A little while ago, I attended the annual AI (Appraisal Institute) Conference in Texas. It wasn’t my first time there, but I was still struck by just how few of the attendees were residential appraisers like myself; the vast majority were commercial.
A fellow residential appraiser had noticed the same thing, and asked me why I thought the percentages were so skewed. I gave him my honest answer: in my opinion, the majority (i.e. over 50%) of residential real estate appraisers are introverted in their personalities.
Here’s something that may surprise you: I include myself in that group! I know that I’m the Appraiser Coach, and I give lots of public talks and workshops, but it’s the truth. Getting my ‘social face’ on isn’t always easy, but I do it anyway because I believe it’s extremely important to attend events like the AI Conference and others. There are two main reasons for this.
Firstly, attending big get-togethers is absolutely vital for staying at the forefront of the real estate appraisal profession. At events like the AI Conference, there are dozens of vendors offering all kinds of appraisal-related services. I’ve talked before about the vital importance of using the latest and greatest technology in helping your business to be more efficient and more effective. Conferences are a great place to get up to date with the latest technological innovations.
Secondly – and perhaps even more importantly – is the opportunity to rub shoulders with other professionals in the field. I come back from each conference I attend with a stack of business cards from people I’ve met and talked to. From that point on, I have the chance to call them up for advice, or send business their way in the future. All of these people have their own areas of expertise, and their own social network. The opportunity to potentially tap into both of these is worth the price of admission alone.
Another incredibly important thing to note is that some of the biggest decision-makers in our field attend these conferences. Let’s be honest for a minute: we, as real estate appraisers, spend a lot of time complaining. It’s true! Yet for some reason, we rarely do anything about it. Well, if you start attending these conferences, you can do something.
The people who actually affect the things we complain about – the regulators, the AMCs, the clients – are at these conferences. You don’t have to complain in a vacuum. You can attend these events and talk to the decision-makers face to face. You can share your opinion, challenge them, and bounce ideas off them. In short, you can at least try to affect some real change in the industry.
You know the expression, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about who’s in office”? Well, the same thing applies in the real estate appraisal world! We spend so much of our time simply driving to our inspections, getting them over with, and retreating to our appraisal caves. When we do get together, we end up complaining much of the time.
My plea is for us to stop doing this. We need to spend more of our time together as a group, outside our appraisal caves, trying to affect meaningful change. Above all, we need to stop complaining about the way things are, and start trying to affect how things will be in the future. We may be naturally introverted more often than not, but a little effort to overcome this could go a long way.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 036 – Get Out of Your Appraisal Cave