Supervisor Spotlight – Kent Wang
Kent Wang received his independent appraiser’s license in 2018. After a couple of years working for someone else, Kent launched his own appraisal company. His partnership with Solidifi, which began in 2019, has been instrumental in his company’s growth. Kent is currently supervising two trainees, Jason Shao and Tarin Benhudjirias, and has big plans for the appraisal industry.
“My mentor was probably typical of most supervisors—really old school, using a lot of paper and clipboards. I saw this as an opportunity to disrupt the industry with software and hardware,” says Kent Wang, Owner of KW Appraisal and Appraisal Trainee Supervisor. A few years later, certified appraiser Kent Wang set about streamlining how things were done in the appraisal industry by leveraging technology. This led to Kent creating his own system. “I realized that I could maximize efficiency by utilizing project management software and Google platforms,” says Kent.
Wanting to bring digital processes to an analog industry was a big reason why Kent, despite only being in his 30s, decided to become an appraisal trainee supervisor. “I was transitioning my processes to digital on my own, until I took on Tarin and Jason as my trainees.” The trio quickly jelled with a united vision. “We’re all around the same age (early 30s), all with tech backgrounds, and we’re really motivated to bring the appraisal business into the modern age.”
Kent continues, “Before I brought Tarin and Jason on as trainees, we attended Valuation Expo in Las Vegas. We quickly realized that we were not like everyone else in appearances and also in our mindset. One of the first things I realized when jumping into this industry was that the demographic is much older. We saw this as an opportunity to break into the industry. When you get an inspection today, you typically see a 65-year old inspector and maybe an older appraiser trainee. Two of the most common things people say when we do an inspection are: “Wow, you are so young!” or “You are so fast.” We see it as an opportunity to disrupt the industry.”
Striking a balance
“Kent gave us the opportunity to do things differently,” says trainee Jason Shao, who has been a trainee with Kent Wang for about a year now. Being part of what Kent is creating with his company has trainee Tarin Benhudjiriras, who has been mentored by Kent since 2020, feeling very positive about the future. “With the efficiencies we have built over the past year and the significant volume in business we get from Solidifi, we are not even scratching the surface.”
One of the biggest things that has helped Kent Wang’s business gain efficiencies is cloud software. “I would hazard to guess that 90% of the appraisers out there don’t even know what cloud software is,” says Kent. “As a team we are able to maximize our efficiencies at every step – leveraging technology, a modernized approach, and more efficient processes to expand our output.”
While implementing technology has allowed Kent to streamline his operations, he also recognizes that the human element will continue to play an important role in the success of his business. “At the end of the day, conducting valuations is still very much a hands-on vocation,” says Kent. “There’s only so much you can automate.”
With the efficiencies we have built over the past year, we are not even scratching the surface of what we plan to do.Kent Wang – Owner of KW Appraisal and Supervisor
Partnering with Solidifi has been a natural fit
With Kent’s enthusiasm for technology, deciding to work with Solidifi and its platform was an easy decision. “One of the things I really like is the scorecard feature on the Solidifi portal. It motivates us. It’s exciting to chase our market share numbers. We were at the number two spot for a long time. Now we are number one. Giving us a benchmark to strive for, achieve and beat keeps us continually improving and advancing in how we can better serve our customers.”
Kent appreciates the people element that Solidifi offers as well, adding “Solidifi is one of the best to work with because it doesn’t feel like you are working with a machine. With other AMCs you are submitting through a portal and you’re just a number. That is not the case with Solidifi. With Solidifi, you’re actually forming a partnership with your Region Manager and the Solidifi team. You have support on the other end, and that is invaluable in our business.”
Experiencing the benefits of a gig economy
“Being an appraiser gives us the freedom and flexibility to not only own our own business, but also to choose how we run that business,” said Kent. He and his team value the flexibility and independence the valuations profession brings to younger generations. Kent continues, “We are expecting our first child, and I am able to make all of the medical appointments and be there for my wife during this exciting time for us – even while running my business. We all have to work, but we’re fortunate because our profession allows us to experience all of life’s moments as well. Being an appraiser is not a 9 to 5 job. We can schedule and plan our days to ensure we not only get the job done, but also manage to enjoy our work and our personal lives. This is so important for new entrants to know as the industry seeks to grow and attract fresh talent.”
Kent concludes, “Many potential supervisors do not want to take on trainees, but I see this as a way to bring in a fresh approach to a legacy business model, to grow our business and even to expand our footprint through the use of trainees.”