Does it matter?

While on a Zoom call with a bunch of respected (non-valuation) CRE professionals, I heard this statement, “Commercial appraisers know a lot of stuff that other people don’t know.” Everyone agreed. Most appraisers have a lot of depth in their knowledge and experience, but we aren’t on the radar for many CRE experts.

We, as an industry, are not top of mind. It’s a marketing and sales issue. It’s a participation issue. Easily fixable. Commercial appraisers are master researchers, part-detective, part-planner, part-developer, part-analyst and part-writer. Throw in a broad knowledge of many property types, feasibility mindset and investor sage. Supply and demand stuff, feasibility stuff and highest and best use stuff. Figuring out how the subject fits in the local market is hard. Contested value? Bring in the expert witnesses. We have some skills.

What’s your why?

As I round second base and run towards third base of my career, I think about the thousands of appraisals I’ve completed. Did they really matter? To who? Was the work just a compliance checkbox? Non-bank work feels more consultative, but often there’s little feedback. Did you do a good job? Do they feel confident making a decision based on your number? Do they know they can talk to you?

Deepest condolences

My father recently passed away. He ran his own advertising agency for many years. He loved his work. He gave it 100% of his focus. He loved helping out his clients. Sound familiar to most appraisers? I received an email from one of his long-term clients of 30+ years. Here’s a few highlights:

  • “I had a long profitable and enjoyable relationship with Bob from the late 1970’s into the 2000’s.”
  • “Bob was one of the most professional, honest and trustworthy men and businessman I’ve had the pleasure of knowing in my 48 years of business.”
  • “He helped our founder and myself build a unique brand that endures to this day.”
  • “We thought of him as a member of our team.”
  • “I cherish my time with him and everything I learned from him. He was a blessing to my life.”

The client talked about his hesitancy to follow my dad when he left a larger company to start his own firm. The client’s partner set his mind at ease, “Anytime you have a professional on your team that you trust, stay with them if they go to another firm.”

What you do matters

One big take away from my father’s client was, “He understood who we were, what we were trying to do and guided us in our journey.” So where are you on your journey? Does it matter that you gave your very best? What impact have you had with your employees and clients? Take an honest look at where you’re at in your career. No matter what stage you’re at, consider a huge infusion of motivation, excitement and productive mojo.

Trust is the new currency

I don’t need to take yet another USPAP course. My father, through his actions, provided the lesson of always having integrity. Do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t do things you know are wrong. Don’t be lazy. Always do your best. If you screw up, own it. Fix it. Be real with your clients. Communicate clearly what you can and cannot do. Listen aggressively. Your clients will appreciate it. My father died while working on his client’s assignment. Awesome.

Does it matter? Yes. Client: “Your father was a phenomenal man who impacted many people positively beyond your family, myself included.” What you do as an appraiser matters. You matter. Be like my dad.