Appraising in Delaware, the Blog...

December 16th, 2021 11:29 AM

As appraisers we are constantly unsure of what we might walk into when inspecting a home. We all have our own stories and lives to live and work through. We may be walking into the home of a deceased person while their children or spouse are trying to work through what they left behind. Or maybe you are walking into the home of someone who hoards things. And while those are few and far between it happens, you just never know. 

You aren’t there to judge the circumstances they may be dealing with - you are there to make an assessment of the home as a structure and be “cold and calculated” in your inspection. That does not mean you must be cold and calculated to the person sharing their home with you though. 

All it takes is 30 seconds and a few kind words and you can certainly still do your job and give them peace of mind and maybe even take away some of the heaviness they are trying so hard to handle. Kindness is easily the quickest way to brighten someones day.

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Posted by Patti Persia on December 16th, 2021 11:29 AMLeave a Comment

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December 2nd, 2021 11:34 AM

One word, two letters and it can be a complete sentence in a conversation. It’s powerful for such a small thing, right? I mean, let’s be honest, there aren’t many - if any, words out there that can pack that much heat and literally only take 2 letters to do it. But I’m not a Etymologist or linguistics instructor so that's not exactly what we are here to talk about. What I want to dive into is how “No” can be a good thing and how letting people say no can get us exactly what we want. 

We start when we are young, it’s one of the first things toddlers learn to say and use (very) regularly in speech - No. Our old, (not so) deeply hidden lizard brain loves to be in control, even as youngsters. And to be honest it does not go away over time. In control is a nice place to be. 

There is a book written by Chris Voss, who was a lead hostage negotiator for the FBI, and it talks about how phrasing for someone to say no but in reality say yes can change the outcome for the person asking the question. One of the examples that comes to mind is if we are running early for our appraisals we could call and say “Can I come early to the client” - the only way to answer that is with a “yes” if that's what we are hoping for and it feels a lot less powerful and in control than if we ask “would it be a problem if we came by early?”. This is where they can get that power of the no but they really mean yes. 

It’s not an exact science but I do believe that there is a lot to be said about how we say things, both in the tone that is used but especially in the words. 

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Posted by Patti Persia on December 2nd, 2021 11:34 AMLeave a Comment

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Communication is key in our daily lives, it helps us move forward, get things done and conquer each day. Without communication we would be constantly running into our friends or families plans, misunderstanding them and generally having a difficult time. 

We see it all the time in the appraisal world, even when we have good communication the clients want to know everything. They want to know when appointments are scheduled, when the inspection is done, when you think you will be getting the report back among a number of other things. And the emails ping in daily asking you about all of these things can get overwhelming, especially if you are working without an assistant. 

Shouldn’t they trust you to get the work done when you promised? Isn’t it annoying that they are constantly breathing down your neck? Sure! It would be a big fat lie if I said no. But the saying “one bad apple ruins the bunch” is true. We may be doing all we can to get our work submitted in a timely manner and we may be updating as much as possible but even still the emails come in because at some point someone cut corners and now we must all be reminded. 

So while it can be difficult and sometimes angering to get an update email for the 4th or 5th time just grin and bear it. Communicate as openly as possible and keep doing the hard work you know you can do. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask for more from the clients who tend to make working for them a little more difficult. Ask for an extra $50 or $100 when you know that your time will be taken up by questions and revisions and emails that might not actually be needed. Your time is precious, get what you deserve. 

Posted by Patti Persia on November 23rd, 2021 9:12 AMLeave a Comment

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November 15th, 2021 9:43 AM

In the appraising world these 3 words come up often to say the least. We sometimes tend to use them interchangeably - more often than not because in the non appraising world they can be to an extent. It’s easy to get caught up in that cycle but when the lines need to be clear at work here is how they break down. 

Price (noun): the amount of money expected, required, or given in payment for something. This is what the seller is asking for when selling a good or service - in our case the home that we are appraising.  Let’s say we have a motorhome we want to sell and we want to ask $30,000 for it. That does not mean it’s worth it and it does not mean that is what we will get but that’s what we would like to ideally sell it for. 

Cost (noun): an amount that has to be paid or spent to buy or obtain something. This is what the buyer is looking for/willing to pay for a good or service. Imagine you are out in the city on a hot day and you are thirsty and all you can think about is water. Then you come up on someone selling ice cold water out of a cooler for $2.00 a bottle. What is that water worth to you? Probably much more than the $2.00 at that point but either way you buy it just to cool down. 

Value (verb): estimate the monetary worth of (something). This is what the buyer and seller are willing to agree on as a fair price for the good or service. We make choices daily based on what we think the value of things are. Think about the bargain shoppers out there who will visit two, three maybe even four stores to get their grocery shopping done for the best deals. Or the people who will drive an extra mile or two to get gas cheaper. We choose what we buy and where we buy it based on the value we place on these things. 

Just like most things in the world these days this is not all just cut and dry but will hopefully help you keep things a little more clear in your mind when doing appraisals.

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Posted by Patti Persia on November 15th, 2021 9:43 AMLeave a Comment

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November 1st, 2021 10:12 AM

When the borrower sticks around for the appraisal they can sometimes have questions or you may have information for them that could help in the long run, especially for repairs that may need to happen. Each and every appraiser has their own way of handling this situation and it really just depends on what makes you more comfortable. 

I think the easiest way to make a decision if you are on the fence is knowing your audience (borrower). Do they seem laid back and easy? Do they seem like they may get annoyed? If it’s the first one then by all means go for it! But if they seem like they could easily get angry it may be better for the lender to be the messenger of the news. 

The one pro that we can easily see from being able to tell the borrower what may need to be repaired is that we can give them exactly what we will need to see. This means we can save ourselves a trip or two in the end because they won’t have a ton of questions and things won’t be overlooked as easily. 

This is definitely one of those questions where there is not a right or wrong answer, it’s more about how you feel about the borrower and how they will react. 

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Posted by Patti Persia on November 1st, 2021 10:12 AMLeave a Comment

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October 19th, 2021 10:56 AM

Most appraisal offices are small - meaning that it’s typically just the appraiser or maybe an employee or two. When you have such a small office your returning clients (typically AMCs) and the clients that will refer you to others (the personal appraisals) will be looking for top notch customer service. Of course they want an appraiser who will do the job the correct way and not miss things but it’s so much more than that. 

If you are not good at customer service you aren’t going to keep clients. And I know that customer service can cover a wide range of things that you have to do and remember but if you make it an every day practice it will start to become natural. A few easy steps you can take are as follow:

  •  Address people by name as much as possible

  • Use please and thank you 

  • Follow up with people when needed

  • Show up on time to appointments

  • Turn in work on time

  • Make sure you are checking in with clients to make sure they don’t have questions

I don’t know about you but I like feeling like I am welcome to ask questions, especially when it has something to do with a job that I don’t know much about and if we are honest not everyone can tell you what an appraiser does - nor should they have to. Being a kind, prompt and open person will make life easier for you as the appraiser and it will make your clients want to work with you. It doesn’t take much to stand apart from others when you continuously work on your customer service.

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Posted by Patti Persia on October 19th, 2021 10:56 AMLeave a Comment

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September 7th, 2021 1:09 PM
Please review the blog below for a bit of insight into how getting comps can potentially go incredibly wrong.

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Posted by Patti Persia on September 7th, 2021 1:09 PMLeave a Comment

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August 25th, 2021 11:51 AM

You may not think of appraising as a scary job, especially here in little ole Delaware. We are supposed to be quiet and peaceful. We work mostly in Sussex County and get a few jobs here and there in Kent County and it’s probably more likely that you will see Amish or farm animals or beach goers than people who seem scary. But we also have to work jobs sometimes that aren’t always the easiest of situations and not everyone is excited to have people looking at their homes - it is supposed to be their safe space. So how do you feel about your appraisers protecting themselves? 

I, as an assistant, am fairly new to the appraisal world but I can promise you that it didn’t take long for me to hear a story about another employee being out doing work and trying to get pictures and someone attacked the car that she and her husband were in. I know that I myself have been out taking pictures alone and thankfully I was in a great neighborhood and everyone I encountered was incredibly friendly but that is luck. 

I don’t know that I fall one way or another on the side of having a gun on me or other workers in the appraisal world packing heat but it’s definitely something to think about. Even if it’s not a gun, when you are walking into a situation that is unknown and you are probably alone you should have some type of plan in place for emergencies. Be safe everyone and let us know your thoughts! 

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Posted by Patti Persia on August 25th, 2021 11:51 AMLeave a Comment

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August 19th, 2021 11:41 AM

Whether we want to waste less time, paper or money, having multiple monitors will help in a number of ways. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how it can help in the appraising business but nonetheless it may take a quick read and reminder of all of the benefits to get you to finally make that jump. And of course now you should know the answer to the question is YES (here’s why)!! 

  • You are absolutely wasting time by toggling back and forth on one screen. If you took the time to calculate all the time you have spent trying to get the right screen and added it up for the year I bet you could have lent that time to something much more important

  • You are wasting time trying to get the correct information to and from different pages, not to mention that you could be mistyping information. Obviously the last part is probably not on purpose but we are humans and we make mistakes and can easily forget things when we are transferring numbers and other information. This extends back into more time wasted when you have to fix these mistakes

  • You will be more likely to have the best and most concise information at your fingertips if you can look over multiple pages at once 

  • You can save money on paper, ink and potentially much more by going paperless if you have multiple screens up for yourself and your employees. When you can easily see everything at once you don’t have to print out much, if anything at all. 

So if you have one monitor I would highly recommend getting more! It’s not unheard of for people to even more than just two but start slow if you need to. We promise you will not be unhappy! 

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Posted by Patti Persia on August 19th, 2021 11:41 AMLeave a Comment

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August 12th, 2021 11:44 AM

Bidding in the appraisal world will be something that, for the foreseeable future, we will always be able to talk about and debate. It is something that you might not be 100% sure about and it can be tough to figure out the ballpark pricing that you want to use. You don’t want to go too low and not be paid what the job was worth but you don’t want to go too high and lose out on the job - especially if things are slow.

So what do we do? We listen to our gut. Obviously when times are slow and work is a bit more scarce we have to sometimes go on the lower end of things and when the market is moving and grooving we can increase our prices. But the question we always try to ask ourselves at our office is - how are we going to feel if this price gets approved? Are we going to wish we had asked for more because the job is more difficult than normal? Or are we going to get excited about it because we are getting paid what we deserve. 

Again, you have to be smart and use that brain but your gut will typically lead you in the right direction. Your gut knows your worth and when you have been in the business as long as we have you come to know your area and the work it will take to complete things. Know the market, know what you are worth and know how you want to spend your time. When you bring all those together you will typically end up happier with your work. And the best part? The more your listen to your gut the easier it gets! 

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Posted by Patti Persia on August 12th, 2021 11:44 AMLeave a Comment

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