Associates, Inc is a full-service Real Estate Appraisal firm with over 20 appraisers and staff. When Brubaker is not in the office you can find him outdoors doing some kind of stupid big kid trick. If he’s not riding his electric skateboard around the neighborhood, falling off and somersaulting down the street, he may be mountain biking and diving off bridges to avoid hitting others.  Most who know him are surprised he is still in one piece and functioning somewhat normal. Although his body has taken a beating over his lifetime, he refuses to grow up which is why he’s loved so much. While he has had several mishaps over the years, the one thing he absolutely loves and is extremely safe at is when he’s piloting his Bonanza (not the tv show, the plane).

Betsy:  How long have you been appraising?

Mike:  Since 1982.  

Betsy:  Why did you get into the appraisal industry?

Mike: It was an accident. I started doing it for gas money. True story.

Betsy: What areas do you cover?

Mike:  The Texas Triangle – Houston – Austin – Dallas – San Antonio …… Now – I know a triangle has three sides, but this is Texas …. I have no other explanation for this.

Betsy:  Why are you a RAC member?

Mike:  I was invited to speak at a meeting and enjoyed the comradery of the group. I recognized the value of being affiliated with such a knowledgeable group of appraisers and hope I can contribute in some small way.

Bartenders Corner:

Brown Water (Houston style of course) – Crown Royal (Original, none of this pansy flavored stuff) on the rocks

Craig Stebner

Craig is the Past President of RAC and has worked in the relocation world for many years. In a past life, he and Ron Box would travel around the country visiting appraisers for relocation companies (imagine all the havoc these two have created). These days he stays extremely busy appraising in the northern Virginia area. Craig has never met a stranger. He can tell you everything about all of his clients from their Mother’s name to their pet’s names, how many children they have, and he has most of their cell phone numbers. He has definitely built his business on relationships. If you need to grow your business, Craig is the one to talk to, just don’t ask him about tech fees!

Betsy:  How long have you been appraising? 

Craig:  22 years +/-

Betsy:  Why did you get into the appraisal industry? 

Craig:  It was a career change that was an easy transition from being a Vice President in the relocation world.

Betsy:  What areas do you cover? 

Craig:  Northern Virginia.

Betsy:  Why are you a RAC member?  

Craig:  Ellen Borofsky from Cartus, Butch Hicks and Ron Box were strongly encouraging me to join.

Michael Cook, MAI, SRA

Michael is a Past President of RAC and a huge supporter of the organization.  He became a member of RAC in 1998 and plays a key role in planning the annual conference and planning meetings.  He started his appraisal career in 1986 after three years in real estate sales.  Prior to that, he spent 11 years in the retail business.  His company, Michael S. Cook & Associates, Inc. was formed in 1991 and is located in McKinney, Texas.  He provides a variety of appraisal services across North Texas with a concentration in the private and relocation sectors.  He enjoys litigation work and looks forward to testifying.  This is not surprising to those that know him well, as it brings out his competitive side.  Everything is a competition to Michael and winning is everything.  So next time you are looking for a friendly competition, give him a call!

Betsy:  When did you begin your appraisal career?  

Michael:  1986

Betsy:  Why did you get into the appraisal industry? 

Michael:  I needed a job.  When the real estate market crashed in ‘86, I was in real estate sales.

Betsy:  What areas do you cover? 

Michael:  I work mostly in the North Texas area, but am available almost anywhere, for the right price. 

Betsy:  What type of properties do you appraise?

Michael:  I have appraised a wide range of commercial and residential properties, and a lot of land.  But today, it’s mostly residential.  I get a little bored doing “regular” houses.  I love appraising the “hard ones” that no one else wants.

Betsy:  Why are you a RAC member?  

Michael:  Ron Box told me I should join RAC.  But I stayed a member because of the people.  It is a great group of really good people and appraisers. 

On a more personal note, Michael has perfected the dirty martini on the rocks.  His recipe consists of 4 ounces of Tito’s Vodka and 1.5 ounces of olive brine poured into a shaker of ice.  Then shake it for a minimum of 15 seconds; but 20 is preferred.  You then pour it into a TALL glass and ENJOY.  A pic of olives can be added for décor, but he considers it a waste of time. 

RAC member Jim Gargano lends relocation expertise to Mobility Magazine

Relocation companies are expected to ramp relocation activities back up, but when they do, they’ll find challenging conditions on the housing front, according to The 2021 Housing Picture, by D.H. Coburn.  With home sales hitting a 14-year high in October 2020, mortgage interest rates continuing to hover near historical lows and a persistent supply-demand imbalance, experts say all signs point to continued tight housing markets that will present challenges for companies and the employees they are relocating in 2021.

Join RAC member Jim Gargano, IFAS, ASA, SCRP as he lends his relocation expertise to The 2021 Housing Picture, as published in the February 2021 issue of Mobility Magazine.    


Getting to know RAC members Sherry Kaley and Byron Miller

This year, Membership Services, will be introducing our members to each other and to our clients.  Monthly, Sherry Kaley, Betsy Hughes and I will be interviewing our members and putting together a quick, happy, light read of the membership.  We will be Getting to know everyone!  Lisa Meinczinger

Sherry Kaley, CRP

Sherry Kaley is our very own RAC president this year.  Sherry grew up on a farm in Indiana, and as a fellow Hoosier, she is the epitome of the Hoosier hospitality and what a midwestern girl is all about. 

Sherry always has a smile on her face, is welcoming, and can talk to anyone about anything.  I have always walked away after conversations with the feeling that she is genuine, caring, and full of life.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Sherry and get to know her a little better.

Lisa:  How long have you been appraising?

Sherry:  Since 1999.  I was a stay-at-home mom of two until my family was relocated to North Carolina due to my husband’s job (Barry).  We relocated with 9 cats, 2 dogs, and 2 horses.

Lisa:  Have you always been residential?

Sherry:  Yes, I have.  I did commercial as a trainee, but mostly residential.

Lisa:  What do you specialize in beside Relocation?

Sherry:  I do a lot of niche products such as log homes, historical, mini-farms, and rural assignments.

Lisa:  What are your most memorable properties that you have appraised?

Sherry:  I appraised a cute home and they had dogs.  The homeowner decorated the entire home, every room, with nice furniture.  The walls, from  5 feet and up, were decorated for the adults in the home.  Below were pictures for the dogs…pictures of dog bones, of a steak, of mommy dogs etc. 

Another time I had walked into a foreclosure and Barry was with me.  The house was dark except for these weird lights. We came to find out it was a grow house and we walked right out.

Lisa:  As a woman, how hard has it been to work in a male-dominated field?

Sherry:  Not hard at all.  I went to Purdue University (well, as an Indiana University grad, we won’t hold that against her 😉), I was in the School of Agriculture, and applied to Veterinary School in 1969.  At that time only 1 slot per year was allotted to a woman in the program.   I have always been surrounded by male dominated fields, and never felt intimated. 

Lisa:  What are your accomplishments in your career and life:

Sherry:  RAC President 2020-21

Pilot’s license for single engine planes.  I took my dad and flew into the International Farm Progress Show.

Past member, and national officer of the General Federation of Women’s Club (GFWC).  As National Junior Director of Juniors I had the opportunity to spend much time in D.C. at GFWC Headquarters and with government agencies.  Because of that opportunity, I have been to nearly every state in the country.

Due to the national office with GFWC, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many political figures, including President Bush and his wife.

I spent a week on a working cattle ranch in Wyoming and helped drive 8,000 head of cattle off the ranch to the rail head for market.  Best experience ever!

Lisa:  If you could change your career path, what would it have been?

Sherry: I always wanted to be a rancher. (Ron Box, I’d put her to work!) I just fell in to appraising, and it was there when my family needed me to have a good job.  I had the opportunity to become an appraiser and am good at it.

Sherry is an intelligent, interesting, women full of stories.  At conference this year, get to know Sherry, ask her about her chickens, her garden, or her path to being an amazing appraiser.  She has a ton of stories still to tell.

Byron Miller, SRA, AI-RRS, RAA

I met Byron Miller at an Appraisal Institute event in Washington DC in 2016, which was not that long ago, but seems like longer than that. Byron has just been appointed to the Appraisal Qualifications Board with the Appraisal Foundation.  This is a huge honor and a testament to his accomplishments in the profession.  Byron’s is an engineer turned appraiser / educator.  He does not know a stranger and will talk your ear off with interesting stories.  He has a true desire to find out about you.  Byron has several stories about growing up with Prince, yes, Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret, before he was symbol, Prince.  It is remarkably interesting how he looks at appraising and life in general.

Lisa:  What areas do you cover?

Byron:  Minnesota and over the 11 core counties, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and part of Wisconsin.

Lisa:  Beside Relocation, what do you specialize in?

Byron:  Litigation in dealing with construction defects…this is where my engineering background comes in handy. 

Lisa:  Why did you get into appraising?

Byron:  I looked at it in 1986, when I was working as an engineer.  I had to have my house appraised and it did not appraise out.  So, being interested in the process, I started to research.  I was then approached to work for nothing for two years in 2001, and looked at a contractor’s license to rehab properties.  It all started there.

Lisa:  What was your most memorable appraisal?

Byron:  In 2005, I was in an upscale neighborhood with manicured lawns, newer homes, etc.  The home I was appraising was two years old but on the inside, they had dogs and cats along with animal feces and cat vomit throughout the home.  The homeowner was concerned with my shoes and requested that I remove them.  (I’m sure it was to save the carpets). 

Lisa:  How long have you been an educator?

Byron:  I started teaching in graduate school in 1995.  I have a comp graph course at the college level.  In 2003, I started teaching for Kaplan.  I had called Craig Harrington at the Appraisal Institute for teaching opportunities.  That is when I started my path to obtain my SRA designation and was designated in 2012.

Lisa:  What are your favorite courses to teach?

Byron:  The ones I develop.  Lol.  I have developed an ANSI course, I do chapter development and am working on an accessory unit course.  (Byron was a presenter with the Appraisal foundation on Valuation Bias several months ago).

Lisa: Why are you a RAC member?

Byron:  In 2007 – 2008, I realized the mortgage industry was not ideal and started to realize that specialization is where I needed to be.  I researched options and RAC came up.  RAC has been good for business as it is the gold standard for relocation work.

Lisa:  Do you have any hobbies or interest outside of appraising (not sure why everyone laughs when I ask this question)?

Byron:  I used to write bad poetry, go to plays, exercise (he was taking a walk as I was talking to him). My daughter is interested in robotics and I am trying to work with her and teach her a few things.

Byron has a lot to offer this profession and has accomplished much.  It will be rewarding to see what he accomplishes at the Appraisal Foundation with his newly appointed position.  Congratulations to Byron on this honor. When you see Byron at the RAC conference in September, ask him anything, he will buy you a drink and talk the night away.

RAC member Byron Miller, Valuation Magazine upzoning expert

Many cities see upzoning as an effective way to increase density and affordable housing, but how does it affect property values and land use?  Join RAC member Byron Miller, SRA, AI-RRS, RAA, as he lends his expertise, along with insight of his home town of Minneapolis, to In the ZONE by Peter Haapaniemi.  

In Minneapolis, according to Mr. Miller, traditionally, highest and best use for a single-family residence could be readily determined by using the two basic criteria of legal permissibility and physical possibility. But the potential to build multifamily units makes it necessary to factor in financial feasibility and maximum productivity.  

Read the full Valuation Magazine article here.

The Con – Featuring The appraiser’s side of the story

The Con is an in-depth investigation into the 2008 financial crisis.  Hollywood has already told the stories of Wall Street and the lenders.  This series tells the stories of the people and the appraisers.
The 5-part docuseries, released last week, features RAC member Jonathan Miller and three other independent appraisers interviewed and credited in Episode II. View the premiere for free and the remaining episodes can be seen in virtual cinemas across the country. 

Orange County Market Summary

by Craig Gilbert, CRP

If Orange County, California, were a separate nation, its economy would rank as No.42 in the world, with a $306.5 billion gross county product in 2019.  Its population of 3.2 million exceeds that of that of  22 U.S. states, and it is the sixth most populous county in the nation and the third in the state, after Los Angeles at 10.1 million and San Diego County at 3.3 million.

Commonly known as “The OC” or “OC” it is part of the Greater Los Angeles Region and is a major contributor to the state’s economic base.  Geographically, the OC borders the Pacific Ocean on the west, Los Angeles County on the north, San Diego County on the south, and the Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) on the east.

Join RAC member Craig Gilbert as he continues to discusses Orange County.  The full article can be found here.

Tulsa Market Summary

Mobility Magazine of the Worldwide ERC, June 2020

By Tom Allen, SCRP

Tulsa, the second-largest city in Oklahoma and the 47th-most populous city in the U.S., is situated on the Arkansas River between the Osage Hills and the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeast Oklahoma, a region of the state known as “Green Country.” For most of the 20th century, the city held the nickname “Oil Capital of the World.” It also features one of the nation’s largest concentrations of art deco architecture, since the city’s success in the energy industry prompted construction booms in the popular art deco style during the first half of the century. Profits from the oil industry continued through the Great Depression, helping the city’s economy fare better than most economies in the U.S. during the 1930s.

Join RAC member Tom Allen as he discusses Tulsa, Oklahoma, the town in which he has been appraising since 1971.  The full article can be found here.    

RAC Authors Featured in Mobility Magazine

Delaware Market Summary

Tom Reynolds, SRPA, CRP, has written about his home state of Delaware, the Diamond State.  Learn more about the real estate market in the first state to ratify the U.S. constitution (in 1787) and  the corporate home or place of incorporation for more companies than any other state.  See the entire article here.

The Relocation Appraisal

Paul M. Lewis uses his 25 years of residential appraisal experience to offer some perspectives on the fundamental differences between a relocation appraisal and other residential appraisal types.  Don’t miss the feature on the annual Report Writing Contest, which will kick off this summer.  This contest is a joint effort between Worldwide ERC and RAC to find and recognize the best relocation appraisal report writer.  Paul Lewis won the contest last year and the 2019 winner will be announced at the RAC conference in Plano, TX, held September 19-20th.  See the full article here.

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