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.

RAC Members selected Fidelity Appraisers of the Year

Fidelity Residential Property Services Division (FRPSD) announces their 2018 Relocation Appraiser Awards.

Each year FRPSD reviews the performance of their appraiser network by analyzing volume, turn time and variance, as well as the working relationship with the FRPSD team.

A special recognition this year went to three Relocation Appraiser & Consulting (RAC) members who were the award recipients of their region:

Southeast Region – John Warren

Mid-West Region – James Gargano, Jr. IFAS, SCRP

West Region– Marie Robbins-Marine, SRA, CRP

FRPSD is thrilled when these appraisers are chosen by homeowners, as their files are consistently on time and well written; additionally, these appraisers are easy to work with and responsive. FRPSD customers appreciate the timeliness, professionalism and accuracy of these reports as well.

West Virginia Market Summary

Mobility Magazine of the Worldwide ERC, November 2018

By Lori Noble

In West Virginia, geography and rugged terrain pose physical limitations that simply can’t be changed, but the mountain highlands and low river valleys are the character and charm that make Appalachia unique. The nickname “the Mountain State” and the state motto Motani Semper Liberi (“Mountaineers are always free”) are most appropriate, and the characteristics of the region prove the statement true.

West Virginia is not unique, as it shares similar demographic and market nuances with other natural-resource economies. It is true that nearly all rural counties across the U.S. face challenges with slow to no long-term economic relief. Historically, most economic growth has occurred in larger metropolitan areas, in contrast to the West Virginia economy. The constraints observed over time are best served in the long term by fiscal responsibility and a deep understanding of the economic differences that make up the Mountain State.


West Virginia has received considerable press about the perils of coal and population declines. Coal exports were down a reported 40 percent by 2013 and nearly one-half between 2008 and 2016. Although the losses affected the state’s southern coal fields most, the energy sector is a main driver of West Virginia’s economy, and the downturn put significant strains on the economy and municipal governments. Steep declines in severance tax collections from the coal and gas industries created significant problems for government operations. On the commercial side, office buildings in major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) such as Charleston, the state capital, saw record-high vacancies due to big corporate bankruptcies and failures. It is also true, however, that economic performance varies extremely from county to county. The Northern and Eastern panhandles were not as affected by the downturn.


West Virginia has lost more than 25,000 residents since 2012; this is the largest percentage of loss in population since the late 1980s. According to the U.S. Census, 47 of the state’s 55 counties lost residents between 2015 and 2016. The largest decline was in Kanawha County, home of the state capital. Charleston is addressing the gray cloud with optimism, however. The capital city is the second-largest MSA in the state, behind Huntington, and the decline wasn’t the fault of the city, but a commercial downturn brought on by the collapse of coal and many companies going out of business at once. To offset the woes, Charleston is laying the groundwork for a rebranding and expansion. The development strategy is long-term planning with a time frame most likely in 2020 to 2025 in the downtown area.

Although an economic uptick is showing, the downward population trends in certain regions can’t be denied. Additionally, the population losses and exits from the labor force have helped drive the decline in unemployment rather than actual job gains. Overall, total population trends for the state will continue to contract slightly, with most losses occurring over the next couple of years. An anticipated improvement in the state’s economic performance is likely to at least help slow the decline observed in recent years.

The seasonally adjusted pace of homebuilding has been volatile over the past several years, but residential construction activity shows an upward trend since bottoming out a couple of years after the Great Recession ended. The average rate observed in the first two quarters of 2017 is 11 percent ahead of the prior year’s and marks the best read on new single-family home starts since 2008. Multifamily homes are a smaller share of the overall residential market in West Virginia, due to low population density and a high homeownership rate. Overall, apartment construction peaked in 2007 and was relatively limited in recent years. Monongalia County saw the most notable increases in recent years due to several West Virginia University (WVU) housing projects.

The rate of home price deflation was much smaller in West Virginia than in most other U.S. states after the housing bubble. Since bottoming out in 2011, prices for single-family homes have rebounded about 13 percent. Given the deep population declines and slow recovery status, the state housing sector is about equal to pre-crash conditions and values.

Local house prices vary greatly throughout the state’s regions relative to local supply and demand. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Beckley and Charleston metro areas have seen price declines in the past two years, while the Morgantown, Hagerstown-Martinsburg, and Huntington MSAs recorded cumulative price gains of just 2 to 3 percent since 2015. These low rates reflect a slowdown in appreciation after significant increases in house prices in those regions from 2011. West Virginia counties in the Washington, D.C., metro area experience consistent and fast growth in house prices. Southern counties are in a different submarket where home values are expected to remain relatively flat, with no major trends anticipated.

West Virginia shows one of the smallest annual appreciation rates nationally. Residential permits are up from the previous year, mostly in metro areas. Home prices depreciated in the spring but are up year over year. Mortgage delinquencies are down from the previous year. Overall, small but distinctive positive shifts are occurring, with trends expected to proceed at a slow pace.


Expectations for the U.S. and global economies will directly influence West Virginia’s economic performance. If global demand for the state’s energy commodities and manufactured goods deviates from the expected path, growth could exceed or underperform expectations. Natural resources are expected to see jobs increase 9.6 percent per year during the outlook period.

West Virginia’s construction sectors are expected to slowly recover from lackluster performance in the past several years. Activity is expected to grow at the fastest pace between now and 2020. The energy sector will drive most of the growth with several pipeline projects and natural gas-fired power plant that are expected to wrap up in the short term. Infrastructure has been depressed for an extended period due to budget challenges. Manufacturing is expected to show job growth of about 0.9 percent per year. The largest sources of job creation are expected in the chemical industry and general manufacturing sector. Income projections forecast an increase in annual wages of almost 2 percent per year through 2022 but still lag behind the national average.

There has been an upturn in recent coal production and job levels as the industry enters a period of relative stability. However, risks exist, as observed between 2008 and 2014. West Virginia’s population has declined significantly, and although a stabilization is anticipated, more loss is likely over the long term due to a larger share of elderly residents. A positive shock of inward migration would be highly beneficial, as would economic strategies to improve education and business retention in the state. Southern counties are expected to see some job growth during the next few years.

Commercial expansion outside the energy sector will bolster performance going forward. The $500 million Procter & Gamble facility in Martinsburg will continue to develop. The expansion by WVU Medicine as well as a buildings and athletic facility upgrade will help the Monongalia County region. WVU Institute of Technology also opened a campus this fall in the Beckley MSA, putting the university back on the map and making a great addition to the city’s landscape.

Lori A. Noble is a professional appraiser and consultant in southern West Virginia and member of RAC (Relocation Appraisers and Consultants). She can be reached at +1 304 573 2357.



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