Appraising in Delaware, the Blog...

There is not much worse than doing all of the prep work and driving to a home for an appraisal only for the borrower/owner to say they don’t want to move forward with the appraisal and the bank or AMC should have notified you. Things slip through the cracks from time to time for sure but in my time as an appraiser's employee I have seen it happen enough to know that you have to have a plan in place to figure out what to charge. 

It is totally unfair to yourself and your company to quote a number that is lower than the manpower you put in. Think of it this way, you can’t just go into a lawyers office and ask them to draw up a document for you and back out halfway and not pay. The lawyer will ask for payment for what they did at the VERY least - and that's if you are lucky. Sometimes they ask for a certain amount up front and you won’t get that back. 

Why are we different simply because we are in a different business. The prep work for an appraisal which can include pulling information on the home, entering it into your accounting, pulling comp information, doing data entry with information you were able to find, etc. can take up a good chunk of time. Add in the driving time that you may have saved - which will include gas and wear and tear on your car and if you aren’t charging for the work you put in you are losing out on money that is rightfully yours. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for what the work was worth. Appraisers work hard each and every day and it is truly a disservice to your business, yourself and any employees you may have to not be paid for the work done. 

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Posted by Patti Persia on July 22nd, 2021 11:19 AMLeave a Comment

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July 16th, 2021 11:48 AM

As someone who has worked in customer service her entire adulthood and who is now in the role of assistance/receptionist in an appraising office I have noticed that going the extra mile is always the best policy for clients. It doesn’t matter if it's an AMC, personal appraisal client or just someone you might be talking to in passing about your job. 

Making people smile will not only make their day better (and yours too) but it will leave a lasting impression. When someone is a pleasure to talk to and can make you feel noticed or remembered there is always a piece of you that wants to go a little bit above and beyond what you might typically do. 

So how do you do that? Is it worth the time and energy? Isn’t it awkward? Might it come off as insincere?  So many questions… But it can all be as easy and quick as a question or statement that will only take a few extra seconds. Here are some examples:

  • “I see you are in Chicago, I’ve always wanted to travel there to see the sites and eat some deep dish pizza”

  • “How’s the weather for you today?”

  • “I love your name”

  • “Happy Friday!” or “Hope you have a great weekend”

  • “You are always so helpful, it was great speaking with you again”

These can be used over the phone or via email and they are all just a little something extra to make sure people know that you notice them. Some days you may need to fake enthusiasm, we all have down days, but you just never know what kind of an impact the words or actions will have on the people we talk to. 

I can attest to the fact that most people do not take the extra time to say a kind word, I have been guilty of it in the past. We want to be as streamlined as possible, we don’t want to extend ourselves past what we are required to do, we are introverted - the list could go on and on. But on the receiving end, I always remember the people who take the extra time to make things a little more personal and a little less robotic.

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Posted by Patti Persia on July 16th, 2021 11:48 AMLeave a Comment

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Let’s say your house was on sale for $1, would you buy it? Absolutely but how often does that happen?! Now let's say you want to sell your home and you put it on sale at $10,000,000.00 would it sell? Maybe but probably not. 

When appraisers come out to inspect a home and give it a value a lot of people think that they can just magically make a number appear that works for one side or the other. They believe that because a buyer is willing to pay X the appraisal value should come out close to, if not right on whatever X is. 

The truth of the matter is that everyone has a different opinion of what that final X number should be. You could place 10 people in front of a home and ask them to give a price they would be willing to buy it for and you could easily have thousands of dollars difference between the highest and lowest bidder. The job of the appraiser is to come in, look at everything and hopefully come in at a price that would be somewhere in the middle of those 10 numbers. 

Even then though, it is not always that easy because the market is ever changing. Right now we are in a sellers market through and through so the typical selling range is higher than normal. At some point this will change and we will be in a buyers market and then at some point after that we will be somewhere right in the middle but it will never last. So when an appraiser is coming out they are looking for the market value, not just some made up number that looks good. Market value is defined as “…the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market”. 

So yes, it may be possible to buy the house you want for an incredibly low amount and you may even get lucky enough to sell a home for way above what it should be worth but it’s certainly not probable. And while it is nice to stay in the clouds of possibility for a little while appraising will always be the anchor that holds you to the probable.

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Posted by Patti Persia on July 9th, 2021 11:55 AMLeave a Comment

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I’m not sure that there is an answer specifically for that question. It’s all in what an appraiser  wants to get out of their business. Most of the time appraisers are their own boss, they make  the rules and so they can set certain criteria for when and how they want to work. They are the  rule makers for their minimum bid.  

Now these may be different for each appraiser but for my office we are looking at these things  while making a bid – no matter the type: 

- Scope of Work 

- Who’s the Client? 

- Are they easy to work with? 

- Do we get a lot of work from them? 

- What is our current demand? 

- How far away/Distance to subject? 

- Is there anything complex about the assignment (we tend to stay away from these but  there is certainly a price/time for such assignments) 

- Are they waterfront? 

Again, this is not the end all be all list for our office but it’s the beginning stages of how we  decide what we want to charge. You have to know your worth and don’t be afraid to ask for it.  On the flip side, don’t be afraid to go a little lower every now and then when the work is easy (you know you’ve had homes that were almost identical to a recent report you’ve done at least  once!!). 

Posted by Patti Persia on June 2nd, 2021 11:52 AMLeave a Comment

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May 10th, 2021 11:55 AM

We all own homes of some sort, right? And it’s easy to forget, as an appraiser, that as  homeowners even we get excited about upgrades to our homes that might not have an effect  on the price of our home. We’ve all had those borrowers who want to show us every new  gadget or upgrade they might have – from a new pool to something as small as a new fan.  

It’s true that those may not mean anything to us when we are wearing our appraiser hats but  think back to a fun upgrade you’ve made in your home. Was it new lighting? New paint?  Honestly it can be anything but whatever it was made you happy and gave your home  something new that could bring you joy.  

Our job is to be as even keel as possible when it comes to naming our final price for the home,  but it doesn’t hurt to enjoy the borrower’s happiness for their new upgrade. You might even  get an idea for your own home!  

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.

Posted by Patti Persia on April 26th, 2021 10:59 AMLeave a Comment

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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. 

Posted in:General and tagged: appraiser
Posted by Patti Persia on April 15th, 2021 9:33 AMLeave a Comment

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March 29th, 2021 11:49 AM

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.  

Posted by Patti Persia on March 29th, 2021 11:49 AMLeave a Comment

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March 22nd, 2021 11:52 AM
The answer to this question isn’t a clear cut yes or no when we think about the words as we know them. To understand what I mean let’s dive a little further into how these words are used.
Condominium is a legal term that shows ownership. A condo can very well be a townhome style home that is owned by the COA (condo owners association). What this means is that while a buyer may own the (town)home the COA owns the land on which the home is built.
Townhomes are a type of architecture and a type of land use. Townhomes are meant to be built on a very small amount of land and then go up instead of out to keep down on land tax costs.
So while they are two very different things (legal ownership vs architecture/land usage) they can be the same thing.

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Posted by Patti Persia on March 22nd, 2021 11:52 AMLeave a Comment

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March 10th, 2021 11:52 AM
It is no surprise that Covid-19 has changed a lot of how we live our lives. And while it has made some changes in the appraising world, we would be lying if we said in some ways it has made it easier.

Prior to covid we typically did our interviews in person. This meant that people were put on the spot and while we love to believe we recorded every single thing someone said we are human and we can all make mistakes. Now that we are into the nitty gritty of covid and we have been using our new interview technique (old fashioned email), we have found that it makes things easier for us. It allows our borrowers and clients the time to really think about each question and it allows us to quickly print it out or pull it up on our computer for reviews.

I know we have talked in the past about whether we need someone there for the appraisal and while it’s totally fine it is important to stay out of the way. The covid standard of 6 feet away and trying to not mingle with people outside of your home has also made things a little easier for us when doing interior inspections.

There have been downsides for all of us but overall I think it has helped us streamline what we do and make it easier and more effective in the long run.

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Posted by Patti Persia on March 10th, 2021 11:52 AMLeave a Comment

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