What Does Roger Bannister Have to do with Your Appraisal Office?

The experts said it was a physical impossibility.  The human body was not designed for it. It was not a ‘maybe.’  It was not a ‘someday it might be possible.’  It was a ‘not gonna happen.’  Then, in the 1950’s, one man decided that it was not only possible… he was going to be the first.  On May 6, 1954 he was.  Roger Bannister may not be a household name, but he is an inspiration to those who know his story.  He was the first human being to run a mile in under four minutes.  Six weeks later, another man did it.  Now, running the four minute mile is done routinely… even by high school athletes.  Why can something labeled impossible before be done regularly now?  The answer is that someone proved it could be done.  Once a psychological barrier is broken, it is only a matter of time before the physical one follows.

RogerB2There is a similar psychological barrier among real estate appraisers regarding how business is ‘supposed’ to be run.  Most appraisers are of the mindset that they must be a self-employed individual.  In reality, an appraisal office can be structured in such a way that the appraiser becomes a business-owner rather than just another worker-bee.  Simply put, you are the CEO of your business… not the technician.  No one person possesses all of the talents and abilities to do everything best in any business.  The same is true with an appraisal firm.  There is an old axiom that says, “If you want to be truly successful, surround yourself with a team of successful people.”  I have seen that principle work in many lives… including my own.

The false-paradigm that some appraisers are working under is that USPAP, Fannie/Freddie, Regulators, State Boards, and their clients require the appraiser to complete the entire appraisal process.  With the possible exception of a few state boards and clients (check individually with yours), this thought process is a myth and is holding many appraisers back from being as successful as they might be otherwise.  In my own office, I employ individuals who are excellent at customer service to answer phones and write email.  I have another assistant who is a great ‘detective’ and is a huge help to me in selecting and adjusting comparables.  Virtually, I have others who excel at data-entry to fill out much of the ‘non-thinking’ portion of the report.  Each of these individuals are contributing the part that they have a unique ability for.  That leaves me free to focus on the parts of the process I find the most joy in doing as well as overseeing the business as a whole.

Now, Mr. Bannister did not just wake up one day, decide he was going to break the world-record, and run out and do it.  Much planning, training, coaching, and practice went into his accomplishment.  Likewise, I would not suggest you call your local temp-agency tomorrow, hire threepeople, and put them in front of your next 1004-UAD report.  Remember who it is that ultimately bares the liability for your appraisal reports (hint: the bathroom mirror might help here).  If you are going to delegate to others, there must be a level of supervision and management involved.

Just because everyone said a four minute mile was an impossibility, did not make it so.  Just because  your mentor (and his mentor before that) said that only appraisers are allowed to analyze the market does not make it gospel doctrine.  If done correctly (with careful oversight), the Law of Delegation can catapult your business from where it is to where it was always meant to be.

Now, go create some value!

5 thoughts on “What Does Roger Bannister Have to do with Your Appraisal Office?”

  1. Good morning; I enjoy your thoughts, ideas on how to improve an appraisal office. Much of these Ideas I wished were here 15 years ago. Now I am old enough to draw a SSN check, and still ponder on some of these same ideas I had years ago along with yours, and now with the devices and tech. available to appraisers this could be possible. But I have some questions. Now my office is in my home and now I work alone in a rural community. Skills and ambition are in great demand and hard to find in this area. Is it still possible? Is it worth the extra time and expense for 8 years? Some guidance would be greatful. Keep on writting.

  2. Pat. My office is also in my home (and in my car, and in coffee shops, etc) and my area is about as rural as it can be. The good news is YES! it is possible to still run a very successful appraisal office… even in today’s world! Hope I can help.

  3. Coach, how do you manage to employee several folks effectively while working from home? How does this work? Do you have a dedicated space at home where they join you, or do they work from home as well? I ask because I am a one man shop but contemplating growth, though anxious about taking on the expense of office space. Can you run a professional and leveraged business model right from home, etc.? Thx

  4. Coach, how do you manage to employ several folks effectively while working from home? How does this work? Do you have a dedicated space at home where they join you, or do they work from home as well? I ask because I am a one man shop but contemplating growth, though anxious about taking on the expense of office space. Can you run a professional and leveraged business model right from home, etc.? Thx

    1. The Appraiser Coach

      MG:

      I currently own an office space, but it is for sale (wanna buy it?). I am selling it because it is no longer necessary to work together in an office. Technology is such that everyone can work from their own space and it does wonders for morale. On the other hand, it takes some very close monitoring to do in such a way that everyone is productive. I would be happy to coach you on some of that if you are interested.

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