Most appraisal offices are small -
meaning that it’s typically just the appraiser or maybe an employee or two. When you have such a small office your returning clients (typically AMCs) and the clients that will refer you to others (the personal appraisals) will be looking for top notch customer
service. Of course they want an appraiser who will do the job the correct way and not miss things but it’s so much more than that.
you are not good at customer service you aren’t going to keep clients. And I know that customer service can cover a wide range of things that you have to do and remember but if you make it an every day practice it will start to become natural. A few easy steps
you can take are as follow:
Address people by name as much as possible
Use please and thank you
Follow up with people when needed
Show up on time to appointments
Turn in work on time
Make sure you are checking in with clients to make sure they don’t have questions
don’t know about you but I like feeling like I am welcome to ask questions, especially when it has something to do with a job that I don’t know much about and if we are honest not everyone can tell you what an appraiser does - nor should they have to. Being
a kind, prompt and open person will make life easier for you as the appraiser and it will make your clients want to work with you. It doesn’t take much to stand apart from others when you continuously work on your customer service.
You may not think of appraising as a scary job, especially here in little
ole Delaware. We are supposed to be quiet and peaceful. We work mostly in Sussex County and get a few jobs here and there in Kent County and it’s probably more likely that you will see Amish or farm animals or beach goers than people who seem scary. But we
also have to work jobs sometimes that aren’t always the easiest of situations and not everyone is excited to have people looking at their homes - it is supposed to be their safe space. So how do you feel about your appraisers protecting themselves?
as an assistant, am fairly new to the appraisal world but I can promise you that it didn’t take long for me to hear a story about another employee being out doing work and trying to get pictures and someone attacked the car that she and her husband were in.
I know that I myself have been out taking pictures alone and thankfully I was in a great neighborhood and everyone I encountered was incredibly friendly but that is luck.
don’t know that I fall one way or another on the side of having a gun on me or other workers in the appraisal world packing heat but it’s definitely something to think about. Even if it’s not a gun, when you are walking into a situation that is unknown and
you are probably alone you should have some type of plan in place for emergencies. Be safe everyone and let us know your thoughts!
Whether we want to waste less time, paper or money, having multiple monitors
will help in a number of ways. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand how it can help in the appraising business but nonetheless it may take a quick read and reminder of all of the benefits to get you to finally make that jump. And of course now
you should know the answer to the question is YES (here’s why)!!
You are absolutely wasting time by toggling back and forth on one screen. If you took the time to calculate
all the time you have spent trying to get the right screen and added it up for the year I bet you could have lent that time to something much more important
You are wasting time trying to get the correct information to and from different pages, not to mention that
you could be mistyping information. Obviously the last part is probably not on purpose but we are humans and we make mistakes and can easily forget things when we are transferring numbers and other information. This extends back into more time wasted when
you have to fix these mistakes
You will be more likely to have the best and most concise information at your fingertips if you can look over
multiple pages at once
You can save money on paper, ink and potentially much more by going paperless if you have multiple screens up
for yourself and your employees. When you can easily see everything at once you don’t have to print out much, if anything at all.
if you have one monitor I would highly recommend getting more! It’s not unheard of for people to even more than just two but start slow if you need to. We promise you will not be unhappy!
Bidding in the appraisal world will
be something that, for the foreseeable future, we will always be able to talk about and debate. It is something that you might not be 100% sure about and it can be tough to figure out the ballpark pricing that you want to use. You don’t want to go too low
and not be paid what the job was worth but you don’t want to go too high and lose out on the job - especially if things are slow.
So what do we do? We listen to our
gut. Obviously when times are slow and work is a bit more scarce we have to sometimes go on the lower end of things and when the market is moving and grooving we can increase our prices. But the question we always try to ask ourselves at our office is - how
are we going to feel if this price gets approved? Are we going to wish we had asked for more because the job is more difficult than normal? Or are we going to get excited about it because we are getting paid what we deserve.
Again, you have to be smart and use
that brain but your gut will typically lead you in the right direction. Your gut knows your worth and when you have been in the business as long as we have you come to know your area and the work it will take to complete things. Know the market, know what
you are worth and know how you want to spend your time. When you bring all those together you will typically end up happier with your work. And the best part? The more your listen to your gut the easier it gets!
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!