How We Deal With Change

My wife and I recently decided that the use of technology (computers, tablets, phones, etc.) was getting out of control at our house.  Don’t misunderstand, I am a big fan of technology, but not when it gets in the way of family relationships.  It is obvious as parents that our children are spending more and more time staring at screens, and less and less time interacting with each other.


Though it was clearly out of control, we allowed our children (at first) a chance to fix the problem themselves.  At a family meeting several weeks ago, we informed them of our concerns and encouraged them to set up some self-governing boundaries.  Not surprisingly, very little changed and we decided, as a couple, to have an intervention meeting.  Though presented in a spirit of love and concern for their wellbeing, the new rules were not received well.  In fact, you would have thought – based on their vocal reaction – that we had decided to withhold food and water from them.  “Texting is the new way to communicate,” they protested.  Or this one was good, “You do not understand.  You grew up in a world without technology!”  Nevertheless, my wife and I were bound and determined to make some meaningful (and in our minds not overly oppressive) changes to the family rules.  After much discussion with the children individually, compromises were certainly made, but some fairly heavy-hitting changes were put in place in the end.  It was a tough day for our children.


As with all major changes, humans have a tough time switching routines.  There is a period of fear, one of adjustment, and finally we usually find ways to make it work.  This was no different, but it got me thinking about our appraisal changesprofession.  We have had to deal with some pretty major changes over the past few years.  Just recently, we have had to deal with UAD, Collateral Underwriter, new HUD guidelines, and TRID.  Certainly in the world of appraising for financial transactions, the changes are not over yet. There is still more to come.  


The parallels between my children’s reaction to new rules and the way in which we appraisers deal with changes are striking.  Though, unlike my children, we do not get to give much input as to which changes come our way, the ways we deal with those changes are similar.  First, comes the fear of the unknown.  Whenever a new policy or rule is announced, the social media and online forums light up with questions and complaints.  “What does this mean for the future of appraising?”  or “Well, I guess I am done doing FHA appraisals now,” is the reaction of some.  The majority of us buckle down and get educated on what the changes mean for us or what we need to do to comply.  


Once the implementation date comes and goes, we usually do not see much change.  Surprisingly, life just kind of goes on.  Finally after a few weeks or months, there is a period of reflection where most of us recognize that life is pretty much the same as it was before the announcement.  No earth-shattering cosmic shift has occurred.  


Change is inevitable.  Of course, we should involve ourselves as much as possible in that process, but much of it is out of our hands.  Naturally, we must each decide whether or not a certain scope of work is moral, ethical, or financially feasible for us.  If it is not, we should have the backbone to say, “no.”  Finally, we should charge the fees that will cover the increased scope of work.  It is our business and our decision.  Yet, I wonder if we sometimes jump the gun and see change as more profound than reality actually gives us.  All I know is I sure have a lot more FHA work than I had before Sept 15.  

10 thoughts on “How We Deal With Change”

  1. Pingback: How We Deal With Change - Appraisal Buzz

  2. Very well said! I do not see major changes from the old FHA to the new. The two differences I see are the more thorough appraisal inspection of the attic and crawl space, then the inspection of the appliances that are personal property. The rest is not much different. I think appraisers are mad in general..Residential appraisers have been mad for 30 years it seems. Most days I love appraising. I believe the key is the client mix, kinda like most businesses. I can see a slight fee increase due to increased requirements; however, since appraisers have been mad for so long, I am not sure anything will “make them happy”. I think we have to decide if we want to swim in these waters and then get busy swimming. I adopted that from The Shawshank Redemption. Dustin, I think you have helped appraisers a lot by demonstrating ways to increase efficiencies in their business.

  3. You mentioned fear as one of the stages we go through when confronted with change. You forgot the one I have the hardest time with which is ANGER! The better job I do of learning to roll with the changes and not getting so mad about them, the quicker I am able to deal with them and move on. I absolutely agree with your conclusion that the changes almost always seem like no big deal once an adjustment is made. The recent FHA guideline changes are a perfect example of much ado about nothing.

  4. I heard it somewhere, “change is the only constant”. I remember the days when we hand drew a sketch on forms we got from Forms and Worms, burnished arrows on a Xerox copy of a map, hand typed the URAR and placed only 6, 35mm developed photographs from the One-hour photo developer (3 subject and 3 comps) on a document, most of which was also bought from Forms and Worms. And then snail mailed the whole document until the day Overnight mail became possible, at a hefty cost I might add. The document at that time was maybe a dozen pages. I just finished a report approximately 50 pages in length. Half of which are photo, addenda and such, a fourth of which is due to scope creep and necessary verbiage or CYA crap and the rest is the actual report. Yes, times have changed….except for the fee they want to pay.

  5. I’m glad you have such a positive attitude, and I agree that people need to roll with the punches, however I have a tough time accepting the liability shift. To my point, take a look at the disciplinary actions in your state from 10 years ago and compare them to now. It is incredible how many more there are, at least where I am. Also, why were people trying to become appraisers just a few years ago, and now there is all the chatter about a shortage as no one wants to enter the profession.

    I’m not trying to be negative and I enjoy your posts, however I don’t see these changes happening just like always. I feel like the frequency of the changes are increasing and becoming more dangerous and are devastating to the industry. Kudos for taking the high road and not just being a “child” who is reactionary, but some of these changes need to be addressed.

    My 2 cents

    Have a wonderful Thnaksgiving

  6. My 16 year old told me that I did not understand how to use technology as she does. I told her; “You may be more techno savvy than Me but do not forget, I’m the guy that taught you how to use a spoon!”

  7. “Change is inevitable. ”

    And that “change” will shortly include the DEMISE of 90% of residential appraisal lending work.

    One of the last ways lenders can reduce mortgage costs is the appraisal fee and at least three of the largest lenders are plannig on reducing appraisal orders for loans of less than $250K to less than 10-15% by the end of 2016.

    AVMs including the Corelogic model have proven to be relaible and satisfy underwriting in a high majority of cases tested thus far. Good luck.

  8. Well said. My thoughts are that change in inevitable and a part of the business. When I hear someone say, I am not doing FHA work anymore, I am glad and check to see if they are in my area. It just means more work for me. Adapt, thrive and survive is how I like to think about things. It is similar to appraising a complex property, there are those who are fearful of it (even though they could probably handle it) and then there are those that welcome it and go after the tough stuff. I certainly understand that it can be depressing at times and sometimes you feel like the world is against you. I love talking to people but I have days where I wish every house was vacant.

    I think a larger problem is finding good help (even when an excellent opportunity is there). It is impossible (IMO) for a small business to compete with the corporate world salaries and benefits. We have lost two really good appraisers because of this. This problem is hindering growth. People like benefits, paid holidays, 401K plans and insurance. Good trainees are hard to come by and most definitely need to have an alternate source of income. Not to mention the amount of time it takes to train someone.

    I really enjoy your post / podcasts and look forward to them.

    Happy Thanksgiving and be sure to get a report out in the morning before the family arrives. 🙂

  9. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Whoever said that was pretty close to being right on. 1. Call your clients and talk to them as much as possible. Grow that relationship. 2. Don’t work 24/7. 3. Embrace technology and let it work for you. Those things should never change.

    Regarding your kids and cell phones, imagine telling 8 twelve year old girls and their parents that all kids cell phones will be confiscated at the door during a four hour lake birthday party. After the first ten minutes of boo hoos the kids loved the lake and no one lost their phones to water damage.

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