Have Courage and Be Kind, Appraisers!

I was sitting in my office recently when I saw one of my assistants taking a call. Just from watching her and hearing her a little, I could tell it wasn’t going well. She was trying to be courteous and professional, but she was getting flustered.

I asked her to transfer the call over to me. It was a real estate agent who wasn’t happy with an appraisals I’d done (what else is new?). In this case I’d come in at a hefty $10-15,000 under the purchase price on a $150-200,000 home.

The real estate agent was extremely heated in the beginning. By the end of the conversation – which couldn’t have lasted much longer than five minutes – she was laughing and everything was forgiven. I don’t claim to be one of the great charismatics of our time; I simply tried to see things from her perspective, and treated her in a kind, respectful way.

be kind appraisersWhy do I bring this up? Well, I went to go and see the recent Cinderella remake on two separate occasions at the cinema. Bear with me; I promise this will be tied back to real estate appraisal soon enough! Anyone who’s seen it will know that there’s a common theme running throughout the picture: “have courage and be kind.”

After seeing the movie, I just couldn’t get that phrase out of my head. ‘Have courage and be kind.’ It made me think about my behavior in my personal life – with my friends and family – but also in my professional life as a real estate appraiser. I started trying to modify my behavior around this phrase, and tried to stress the importance of it to my employees too.

In the real estate appraisal business, you get situations like the one with the real estate agent all the time. You can feel tempted, as a human being, to respond emotionally and just say, “Screw you!”

This doesn’t really achieve anything though (even though, I admit, it can feel really good). People are just people: sometimes they do or say bad things without meaning to (and sometimes the do mean to). It doesn’t mean that they’re not nice, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you have to be nasty in response. That’s the ‘be kind’ part of the phrase.

Just because you’re being kind to people, however, doesn’t mean you need to be sheepish. You don’t need to let people walk all over you. If you’re sure that you’ve done a good, honest job on a real estate appraisal, stand up for yourself! That’s where the ‘have courage’ part comes in.

We work in a field in which we have a lot of pressure, and we’re easy targets for criticism, but that doesn’t mean we should take an aggressive or defensive attitude in our interactions with people. Think about the phrase ‘have courage and be kind.’ Keep it turning over in your head. It may come from a fairy tale, but I believe it’s extremely applicable to the work we do. It can make us better real estate appraisers and – heck, I’ll say it! – better people too.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 025 – Have Courage and Be Kind

13 thoughts on “Have Courage and Be Kind, Appraisers!”

  1. Pingback: Have Courage and Be Kind, Appraisers! - Appraisal Buzz

  2. We are at the bottom of the barrel in this business, both respect wise and Pay wise. In addition. the pressure on us to produce reports that are both credible and
    accurate is tremendous. I recently brought in an appraisal that was $40,000 lower than the purchase price. I get it that the listing agent’s job is to get the highest and
    best price for his client, albeit in this case, the price was way unrealistic. My beef, though, is with the buyers agent. What kind of due diligence did he do when arriving at the bloated offering price in his offer. Just because the market is hot, etc, and buyers are paying above list for properties, this offer clearly represented Malpractice, and incompetence in my opinion. I pondered whether I should send the entire package to the bureau of Real Estate for review. If it was an appraisal that high, and our licensing bureau received it, I guaranty somebody would be in hot water if not suspended. The agents are using us as referees in many cases, to determine the final price of their listings. In cases of small differing opinion, I understand that is reality. in this case, I question their competence. Many agents are knowledgeable and price their properties accurately. Others, unfortunately, do not.

  3. I totally agree with Tyler Adams comments and further think some action, such as more education courses or other action, should be taken towards agents who have these repeated issues. Most recently a listing agent told me when I asked how he derived such a higher than market price for his client and his answer was ” I just put it where they want it and let the appraiser be the bad guy”. Then some of these incompetents call your office berating you as incompetents and sending worthless “reconsiderations” to the lenders which waste time responding to for no additional pay. Since we have to belong to NAR they should also do more to elevate the Appraiser to the agents for respect and insure there is the proper training and education for the process for the agents so less of this incompetence is taking place.

  4. I agree with Carol Mooney. Where is the integrity of the buyers agents here. I have had the buyers agent call me and try to get the appraised value up to the contract price. I have asked them who side are you on. Does you buyer know that you’re trying to get them to pay a inflated price? It is no wonder that sales prices are sometimes so high. If you look at the CMAs the agents put together its laughable. One property I appraised came in 40,000 below the contract price. I asked the agent to send me anything that would help and I would consider it. He sent me his CMA. The CMA had five sales on it (I won’t say comparables, as they were not). All five of the sales had refrigerated A/C, the subject had evaporative cooling. Four of the sales had a pool, the subject had no pool. I asked him, how can you consider these to be similar to the subject. The agents of course are all working off of sales per square foot, which is meaningless. The MLS system complicates the issue. The MLS systems all calculate sales per square foot and do not have room for any adjustments where necessary. They almost always include active listing with no consideration for list to sale price differences.

  5. Hi, it works both ways. Realtors are mad in my area. The amc’s are using appraiser’s that live 100+ miles away, in a bid to control the price of an appraisal.
    If you work in a Rural market area, you know how tough it is to appraise property. Not the same as a suburban track development. In a rural market, every
    home and site is different. There are no two homes that are the same. An appraiser from out of the area missed the purchase price by $200k. The sales
    price was $600k. I came in and so no reason why the sales price was not supported. I had to add more support to the appraisal because of the appraiser
    was not competent to complete the appraisal. I was asked are these comps even comparable? I looked at the prior sales prices of the sales used. 3 of 4 had
    previous sales in the last 3 years. So did subject. What I saw is that the prior sales of subject and the comps used were consistent and comparable 3 years
    ago (taking into consideration remodeling/updating). This added more support to the value conclusion. As a note, a realtor told me that they bid over the
    asking price (multiple offers), and then hope the appraiser will bring the price back down to reality. It’s a win/win for the buyer.

  6. Good conversation. I’ve been both an appraiser (25 years now) and an agent (39 years). We all get a few angry agent calls and requests for reconsideration of value through the AMCs. In almost every instance the agents were lazy and were only considering sales that would support their agenda and not sales that were nearby, recent, similar, etc. I’ve also had to be careful not to let my temper flare up and usually there is no problem when all parties are helped to better understand our guidelines.

  7. Was the listing agent your client? Why were you discussing value with a non-client after the report was delivered? Second, typically I call the listing agent before the report is delivered if it appears to be coming in under value to discuss how he/she arrived at the value. That usually will help with the process.

  8. Great article and discussion! I agree with the approach of have courage and be kind. When an AMC comes back with a revision request or consideration of value it feels like a blow to the ego, and this business has a way of humbling you. I want to meet that anomaly of an Appraiser who has 100% accuracy on all comps searches, data points and analysis 100% of the time . If you take a step back with courage and kindness, you can kindly explain how your confirmation of data and opinion or how the additional research revealed information for reconsideration of whatever the circumstance may be. No sense having all of that negativity and anger ruin a perfectly good day. On a second note, in my geographic territory of Honolulu County our paths cross frequently between lenders, realtors, amcs, buyers and sellers, so destroying bridges and relationships comes around quickly to bite you in the okole “butt”.

  9. Some agents kinda by the movie Glengarry Glen Ross rules. Don’t care as long as the deal is made. Excerpt from movie, most the other quotes are profane but they use the Logic of Alex Baldwins character as he states: ” A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action. Attention – Do I have your attention? “

  10. Think about it! The sale of loan is going nowhere without our opinion & perspective of the community. Current appraisal done in CA., 13K over list, 10K over the highest sale in the community. 6 offers, Agent pissed because I didn’t hit her over priced offers. Her comment to me was , am I not a great agent. Go figure!!! She is out of touch with reality.

  11. Re the respect issue: I have read comments (not here) by appraisers who were angry about something and appeared to have no respect for the property owner, client, or maybe anybody else. Some visit properties dressed as if they were on vacation. We need to remember that we are usually representing someone else when we’re in the field, on the phone, or even on Facebook. I take it very seriously that what I do as an appraiser affects you.

  12. I have noticed you don’t monetize your blog, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn extra bucks every month because you’ve got high quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for:
    Mrdalekjd methods for $$$

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!