here is no doubt that the things that we consume/buy such as gas, food,
homes, etc fluctuate constantly. What are the driving forces behind them? How does it all connect with appraising?
all about math and calculations. Every single thing that we purchase has a price that is set by supply and demand, quality, cost to make among other things. And each company has to calculate this information alongside what their hard/soft costs for the company
to determine their pricing. This plays exactly into what we need to do as appraisers so that we can afford the costs of the job and still bring back money for our families.
are hard and soft costs? Hard costs are the things that are always there and never really change (they follow the typical increases but you can plan these out). Think about your office rental, payroll, MLS/AMC Fees and other bills. The soft costs are harder
to plan for, they are your gas (to and from the inspection sites), taxes, paper and ink fees, etc. It’s easiest if you go back and look over 3-4 months of costs to get an idea of what your costs are. It can be in depth and take some time but it is honestly
worth it, especially if you are new to the business.
also smart to think about the competition. You don’t want to be the lowest quote but you typically don’t want to be the highest either. Most people will look for someone in the middle because the saying “you get what you pay for” is so true! You just don’t
want to outbid yourself.
you add these together you can begin to piece together, which won’t happen overnight, a pricing for your appraisals that will get things paid and also allow you to bring home a check. Obviously, over time you will be able to have more wiggle room in your pricing
because you will have the time and work to show that you know your stuff! You may be surprised how much a $10 - $25 increase can help you out in the long run and when you have proven your worth your customers will be willing to pay the money.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Appraising is a business that includes busy times as well as slower times and it’s always a good idea to have a back up list of “to do’s” for the
times when there is a lull in the work coming in. Especially when you have employees working underneath you that are there to help out. You are paying them, usually hourly, and you want to get something out of that.
list doesn’t have to be incredibly specific but should give an outline of the most important things to work on and then it can trickle down to the less important stuff that usually won’t get touched by most, if any of your employees, because every slow down
picks back up.
Here are a few things we do around the office when things slow down for
Checking the accounting and following up on any overdue payments
Updating E&O, coverage, upcoming vacation times and other information with AMC’s
Update email templates
Update social media
Delete/Organize files that are no longer used
Clean office area and desks
Check in with other blogs to see what peers are saying
Anything that can help things move smoother when the appraisals start rolling in and allow your employees to be an asset to the company are always
worth adding to the list. What are some of your back up list items?
Working with AMCs is not something you can easily get past in the appraisal world these days. Here are a few tips to help you get more requests,
better pay and a higher rating with the AMCs that you are using.
1. Update them Frequently
routine in your updates, say for appointments or completing inspections, so that they are always in the know. You can choose to do them at a specific time each day or you can find someone to help you with these (perfect reason to hire an assistant!). Keeping
your AMCs up to date will make their lives easier and will help you build a good relationship with them
2. Be Ready to Say Yes
ready to take on any report they might send your way if at all possible.
3. Keep You Work Manageable (Know Your Limits)
say yes to more than what you can do in a timely manner and don’t make your coverage area too wide. If you take on more than you think you can do you will run yourself thin and your turn times and work will struggle. And, it is much better to have a small
area that you cover and can become well versed in rather than a larger work area and you know little about the areas. Also, when you are covering a larger amount of space your appointments will inevitably end up being further and further away from each other,
taking time away from you completing the reports.
4. Respond Quickly and Completely to Revision Requests
will be given out on how many revisions you get and how quickly they are fixed. AMCs do not want to have to continually resend requests for updates. Most of all, be polite and professional when responding. They will thank you for this.
5. Keep Your Profile Up to Date
when your insurance/E&O and license update and make sure you let the AMCs know when they change. Also, let them know when you are coming up on breaks/vacations where you will not be available to take on new work. Depending on how many AMCs you work with this
can be timely so if you have an assistant have them do the work for you!
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.