Who Dat? Joe Mier Valuers Dozen

by Woody Fincham, SRA, AI-RRS, RAA Member of RAC

mier

Joe Mier, SRA, AI-RRS is well known to those of us on social media in the valuation world.  I had spoken with Joe through social media many times, but did not officially meet him until we both attended an a la mode Road Show in New Orleans. He owns a valuation firm in Hammond, LA.  One of my best memories so far of Joe is getting the chance to walk around the French Quarter with him.  We enjoyed some great food and saw some neat stuff. He really knows his way around local gastronomy. If you ever have a chance to go eat with him, listen to his advice on where to eat.  Joe has been very involved with various organizations helping appraisers in his home state of Louisiana and nationally.  So, let’s see what Joe Knows.

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

JM:I have been in the appraisal profession for 24 years.

 

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

JM: Helping people understand the enjoyment of home ownership by knowing the value of the real estate at the time of their purchase.

 

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

JM: Wow! That is a great question. Maureen Sweeny is one of my secret idols J she is so knowledgeable and cares about people. Mentors I have several that I look towards such as Pete Gallo, Pat Turner, Lori Noble and yourself Woody.

 

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

JM: That appraisers get quality education and never quit learning.

 

VN: What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

JM:I am a true believer in taking time with family and friends and enjoying life together.

 

VN: Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

JM: 3- years I see more value in consumer products of buying and investing for residential appraisers. I cannot see more than 3 years right now.

 

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

JM: That we will celebrate 20 years in our current location this year and we have serves thousands of clients over that time period.

 

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

JM: That consumers could understand the value of the appraisal process and that it’s not just about closing “the deal”.

 

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

JM: To bring our services to a broader consumer client base. We are actively getting out into the community space educating agents and the public on how we can assist them with the evaluation process.

 

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

JM: To improve appraiser independence that has been removed by the business model that was put AMCs in place of local relationships with lenders.

 

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

JM: To get quality education and mentorship from appraisers that truly care about the appraisal process and not just filling the form.

 

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

JM: Being a real estate appraiser has been a very fulfilling career for me and my family. It has allowed me to be a part of the community by giving back in many ways through service and knowledge. Remember that working hard is great but that there is more to life than just working make the time to make great memories with your family and friends. I look forward to interacting with people like you Woody and other appraisers. I would encourage appraisers to get out from their offices and make contact with appraisers from their area and don’t be afraid to share information about becoming a better business owner and at the same time a better appraiser. I wish everyone success in 2019. Thank you, Woody for allowing me to share a few words.

 

 

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I appreciate Joe for doing this.  He shares some great wisdom with us.  Proactive appraisers need to be educating and informing consumers and agents.

Cheryl Kunzler, SRA, AI-RRS One of the Thought Leaders in Residential Valuation

by Woody Fincham, SRA. AI-RRS, RAA

kunzler

 

I have known our  interviewee for over a decade.  I first met Cheryl Kunzler, SRA, AI-RRS when she came out to teach a class for my then Chapter, the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.  Since then few people have done more to help me along in my career professionally.  Cheryl has allowed me to co-teach and audit many of the classes that she teaches.  I have learned so much from her both as an instructor and as an appraiser.  Cheryl is a true leader in the professional being an outstanding appraiser.  I hope you all enjoy learning a but about one of my friends and colleagues.

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

CK: I have been an appraiser, reviewer and consultant for 40 years.

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

CK: I have always enjoyed the freedom this job has given me.  I can set my own appointments, do my research in my own way and constantly learn new thought processes and different ways of accomplishing the same thing; an opinion of value. Besides others in the profession, I have been interacting with agents, property managers and property owners to learn how to be a better appraiser.

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

CK: My father, Lew Pollvogt, was my first mentor; when I expressed an interest in appraising, he suggested I first take some beginning courses to learn what the work entailed. I worked with him for more than 20 years and learned how to be an appraiser.

I was also influenced by some of my instructors also, for expanding my understanding and love of the profession.  Richard Lodge, MAI and John Ammon, SRA both now deceased, along with Thomas  Craddock, SRA, MAI, were very instrumental in my participation in the Appraisal Institute governance and teaching. There were other instructors; just can’t bring them all to mind.

Right now, my idol is Sandy Adomatis. She has developed and written about everything green; an influence on value that I don’t think existed before she began.  Sandy has accomplished so much for our profession in disseminating up-to-date knowledge about a very important topic, for residential and commercial appraisers. She has also encouraged me over the years to move in different directions.

And I admire you, Woody, for your excitement and dedication to appraising and teaching.  I have learned so much from teaching with you. I am so happy to have our profession populated with extremely knowledgeable, dedicated and forward- thinking appraisers such as yourself.

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

CK: I absolutely love teaching appraisal courses and seminars.  Over my many years of teaching, I have been able to pass on much of my body of knowledge, which was passed on to me by other instructors and appraisers. I learn so much from the students every time I teach. Since many starting an appraisal career started out in another career, they have a wealth of knowledge to share. The other students, just starting out in the beginning courses, have so much enthusiasm and are eager to learn and test out what they already know.  It is just so exciting!

 

I have also been involved with reviewing courses and seminars for the Appraisal Institute and writing test questions for AI and others. It really expands and tests my own knowledge!

I would love to have residential appraisers receive more recognition for their abilities and expertise.  I have run across so many people (both appraisers and non-appraisers) who believe that those specializing in residential are “just” house appraisers. Though I have completed residential and commercial appraisals for years, the extent of recognition for the residential side has not changed much in 40 years. I wish I had a way to change that attitude.

VN: What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

CK: I started traveling internationally over the past four years. I love going to other countries and see their use of wind farms, solar panels, green roofs and unique architecture. Right now, I am taking a Russian language course; I am traveling there next year, and it makes my brain think in a different way.

I also enjoy gardening, but now I must balance that with the times I am out of town!

VN: Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

CK: In three-to-five years, I think the demand for appraisers will continue to decline.  Lenders have always tried to find ways to eliminate the appraisers from the mortgage lending process. But as I tell my students, look outside the lending arena; attorneys will always need valuations for estates, for divorces, for property disputes. I have always enjoyed completing review appraisal work. It can be interesting to see how others solve an appraisal problem. And regardless of what many appraisers think, there is not always a problem to be discerned with an appraisal review assignment.

In five years, wholly dependent on the trends of our economy, I believe more and more clients will rely on online databases, spreadsheets, hybrid appraisals and other processes to value properties. That is not to say that appraisers will not be needed; just that other skills and areas of expertise will be needed by appraisers. Perhaps more research and analysis, and not as much physical inspections.

In ten years; sorry Woody, I don’t have a crystal ball! In about 2005 or 2006, I appraised a 20-acre residential parcel with three separate houses located on the site. It was for estate purposes, and the highest and best use was for subdivision development. Seven or eight years later, I was requested to complete another assignment on that property, (which by the way, was physically the same as is was at my first valuation). I was unable to take the assignment at the time. However, I looked back on my report and realized there was no way now to support the discounting I had applied originally. The recession had occurred beginning in 2008, and the original market information I had gathered was not at all appropriate. So, I really don’t have enough information to forecast ten years from now.

 

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

CK: I am pleased at the way my business has evolved over the years; it provides enough variety related to the profession to allow me to expand my knowledge. I am doing review work, course and seminar review, teaching and serving on my county board of equalization.

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

CK: I would like to have started sooner using technology, for marketing, research and analysis. There are so many more efficient ways to complete our assignments than there were several years ago.

I would also have started specializing in litigation assignments earlier in my career; I really enjoy solving a complex problem and testifying to my results.

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

CK: I would like to complete more review assignments; they challenge my knowledge on many levels. I am lucky to be in a position that I have not completed work for lenders for the past 8 or 9 years.  I don’t want the pressure of time and making everything fit in someone’s process. I mostly complete narratives and find I can communicate better. I am not criticizing anyone who does this type of work; I did it for more than 30 years. I was just ready for a change.

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

CK:I would really like appraisers to embrace learning; many appraisers take required seminars on topics they already know or assume that they cannot learn anything new in for instance, a USPAP course. I think we all may have encountered appraisers who assume the way they did things “back then” is sufficient for now. The profession is always evolving, and I hope everyone in the profession realizes that.

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

CK: Allow yourselves to get a variety of experiences of methods of valuation and property types within your specialty. Don’t just do lender work; there are so many other uses for your services. You never know when you will find a niche not being adequately served in your market.  Get involved with the appraisal profession; find an organization that works for you. I have always been proud to be a member of the Appraisal Institute and serving on local, regional and national committees, so of course that is the one I would recommend. But get involved somewhere! Get a designation, value your expertise and don’t always reject the more complex assignments. Diversify if you are a residential specialist and maybe in commercial you can become more of an expert in one property segment.

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

CK: I will have to imitate what many others have said in this blog. Enjoy life, take chances, be adventurous, don’t wait until tomorrow, grab opportunities in work and in life, spend time with your family. Life is too short to wish you had done something else!

Listen!! Amazing what you learn when you are not speaking!

*   *   *   *

 

Sage advice from a respected professional and amazing insight on personal life as well. Many of us are workaholics, I know that I suffer from it.  Cheryl is doing lots of traveling now, I keep dibs on her through her Facebook page.  She is always off enjoying some awesome locations.   She also echoes some of the same advice that we see from many:  get out of the lender space if you can, or limit it’s affects on your business by doing less of it.

 

Thanks, Cheryl, for taking the time to do this.

Pat Turner, the Man with a Plan Valuer’s Dozen

by Woody Fincham, SRA, AI-RRS, RAA Member of RAC

pat turner

 

I have known Pat Turner for many years.  My first introduction to him was from attending a Virginia State Board meeting.  I had attended to give public commentary about the problems I saw with regulatory oversight in the commonwealth.  Pat and I struck up a conversation outside the meeting in the hallway where we discussed my disappointment with how the board looked at enforcement.  I explained to him that I was rather passionate about it.  To which he replied, ” Woody, if you have half the fight in you that I do about this profession, you will make some changes happen in the profession.”  If you know Pat at all, you know how true to his nature that reply really is.  Pat has led the charge in trying to advocate for the appraisal profession for many, many years. When I received my SRA designation Pat is the man that handed it to me, at my request.  That is how much think of him, and I know many that think highly of him as well.  I am proud to get the chance to share the Valuer’s Dozen with you, as Pat is one of my mentors and one of my friends.

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

PT: 46.5 years

 

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

PT:  I love the research and analyzing the actions of the market.

 

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

PT: My mentors were:
Jim Faulconer, Chesterfield Assessor
Dick Farmer, Assessor of Henrico County and instructor for the Society of Real Estate Appraisers
Bob Barton, MAI and an instructor and friend
Woody Aaron, MAI, instructor and friend

 

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

PT: My passion is to do the best I can in all that I undertake as an appraiser.  As you know, I am passionate about consumer protection and the appraisal profession as a whole.

 

VN: What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

PT: My wife, children, grandchildren.  University of Richmond. My close friends because they know my many faults and like me anyway.

 

VN: Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

PT: In 3 years we will have new Fannie and Freddie reporting vehicles, if they are still viable.
In 5 years we appraisers better be getting more and better education because the mortgage part will be dissolving as we know it.  Take the best educational classes offered.  Be prepared for legal work, IRS work, work from accountants, etc.

 

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

PT: Reputation and longevity, despite all the bumps along the way.

 

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

PT: Ban AMCs or at least make them more transparent regarding C & R fees.

 

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

PT: My present goal is to assist my daughter to obtain her licenses.

 

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

PT: What would I change?  The lack of enforcement, which is due to insufficient knowledge of our profession, in my opinion.

 

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

PT: Get the best education available.  Please use the LIVE classroom.  Join the American Society of Appraisers as they are rapidly becoming the representative for residential appraisers.

 

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

PT:  Finally, I would recommend that people get involved.  Not only with our profession, but also social and civic activities.  Your personality and knowledge impress more people than you know.  Be a leader.  But if you can’t be a leader, then follow, or get out of the way.

Valuer’s Dozen: Mr. Volunteer

creighton

I have known Creighton Cross, MAI for a decade.  We met when I sold my firm in Virginia Beach, VA and moved to Knoxville, TN to work with David Braun, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS. I wanted to focus on my designation and wanted to get away from the city.  When I arrived there Creighton was welcoming and I found out we shared some things.  We both played soccer and watched it d for a past time, we both loved valuation and laughing.  We did not agree on college football…he is a Vols fan, and I am from Virginia.  I hope you all enjoy getting to know Creighton.

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

CC: I got into the profession in January 2005.  So I am working on my 14th year.

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

CC: The people we meet during inspections probably. I have encountered some of the most interesting and lovely people in this profession that I would have never had the opportunity to meet.  I love everything about real estate as well and it is so different throughout East TN.  One day it may be a $6 million dollar lake home or mountain home, while the next day it could be an 800 sf modular home built for the Manhattan project during WWII. https://www.manhattanprojectvoices.org/  We have an entire town built around these homes, or we may be appraising a new craft brewery or marina.

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

CC: In addition to you, I have to certainly mention David Braun, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS.  He literally pulled me off a showroom floor selling motorcycles after college and gave me a chance.  Like a father, he had helped to shape me and guide me in the profession.   He has taught and trained people from all over, and has always been so ahead of his time with technology, Scope of Work Theory, methodology and the vision for the profession.  I am blessed to have been trained by David.  Otto Spence, MAI is another great teacher, visionary and motivator.  When I would have down times or frustrations, Otto would be on the other end of the line encouraging me to keep going and to constantly be working toward Designation.  I certainly look up to so many people in the profession, YOU have been a great friend, colleague, and advocate for our profession, Steve Roach, Leslie Sellers, Stephanie Coleman, Jim Atwood, Jim Amorin, Ben Davidson, Rick Hiton, Sandra Adomatis, Tom Munizzo, TJ McCarthy, Maureen Sweeney, Frank Lucco, Mark Verrett, Pat O’Connor, Pete Gallo, Rick Borgis, and so many more.  I would take up the entire page literally.  I really look up to those who have blessed the profession with teaching, complex theory, advanced techniques or that have taken the time to share their knowledge with the profession!

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

CC:  I love to train and teach.  I am a bit of a workaholic (Clinically Diagnosed J)…but if I could just teach, train and motivate others I would do that.  I truly love the profession, and enjoy trying to bring the appraisers together for a common purpose in advancement and professionalism.  ((omit:  I believe we need to bring Sexy Back to the profession)  (Make Appraisal Great Again) LOL.)

VN: What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

CC:  I have to say my family.  Abby has been by my side both personally and professionally for more than 13 years.  She is always encouraging, my kids are often my guiding light when I am frustrated or down, I have photos of them around the office as a reminder of why I do what I do with the integrity I do it with.  I do not take the “protect the public trust” lightly.  I truly believe that I have the responsibility to support my opinions  and protect the public, my family, etc.  I love the lake, travel, flying.  I have been trying to get my pilots license for years and Appraisals keep getting in the way.

VN: Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

CC: In three years I believe we will see the profession in a stronger light than we are currently.  I believe there is going to be high demand for appraisal practice due to the pending “correction” in the market I believe will occur around 2020.  That seems to bring us back into the perspective as important in the eyes of the public.  5 years, I believe we will be much more “big data” driven, automated, and will have unique specialty practices, where our analytical skillset is more applicable with less inspection and “Window Time”.  10 years….I must use an extraordinary assumption here, but I believe the profession will look significantly different.  I believe the regulations will be the most significant difference.  The real estate space will likely be vastly different, based on interest rates and the continual changing technology platforms.  I believe there will be a significant decline in appraisers, due mostly to attrition from age.  That is why I am such a proponent of appraisers taking on trainees.  I feel there is a need for this generation of appraisers to give their knowledge, expertise and work ethic  back to the next generation.  If not, the profession will not be sustainable, outside of specialty practice long term.  We must adapt, evolve and create demand for our services and set ourselves apart from other “valuation” providers.

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

CC: I bought David Braun’s company in 2009-10.  I thankfully did not run his successful, 30 year old company into the ground!!!  I have continued to grow and expand since acquisition and have created national partnerships.  I have been extremely proud of the people I have worked with and trained.  We had so many trainee’s come through and continue to come through and many have gotten their designations, started their own businesses, etc.  Rusty Rolen, MAI, Seth Rohling, MAI, AI-GRS, Jason Blankenship, MAI….just to name a few that were able to get designated early.  They all worked so hard to get to where they are.  I love to give back…through Appraisal Institute Leadership opportunities, Appraisal Coalition opportunities…That makes me proud when we have a part in Appraisal Liability reform, or helping to have an impact on Appraisal Waivers or LDAC experiences.  The people we have worked with, from all organizations and around the country has been super rewarding.

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

CC:  We need to be more digitally driven in my office and in my model.  As much as I feel that we are cutting edge with systems, I do not have any appraisers using tablets in the field for inspections.  That’s just one of the items I wish I could alter for efficiency.  The tools are there to help all appraisers become for efficient and I just need to adapt, evolve and get to working on that.

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

CC:  I am wanting to grow our company.  I am looking to hire/partner with like minded people in surrounding states to be able to provide our clients with the greatest level of service possible.  It is a passion I have in meeting people and creating a network, systems and a TEAM.  I would love to start teaching, and have some opportunities for more volunteer service with AI and other national organizations.

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

CC:  Man…just one thing…..I’m torn, so I am giving you two.   1) I would eliminate the maximum number of trainees we can have or increase it at least.  In TN it is 3.  I believe that there is a need and there are supervisors out there that could take more on and create amazing, qualified and excellent appraisers.  There would need to be limitations to this I know, but I believe it is restraint of trade in some regards.  It should be a business decision for the number of trainee’s one can take.  Other professions are not limited on the number of apprentices, Paralegals, dental hygienist, etc.  they may hire or staff they train, so It frustrates me.  I have had to turn away or refer excellent candidates away before when we are full of trainee’s.   That is unfortunate.  Some just give up when they cannot find a supervisor and that is a poor reflection on the profession.  2) I believe (non-USPAP) valuation products should be legal in all 50 states.  Our clients have a need for a product that does not and should not meet USPAP…For FRT work, it is understandable, but there are times it is not and should not be necessary.  Unfortunately, Appraisers are hand-cuffed into meeting USPAP or turning work down many times.  Our clients that want and trust our opinions are then stuck with providing an internal evaluation or BPO type product that is frankly less qualified than an appraiser’s opinion.  No matter what anyone says, it takes time, and creates hurdles to meet USPAP (When properly and completely done).  There needs to be alternative standards that allow for appraisers to provide our valuation services outside of USPAP in the lending space specifically.  Evaluations in TN is a great example of this type of service, but this needs to be nationally considered in some fashion.  It is in the best interest of the public and the clients to have a qualified, professional appraiser provide any and all opinions of value, period.

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

CC: GET INVOLVED.  Thankfully with Social Media this is a much easier thing to do than it used to be…but get involved with your local chapter of the Appraisal Institute, ASA/NAIFA, NAA, Coalitions, IRWA, AGA, RAC…etc.   Go to Classes…DO NOT TAKE QUALIFYING EDUCATION ONLINE….In TN it is mandatory that all QE is in class, but I know that is not the case in much of the country, and I believe that is wrought with trouble.  The most education I ever received was talking with my peers in class, at break, lunch, after class.  It is so rewarding to be able to get others perspectives from around the country and you make career friendships you can rely on for future reference.

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

CC:  I want to thank you for your leadership to the profession and time with this blog.  I know your heart is tremendously advocating for the Appraisal Profession and I respect and admire that.  It is truly people like you that are making our profession stronger.  I want to make sure that I have clarified throughout this interview as well that we are in the Appraisal Profession….not the Appraisal Industry as well…..You and I feel strongly about the use of these terms, as they are not synonymous.

*****

There you have it folks.  Creighton is a great appraiser and has been a friend of mine for a decade.  I have always admired him for being a strong family man and his willingness to be an innovator with his business.

Going Concern Valuer in Virginia

placer
Courtesy H.Placer

Heather M. Placer, MAI, SRA, CCIM, IFAS, ASA is an appraiser located in Midlothian, Virginia. Heather is a career long appraiser that got started at an early age.  She volunteers her time to the Appraisal Institute (AI) and is currently the president of the Virginia Commonwealth Chapter of the Appraisal institute.  It would require too much space to list everything that she does and is a part of with the AI.  Heather is also the lead non-residential appraiser on our Virginia team for our company, Valucentric.  As well as Vice-President of the company. She is also an active commercial real estate agent.

 

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

HP: 25 years (started in 1993 as an assistant to an appraiser)

 

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

HP: I love the flexibility of my hours and the challenges of the assignments.  I also like visiting different businesses and learning about how they are successful.  One of the most interesting things is talking to small business owners and seeing what makes them successful.

 

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

HP: Any of our leaders at the Appraisal Institute have been exceptional.  Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-RRS, AI-GRS our most recent past president, did a great job at trying to get younger people into the profession.  We have a number of professionals coming up that exemplify the passion we need to continue moving the industry forward.

 

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

HP:  I am really interested in going concerns-anything that seems strange or odd in the commercial world fascinates me.

 

VN: What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

HP: I am also a commercial sales agent.  I recently earned my CCIM.  That has been a different experience.  I also enjoy teaching.  In my downtime I have a passion for anything with water and my next goal is to buy a lake house.

 

VN: Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

HP: As technology continues to impact the profession I think that in 3/5/10 years the most successful appraisers will be those that can specialize in one area and those that have earned their designations.

 

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

HP: I have spent a considerable amount of time studying vineyards.  I am really enjoying branching out into assignment types that many appraisers do not like.

 

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

HP: I would try to get away from the standard “cookie cutter” bank work

 

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

HP: I am working on really trying to learn more about the going concern models.  I want to continue to build a database to get a good foundation of multipliers and other ratios to contribute to the study of separating intangible components.

 

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

HP: Doing away with AVM’s and banks that think they can apply a standardized model to our profession.  This is not an industry that can be automated.

 

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

HP: You may have to make less the first two years while you are training but it will be worth it

 

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

HP: I cannot stress enough the importance of continuing to take education, whether you are new in the business or a seasoned veteran.   This industry changes continuously; the best appraisers are the ones that continue to keep up with these changes.

 

 

*****

There you have it folks.  Heather is a testament to what education and hard work can get you.  She has vigorously chased and earned several designations.  I have personally done several assignments with her and she knows value.

 

 

Valuation Cowboy

andy
Courtesy of A. Arledge

I have known Andy Arledge for 4 or 5 years now.  He is the creative force behind Appraiser Genie.  The genie is a tool that he sells to a appraisers that assists with data importation, analysis and report writing.  I have spent enough time with Andy to know that he is a man of integrity and one that loves the valuation profession.  He lives in Abilene, TX.  I hope that you enjoy getting to know Andy Arledge.

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

AA: I started out in 1981 when I got my real estate salesman license, was a broker for 10 years and now an appraiser for 14 years. I’ve owned a brokerage firm, the largest property management company within 150 miles, developed real estate, built new construction and owned many rentals. I have a wide range of real estate experience.

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

AA: I enjoy meeting people, solving the problem of the appraisal. Complex assignments intrigue me.

 

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

AA: That’s hard to say, there are a lot of good appraisers that have joined the ranks of AMC’s. I enjoy listening to the boots on the ground appraiser who’s still in the field tackling the actual problems of the industry. I respect Mark Skapinetz for leading the charge of trying to get appraisers to come together as one voice.

 

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

AA: My current passion is writing software that perform analytics on large datasets from MLS exports. I like helping the boots on the ground appraiser perform a more analytical approach to appraising by using tools that greatly increase their productivity, rather than just being a form filler guessing at adjustments or just pulling them out of thin air. The appraiser of the future must have support for their adjustments/analysis.

 

VN: What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

AA: I love flying small planes and getting back to nature in the mountains, hunting and fishing.

 

VN: Where do you see the profession in

AA: 3 years?

Having now lived through 2 real estate downturns, I see the current market as overheated and I expect another real estate correction in the next 2 years. If the correction is large enough, the profession might gain credibility again if the appraiser’s stick together and become a cohesive voice. Our industry is so fragmented, we don’t have a good voice to get Congress’ ear when new laws are implemented. The big banks could care less what we think, so it’s our job to band together and get the lawmakers to listen to the appraiser’s experience. I believe the desktop push that is currently being pursued by the GSE’s will run it’s course and prove to not be reliable enough to be a good lending tool.

5 years?

I see more and more automation in the appraisal process due to technology advancements. By automation I mean the more mundane clerical processes will be automated to allow the appraiser more time to do the actual research and analyzing their professional expertise requires to build a credible report. The appraiser that engages technology into his business should prosper.

10 years?

Artificial intelligence is advancing so rapidly, it’s difficult to project this far in the future. What we know as advanced technology today will be antiquated within 10 years. 10 years ago, cell phones weren’t taking photos and didn’t have the power to load mobile inspection apps. I still see the appraiser as an integral part of the loan making process, since the appraiser is the only one bringing common sense to the loan process, provided the appraisers become a unified voice with representation in Congress with the decision makers.

 

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

AA: Taking a private appraisal practice and using that experience that experience to develop Appraiser Genie from an idea into a national presence is what I am most proud of. It’s been 4 years of hard work, but with our new version coming out very soon, Genie will be the most advanced software supporting the appraiser in today’s market.

 

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

AA: I would’ve developed more private work earlier, where I didn’t do as much AMC work.

 

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

AA: I’m planning on continuing development of Appraiser Genie where it becomes more the norm for appraisers.

 

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

AA: I’d say it was time to move back to a more lender/appraiser relationship, recent studies have shown this to be more effective and less costly than the current model.

 

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

AA: For the past 10 years, I’ve advise anyone who called me NOT to get into this profession. With the recent rise in fees and the advancement in technology, I would advise a trainee to gain as much technology experience as possible. Technology will drive the future of the industry.

 

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

AA: I would strongly encourage every appraiser to join their state coalition or a national association. Appraisers are so independent, it’s like herding cats, none of them will go in the same direction at once. It’s no wonder we are the whipping boys of the industry. Until we band together as one voice, the appraiser profession will continue to be at the bottom of the food chain. With one voice we will be heard, and our profession will continue long into the future.

 

****

There you have it folks.  A little insight into another professional in our field.  I have to echo Andy’s sentiment on the profession.  Get involved.

 

The Queen of Green

July 6, 2018

 

sandy picture
Courtesy of Sandra Adomatis

Sandra K. Adomatis, SRA, LEED Green Associate, NAR GREEN Designee has been a meaningful member of the valuation profession for many years.  I first met Sandy when I was taking the last class and demonstration alternative for my SRA designation.  Sandy was the facilitator for that week.  I was immediately impressed with her knowledge, astuteness and love for valuation.  There was no doubt that she loves the profession and believes in doing it the right way.  She is a great instructor, one of the best there is in my opinion.

Sandy has been a thought leader in the profession, most notable in sustainable residential technology.  She is the foremost authority in valuing residential solar PV systems and has been crucial in assisting the Appraisal Institute in developing the Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum.  She has also authored a book, Residential Green Valuation Tools, which is a must have for any valuer’s library. She is also a developer and course writer for several classes including the green series.  I have had the pleasure to work with her on a team that she led that focused on extracting a premium for PEARL home certifications which was published in a report here.

On a personal note, there are few valuation professionals that I hold in a higher esteem.  I am thankful to her for being a mentor to me, and for helping me along in my career.  Just to share one quick story about what a good person that she is:

My wife and I have a son that has some special needs.  Sandy met my two youngest children (twins, a boy and a girl) and my wife when she came to Charlottesville to teach the green classes a few years ago.  My twins have since nicknamed her “Sandy Starfish”. Our son has been in a facility moist of this year to help with some of his issues and when Sandy found out she started sending him correspondence by mail.  That meant the world to him, and to my wife and me.

So that is the setup for a Valuer’s Dozen that I am most proud to publish.  Ladies and gentlemen, the Queen of Green, Sand Adomatis:

 

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

SA: I started appraising in 1981 after two years working for a builder, 1 year for a retrofit contractor, and 1 year managing an appraisal business.

 

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

SA: Appraising is a puzzle that offers a new picture and challenge with each assignment.  As a certified general appraiser working many years with my MAI husband, I had the privilege of inspecting a wide variety of properties from nudist camp, farms, adult toy store, railroad right-of-way, 16,000 sq ft houses on the Gulf to 800 square foot cookie cutters.  How many people can say their job is that diverse?  Not only have I learned much about appraising methodology but have also met many interesting people and learned lots about businesses.

 

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

SA: My biggest mentor is my husband, Richard Adomatis, MAI.  He has been retired for more than 25 years but has a great mind and has not forgotten the business.  I can still discuss an appraisal problem today and get direction or suggestions that lead me in the right direction.

I don’t have any idols in the profession, but I have several people I truly respect and admire.  They are all Appraisal Institute members and to name a few – Maggie Hambleton, SRA; Tim Runde, MAI; Kathy Coon, SRA; Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA; Donald Boucher, SRA; and even you Woody.

 

 

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

SA:My passion for the profession is to see more young people come into the profession with a desire to be the best they can be.  That means learning as much as you can and looking to be more than a mortgage lending appraiser.  There is so much work out there that pays well outside the mortgage lending world.

Appraisers that specialize in mortgage lending work have a challenge going forward with low fees, increasing regulations and guidelines, and automated valuation models that will take away the easy assignments.

My passion is to see more appraisers learn about the green features that are beginning to become code in many markets on the residential and commercial side.  I’ve been on this track of learning all I can about the buildings science and dedicating much of my time in sharing what I’ve learned.  Our professional is so slow to move in a direction that is not the norm and sometimes don’t see the train until it is upon them.  I’ve recently been engaged in working with appraisers in three states that are very green and learned that we still have lots of education needs to bring our profession up to speed.

 

VN: What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

SA: My passion outside of the industry include photography and spending time with family.  Photography is a hobby and I enjoy doing photo shoots for high school graduates that do not have the funds to buy the expensive photographs from the school.   I’ve done prom pictures for some of these students as well.  Little kids are really a pleasure to photograph.  My children and grandchildren are getting older now, but they gave me lots of joy in photographing them as they played.  I did the formal event photographs for the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club for about 10 years.  (My photography is all volunteer because I love it.)

 

VN: Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

SA: In 3 years I do not expect major changes in the profession.  In 5 year, we will begin to see more AVMs taking the simple assignments for the mortgage lending work.   We’ll begin to see more appraisers leaving the business due to age and loss of mortgage work if they have not prepared for other client types.

In 10 years, the databases will be incredibly different, larger, and yet still lacking important data needed to truly understand the more complicated property types.  This means appraisers with skills in complex assignments will always have a space in the real estate transaction.

 

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

SA: My personal business has flourished over the last 25 years.  I’ve seen some appraisers in my market move to other areas or take government jobs because they could not survive during the lean years.  Fortunately, my mentor taught me to  diversify and have a variety of clients.  He also taught me to find a niche that no one else is filling and be the champion.  That is how I gained the title “Green Queen.”

 

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

SA: If I could change my business model it would be to have brought a couple trainees along 10 years ago.  I’ve worked with assistants that were very good and made a difference in the work I could handle.  As I move toward the winding down years of my career (last 10 years) I could see another 10 beyond that if I had a couple trained appraisers that were younger and dedicated.

 

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

SA: I have a goal of writing another book in 2019.  I’ve got a start on it and hope to have one finished by end of next year.

My current work locally is appraising for estate, divorce, listing, or consulting clients.  I do some governmental work for right of way projects as well.  My consulting falls into the space of builders and real estate agents that need help in marketing, preparing for an appraisal or challenging an appraisal of a high performance (green) property.

Much of my time is spent writing courses, seminars, and teaching or speaking on high performance properties or features.  Some local appraisers hire me to do the solar PV valuations because they have not taken the classes and need the assistance.

 

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

SA: The image.   There are 77,000 licensed appraisers in the US and far too many do not present a professional image to the people they serve.  We are in a service business and we must take the time to do our work well and to serve the people we call our clients.  If we tell them we’ll have a report in 5 days, do it.  Why do appraisers think they only need to take the number of classes needed to get the required CE?  What does this say about our dedication to be the best we can be?

 

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

SA: If you plan on making this profession a career, take quality education and work under an appraiser with a good reputation.  Take pride in your work and find a space where you can specialize and learn everything you can about it.

Network with other professionals and organizations that will add to your knowledge base, skills, and potential clients.  Attending meetings and educational offerings by right of way organizations, attorney education, and building science classes are just a few of the ways I’ve found were most helpful in gaining a presence in the space I wanted to serve.

 

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

SA: I love my profession and I want to see everyone in this business love it like I do.  We need to work together to make it what we want it to be.  The low fees we accept can only be changed by appraisers.  Charge what you are worth.  I am not on sale today and I am not a .org.  Keep that in mind when the next client calls.

*****

I hope that you all enjoyed this one.  I am getting lots of great feedback on this series and I consider it a success already.  Please keep the suggestions coming.

Valuers Dozen, The Professor

 

I am very pleased to out this Valuers Dozen up.  The subject of this one is someone that I look up to in the profession.  Stephen Roach, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS is a thought leader in the valuation space.  His firm, Jones, Roach & Caringella, Inc is a well respected one. Stephen has served in some very important positions with the Appraisal Institute (AI) going back to 1991.  Presently he is the chair of education and member of four other committees with the AI.  He is considered by many to be one of the best instructors in the AI.  On a personal note, Stephen is someone that I know that loves to find good food.  Dear readers, I give you The Professor, Stephen Roach, MAI, SRA, AI-RRS.

roach pic

Courtesy of Stephen Roach

 

VN:             How long have you been in the profession?

SDR:    This is my 40th year appraising.  I got a job with a local MAI the day I graduated from college, and I’ve been at it even since.

 

VN:             What is your favorite thing about the profession?

SDR:    I love figuring out the question.  For the kind of work that I do, it’s not always clear what the actual question is, and sometimes the clients need help figuring it out.  I enjoy helping them do that.  And then I enjoy solving the problem that I may have helped to define.

 

VN:             Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

SDR:    In terms of mentors, the gentleman who hired me, Andy Smith, saw something in me that I may not have seen in my 23-year-old self at the time.  I’m eternally grateful to him for that and for the opportunity and the encouragement.  My first business partner, Robert Jones, was also a great partner, friend, and mentor; he shared his experience and helped me grow as an appraiser.  My idols early in my career were the appraisers and teachers who I viewed as industry and intellectual giants – guys like Jim Mason, John O’Flaherty, Bill Kinnard, Frank Harrison, Bob Foreman, and Jim Graaskamp (truly sorry if I left anyone out!).  More recently, my idols are the people who are moving the profession forward; they’re the thought leaders of the profession, in my opinion.  I’d put folks like David Lennhoff, Richard Parli, Jeff Fisher, Jim Amorin, Leslie Sellers, Nelson Bowes (RIP, buddy), Ted Whitmer, and Jim Vernor in that list (even sorrier if I left anyone out).  I also have a huge amount of respect for the people who step up to help lead the Appraisal Institute, which I consider to be the most important organization for appraisers in the world (AI publishes more books and develops more courses than anyone else, and I view AI as the keeper of the flame of the body of knowledge).  I really look up to all of these people, and it’s a true honor to call them colleagues.

 

VN:             What are some of your passions inside the profession?

SDR:    I really enjoy teaching and testifying.  Perhaps that’s because I think those two are opposite sides of the same coin, as both require listening carefully, figuring out the question, and watching the listener to make sure that the explanation is making sense to them.  I particularly enjoy helping the next generation of appraisers get a good start and find their passions in the profession – some truly great folks did that for me, and I am happy and proud that I can help pass it on.

 

VN:             What are some passions of yours outside of the profession?

SDR:    The most important thing in the world to me is my family.  I’ve been married over 39 years, and I am so grateful for every one of those days.  I’m super proud of my children, both successful in life and their chosen fields.  I also love to ride my motorcycle (and my Vespa) – the quiet time is very relaxing, and I love to travel.

 

VN:             Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

SDR:    I’m not sure that I can break down the timeline like that, but my suspicion is that the profession will continue to evolve and fragment.  I see three major trends on the horizon.  First is the continued emergence of AVMs, so-called hybrid appraisals, and other alternatives to the traditional model of residential appraisals.  I don’t mean to sound alarmist, but I see this as an existential threat to a large number of appraisers in the country, and I can’t imagine that demand for these traditional appraisals won’t continue to erode in the future.  I suspect that this trend will spread to the commercial world in due course, although likely to a lesser extent due to lower homogeneity of the product.  The second trend I suspect will continue is the fragmentation of the work.  When I stated in the profession, our four-person appraisal firm did everything – loan work, counseling, litigation support, houses, commercial property – whatever came in the door.  Over the past 40 years, I have seen more specialization by property type and even by issue, and I suspect that trend will continue.  The third trend I see continuing is the change in company size and structure.  When I started in that small firm, we were able to get relationship-based work from just about every major financial institution in the area (from local and regional banks and S&Ls up to the national powerhouse banks).  My impression is that much of this work is now going to larger firms, and that the smaller independent firms are having a harder time competing, especially in the more urbanized parts of the country.  I see this trend as largely responsible for the “franchise” models (like IRR and Valbridge) and the continued growth of the appraisal offices of larger national and international brokerage firms.

 

VN:             What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

SDR:    I am proud that we have found a niche that we find interesting, keeps us busy, keeps us challenged, and compensates us well.  I’m proud of our great team of appraisers who excel in solving difficult problems.  I’m proud of the fact that we see a wide variety of different problems, and that we figure out the question and then solve it.  I’m probably most proud of the fact that our clients call us back for future work, reinforcing to me that we helped them solve their problem the last time they called.

 

VN:             If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

SDR:    Big picture – nothing.  I very much enjoy the kinds of assignments we work on, and I love the fact that we have relatively little competition in our space.  I could certainly use a cleanup of my desk, but if that’s my biggest complaint, I suspect that life is pretty good.

 

VN:             What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

SDR:    I still enjoy what I do.  In the past few years, I have transitioned a bit into more complex litigation, and I’m doing a lot of review and methodology testimony.  I’d like to continue down that path.  It sounds funny, but my professional goal is to sign my name as few times as possible in any given year; this isn’t because I want to work less or bill less, but I’d rather work on complex assignments that take some time.

 

VN:             If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

SDR:    I would make the profession more academic.  I see what we do as a true profession, but I fear that we are often not seen that way from the outside.  That’s largely our fault, in my opinion, as I see and hear a number of appraisers who really don’t seem to be interested in life-long learning and growth.  I’d like to see us all strive to educate ourselves on the body of knowledge and apply it correctly every time.  This is an honorable profession, and I fear that some treat it like a mere job.

 

VN:             What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

SDR:    Head to the top, not the bottom.  There’s a lot of competition, mission creep, external threats, and low competitive fees in certain parts of the profession.  That’s not true in other areas of the profession.  Also, get a professional designation.  No one will treat you like a professional if you don’t act like one.  Lastly, get involved with your profession.  Your volunteer work will pay off more than you suspect in ways that you cannot now know or even suspect.

 

VN:             This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

SDR:    Life is beautiful and wonderful, but unfortunately, it’s relatively short.  So, let the small stuff go and uplift each other.  And hug your parents and tell them how much you appreciate everything they have done for you.  Trust me – I had that opportunity with only one of mine, and it will mean the world to you when they are gone.  Spend time with people and things that make you smile and be that person who makes others smile.  Finally, stop putting ice cream on pie – it ruins both.

 

There you have it folks.  Stephen is a great advocate for the profession and an example of someone that has made a career out of not staying inside the proverbial box.  There is life outside of the lending world.   Happy Fourth of July.

 

Please suggest anyone that you may feel would make a great subject for this series.  I want to see some of our colleagues get some exposure. wfincham@valucentric.com

Valuer’s Dozen: Rachel Massey

 

Rachel Massey, SRA, AI-RRS, IFA and a member of RAC, is not just a colleague but a friend.  I have now known Rachel for at least 5 years.  We have written many blogs together and share conversations via telephone many times a year.  Rachel is a well-respected residential appraiser.  She cares deeply about the profession and is always willing to try and help whether it’s with a simple question from a colleague on social media or volunteering her time with various appraisal and real estate organizations.

I hope you all enjoy learning more about my colleague and friend, Rachel Massey:

 

masssey

Courtesy of Rachel Massey

VN:  How long have you been in the profession?

RM: 29-years and counting.

 

VN: What is your favorite thing about the profession?

RM: Solving problems. I really enjoy looking at what the problem to be solved is and tucking in and doing so.

 

VN: Who are your mentors and idols within the profession?

RM: My early mentors were a handful of local SRAs, Jim Miner, Tim Somers and Marlene Consiglio, who all were willing to spend the time helping me understand the process and what I needed to do to solve problems. Recent mentors and idols include Denis DeSaix, George Hatch, Maureen Sweeney and countless others, all of whom are willing to provide time and expertise to assist others, and to do so without judgement and without leading the appraiser to feel inferior. To me, this is the mark of a true mentor, and true professional.

 

VN: What are some of your passions inside the profession?

Writing, review, and relocation appraisal work. If I could figure out a way to make a living as a writer, I would strongly consider it, but short of that, I have found an abiding passion for doing review work, as well as relocation work. Now if I could just marry the two, and combine it with writing, then my appraisal world would be complete 😊

 

VN: Where do you see the profession in 3 years?  5 years?  10 years?

RM: There is no doubt that the mortgage appraisal side is changing. Technological advances are everywhere, including the valuation side, and unless appraisers step forward and provide something that cannot be provided by an algorithm, we are likely to have a lessened role in the future, even within three years. That said, if the market melts down again, I see us back in the role of truly being the eyes and the ears of our clients.

We, as a profession, need to be able to tell our customers and clients exactly what we see and what we have analyzed, without the fear of being removed from panels and turned into the state licensing boards because people do not like our answers. If we present reasoned, supportable analysis in a manner that is easy to understand, we should be valued by those who hire us, regardless of whether they like our opinion of value or not. In order to continue to be a profession, we have got to be able to be honest and forthright without losing business. This is an ongoing problem with the field, that has not lessened due to changes after the Great Recession.

So, in short, we could continue being viable if we collectively have a backbone, and if not, we are likely to go the way of travel agencies.

 

VN: What is one thing about your personal business that you are most proud?

RM: My seminal achievements personally have been obtaining my SRA designation and becoming an AQB Certified USPAP Instructor. Both taught me a tremendous amount about the valuation process, and about critical thinking.

 

VN: If you could change one thing about your business model what would it be?

RM: It would be to marry the passions I have into a perfect job. That would be to be a lead appraiser with a relocation company, writing the occasional review within the appraisal and relocation industry, and writing guidance and doing education within the organization. Otherwise I am very happy with my current trajectory as a post-funding reviewer for a mortgage lender.

 

VN:  What are some present goals for you and what you do are doing in the valuation space?

RM: My current goals revolve around more teaching and developing of small educational offerings, writing articles and being available to help others. Immediate goals include learning about Green Valuation, something I see as upcoming, although it has not hit my area with any significance yet, it will and I need to be prepared.

 

VN:   If you could change one thing in valuation, what would it be?

RM: Quality over quantity. Slow down a bit and do not cut corners and be rewarded for going beyond the minimums. In the mortgage arena, good enough is good enough. No one wants poor quality, but there is no reward for excellence within much of the mortgage field (there are exceptions, but those tend towards the private client group realm). This is not solely an appraisal issue, but is an issue with business in general, where good enough is rewarded over excellence due to time and cost restraints. I wish I could change that, but it is not likely feasible, or desired.

 

VN:  What advice would you give someone just getting in the profession?

RM: Be a sponge and soak up what everyone has to say. Do not be discouraged and surround yourself with those whom you admire. Try not to sink into negativity and try always to do your best work. Be proud of what you do, and let that pride speak through your written words, and through your professionalism in the field.

 

VN: This last one is for you to discuss or talk about whatever you would like.

RM: Here I would like to make a plea to all appraisers to get involved in supporting the field. There are multiple organizations that are working on behalf of appraisers, some national and established, others state grass roots organizations. There are so many different avenues to get involved in the profession and to help it, that no matter what we are doing, something will fit. Just get involved, and while doing so, help everyone you can. Do not denigrate other appraisers or organizations. Just get involved in whatever way you can. This is an honorable and valuable profession and it needs all of us to be involved in advancing it. Doing so will benefit the public, and since appraisal is about protecting the public trust, we owe it to not only ourselves, but to everyone.

 

Editor’s Note:

There you have it, folks.

I want to emphasize Rachel’s last point.  Get Involved.  The amount of negative comments and trying to put one organization over another is not productive.  Find an organization that you like.  Hopefully the organizations out there will also start working together rather than trying to prove their worth is greater than any others.  Get plugged in and contribute.  We are a small profession but an important one.  The more divisive we become the more easily controlled we become by the users of our services.