Spinning your wheels

As a commercial appraiser, what’s the true cost of wasting time without a comp database, report writing and workflow? Many appraisers are obsessed with perfection often resulting in lack of adoption of software solutions. Perfectionitis results in being stuck in arduous manual processes.   

Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, and Ctrl+H -copy, paste, find and replace in Word isn’t a tech stack. It’s keyboard fatigue multiplied by the number of your staff. 

Appraiser Poaching  

In my market, a number of my appraisal competitors sold to national firms, specifically Cushman and BBG. Most of these guys got tired of the admin. Review fatigue was also cited, fixing the same old mistakes. Appraisers using old comps, outdated neighborhoods and half-hearted discussion of the subject as it relates to the market. Keeping everyone busy was also a drag. 

One of my appraisers was poached, but to be fair, it was my fault. The national firm provided something I couldn’t, more deal flow, travel and a bunch of people to bounce things off. The exit interview was very amiable because it was in his best interest, a great opportunity and a career launcher. He’ll do great. 

Give Your Appraisers a Reason to Stay 

Having an appraisal playbook with well documented processes and a technology stack (comp database, report writing, workflow, CRM, collaboration apps, voice dictation, remote connectivity, etc.) isn’t a guarantee your people won’t leave, but it’s better than what you might be doing right now.  

Does it make sense to just close your appraisal firm doors? All those years of hard work with no reversion? The national firms are calling on your best appraisers. Do something about it, give your appraisers a reason to stay. Fix your firm with a technology stack and processes

Crazy Expensive 

I get it, as commercial appraisers, we can copy and paste like rock stars. However, performing these functions all at the same time increases the odds of mistakes. It becomes crazy expensive having to plow up and down a Word doc. From beginning to end, over and over, until you feel satisfied you’ve tracked down all the errors.  

If mistakes are made, internal reviews become unnecessarily lengthy. External reviewers will catch the mistakes generating lost time with back and forth emails and report revisions. Huge disruption making you stop what you were doing. Dollars $$$ out the window.  

Don’t Do These 7 Things Simultaneously 

  1. Researching the subject 
  1. Comp research 
  1. Verifying comps 
  1. Writing up your comps 
  1. Analysis 
  1. Word-processing 
  1. Quality control  

Cost of Failed Activity 

The general rule of thumb is a bad hire is 30% of employee’s first year earnings. This doesn’t really take into consideration other intangibles like damaged reputation with clients, decreased teamwork, drop in productivity and lost supervision time. Same thing for software, make sure it works the way you want to work. Not the other way around. 

It’s a bad decision to make a decision and then not go through with that decision. This results in wasted time, spinning wheels, low velocity and poor results. When viewed through this lens, not investing in yourself and your firm is shortsighted. Work towards a client-centric culture that facilitates productivity, professionalism and just a fun place to work

Get a Coach 

Getting a new framework for your appraisal firm takes two things: patience and zero ego. I recommend getting a coach. The ROI will be a 10x improvement. Huge progress. Move beyond the fatigue of just reviewing reports and fixing mistakes year after year. 

The key to productivity is feedback from your coach. Somebody that will honestly tell you if you’re making progress. If you get stuck, push the reset button and investigate the why. It’s your company, your employees, so why not make it a great place to work?  

If you create this culture, you can be the poacher and find people performing at the top of their game at the highest level. In order to do this, you will have to get creative and be flexible. Consider remote workforce, outsourcing projects and hire a virtual assistant (VA).  

Is it time? 

Start the process to success, implement DataComp Suite, the trusted industry standard of a commercial comp database, report writing and workflow. Having the appropriate tech stack is a big idea for transformation of your appraisal firm. Is it time to stop spinning your wheels?