Different Is Not Necessarily Wrong

Is It Wrong to Do Things Differently When Appraising?

Do you realize there are still appraisers out there who do what they do the same way they did in it the past?  There is nothing inherently wrong with that! We have spoken about this before, but this topic merits another visit.

On a Facebook post recently, I read a comment from appraiser-X telling appraiser-Y that the way s/he was doing something was just plain wrong.  So, here is the question: “Is different wrong?” 

There are still appraisers out there appraising the same way, with the same tools, and the same mindset, as they were in the 1980s.  Now, there is nothing wrong with this since we all choose how we run our appraisal businesses. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with getting a groove and sticking with it.  Since your groove and my groove are likely different grooves, it is also likely that the way I run my businesses and the way you run yours are not the same. This is not to judge how you manage your business.  It is just to say different, in and of itself, is not wrong. 

Cast your mind back to your mentors.  They likely 

taught you how to run your business.  You did not know any “better”, so you chose to run and administer yours as they ran theirs.  There is nothing wrong with following tradition. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. When appraiser-X indicted appraiser-Y for doing something incorrectly, appraiser-X was judging appraiser-Y’s business acumen.  This is not to support appraiser-Y’s protocols of doing business. It is to judge that appraiser-X’s 

conclusion that -X was right while -Y was wrong was in and of itself was wrong. Does different, in and of itself, equal wrong?  I contend it does not. Assuming appraiser-Y’s protocols were in-line with USPAP, state law, and generally accepted appraisal practices & procedures, merely being different did not make appraiser-Y wrong. 

Sometimes we need to step outside of the boxes we build around ourselves.  We work hard. We strive to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible.  We strive to understand and conform with the dictates of USPAP. Yet what is efficient to you may be sloth and wastage to me.   We all strive to follow USPAP, but heaven knows, there are enough grey areas and ambiguities in it to make 

that a challenge. I’ve spoken with numerous USPAP instructors over the years.  I can testify to the fact they do not always agree on their interpretations of USPAP. They can’t even agree on their interpretations of USPAP since USPAP changes every two years!

Therefore, when we look at how another appraiser does business, or practices real estate appraisal, we need to appreciate the fact that just because they do it differently than we do, that does not mean they are “wrong”.  Maybe we are!

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 196 Different Is Not Necessarily Wrong

5 Comments on “Different Is Not Necessarily Wrong”

  1. I agree with this and it’s natural that younger appraisers are more likely to jump into all the new technology. That said I purchased one of the first electronic measuring devices in the early 80s. It was not cheap. I appraise rural areas, ski resort houses etc……. I went to an outrageous contemporary with no interior walls and odd shapes everywhere….. needless to say this wasn’t working. Also I had noticed in a traditional house it was not unusual to get different readings if I measured that space twice…… Yes, I learned from my father….. I had always used a tape… and still do…. I can measure anything and quite quickly. It can be any shape… be on a cliff, have four feet of snow around the outside…… I can do it. So I stick with this one tool that can do it all. I’m fast and believe pretty accurate…… I have, of course, used technology in other ways….. I have not jumped to Datamaster as they do not cover my area and just feel that because of my area really don’t need it. I refuse to use some guy in India who said he would fill out the report etc….. I think that was back in the 90s or early 2000s….
    I do like NNEREN MLS — covering VT and NH — and parts of MA & ME. They list the appraiser, phone # etc… who appraised the sale. You contact them and get that information…..That is the best.

    1. I, too, still use a traditional tape…also tried the electronic one about the same time, but always was checking it with the tape. I have the utmost confidence in my ability to measure with my tapes and basis geometry knowledge. i move quickly both inside and outside and don’t have to worry whether it read off a bush or curtain instead of the actual walls!

  2. Good Blog, If everyone would just worry about how they do things and not how everyone else does things it would be a better place. I do think that we learn a lot from people on social media. I think it helps when people explain how they do something and not criticize others for how they do it. I always think of USPAP as a bible or a umpires rule book. There is a lot of ways to interpret something, that’s why we have so many church’s and so many arguments over umpires. Seek The Truth

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