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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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!!).
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.
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.