Think about a time you went to a well frequented restaurant or bar and you had the best service, what did you do? Probably told a few friends about it and made sure to go back. You may have even asked for the same person to serve you. Now think about a time when you had really rotten service, your waiter or waitress was rude, they forgot things, your order was wrong and overall your experience left you wanting a whole lot more. What did you do then? You more than likely told everyone you knew, you wrote reviews and asked for the manager and swore you would never go back.
We are no different in our appraisal world, especially is we are working with private/personal appraisals. In our office we do estates, divorces, potential listing prices and a lot more and while it is always important to make a good impression while working those personal appraisals are 100% the most important when it comes to good customer service. They are your repeat customers and they are the ones who will talk about you to friends and neighbors if they ever need an appraiser.
Yes, we won’t always get it right and we cannot make everyone happy but when you do the work comes to you. And if it’s possible, if there is a bad taste left for a client going the extra mile in talking to them and explaining how you got to your final number can go a long way. It’s all about taking time and being up front about information.
As I’m sure most appraisers have read throughout a multitude of appraising blogs, and we know in the back of our minds – we are solitary creatures most of the time. We enjoy being busy, staying in control and outside of the actual inspection we like to keep our contact with other people to a minimum – at least face to face. It’s our thing you could say.
This means that on way too many occasions we are running ourselves ragged and end up turning down work that could be making us more money, improving relationships with AMC’s and allowing us to do more personal appraisals for word-of-mouth advertisement.
Of course, there are things that come with having employees like vacation time, teaching them the ropes, insurance, figuring out how you want to be as a boss – the list is endless. But if you think about the amount of time even just one employee could save you the benefits are endless.
Just picture all of the things you could be handing over to someone else. Answering phones, setting up appointments, handling the data input, following up with clients – it’s another endless list of small things that add up big time.
If you are on the verge of deciding whether or not having staff under you is right, this is your sign. It doesn’t have to start off big, just one person for even just a few hours a day could be more than enough to take some of the weight off of your shoulders. Allow you time to breathe and really dig in further to the parts of appraising that you love.
The life of an appraiser is almost always buzzing in one way or another. When your job revolves around homes and what’s considered new or intriguing you are always on the lookout for the things that catch your eye. Not to mention an outing to the grocery store can double as a time to stake out comps or get a feel for a neighborhood you might be doing an appraisal for.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in go, go, go but at some point, you need to take a break. It’s important to find something you enjoy and give your mind and body some time to just relax, especially in this market. At least in our area, we are getting so many requests that we are struggling to find a place to put them.
So, if nothing else just schedule an hour of “you” time. Take off your appraiser hat and enjoy your family, friends, or even a night out on the town so that you can come back the next day ready to push forward.
Could you buy a house for $800? In the 1920s you could, just call Sears for a free catalogue. Do you know any Sears homes?
The quick and easy answer is yes they can. I know it may be difficult news to swallow because typically being an appraiser gives you a lot of wiggle room on everything from schedule to fees and even dress codes. It’s a good job to be in if you like to make your own decisions.
Now this will vary from AMC to AMC and will be a much bigger issue in cities or towns with higher profile people. On average, our appraiser here in Delaware can do as she pleases with her dress code, especially during covid because a lot of the homes are empty or she has been doing a lot of drive by appraisals. We also don’t have a ton of celebrities or billionaires who may require a more professional look here in Delaware, although we do our best to be professional no matter the client.
The one good thing is that as business owners and the one in control of the appraisals, we can say no if we feel the AMC’s are asking too much. Yes, we may be losing a client or appraisal fee or an AMC depending on how strict the ask is (are they going to ask this every time or was it a one time deal). But there are a ton of AMC’s, local banks and even personal appraisals that will come along.
So do what feels right to you as the appraiser. If the AMC is asking for a suit and tie and it’s because it’s a high profile individual that will typically mean more work for you in the long run - not just the comfort of choosing your clothes so if you think you deserve more in compensation ask. If you don’t want to do it, just say no.
While this answer might surprise you it’s not a simple yes - it’s more of an "if you are lucky". Pools are great, we all have a moment in the heart of summer when we really wish we could walk out our back door and jump directly into a pool. The heat gets to us and we would give anything for a pool. BUT - you have to take time to think about the whole picture and not just that sparkling cool water you want to jump into.
If you have the right situation you can make upwards of 7% more with a pool included in your home. Here are some of the ways the pool could actually make your home more valuable.
You live in a neighborhood that is higher end and most homes also have swimming pools
The style of the pool fits with your home and neighborhood
The pool does not take up your whole yard, leaving room for other things such as swing sets or room for other activities.
The pool has been kept up nicely and looks new
You live in a climate where it can be used year round (looking at your florida, Hawaii and even places like Arizona and California to name a few)
It’s been customized to also be an enclosed pool (just to piggyback off of the last one reason)
You have buyers who want a pool
Outside of what it will add to the home, you have to think of the money you will spend to get the pool there and then what the upkeep is. For the pool to be installed you could be looking at anything from $25,000 - $35,000+ for the install. Then you have monthly expenses such as chemicals (which could range up to $100+) a month and seasonal expenses such as opening and shutting the pool. If you have someone coming out to open and close the pool it can cost $500+ each visit.
Overall the cost of the pool probably won’t be paid back in a monetary way, especially if you add up the monthly and seasonal costs and add it all in. The important thing to think of though, is that it adds value to your life and family if it is something you truly want. So if it’s important to you and you believe it adds depth to your life and the memories you can make in the home we say - DO IT!!
The hope when selling a home, at least most of the time, is that you come out making money instead of losing money. Knowing the numbers and having information about the cost of selling a home can help you make more at the end of the deal. Mostly, it’s about being prepared for the costs. The average cost of selling a home is about 15% of the total sale of the home. This means that if you sell your home for $200,000 you will be paying right around $30,000 for the sale.
Typically the largest percentage is going to go to your realtor. It is typically about 6% of the sale price. Your realtor will not only bring the smarts to the selling table, but they also help you figure out the best plan to sell your home. Their entire job revolves around figuring out the best ways to stage the home, how to market the home and the best way to get your home sold as quickly as possible.
Home improvements or repairs can be expensive as well. On average 70%+ sellers will do some type of repair on the home before selling and 3 repairs is the norm for sellers. These repairs can be anything from landscaping to updating a kitchen or even replacing the carpets. You can try to keep up with these repairs over the years if your home is older and if you are selling a relatively new home you may get lucky and not need to do any repairs.
Home inspections are incredibly important for both the seller and the buyer. Home inspections take a look at HVAC, plumbing, electrical systems as well as the roof and foundation. Having an inspection allows the seller to make sure they aren’t buying a home that will suck more money out of their pockets and it helps keep the selling timeline on track for the sellers. It’s a safety net for both sides.
Home staging is one way to make the home look more welcoming to an array of people instead of a home that is currently being lived in. It can be difficult for people to see their family moving in when a home is cluttered with another families' things. This may be covered in part or fully by your realtor if it is part of their marketing services.
According to a study done by Realtor.com a seller will cover 1-3% of the closing costs on the home. Closing costs typically include taxes, an attorney, title transfer and insurance companies. Sellers will agree to pay part of these costs in order to “sweeten the deal” for the buyers.
There are two things that a lot of people tend to forget and those are moving out and your remaining mortgage. Moving can be more or less expensive depending on how much work you want to do. If you do it on your own with a few friends it will cost you a rental truck and a few pizzas and drinks or you can allow others to do it and you can hire a moving company. Your remaining mortgage amount will be paid by whatever you make on the home. You are left with whatever hasn’t gone to the things listed above.
If you are in a spot where you will not be able to make more than what is left on the mortgage you do not want to sell unless it is absolutely necessary. You can wait it out and use the time while the market isn’t great and do small upgrades on the home to make it an easier sell when things turn around.