But founder Ryan Hlubb, who started the full-service consulting firm in March, said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s tough to find people who want to tackle the tough problems and go outside the box,” Hlubb said. “There is no exact one way to do this. Every day you should be learning, progressing and continuing to challenge yourself.”
Hlubb grew up in the real estate business. As a teenager, he assisted his father in setting up databases, connecting to multiple listing services and tax record systems, taking comparable pictures and assembling reports.
Prior to the launch of Principle, he was a co-founder and principal at Hlubb and Goldstein Valuation Group LLC.
Hlubb worked in digital security and domain and website service before he entered the real estate industry.
“One of the biggest struggles is finding qualified help,” he said of the appraisal business. “It’s really a unique business. You are either born into it or you fall into it.”
The firm has 11 people on staff, including five in York. The others are split between offices in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
The company also serves clients in Delaware, Northern Virginia and West Virginia, and expects to expand.
“We’ll grow some, probably double our size,” Hlubb said.
It’s not uncommon for staff to be called in to value unique cases such as portfolios of rural communications towers, he said. Another partner specializes in conservation easements, which requires him to regularly testify in tax court.
Hlubb, who currently serves on the board of directors for the Appraisal Institute, said he’s also hoping to build more awareness and educational opportunities to grow the appraisal field.
“The conundrum is we’re always in a more regulatory environment. There is more oversight to what we do and really a disconnect with people coming into the business,” he said. “The days of the solo appraiser are numbered because of the cost of operating the business. We need to collaborate.”