Accommodating Appraisal Clients

Clients sometimes ask me to do things that are not in my normal course of business.. Keep in mind that this blog is not referring to things of an immoral, unethical, or illegal nature. Of course, if it is wrong, then you should refuse to do it in a professional manner. I am also not talking about allowing your client to dictate your scope of work. The appraiser should always decide the scope of work.  I am simply talking about requests that may put me out slightly, but do not put my license or moral character into question.

For example, suppose a client asks that an inspection be scheduled within 4 hours of accepting the order. This is not an immoral request, but it might be somewhat uncommon. Yes, it can sometimes slightly inconvenience me, but I do it. Why? Because one of my jobs as a business owner is to satisfy my customers. It is a small bother to fulfill some of their wishes when considering that they are the ones keeping me in business.

Ultimately, I think it is worth the hassle and time spent to satisfy your customers’ various little unique requests as long as they are not unethical in nature. Attending to their desires helps you build a relationship with them and ultimately helps you insure that you receive more business down the road.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 253 When A Client Asks Too Much (or when they don’t)

6 Comments on “Accommodating Appraisal Clients”

  1. Customer service is the forgotten art of appraisal. I believe that if you take care of the customer, you will not only have more business, but you will have fewer complaints about value.

  2. There is a fine line between customer service and allowing management companies to run your business. That is where those requests come fromt to schedule something within the next four hours, etc. Many of you may think customer service is a lost art, but what you are not considering is typically when a client wants you to schedule an appointment within 4 hours, do the assignment for a reduced fee and put that assignment in front of everything you are already doing to get it to them quickly is nothing short of allowing them to run your business. I think customer service should be a priority, but I have worked hard over the last 26 years to build my business and doing it faster for less money is not working smart and it isn’t customer service. It is enabling the AMC’s to become stronger, demand more of the appraisers and pay lower fees.

  3. Robert Daun. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary like four hour inspection after assignment unless the client is willing to pay dearly for that service. I believe you would find the same with Coach.

  4. Almost every time I read these “newsletters” the author is trying to persuade me that no one is trying to take our business, no one is trying to destroy the appraisal industry, no one is trying to run your business and so on. I disagree with the author on this point as I do on many other points. With at least one AMC they want you to call to schedule the appointment in the time they say (4 hours or 24 hours) and then the engagement letter states that the report is due 48 hours after the inspection. I can’t help but laugh at them. Get this through your head I DON’T WORK FOR YOU. I AM NOT YOUR EMPLOYEE, YOU ARE AN EMPLOYEE. I OWN AND OPERATE MY OWN BUSINESS!!
    I scheduled the appointment when it is convenient for me and the borrower. If there is an occasional request to inspect early for whatever reason..sure no problem I’m all about customer service. If I’m inspected a property in the next county tomorrow and a new order comes in nearby, I’ll probably inspecting that new order at the same time to save on time which helps me and my clients to get the reports in faster and by the due date. But to tell an appraiser because you inspected the Subject 5 days before the due date that somehow the report is now due before the agreed due date is a joke and not happening, unless is is conducsive to me. If you want to pay extra for a rush then great let’s do it. Oh wait.. you don’t want to pay? Then please stop wasting my time. Also, if I have 5 active appraisals I’m working on and a few are high dollar multi-million dollar, complicated properties and I don’t know how the next 5 days are going to go exactly with these reports I’m not calling a borrower 4 hours after receiving and appraisal request to schedule an appointment days out when anything can happen. To get around this I do a couple of things. I ignore this stupid request canned comment in the engagement letter or I’ll call the borrower and explain I was asked to call them by the AMC and that I will call them back at a later date to schedule and inspection when I KNOW I can do it and it’s convenient for them. This whole thing the amc’s are doing is an attempt to make us work and/or operate as their employee without them having that kind of liability and responsibility. It is also a slick attempt to pressure appraisers to get reports in early. The only thing the AMC/Lender should be concerned about is that the report is in by the due date. Don’t try to run me or my business because it’s not going to work.

  5. So we are stuck on this one point, but – I have always read that sentence to mean that I CALL to schedule within 4 hours, not that the appointment actually occurs within 4 hours. While I agree that customer service is important, I also feel that I should get some customer service from the AMC as well. After all, am I not their customer? It is the other requests that bother me – numerous revisions because I didn’t word something exactly how they want it, explaining items such as well and septic simply because they are not from the area (even though the box for Typical is clearly marked), etc. I just got a request to go into great detail on zoning. I agree that I need to do my job well, but I do feel like the AMC’s are trying to dictate what I do. Now the local banks – customer service goes both ways.

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