Become the “Go To” Appraiser in Your Area

Near my office there are two convenience stores but I only ever go to one of them.  Really, there isn’t anything terrible about the one I don’t go to, but I just never do.  Let me tell you a little story and you’ll see why I shop at one store over the other.

The first of these stores was there for a while and, shortly after they’d remodeled, a new convenience store opened up across the street. The established store was not too happy about their new competition and they wanted to draw customers away from the grand opening. The older store dropped their prices for their gasoline.  The new store dropped theirs too. A price war had started.

Neither store was willing to be the higher priced store and, over the next few months, prices went ridiculously low.  When most stations in the area were selling gas for $3 a gallon or more, these two stores were selling theirs for around $1 per gallon.  People came from all over the city to get gas. While the new convenience store didn’t get much of a foothold, the older store had lines of cars around the block.

The established convenience store absolutely refused to be equal to or more per gallon than the new convenience store across the street. Both stores were losing money by selling gas this low and I wondered why they were doing this. Turns out they were using a very forward thinking strategy by starting this gas war.

The short-term cost paid off in the long term psychology of their customers, myself included. Because of that gas war, everyone in the area got it in their minds that the older store always has the best price on gas.  I never think to even look at the gas prices anymore at the new convenience store.

Psychologically, that gas war embedded in my mind that the old established convenience store has the cheaper prices and it stuck with me. Their marketing decision to not be undersold, established psychologically in the mind of returning customers that they would be the competitive place to go.  This idea can be applied to your appraisal business too.

Don’t stop reading, I am not, in any way, suggesting that you reduce your appraisal fees.  I am asking you to think about your clientele and what you could do to establish yourself as the go to company. Think about what you could do to psychologically embed your company into the minds of your area realtors and lenders.

For example, when I was new, young and hungry, I established myself in new markets by being the company that would do any appraisal assignment that I felt competent to do. That meant I got some oddball properties that my competition had said no to but, eventually, I became someone that could be counted on to get the job done. Yes, they gave me some crappy jobs but, because they knew they could count on me, they also gave me other, better jobs too.

Sometimes you need to make sacrifices for long term success.  How can you take this principle of the gas wars, and instead of just lowering your fees, use that same principle to establish yourself as the company who _______ (fill in the blank)?  How can you differentiate your business from your competition?

What do I mean?  Well, what if you’re the company that always answers their phone and it never goes to voicemail? What if you are the company that always goes the extra mile and meets with the agent instead of just using the lockbox key and you’re always there to help them with a question? What if you’re the company that constantly posts new content to your website so that people can count on you to have the most current market information? What if you’re the company that always shows up to your appointments on time or turns in your reports on time?

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 450

5 Comments on “Become the “Go To” Appraiser in Your Area”

  1. This is an excellent blog post and supports what I have been reminding my appraiser clients lately. I come from a decade of working on the AMC side and we always had “go-to” appraisers. We knew the appraisers that fit each of those go-to molds, the quick appraiser, the one who would take complex, the one who always responded, who answered their phone and for each of those, we wanted to be sure they always had at least a few open orders with us, even when it was slow. We appreciated them and we wanted them to know that.

    I have been reminding appraisers lately that while business is great now, those focusing on customer services and delivering on time will have less of a drop when the drop does come. AMCs have scores and if you’re not of their elite, which is a small group, those scores determine if you get an assignment offered. Don’t hurt your score now because the volume is there only to see that volume dry up later. Your score, primarily, is your responsiveness, timeliness and how many times the AMC has to go back with revisions (not lender UW revisions).

  2. The most productive way to be the go to appraiser is to become proficient as an appraiser, to where your revision requests are far and few in between, that your reports are completed in a way that meets the standards of the reviewers and under writers and thus facilitates the process. Couple this with a professional demeanor and the ability to meet due dates and customer service requests, and you will not have to worry about being low balled on your fees by less than desirable clients. The quality of your reports and your demeanor will be the criteria by which you are “scored” not internal metrics by second and third tier clients who are unwilling to pay reasonable and customary fees.
    You will find that lenders will be willing to engage you directly and pay premium fees, thus eliminating the interference of unnecessary and unproductive “middlemen”.

  3. I agree with Dustin’s comments. A great model for me has been to engage with the local real estate community. I’m the only appraiser member for two realtor boards, I speak at the marketing meetings, and I go on the realtor tour. I offer to answer any appraisal related questions. The majority of my work is private party referrals from the agents and board affiliates.

  4. Considering my county has 900 appraisers within a radius of +/-25 miles of me, and there are +/- 5,000 within a few hours, good luck to those newbs who who work with AMC’s where its fee and turn time requests all day. If only there was a system for them to learn the churn (4 to 9 appraisals a day), work 30 hours a week, take Fridays off, do reviews in less than 30 minutes, take vacations every month, etc. I guess they can dream.

    Relating to gas prices, good luck getting top tier premium for under $4.50 in my area.

    Seek the truth

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