10 things appraisers can do to improve the appraisal industry

The appraisal industry is in a funk. There is a lack of national unity, but more than that there is a culture of isolation and negativity that seems to leach the industry of forward progress. I was reminded of this recently while reading an article by Jonathan Miller, so I thought it might be fitting to share some practical and actionable steps to improve the appraisal profession. I’m not pointing fingers or talking down to anyone, but rather hoping we as appraisers can get on the same page about some of the basics. This is coming from a guy who frequently collaborates with other appraisers, and serves as a board member for an appraisal organization in Sacramento. What do you think?

isolation in appraisal industry -image purchased by sacramento appraisal blog

10 things appraisers can do to improve the appraisal industry:

  1. Increase your skill set. Study the market. Become a local expert.
  2. Think of appraisers as peers or potential collaborators instead of the enemy.
  3. Learn to visually illustrate the market by graphing trends. This can help you be relevant, show support for market trends instead of using boiler plate lingo, and ultimately tell a more compelling story of value in reports.
  4. Stop working for clients who pay too little. Expand your skill set so you are more marketable to a better clientele, and then break up with your old clients. Marketing to new clients can feel scary for anyone, but if you don’t step out to do it, you’ll never get those clients. Remember, waiting for the phone to ring is not a marketing plan.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will never grow if you do not ask questions and reach out to other appraisers for help. Don’t be a lone ranger.
  6. Be friendly. Appraisers are not known for their warm people skills, but it’s still possible to be personable while remaining objective.
  7. Be professional. Incessant complaining about other real estate professionals is a bad look. Why would a real estate agent, attorney, or CPA want to work with you if you are a toxic person?
  8. Be humble since no appraiser gets value absolutely right 100% of the time.
  9. Be a mentor by answering questions to other appraisers (whether they are younger or older). Too many appraisers think they are right about everything, but at the end of the day being right doesn’t help anyone grow. Find ways to share your knowledge and build others up. Realize lots of appraisers need your help because they had poor training or were taught to “hit the number”. Many of these appraisers are isolated, so help draw them out.
  10. Join a local appraisal organization that meets together regularly. Isolation is hands-down one of the biggest threats in the appraisal community, so this is a necessary solution. Think about how you can improve the organization too. Or better yet, become a board member or volunteer.

The truth is we all have room to grow in life and business, and there is no such thing as a perfect appraiser either. There are surely some big things that need to happen to help steer the appraisal industry toward health and national unity, but if we begin to focus on some of the small steps above, it just might help put us on the right track.

If you have further thoughts, ideas, constructive feedback, or feel inspired about something, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Questions: Any thoughts or stories to share? What is #11?

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    • says

      Thanks Jeff. I appreciate it. Yes, many of these are absolutely transferable to other industries. Things like collective professional growth, collaboration with peers, and effective communication tend to go a long way.

  1. says

    Great thoughts Ryan. Thank you for sharing. The one thing you said that hit me is, “be humble”. I am guilty of being too confident sometimes. When you answer questions on this blog or in live interviews, I can always hear your humility. We appreciate all that you do to make the appraisal industry better.

    • says

      Thanks Gary. I think we’re all guilty of that sometimes, or not admitting when we are wrong or when we need help. There is always a line between confidence and arrogance, and we simply need to know where that line is, and then act accordingly. Keep up the great work on your blog.

  2. says

    I’m going to sound like a broken record — IMHO, the #1 is: not only consider this a profession not an industry — but start ACTING like we believe it.

    Everything else gets bumped down one notch.

  3. says

    Great list Ryan. I agree we need to improve our professionalism. I always compare our profession and the services we provide to accountants. I have never seen accountants act unprofessional and the way their industry carries itself is good too. If we want higher fees we should act professional and provide a needed service whether that be with banks and mortgage appraisals or accountants and attorneys for estate and litigation work.

  4. Matthew Biggers says

    Great list. #10 is spot on. Our (a la mode’s) Community Partnerships Program provides financial and logistical support and advocacy for appraisers organizations, and the tools and support are unmatched.

    We’re looking forward to continuing to support REAA and all its chapters as a Community Partner in that capacity!

    Matthew Biggers
    Director of Community Partnerships
    a la mode, inc.

  5. says

    Excellent post Ryan. I do my best to preach these values to my fellow appraisers. The only way to elevate a profession is to elevate the professionals in it. As individuals, we may not be able to change the industry on our own, but we can at least present the industry with one improved individual and set a positive example (as you have here).

    Jason Fischman, ASA, IFA, AGA, RAA, HMS
    Chief Valuation Officer
    Appraisal Evaluations, Inc.

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