Why Appraisal Gear?
A personal story: Going through the appraiser trainee experience (apprenticeship if you will), I had the experience of working with a few different supervisors. All had different processes that varied from one to the other. Seeing different styles was a learning experience and developing your own style and process that works for you is a good goal to have when developing an efficient process when becoming a real estate appraiser.
As a trainee, one of the main goals is to learn the appraisal inspection process. Inevitably you will be learning a process from a supervisor or mentor. Through the learning process, you will eventually find your own “flow”. That flow may or may not be aligned with your supervisors. Some of the wisdom you gain invariably will be from your supervisor, but with enough time you will often see ways to create a more conducive workflow than what’s been laid out for you. After all, someone else’s workflow is just that – a workflow designed for someone else. It’s human nature to tweak or make accommodations to something so that it works better for us.
With that being said, it is important to find an efficient workflow that is optimized for you. Listening to appraiser podcasts and being immersed in appraiser content, I personally have found a path that works for me in being the most efficient yet thorough appraiser I can be at this time. I intentionally state “at this time” because within time, it’s likely we all gain skills and become more efficient by refining our processes again and again. This website is not intended to be an official guide for the real estate appraisal inspection process but a guide for the fellow appraisers and / or aspiring appraisers to learn from. The idea is to share what we know and take bits and pieces so that you can create or mold a more efficient process that works for you.
What Type of Inspection Persona Do You Have?
This may sound like an odd question but essentially an appraiser’s persona can be broken into a few different categories. These are not necessarily mutually exclusive categories nor is this saying one persona is better than another but simply that one may be more fitting for the job than another.
There are a few categories for appraisers
- The Professional
- The Inspector
- The Casual
Example 1: The client is requesting an appraisal to be completed on a property which is in the higher end of the value range for properties within a neighborhood that is well above the median values for the area. Here we can summon “The Professional”.
Example 2: A VA or FHA appraisal is requested. Later in the day, an asset valuation is requested for a property going through foreclosure. This is a job for “The Inspector”.
Example 3: A driveby order is requested for a property. After the inspection, there is time to complete bifurcated appraisals. “The Casual” can handle the job.
With appraising, as most professions, we should be wearing the appropriate hat at the appropriate time. One of the reasons appraising is unique is that it provides remote employment. Whether you are an aspiring appraiser or already one that works from home or for a larger outfit, a huge perk is the freedom to work from home.
Now there may be a few appraisers who dress up for their days typing at home but for the typical drive-by or desktop appraisal, nothing is better than having the option to start work in your robe. There are definitely good arguments to be made as to the self-psychology we employ subconsciously when we are dressed in this manner. There is data to suggest that not properly preparing for the day can lower production but nevertheless, the option to dress down is always a perk especially in the typical 9 to 5 – such luxury is a rare find.
The Professional Persona is the persona we use to exude confidence. It’s coupled with a white glove treatment we give the lender, realtor or the homeowner to let them know we were chosen for the job and that they are in good hands. It’s important to remember that first impressions are everything and it’s especially important to remember that you are not just representing yourself and / or your company, but you are in ways representing all appraisers when you arrive at a job.
When we picture plumbers, what comes to mind? How about a criminal defense attorney? What do we picture? How about Appraisers? Can you imagine hiring a defense attorney that shows up in court with a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts? What should appraisers look like?
The Professional Persona is the persona that should always be worn when interacting with other parties. It lets others know that appraisers can be relied upon. It’s having the right attitude and being paired with the proper attire for the job.
While the product of our work (the appraisal) essentially is the measure for what we do, it’s still incredibly important to not minimize our attire and first impressions. Personifying professionalism throughout inspection (and every interaction after for that matter) is key.
What is “Professional Attire”? Is it OK to go to a borrowers house in t-shirt and jeans? Clearly there is no set rule but why not dress to impress?
Professionalism does carry to the last category – “The Inspector”. The main difference here is simply two things: tools and attire. The tools and attire and how they are arranged on oneself is the differentiation. The professional may appear more white-collar dressed where as the inspector tends to provide a more industrious look. How is this done? Appraisers who do a solid volume of FHA, REO or VA work may find that there may be additional tools needed to complete the complete scope of inspection. Some of these tools may be a flashlight, ladder or camera. It’s not exactly easy to pull off a graceful look while in a blazer and button-up shirt fumbling around for a ladder, flashlight and a measuring device.
The tools on this website are intended for the aspiring and existing appraiser. From the casual to the professional appraiser, the goal is to find tips to create your own persona that lends to completing the job in both a productive and professional manner.
What tools do real estate appraisers need?
Appraisergear.com provides recommended tips and tools for real estate appraisers. Will you need each tool? The site isn’t necessarily a manifest of every tool an appraiser should carry however it is a compilation of recommendations and options as to what will provide ease in the field. Completing fieldwork can be done with just pencil, paper and a tape measure, but are there tools that allow for better efficiency and maximize your value?