Christmas Week and New Year’s Eve-What’s an Appraiser to Do?

This is Diana with ABC-The Appraiser’s Business Companion with a wish and a tip.  This is what residential appraisers typically find is the “slow-season”.    Very few if any closings will happen today, many homeowners will have already figured out how to get to the end of the year without Refinancing.  Some appraisers, like myself, will be gathering their continuing education certificates and completing forms to renew their certification, some will be trying to finish up reports that will be due by Wednesday.  The life Cycle of an Appraiser is a repetitive pattern of “hearing, seeking, finding and telling”.  Oddly enough that is also the life cycle of a Christian.

For some these days will involve a shut-down; possibly a drink or two.  For others they will figure out that its another day when the phone won’t ring.  Those with home offices will find their interruptions will be limited to those in the household or with unexpected friends who may stop by for a cup of eggnog.  None the less, work can get done while the Gumbo, Tamales, Seafood Bisque or some other traditional Christmas Eve Dinner is being prepared and visits with the family are conducted.  Most of us will be tired, some will be happy, some will be lonely and some will find themselves a bit depressed as Christmas past rears its head and the loved ones we’ve lost are remembered and missed.  It’s a day and a week of final moments to the events in the year.

While you straighten your office, consider the messages you’ve given over the past year when you practiced appraisal.  Some of your clients closed loans, others blamed you for failing to find the value while others hailed you a hero for getting that job done so quickly and so well.  You measured in the rain, wind, heat, heavy traffic, sleet, snow, saw fires, floods, dodged a tornado, saw homes destroyed, prepared finals on new homes built.  You walked into the lives of others whose dreams were beginning as some were ending.  Do you remember their faces?

Sometimes appraisers feel that change is the constant in their practice and I would agree with them.  Big Data is with us.  Hybrid Appraisals are certainly being pushed upon us by the demands of our lenders.   We have software companies developing methods of selling back to us data; data they’ve gleaned from appraisers across the country including ourselves.  Who would have ever dreamed that the research of an appraiser would have been gleaned and reconstructed into data that would be sold back to us.

This week the economy seems to be rather shaky and one has to wonder, how will that affect the appraiser?    Stocks are on pace for their worst December since the Great Depression.  This past Friday the Dow ended its worst week since 2008.  The shutdown of the federal government is expected to continue until possibly January.  Some stock market veterans argue that Wall Street is prematurely pricing in a recession.  With this type of information, what should the appraiser expect?

You came into the world of “needing to know” without bias, with independence and with objectivity.  Regardless of how the clients or intended users wanted it written (the semantics of our practice continues to expand our lexicon), you gave more than a present, you gave a gift of diligence, a gift of reasoning that was without consideration of favor of the client.  I opened with the life cycle of an appraiser, “hearing, seeking, finding telling”.  Listening to economist does not need to diminish the outlook for appraisers.  Actually, if history repeats itself, each time our economy has trended downward, the appraiser has been risen up to do more as the regression analysts can’t see or know what we the appraiser who works that market daily.  I suspect if we can learn from the past that our secondary markets will have a “boat load” of data they will need help disseminating and applying to their assets.  Researching (seeking) to find the most relevant local data will be critical in helping the users of our appraisal services plan for the survival of any economic downturn.  Keep digging, go back to a similar time and glean from those changes how your market adapted and reacted.  Your analysis will help you find the answers, your critical reasoning and appraisal training will finish the journey through the appraisal process in a changing market.  When the day is done, you will “tell” the story of the real estate market in your location.  You will be the silent warrior, battling through all the news and latest software and regulations.

As we enter this week of closing out 2018, I raise my cup of coffee to all of you and wish you a great end to a difficult year, Merry Christmas ABC members.  This is Diana Jacob with ABC-The Appraiser’s Business Companion and you’ve just had a tip of the week.