What Does the Missing Malaysian Jet have to do with Appraising?

I find it fascinating that a jet full of passengers can just disappear.  As time passes, it is becoming more and more evident that this is not going to end well.  What is interesting to me, however, is the media coverage of the event.  Everyone seems to have a theory as to what happened (including one ‘reporter’ speculating that a black hole might have sucked them up).  The problem?  Most of these theories are based on no more than a hunch.  There is little to no evidence supporting most of the ideas that the pundits on TV are espousing.

Now Dustin, are you really going to make a comparison between the Malaysian 777 disappearance and appraising?  Of course not.  But, I am going to make a comparison between the media coverage of the missing 777 and appraising.

appraisal adjustmentsAppraising, like journalism, is not an exact science.  If it were, you would see a different group of people becoming appraisers.  It is not just math.  It is not physics.  It is not engineering.  It is not as simple as calculating 2 + 2.  Rather, it is interpretation and analysis of data.  Sometimes, however, I fear that some forget the ‘data’ part of that sentence.  Just as the so-called journalists who pontificate on what ‘might have happened’ to the plane are often merely guessing, appraisers might be tempted to do the same thing.  This is a mistake.  It diminishes your level of professionalism and that of the entire industry.

Do not misunderstand.  I am not saying that there is never a place for minor subjectivism (otherwise, we could just get computers to report values).  There are times when that is unavoidable, but it should always be backed with as much evidence as can be found.  I am referring here rather to guess-work because it can be easier to do than real research.  The temptation comes when the first (and usual) approach does not pan out.  For example, you can’t find comps to support that waterfront adjustment, so you just lick your finger, put it in the air, and come up with a number.  Is it possible that there are more approaches to valuation than just comparable sale analysis?  If you cannot find waterfront comps, what is the next step, the step after that and then the step after that?

Was that flight hijacked?  Did it crash into the ocean?  Is it currently hiding in a hanger somewhere with over 200 hostages?  We do not yet know, but there are plenty of guesses on any news channel you turn on.  Let’s not let the journalism of speculation be the model for professional appraising.

Now, go create some value!

9 thoughts on “What Does the Missing Malaysian Jet have to do with Appraising?”

  1. Journalism is not only not an exact science, most of the reporting on the missing Malaysian airliner by our crazed mass media has been downright weird. These journalists which you speak of are nothing like appraisers; we have to base our assumptions on facts, assessor’s data, recorder’s data, personal inspections, and well earned experience; mass media journalists on the other hand, simply have to know how to copy and paste the latest directives from the DOD, you know, like that big one “weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” which the White House in turn had gotten from guess who? Judith Miller of the New York Times. I can honestly say that I don’t have much in common with a media that goes on a rampage about a missing airliner, when most of us know that most of these so called journalists could care less about the people on board or the survivors, and care mainly about ratings.

    1. The Appraiser Coach

      Agreed. I guess that is what has ticked me off most about this. What is even more disgusting are the jokes flying around social media about how the plan landed on Gilligan’s Island and other ridiculous theories. Not funny if you ask me. Real people’s lives have been affected by this and my prayers (as i know many prayers) go out to those affected.

  2. The Appraiser Coach

    I am already receiving emails from those of you who think this analogy should not have been made. I hear you and I thank you for the reminder. Please be clear though, this article was about the media coverage and not the incident itself. I tried to make that clear, but your reminders are well taken and one I worried about before writing/printing it. Again, my prayers go out to the families, friends, and loved ones affected. Frankly, my prayers go out to the idiot ‘reporters’ as well.

  3. That’s almost like the recovered real estate market that exists only in the media. Now we just need someone to take credit for it! Fannie Mae perhaps? Oh that’s right. They only stifle the market.

  4. You are right, journalists and the media are guessing and not basing very much of what they say ( to millions I might add) on fact or data….this is part of why our country is in such poor shape right now….the IRS scandal, Benghazi, Obamacare…the list could go on and on….the media is bias and lets face it, they are in this for ratings….they will do or say whatever they can for better ratings. So yes, this is just like appraising ( for some appraisers) those who will appraise anything no matter how low the fee, quick the turn time in order to get better ratings with certain clients…..so yes good analogy!
    But never forget the pain that has been caused and disregard for human life that has been exhibited by those responsible for what happened to that plane….it’s despicable how little meaning some amongst us have for life….and I put some of the blame for that on the media too.

  5. The question is whether an appraiser can afford to collect and massage extensive data in out-of-the ordinary ways with appraisals priced as they are.

  6. Why, oh why, are some interesting and timely blogs written with pale gray type on a white background???
    Is this suppose to be some form of journalistic cuteness? (To play off on the blog comments.)
    For many of us who’ve been on the planet for eons, gray on white is very difficult to read. Please change the typeface to black or dark blue.
    Thanks kind sir!

    1. The Appraiser Coach

      Will put my web guy on it, Dave. I’m trying to be kind to you (the Elderly). Just kidding, my friend, but I will do what I can. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. I see a lot of interesting content on your website.
    You have to spend a lot of time writing, i know how to save
    you a lot of time, there is a tool that creates unique, google
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