Beyond the Closing: Marcus Hill’s Guide to Real Estate Appraisal and Building a Successful Career

Beyond the Closing: Marcus Hill's Guide to Real Estate Appraisal and Building a Successful Career
Photo Credited to: Marcus Eubanks

Marcus Hill is a dynamic real estate trailblazer with almost two decades of experience – building an exceptional portfolio. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, he has thrived in several areas, including appraisal, property management, developments, loan origination, and investments. Few realize the immense power held by real estate appraisers. In America, obtaining a mortgage loan often requires an appraisal to be conducted before closing on a home. 

In “Assessing My Value,” Hill shares his personal experiences of entering the field of real estate appraisal. He details the challenges, triumphs, and lessons learned as one of the youngest appraisers to value properties in every state with Fannie Mae. Hill offers invaluable tips and strategies for first-time homebuyers and investors. Hill sheds light on this crucial role and emphasizes the importance of understanding the appraisal process for anyone venturing into homeownership. Moreover, he reveals that the real estate appraisal field offers recession-proof career potential, providing ample rewards for those who choose to pursue it.

Hill’s story of success is not only rooted in his own determination but also in the support and love he received from significant individuals and his family. His book serves as a vehicle to honor those who played a vital role in his accomplishments and inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Who was Marcus Hill before real estate?

Before entering the world of real estate appraisals in 2005, I was the type of kid who was in church multiple times a week, played football up to college, but also lived in an area of Little Rock, Arkansas, where the cable channel HBO featured a documentary called Gang War: “Banging In Little Rock.” This show highlighted gangs, drugs, and violence in the early 90’s. I literally saw a park that I played at often on this show. Even though I was around not so positive influences in my neighborhood.  I really wanted to represent my family well, so I stayed out of trouble. My grandfather was the first African-American plumbing inspector for the city of North Little Rock, Arkansas. I remember, as a young man, how seriously he took his career. He is currently 93 years old today. His work ethic, drive, and determination inspired me to do the same when I entered the appraisal industry. I also had an amazing group of friends as a young man. We kept each other accountable and pushed each other to obtain success as adults,   

Tell me about your book.

During my career in the real estate industry the vast majority of first-time homebuyers or investors never get any information about the Appraiser. The Real Estate Agent or the Mortgage broker gets all the shine in the home-buying process. I wanted to share my experiences of learning the field of Real Estate Appraisals one month after graduating college. My book “Assessing My Value” gives my journey of what it was like going through the training, running an appraisal company in 2008 and my account of being one of the youngest to value properties in every state with Fannie Mae. I also give tips and strategies to first-home buyers and investors. Toward the end of my book, I give out all the things I learned over my career. I wanted to highlight my unique story but also wanted the reader to have tangible tips and strategies they could apply to their own real estate and investing journey. The appraisal field has an average workforce age of 50 years old. My book shows how a 24-year-old became so passionate about appraisals. The position of a Real Estate Appraiser is very powerful. In America, if you get a mortgage loan the lender will likely require you to get an appraisal before closing on a home.  

What is the significance of the title?  

The title is very significant to me because, as a young man, I had many choices to go down the wrong path. Outside my church family I was around some of the worst people you could imagine. One day as a middle schooler I decided I didn’t want to be like the drug dealers and gang bangers in the neighborhood. I assessed my value of the type of life I wanted to live as an adult. The second part of the title I do own. I am a trailblazer in the real estate appraisal industry. Due to the most recent study by the Appraisal Institute, I was one of the youngest African Americans to start a real estate appraisal company. The average age for appraisers is 50 to 65 years old. I was 26 years old when I started my company.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?  

A key challenge was starting my book through my young eyes of 24 years old when I was first introduced to the real estate appraisal industry. A few times while writing I thought twice about being so open, but I knew that I wanted people to feel my story as if they were in my shoes. Another challenge was how to write to many different readers, which I hope I accomplished as this book has something for everyone. Whether you want to learn about the field of real estate appraising, being a college athlete, or learning how I found my passion for a career. Also, for people that want to learn real estate and will be a first-time home buyer I have special chapters for you. 

What is the significance of GEN Z Buyers in Real Estate?

The Gen-Z population can still buy a starter home but in this market strategy is key. A Gen-Z buyer could have the mindset to search for a home that needs repairs instead of buying the house with all the bells and whistles. They could do the repairs over time and increase the property value.  Today a lot of employment is virtual, and Gen-Z can take advantage of buying properties in the Midwest and southern parts of the United States that typically have lower price points. This is an easy way to start the wealth process by gaining property equity, potential passive income, and tax benefits. A lot of GenZ buyers were able to take advantage of the mortgage rates a few years ago. In my opinion, they will be in their homes for a long time. One reason is that they see where the current market trends are today and see the current rates on 20-year fixed mortgages. Affordability and lack of supply will also play a big role in why they will be long-term owners.  Real Estate trends never stay the same. New generations may research the historical differences between mortgage rates before or after the pandemic. It may cause a new buyer to pause on getting into homeownership until rates get low. In my opinion they should always choose getting into homeownership to take advantage of property equity as soon as possible and refinance when rates are more desirable. 

What are some benefits of buying a foreclosed home and who should buy them?

The best candidates to purchase foreclosed homes are those buyers not looking to obtain the property quickly and ok with a potentially lengthy process to close on the home. Also, people who are ok with doing market research before and already have a repair team in place before purchasing. Before you buy a foreclosed home you must have the mindset of coming up with a plan of action before you get the home, have a few contractors that can give you estimates on repairs, consider a budget for rehab and be able to pay cash for repairs, overdue taxes, and potential liens. Buying a foreclosed home is a great way to buy a home at below market value. If you have the mindset to know that no matter what cost come up or additional fees you encounter you must know that you will be in a good position to win financially once the house is improved with updates.  

Beyond the Closing: Marcus Hill's Guide to Real Estate Appraisal and Building a Successful Career

Photo Credited to: Marcus Eubanks

How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book as you are writing the story? 

The emotional impact of writing about your life was literally seen in every chapter for me. The aspect of going down memory lane to really understand how you felt while going through life changing events makes you pause and really appreciate the journey. Also, to remember that I was literally one decision away from living a totally different life makes you think. To know it wasn’t easy to keep a positive mindset is somewhat very emotional when you know your life could have turned out totally different. I often thought about all my family and friends praying for me in my career. An important thing that made me emotional while writing this book is to think about my mindset coming out of college. I didn’t know what I was going to choose as a career, but I knew I wanted to make a positive impact in the community.  

What was the highlight of writing this book?  

There were many highlights of writing this book, but I would say the aspect of showcasing my knowledge of real estate to the world was an amazing feeling. Also, to literally introduce the field of real estate appraising to the reader is an amazing feeling. Most people never hear the word appraiser until the mortgage lender tells the home buyer, they must get one before closing on their home. It’s amazing to share all the things I have learned over the past 20 years of being in real estate. Writing this book gave me an opportunity to go back down memory lane and really appreciate how motived I got at 24 years old.

Beyond the Closing: Marcus Hill's Guide to Real Estate Appraisal and Building a Successful Career

Photo Credited to: Marcus Eubanks

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?  

I want the reader to understand that you can find your passion young. I want to be the reader’s introduction to the real estate appraisal industry. Most people have no clue of what it is like to go through the training or what it’s like to become an appraiser. I also what the reader to understand that if you gain this skill set companies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac along with other asset drive corporations need people that know how to value properties. I want the reader to understand what it was like to be an appraiser in 2008 when the US economy was going through a downturn. Anyone that reads this book, I want them to see my drive to learn the entire field of real estate. I want to give back by sharing my story and things I learned along the way.

Is there any other information you would like to share with our readers?

I would like to encourage your readers to really learn real estate and all the moving parts because most will go into homeownership and some point and it’s good to know what the process looks like. I also want your readers to know that when you get a mortgage loan you will likely have to get a real estate appraisal and I hope this book will give you all the necessary tools and information to help you understand why the appraisal is needed when you close on a home. I also want the readers to know that the real estate appraisal career is recession proof and if you choose to make it a career you will be rewarded with a great career. Lastly, I want your readers to find your passion in your career. When you love what you do you live a better life.

How can people connect with you, find your books, etc.?  

You can find me on Instagram @askmarcushill, LinkedIn at Marcus Hill. You can find my book “Assessing My Value” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online bookstores.

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