Why I Fly

As I write, I am approximately 30,000 feet above the ground. My legs are cramped, the cabin is stuffy, the turbulence is only bearable, and the guy next to me does not smell too good (I really hope he does not see that). When I left this morning, my wife was supportive, but obviously a bit put out that I was leaving again. I was in Vegas three weeks ago and am on my way back again. Sounds like a great vacation, right?

With all of these hassles, why is it I continue to do this? The fact is, there is not just one reason. Seminars, conferences and continuing education are almost becoming an addiction for me. Here are the reasons and why I think you should get addicted too.


Obviously, the self-described purpose of continuing-ed is the knowledge gained. However for me, it is much more than what is gained through the advertised topic. Most of the education I get about appraisals, the industry, or other appraisers is gained in the hallways and dining tables between classes. Much knowledge can also be gained in the classroom itself, but for me it happens best when the conversation drifts away from the prepared PowerPoint. I have been known to be the shmuck who controls the rudder on many of those drifting trips.


This one is a no-brainer, but I continue to be surprised how few take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I have empathy. Let’s face it, appraisers spend 8-10 hours of a typical day either driving, inspecting, or staring at a computer screens. By nature, we are hermits. However, conferences are no place to stay in our shell. Some of my biggest business opportunities have appeared after I decided to smile and say, “Hey, you as bored as I am?”


Let’s face it, appraisers are appraisers….right? Wrong. Appraisers are no more ‘just appraisers’ than doctors are ‘just doctors.’ When you have a foot problem, you go to a podiatrist. When you have a manufactured home on 12 acres with an indoor arena problem, you go to a ManuAcreArenaPrasier. Okay, so I made that up, but you get the idea. In this increasingly difficult world of the AMC slaugherhouse, it would be wise to pick up a few skills that your peers may not have.


I have saved this one for last because, well, it is the most important for me. Indeed, it actually capitalizes on all the others. Never have I been to a conference, class, or seminar where I did not come home with a renewed desire to do and be better. As humans, we need those reminders and self-imposed ‘pep-talks’ on a frequent basis if we are to be successful.

Though there are more, these are the main reasons I continue to cause my wife stress, have leg cramp, and breath the fresh air of an airplane cabin. I have said it before and I will repeat it here; If the number of hours your state requires each year in continuing education matches the number of hours you get each year, you are doing yourself a HUGE disfavor. So, hop on the Internet. Find your next class and book that ticket.

See you in the friendly skies.

Now, go create some value!


Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner, but he made his fortune as a self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and mentor. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach (www.theappraisercoach.com) where he personally consults and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth.  He is also the Founder and President of Your Appraisal Office (www.yourappraisaloffice.com) which implements some of the systems he has developed to help lower costs and free up time for real estate business owners.   He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. This article may be reproduced and distributed only in its entirety without permission from the author.


8 thoughts on “Why I Fly”

    1. Michael:

      I like Old Dogs with good attitudes. 🙂 To answer your question in brief….I have developed some very effective systems to streamline and improve the quality of appraisal reports. It allows me to do a very good business (see my homepage) every year. I travel the country teaching appraisers one and one how to do the same with their own businesses.

  1. Agreed, Dustin, and thank you for your help during my presentation at the Summit.

    At the risk of sounding “creepy,” I observed you throughout both days and was thoroughly impressed. Keep educating, OK? And please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you. May I call on you again, too?

    -Laurie Egan, MAA, RAA

  2. Laurie:

    How can a gal with a target on her shirt ever sound ‘creepy?’ LOL. Well, I am sorry I did not get to chat with you after your presentation. I spoke to Bob, but did not really get a chance to thank you. Your presentation was well put together and a breath of fresh air. I very much enjoyed your levity. I am speaking at the Collateral Risk Network conference in Ft. Lauderdale in January on the very topic you discussed (except from an appraiser’s perspective). Interestingly, it is to a room full of lenders and AMCs rather than the opposite as you had in Vegas.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for the feedback. You can call on me anytime you would like. Maybe we ought to speak together sometime. “Appraiser vs. AMC” or something. 🙂

  3. Please forgive my “re-post.” I KNEW your name was familiar but couldn’t place it till I read your bio and realized you’re from Idaho. We spoke several months ago (before I sold my Oregon-based AMC.) My personal notes in your approval file say, “This guy rocks.” 😉

    Would very much like to keep in touch.


    1. I thought that was you. When you said the name of the company you worked for, I recognized it as one of our vendors and remembered the conversation you and I had on the phone. If I had a file on you, it would probably say, “This Gal rocks!,” but I don’t. 🙂

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