Do you Communicate with your Clients Enough?

I recently found myself, once again, away from home at—yet another—appraisal conference.  Unfortunately on this trip however, I found myself not feeling well.  This was different than the normal flu or cold.  However, I am stubborn (hey, I’m a guy) and did not want to see a doctor or the inside of an emergency room if I could wait.

My wife is quite knowledgeable in all aspects of health, so I petitioned her for advice via the text line (she did not come with me as usual).  Much to my chagrin, her expert opinion was to hit the ER.  This was not what I wanted to hear and decided to wait another day and see if things cleared up.  They didn’t and I checked myself in the next morning.  Sometime in the afternoon, I got this text from my wife, “How is my man today?”  In response, I sent her this picture of my incredibly manly (and somewhat hairy) arm.


As you can imagine, she was not amused.  Her rebuke was quick and stinging, “Dust (that is what she calls me when I’m in trouble), why didn’t you let me know!?!?!?”  Can you tell she was not happy with me?

Let her know what?  She was 800 miles away!  Why would it make any difference that I let her know that I decided to follow her advice and go into the hospital?  Wives who are reading this are screaming at the computer screen right now.  Husbands are nodding their heads in an understanding manner.

Needless to say, she had a point.  I guess I could have sent her a quick text on the way to the ER letting her know I was headed in.  It would have avoided much explaining later.

This experience is not unlike some we might have with our clients every single day.  I hear it often from my fellow appraisers, “Why won’t these damn AMCs just leave me alone?  I get so many calls and emails wondering when the inspection and final report will be turned in that I don’t even have time to do the appraisal!”

Now certainly, there are some annoying messages sent to us from our clients.  I will be the first to admit that.  However, I know personally that much of this hassle could be avoided in the first place by just keeping them informed up front.  In our office, we have the following procedures:

  1. When a new engagement letter is accepted, immediately attempt to set up the appointment and update the client (whether or not the appointment was successfully scheduled).
  2. Once the inspection is complete, update the client and inform them when the final report will be completed.
  3. If there are any delays or changes, communicate with the client immediately.

These rules seem like common sense, but it would surprise you how many appraisers do not follow through with them.  Yet, we complain that we are constantly berated with requests for an update.

Now, I am not naïve.  I realize that there will still be those annoying clients who bother you whether or not you update them.  My question in those cases is simply, why the hell do you continue to work for clients like that?  I do not mind an annoying, repeat phone call or email once in a while, but if a company is so inept that your efforts to update them constantly falls on deaf ears, FIRE THEM!

In the end, the hospital stay was short and it turned out to be nothing.  Well, that is not quite true.  It turned out to be very, very expensive, but the health scare was nothing.  My wife felt badly for my situation and was quick to forgive me for my lack of communication.  Let’s hope your clients will be as forgiving to you.  Better yet, let’s avoid the problem all together and just keep our clients in the loop.

Dustin Harris, Creating ‘Value’ for Real Estate Appraisers

4 thoughts on “Do you Communicate with your Clients Enough?”

  1. I think a lot of the “status report requests” aren’t from humans at all, but simply computer generated to ping every 48 to 72 hours…no one reads them and no one really cares as long as the report gets turned in on time. Unfortunately, in some cases the information is stored and “scored” and can count against an appraiser’s “rating”. You’ve stressed over and over about managing time. I figure it takes probably 5 minutes total to quit what I’m doing, jump screens, log in, select the right update, send, log off, and get back to being productive. If you have a $10/hour assistant it’s not a big deal….but in a one man shop answering 2-3 per day adds up over a month. All that said, I don’t have a better answer.

  2. In a world where “RSVP” on an invitation means nothing to the bulk of the population, I’m no surprised at all. That said, once I accept an assignment and a due date I want my clients to trust me that I will perform as promised and then leave me ALONE to do my work. If they can’t trust me they should hire someone else next time. I’m sick of being micro managed by monkeys and computers.

  3. Aint tough to respond. That said, I also like the idea of firing clients when they become overbearing. Or even better, which is now my policy, simply charge them for the trouble that they are. That really is the issue isn’t it? Getting more out of us for the same price? Want 2 active listings on top of 3 closed sales on the grid, with drive-by photos? No problem, that’s an extra $100. Want me to sift through 16 pages of “assignment conditions” and write my report to your specs? No problem, that will be an extra $50. Want me to endure your inept systems/staff and respond to endless revision requests that are too often already addressed in as much detail as the English language could support? No problem, that will be an extra $50. Why get mad at these clients when it could be just as easy to charge them for their folly. After they receive my client specific rate, they don’t call of course, which is fine with me.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Scroll to Top

Existing Members

If you have been a member prior to Jan. 1st 2024

Or, click on the right side to sign up as a new member (with a free month and added bonus material) and your existing membership will be automatically moved over and any extra payments credited. 

Or, click on the link below to sign up as a new member (with a free month and added bonus material) and your existing membership will be automatically moved over and any extra payments credited. 

New Members

If you became a member after Jan. 1st 2024 or are an existing member and want to move to our new system. 

Try the All-Star Team No-Risk for 30 Days Free!