Real Value


As real estate appraisers we can have some tough assignments.  It can be a tough job, that if you practice ethically, can take a toll on you.  Folks are often upset, with compliments coming few and far between most especially in mortgage use transactions. With that in mind, I wanted to start sharing some stories, some from me and hopefully, many from you, my readers that showcase some of the positives that we see and participate in as real property valuers.  I am calling this series Real Value. 

A few days ago, my last appointment was a tough one.  I was doing a luxury estate and the owner and his wife, an elderly couple, were there.  The husband walked around with me while I did my exterior inventory. It is a big home, so it took a while.  As we are going in, he stops and says,

“If my wife says anything out of the way please understand that she has had a stroke and suffers from dementia.”

I replied,” that’s Okay, thanks for telling me, I understand as when my mom passed a few years ago she had stage two dementia. “

So, we go through the home and the wife is in the master bedroom.  We exchange introductions and some pleasantries. As soon as I walked into their en suite bath I heard her ask her husband,” Where’s Ripley? “

He replied,” Ripley is dead. ” (Ripley as I found out in a few minutes, was their 17-year-old dog)

She was surprised at this news. She became upset and asked why she had not been told about this.  He explained patiently to her that she had been told and that he has been dead for a couple of months.

Of course, this upset her, but having seen this in my own home with my mother, I knew it is all that you can do in this situation.

It brought back memories of my mom who passed with stage-2 dementia, and when we were out of ear shot, I could see he was a bit rattled by it.  I stopped and told him a bit about my mom, and how hard it was to see my parent go through the confusion of this horrible disease.  That I could only imagine how painful and hard it must be for him. He was visibly relieved as we talked further, and I think that gentleman needed to talk.

This gentleman is a retired, very successful businessman.  He had to be made of sturdy stuff to accomplish what he has in his career. The home and the three exotic cars he has represents how economically successful he was in his life.  The pictures of him with officials and captains of commerce support that as well. The many pictures of him and his wife together shows their long-term commitment to each other. The ache I saw in his demeanor supported that, too.

Why am I sharing this? Well, it’s not to feel some sense of accomplishment, because I don’t.  I just want folks to take time to be mindful and kind to others. No matter how far we climb in life, we are all frail beings.  We all end up in the same place.  It never hurts to share love, compassion and empathy to others.  In fact, it’s quite rewarding to see that this person was happy to share and talk.  I may not have done much but listen, but sometimes that all we can do.

Sometimes my job can be surprising in good ways.

Have a great day everyone.

Published by Woody Fincham, SRA, AI-RRS, ASA, RAA

Residential appraiser in the Charlottesville and Shenandoah Valley specializing in high-value homes and properties that include equestrian use, hobby farms, High-performance homes (HERS, LEED, Pearl, Earthcraft), large acreage and any residential style property.

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