Old Habits & Past Mistakes…


My last blog focused on change and how I have benefited from changing things in both my personal and professional life. While I have made many changes, I have now come across another aspect that seems to have followed me from my past, the ability to learn from my mistakes instead of making them over and over.

See, we as appraisers are creatures of habit. Well, let me rephrase that, we as humans are creatures of habit and even with a change for good your old habits seem to stick around. The saying “ Old Habits Die Hard” is used to say that it is hard to stop doing things that one has been doing for a long time. Let me tell you that this is 100% true. You see, even when you make a change in your life, whether it be to stop smoking, hit the gym, find better clients, or respond to that annoying email, you tend to still lean on what you were accustomed to instead of developing a new way to either approach that task or respond to it. 

I’ll give you a couple of examples I’ve encountered lately. 

The other day I received an email from a client to address an issue they had with my report. The issue was as follows: “1) the subject’s opinion of value is increased by more than 5% from the prior sale price, however, the neighborhood trends have been stable. As per appraiser’s comments on page 4 of the report, the kitchen and baths have been remodeled less than one year ago. Appraiser to comment if the remodeling took place after the prior sale.” 

I opened my report to make sure that I had stated all repairs and renovations, which I did. I summarized all the interior and exterior renovations and explained in detail what had been done to the home since it was purchased. The first line opened with “Since the homes purchase on 6/1/2019” and continued with more in depth summary.

At first, I was taken back and well, the rage came over me where I wanted to just say “READ THE REPORT”. I actually typed that out in the response box. Then I caught myself and realized that my old habit of just getting angry doesn’t mix with my new ways. What did I do? I responded nicely, “In regards to the revision request the appraiser has explained this within the report and the explanation can be found on the addendum page. If you need further explanation please let me know.” I received a nice thank you from the client and that they had overlooked what I had stated.

Another example that I encountered, and I know we as appraisers hate this. I was sent an order with a below “Customary and Reasonable” fee a mile from my home. I declined the order and they wanted an explanation. Immediately I was typing how the fee was insulting and they will get what they pay for, etc. Before hitting send I once again sat back and decided that wasn’t the way to go. I replied “ Thank you for the offer, however, the fee stated for this assignment is not typically what we get for a home in this area. I went on to explain the characteristics of the property and explained that I could get it done in the time frame asked for a fee of XYZ. Well, lo and behold, I was sent the assignment due to me doing my research and taking the time to explain to them my reasons.

See change doesn’t just end with you making it. It takes further self-evaluation and self-reflection to make sure you actually change. Even in my personal life every day, I’m reminded of the fact that I still have a lot of work to do to continue the change. I still make the same mistakes I did before my willingness to change, and it ends up looking and feeling like I haven’t changed. I am reminded of this often by my wife. Learning from your mistakes is all part of the change. You can’t change past mistakes, but you can certainly make sure the future doesn’t include them.

Old Habits Die Hard… Some you have no choice in making them disappear right away or you too may die … Some will take time to disappear, and some may never go away, but you certainly can make sure they don’t affect you in a way that is harmful.

So the next time you are ready to hit the “send” button or react a certain way, take a moment and see if this moment can be handled differently. I am not here to preach to anyone, I am just blogging about my experience and my efforts to make changes. You can take it however you want, but for those that know me, know that the changes I’ve made are benefitting me in many ways

2 comments on “Old Habits & Past Mistakes…”

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