Judging is so fun. We do it behind people’s back. We do it on Facebook. We even do it in person.
Sometimes, I think we just can’t help ourselves. It is just in our nature. The problem is, most of the time
we have no idea what we are talking about. Kind of like this blog post. I am going to rant a while, but it
is only my opinion. If the truth were known, I have no idea what I am talking about on this issue. I guess
it is worth what you paid for it.
I showed up at a house to do a final inspection recently and was blindsided by an angry home owner.
As you can imagine, he was “quite surprised” at how low my appraisal was. For the next 20 minutes, I
mostly listened while he told me how to do my job. That’s right, he obviously knew much more about
how to do an appraisal than the appraiser. Oh well. At least he had the decency to tell me to my face.
The next day, I posted on a private Facebook group the fact that we had done about 35% more volume
in March than we have previously done in years past. My point in writing was to point out how
interesting the current re-fi boom is. The amount of volume increase was not due to my own efforts.
It is just busy. Several appraisers in the group decided I was bragging about myself and proceeded to
tell me so. As typically happens in discussions of this nature, I was told (more than once) that “no one
can do that kind of volume and not cut corners,” (an accusation I get thrown at me so often that I have
started to refer to it as the ‘9 children argument’ – “no one can have 9 children and not neglect a few of
them’). Thankfully, there were a few of my clients in the FB audience who vouched for my methods.
we find it necessary to feel that we know more or better than someone we have never met? Why?
Don’t misunderstand; I am not carving out an exemption for me here. I do it along with the best of
them. I simply wonder why. Why does the man in Wyoming think he knows more about how to value
his house than I do? Why do the naysayers on social media know that anyone who does more appraisal
volume than they do must be schmucks? I don’t claim to know the answer, but I wonder if it would do
us some good to step back for just a minute and consider the consequences of our big mouths.
What good did it do the home owner to take me to the woodshed over his appraisal? None. What
possible positive impact does publicly shaming another on Facebook do to create friends and influence
people? Very little. Sure, one might feel superior in the short term and one’s ego might be stroked for a
few minutes, but I doubt it would have any real, lasting change.
Now, I could stop here and let this all hang in the ether. Hopefully, I have given us all something to think
about, but I have done any more than complain about complainers? Where is the solution?
Obviously, if I could answer that question, I would be retired and living on a beach full-time. It has
plagued the world from the beginning of time and The ‘mighty’ Appraiser Coach is not going to make
it all better in his piddly blog post. I do have three suggestions for us all, however; stop, think, and
proceed with caution.
Ever said something you regret? Yeah, me too. Ever open your lips, utter the first thing that came to
your mind and later regret it? Mmmm hmmm. How do we avoid such faux pas? Many can be avoided
before they even begin by simply taking a few seconds to stop before you act. Look before you leap.
Ask yourself, “Will what I am about to say actually help me or the person I am saying it to?” If the
answer is negative, STOP!
“If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” It was good advice for Thumper and it is good
advice for you and I. If the home owner cited above really wanted to get something done, there was
probably a better way to do it. There is a little thing called a ‘dispute of value’ and it does not include
offending the appraiser. If advancement and solution are the goals, gossip or complaining is rarely part
of the solution. Think through the process and a better road to travel will usually present itself.
Proceed with Caution
Even if discussion is part of the solution, the way we do it matters. Avoid language when emotions are
running high. I once received some advice that I have tried to live by; don’t ever say anything online
that you would not say to someone in person. That advice has served me well (though I have not been
100% with it). Creating friends is always better than creating enemies, so be careful in your language.
What does all of this have to do with appraising? Very little. It is more of a reminder to just be nice.
Avoid judgments and backtalk. Do not think you understand someone until you have walked a mile in
However, since this is an appraiser’s blog, let me bring it full circle. All of the above advice (again, worth
what you paid for it) can be applied to your dealings with AMCs, lenders, clients, and borrowers. Do
unto others as you would have others do unto you. I see a lot of complaints thrown out by appraisers
about the very people who send them a paycheck each week. We are one of the only professions who
loathe our customers. Perhaps there is a better way.