Change. We all go through it. Some for good and some for the bad. Sometimes it’s planned, and sometimes it’s unexpected. I have experienced it all; however, even with experiencing it, sometimes there is a moment that just grips you tightly, makes you happy and sad at the same time, but overall your feelings just can’t make up their mind which direction they should go.. Today is that moment for me..
I started appraising in Atlanta, Ga, in 2008. I was all alone after moving here to be closer to family. I moved in with my parents for a short time and worked to get my business off the ground. As time went on, I started meeting new people and making new friends, although I knew of no one in the real estate appraiser world here. After moving into my own place, establishing myself as an appraiser, and working in the Atlanta metro area, I decided to get involved with social media groups that pertained to my profession. It was here that my professional life would change for the better.
I wound up in a national group for appraisers. It was the first group I have ever been a part of, and I started to meet other appraisers from all over the country. I even started to meet local appraisers in the Atlanta metro area. As I started to post more and more, hoping to get the answers I was looking for, I was engaged by a man in Atlanta that always seemed to have something to say. At first, I thought this guy was full of it, and there was no way he was just absolutely willing to give me the right answers. After all, we are competitors in the market. However, as time went on, I realized that this man was just that.. Someone who wanted to help others and make sure that they, too, did things correctly. As time went on, we established a good relationship as peers and soon after as friends. This was the beginning of taking my professional career to new heights.
In 2014 I created the 100% real estate appraiser group on Facebook. The other group was too large and allowed anyone with a pulse to enter it without any process to see if they were an appraiser. Over the past couple of years prior, I saw a need for a group for Independent appraisers only and thus created one. The first person I invited to the group. Greg Wilkinson of Worth every Dollar Appraisals. The man that decided he wanted to become friends with me even though we worked in the same market.
Since 2014, we have talked week in and week out about appraising in the Atlanta market. If I ever needed a question answered or bounce an idea off him, he was always there to advise. Now he wouldn’t give me the easy answer, nor would he give me his exact way of doing things; he would however, make me think. He would explain things to me in a way that made sense and then allow me to make my decisions. It was like he was mentoring me but not my mentor. We eventually met, and our friendship grew. Taking a page from my forming a group, Greg decided that any appraisers in the area should have some fun, talk shop, and start relying on each other rather than working against each other. Greg stared christmas parties and day trips on a boat on Lake Lanier. Oh, those boat trips were fun, and the Christmas parties brought 10-15 Atlanta appraisers together for a night of fun and talk.
So here is where my heartfelt message of change begins. Since 2014 or so, I have learned a great deal about appraising in Atlanta, valuation, and life from Greg. As I said earlier, Greg is the mentor I never really had and never expected to have when I moved here. After all, I didn’t need a mentor as a certified appraiser, but meeting him changed it all for me as far as my appraising career goes. Many times I catch myself thinking… What would Greg do in this situation or how would he view it, and when I approach him on it, my thoughts and my processes are justified, and I get off the phone high fiving the air.
Recently Greg has decided to take on a new job working for HUD in their Denver office, and I couldn’t be happier for this man and his new role. Its well deserved, and i know he will be just as successful with that as he was building one of if not the most successful real estate appraisal companies in Atlanta. I have been humbled and honored to know this man. I have learned a great deal from him, and even though he is moving across the country, I know I also have a friend for life. More than that, when I decided to take control of my life and enter rehab and get sober, Greg was one of my cheerleaders and continued to support me and my mission. The random phone calls to check on me and how I was doing will forever mean so much to me. Greg’s legacy continues here in Atlanta as he is one of a handful of people I know of that has successfully trained many others to be great appraisers and uphold the standards he set here.
Greg Wilkinson… Thank you for everything you have given and taught to me over the past 6-8 years. I am blessed to have met you and to have learned from you. Your posts in the group to help encourage others may have been met with resistance; however, knowing you the way I do, they were some of the best posts to date. I know we will continue to chat, and I’m sure you will continue to have a finger on the Atlanta market, therefore having me contact you to talk some still. I wish you nothing but the best in this new career, and I know you will continue to try and make this profession better and better as best you can.
This profession is divided enough. Its splintered, however there are people out there that just want the best for it and Greg’s willingness to help, share and more show that we can come together for better things.