In the appraisal world, people ask you questions all the time. Some of those questions you can prepare for, and others come completely out of left field. In either scenario, you can be ready because, as a matter of fact, there is one right answer to everything in the appraisal world. The answer is… “it depends.” And although most of the people you talk to will be thinking they want a definite answer, there is nothing wrong with saying “it depends” as long as you follow that up with a teachable moment that will leave them feeling educated, valued, and ready to trust you further.
Some of these questions might be familiar to you, and a lot of them are regarding value, such as, “what kind of adjustment do I make for an electric car charging station in a garage?” or “what do I do for accessory units or air conditioning units?” even, “How do I adjust for solar?” and the list could go on. You might get questions about adjustments for things that are missing as well, like a house without air conditioning or heating. But there are just so many variables that “it depends” is actually the only accurate answer you can give.
So what are those variables? One of the biggest conditions is location. Take solar for example. The value of solar in Idaho hasn’t changed a whole lot, although it is gaining popularity. But it definitely means something different than in Arizona or California, because Idaho doesn’t get near as much sun as those states. By the same token, air conditioning is not that big of a deal for homes in Idaho, so any adjustment made for that won’t need to be as drastic. Value also depends heavily on the market, people’s preference, popularity, and even legality.
Answering questions with “it depends” must be followed up with a good explanation of your answer. As you get to know your area and the types of homes you are working with, using the survey method is a great way to brainstorm. Because so many questions are specific to an area or situation, keeping it local would be considerably more beneficial than a survey nationwide. Questions also provide you with an opportunity to step into the expert’s shoes. Take three to five minutes to explain your answer. When you get done, you will be seen as someone who adds value and provides new knowledge of things they didn’t know before. With this, you build trust and are now known as the expert in their mind. So, the next time someone asks you, “What’s it going to do for the value of my home if I replace this old carpet with hardwood?” you will know how to create lasting value with the starting answer, “It depends…”.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: