The Golf Guide to Real Estate Appraising

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Golf. It’s a sport I absolutely love to play, however I am not very good at it. I spend a lot of my time looking for my ball because its either in the woods, in the water or in someone’s back yard. However, every once in a while I hit a good straight drive, hit a good iron shot from the fairway and then make a nice 10 foot put to sink the ball for a double bogey, walking away happy. Sometimes I may even get Par and that makes me even happier.

Golf is not an easy game to play. There is so much that goes into playing a good round of golf. From your initial shot off the Tee to reading that green, when you eventually get on it to make sure your ball follows the proper path to the hole. In between you have to pick the right club depending on the distance you are from the hole, the right swing speed to hit the ball the correct distance and if there is any wind factoring into your shot.

This past weekend I played a round with 2 friends. One friend is just as good as I am (which i will classify as terrible) and one friend that is really good (he’s got experience being a caddy and playing with excellent players). Playing with these guys is always fun no matter what, however when you play with someone thats really good it tends to make you want to play better as well. I mean when I play with my friends that are equal to or worse than me my game tends to play that way, but when you add that really good golfer into the mix your game seems to improve, even in the slightest bit. There are reasons for this.

So what are those reasons , and how does this equate to being an appraiser.

First off let me say that this can apply to any profession not just being an appraiser however since I am an appraiser I looked back at this from what I know.

Being an appraiser isn’t just about figuring out a value. There is a lot more that goes into it. The value is just the end result (or putting the ball in the hole). When the appraiser first tees off (think of this as the inspection of the house) they have to determine where they want to hit that ball in order to start the process. Hitting it straight down the middle is the best spot (the inspection is easy and the information was easily obtained) but thats not how a tee shot always ends up. Many times the ball will go left or right, get in the woods, in a sand trap or go out of bounds thus being a difficult next shot ( The inspection has shown difficulties and or data that has now made it hard for the appraiser to move onto the next part). Now the appraiser has to make some decisions and start the process of obtaining the correct data based off where their ball is to proceed to the next shot.

Now that the appraiser has figured out his next shot (obtained the relevant information to proceed) the next shot is taken. Now this shot can be a good one to put them in position for a better shot to the green or it could end up in the sand trap. Just because the appraiser figured out a way out of the last shot doesn’t mean they are completely in the clear as they may have other challenges to deal with such as sand traps or rough grass areas (or in appraiser terms External issues/Market issues) . See after the inspection the appraiser now has to deal with analyzing the market, finding the appropriate comparable sales, analyzing external issues and gather more information in order to get that next shot to the green in order to develop that final opinion of value.

Shot 3 is analyzed and now in progress and the appraiser gets on the green (or final reconciliation of the data). In order to come up with that final value they need to sink the putt. But its not that easy. First it depends on how far away you are from the hole and secondly You have to read the green which has many slopes to it depending on how far away you are from it. See once the appraiser has all the data, the right comparable sales, the right market analysis that they obtained in their previous shots they now have to get the ball in the hole to obtain that value and if you golf like me it takes 2-4 shots at it before the ball goes in the hole.

So on a par 4 hole I just made a 5-7 if not worse because of all the issues I had to overcome to get that final value or outcome. I said earlier that when I play with friends equal to me, I tend to play that way but When I play with someone better than me I tend to try and play better. Why? Well when I play with my equals, I never strive to be better. I am used to playing that way and no one seems to care as much. Now add the guy that plays better, I want to compete, I want to learn, I want them to see I am trying and I just don’t want to look like an idiot and I see them as someone I can go to, to better help me. The better player added makes me focus on the details of my game more (as an appraiser a more seasoned appraiser makes me focus on my work and details more) . I know I shouldn’t care but I do. The same goes for my profession. I want to be better than just everyone, I want others to come to me for help, I want others to raise there game to mine but most of all I want to be looked at as the expert and the one that knows what they are doing.

Being a real estate appraiser is so much more. It’s not as easy as one may think and not everyone can do it without proper training. There are many factors that go into it. Many decisions to be made in order to get to that final value and the Appraiser who has the skill and knowledge will get it a lot easier than one who doesn’t. Zillow, Redfin and others play mini golf. They think they are already on the green from the start. 1 club, a putter (no decision making skills) and you are just trying to get the ball through moving windmill to get to the hole. You aren’t in the woods, behind a tree and 500 yards away from the hole or value with many obstacles or decisions in your way. You just keep putting away

So would you prefer someone to value your home that is already on the green with no analytical skills and no explanation of how they got there or someone who actually had to think about every shot they took in order to obtain that value (or sink the putt)?

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