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Lack of appraisers puts pinch on hot real estate market. 

by Tad Sooter of the Kitsap Sun

Working around the clock has become the new norm for appraisers in Kitsap County, with the region’s real estate market surging this year. An appraisal is a necessary step in the process of buying a home and some in the industry say there are too few qualified professionals in Kitsap County to keep up with demand. The shortage of appraisers has led to delays in closing deals, escalating costs and general frustration.

“A lot of members have been concerned about the increase in fees and wait times,” Kitsap County Association of Realtors CEO Mike Eliason said. “I think the overarching problem is a lack of appraisers locally.”

While the pinch is felt locally, the decline in appraisers is a national issue. The Washington Post reported last month the number of active appraisers has dropped 22 percent from 2007.

Professionals in the field point to several factors to explain the decline. For starters, appraisers tend to be older and many are leaving the profession, said John Gordon, president of the Seattle Chapter for the Appraisal Institute.

“As people retire, it’s proven difficult to attract young people into the profession,” Gordon said.

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