McKissock Review – Appraisal Renewal Membership
In this review, we will take a look at McKissock’s Unlimited Learning Membership Premium (ULMP) program, and evaluate its pros and cons to see if you should use it to meet your continuing education requirements.
What is it?
The ULMP program is a 2 year program that gives you unlimited access to all of their continuing education courses during your membership term.
There are other “goodies” such as Pro-Series webinars, short video tutorials on specialized topics, additional state certificates, content library, appraisal community forum, and partner discounts.
How much does it cost?
There is an annual payment option of $399 per year, but keep in mind, that you will have to pay another $399 the following year, since there is a 2 year commitment.
There is also an option that allows you to pre-pay for both years upfront for $774.99. This will save you about $25 compared to the annual payment option.
Something worth noting is that both options will auto-renew your membership. If you plan on continuing the membership, then this is not an issue. However, if you only plan on using it for a single term, you may want to mark down your calendar.
What's the cancellation policy?
They do allow you to cancel at any time. However, you will have to pay the regular retail price for any course that you have completed, so they will deduct this from any refund that you get. Also, it probably goes without saying that your account will be closed and you will lose your progress on any unfinished courses.
What I like about it
Price: If you time it right, this program will save you hundreds of dollars on continuing education by spreading the 2-year ULMP term over multiple license cycles.
If you’re in California, you can get up to 98 hours of CE with this program to fulfill your CE requirements if you sign up in the 4th year of your license cycle. For other states that require 28 hours of CE on a 2-year cycle, you can fit up to 56 hours of CE if you sign up during the 2nd year of your license cycle.
The Courses: I don’t know of any other education provider that has a bigger selection of appraisal courses. You are bound to find one that actually covers an interesting topic. You also get access to all 3 formats: online, live webinar, and live classroom.
I personally prefer to take the live webinars because you don’t have to take any quizzes. You just sit there and watch them from your home or office. They email you your certificate when the webinar ends. Also, they have new webinars and topics every week, making it convenient to find a time that works with your schedule.
The live classroom courses are nice if you want to mingle with other appraisers. There are no quizzes in those courses either. However, there is limited availability and course offerings, so it really depends on your location and if you can make the commute.
The CE Tracker: This feature will count up and track the hours of continuing education that you’ve completed for you, so you don’t have to do the math. It also tracks any mandatory courses like the National USPAP Update course and state-specific requirements. They also give you some additional license renewal information if you need a refresher on your state’s requirements.
If you’re licensed in multiple states, you will LOVE this feature, because you can easily check your CE progress for each state by simply clicking on the state under the “License Type” drop-down list.
What I don't like about it
The interface: Navigating around in there is not terribly bad, but there’s definitely room for improvement. If you want to take another course, you have to get re-directed back out to the main website, and then you have to add that course to the shopping cart to complete the “check out” process. It would be much easier if you could just add courses from right inside of your account. Also, I’d want the CE Tracker to be clearly visible at all times on the portal (since that’s the #1 reason why appraisers are using this). That way, I know how many hours I have left remaining, instead of having to click through another tab to see it.
Other features don’t add much value. The Community is a section that was intended to be a discussion forum for appraisers to ask questions and interact with each other. The activity in there is pretty much non-existent. You have better luck joining a Facebook group. The selection of partner discounts is also very limited. I don’t think most appraisers would benefit from using any of the services listed in there.
Can’t turn off auto-renew: There is no way to disable or turn-off the auto- payment renewal for your account online. This means that if you want to cancel after your second year is up, you have to call their customer service to make the request. Also, if you are on the annual payment option, you have to wait until the second payment is made in the 2nd year before they will do it.
Is it worth it to sign up for the ULMP program? Absolutely. In fact, in my honest opinion, this is a no-brainer for any real estate appraiser to become a member.
Since it’s on a 2-year term, it covers multiple renewal cycles, which saves you the most money compared to any other appraisal school in the long run. You get access to any format that suits your personal taste: live webinars, live classroom, and online courses. You get access to the largest selection of appraisal topics offered by any single education provider. You get certificates for any states that you are licensed in. The main drawbacks of the membership are pretty minor and aren’t really important for most appraisers anyway. However, this program won’t be for you if you only want to take live courses and they aren’t offering any in your area. Or, you need to take certain courses that will give you credit for your Appraisal Institute designations. At the end of the day, this provides a lot of value for real estate appraisers on multiple levels.
I haven’t seen anything out there that comes close to what this program has to offer. If you disagree or found an even better program, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.