I know I am going to take some heat for this one (because some of you are 100% convinced that life stinks), but I just can’t take it any longer. I am so tired and sick of the complaining out there among my peers that I just have to write something positive. Call me an eternal optimist, but it just is not that bad…really, it’s not.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have experienced an interesting journey. After writing and posting a few articles, not intending to be controversial in the least, my mailbox has subsequently filled up with hate mail. I am not talking about the typical disagreements and suggestions that come with most of my articles, I am talking about cold-blooded, calculated, hate mail in the first degree. Most of it I skipped, but some I read for entertainment value. If email was rated by the Motion Picture Association, this stuff would have been NC-17 (do they still have that rating?).
What was so controversial? I guess it is an unpardonable sin to shine a positive light on the appraisal industry these days. Some appraisers are so convinced that the government, AMCs, and others have dealt them such a rotten hand that to dare insinuate that there may be a silver lining is not a popular stance—for sure.
Before I continue, let me ward off some of those who are already warming up their email fingers by acknowledging that there are some definite issues in our industry. I get it. Seriously, I do. These are things I am vigilantly working on and I am an advocate for forming unified coalitions of appraisers to help solve these problems together. HOWEVER, it is not the end of our industry and it does not have to be the end of your appraisal business as you know it.
Okay, now prepare yourself….here comes the controversy….
In my humble opinion, here’s the problem; too many of us are still living in 2007. Well, the cheese has moved (if you have not yet read the classic book by Spencer Johnson, it is high-time you do). All human beings have a hard time with change, but—for some reason—appraisers seem to have a more difficult time than the average bear. I could philosophize on why that may be, but let’s just agree that it is. A large majority (I am tempted to put a percentage here, but I am an appraiser and do not want to take time to support my findings) of the emails that came in had reference to the nostalgic days of less regulation, fewer lawsuits, higher volume, and much higher incomes. Furthermore, there was much opining about how “if the politicians had just stayed out of the appraisal industry as a whole, we might still be…(fill in the blank).” Again, I get it. I have been in this industry for nearly 20 years and I have seen a lot of change. Yes, life is much different than it was just a few, short years ago, but…it is not time to hang up the old HP 12c…at least not yet.
WARNING: The rest of this article is going to be an attempt to point at the silver lining. Those of you who believe there is no positive to be had in our current state should stop reading now and dwell only on the difficulties we face.
In this world of long unemployment lines, I think we appraisers have it pretty sweet. If nothing else, we have a job! I know; we are working harder and might be making less money that we were just a few years ago, but
, seriously guys….we still have a job. I have many friends and acquaintances who cannot say the same thing today. You probably do too.
For those who are willing and able to adapt, we can still make a pretty good living doing appraisal work. And no, you do not have to cut corners or lower your quality to do so. In 2011, I had another great year—despite overregulation, lack of volume lending, and the UAD implementation. On the other hand, I had to do some major restructuring and adjusting in order to do so. My typical work day presently hardly resembles what I was doing in 2007-2008. However, I would put one of my contemporary appraisal reports up against a 2007 report in a cage match any day. Furthermore, I am not the only one. I have worked with a number of appraisers this past year (through both The Appraiser Coach and Your Appraisal Office) who have reported similar successes.
Frankly, though there have been some major changes come our way recently, I love appraisal work for the very same reasons I got into it in the 1990’s. I am still my own boss. I love dealing with the people and with technology. I enjoy the challenge that each appraisal brings. I experience something new every single day. I do not have to do labor with my hands in the cold wind of Idaho (I see road crews daily and thank heavens I am not in their shoes). I am still paying my bills. I can still…basically…make my own schedule.
Oh sure, there are some changes I would like to see in the appraisal industry. Some of them major. But, for the most part, life is still pretty good for this (and many other—less vocal) appraiser(s). For those of you who have recognized the changes—besides writing me hate mail—what are you doing about it?
Now, go create some value!
Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner, but he has found most of his success as a self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and consultant. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach (www.theappraisercoach.com) where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth. He is also the Founder and President of Your Appraisal Office (www.yourappraisaloffice.com) which implements some of the systems he has developed to help lower costs and free up time for real estate business owners. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.