Fee Simplistic is a regular post by Martin Tessler, whom after 30 years of commercial fee appraiser-related experience, gets to the bottom of real issues by seeing the both the trees and the forest. He has never been accused of being a man of few words and his commentary can’t be inspired on a specific day of the week. Inspired by the Beatles, Marty exclaims, “you say you want a revolution?” …Jonathan Miller

Alan Blinder, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, advisor to Democratic presidential candidates and currently professor of economics at Princeton recently noted that studies have indicated that as many as 40 million American jobs are at risk of being off-shored over the next 2 decades. Among the types of occupations listed as being “highly off-shorable” are computer programmers, data entry, actuaries, mathematicians, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, economists, and financial analysts, Blinder, who believes that the economy is enriched by free trade, is now having second thoughts and claims that these job losses are a result of a new industrial revolution- communication technology that allows services to be delivered from afar. There is no question that the age of the internet and fiber optics has revolutionized the work place. The “good news” if we can refer to it as such is that appraisers are not on the occupational list. The “bad news” is more of a question: how long will appraisers be exempt from this job loss revolution?

The world of appraisal as it is practiced today has already witnessed the off-shoring of Argus modeling for properties with large rent rolls; the downloading of sales comps for properties that are seldom if ever visited by the appraisers; the downloading of real estate tax and assessed valuation data, zoning data and Google photos that make it virtually unnecessary for the appraiser to visit the subject property EXCEPT for one requirement: the value Certification stipulates that the appraiser inspect the property as of the valuation date. How long before virtual reality or real time inspection technology makes this obsolete is anybody’s guess. The only guarantee for appraisers to escape the off-shoring guillotine is the regulation that keeps the inspection as a requirement for value certification. Of course there is nothing to prevent the appraiser of record from just visiting the subject and then signing off on the estimated value based on analytical work performed off-shore downloaded from 3rd party databases.

It goes on everyday.

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2 Responses to “[Fee Simplistic] Good News/Bad News: Safe Today But Who Knows About Tomorrow?”

  1. John says:

    Marty, The certification only requires that you disclose whether you inspected the property; there is no USPAP requirement that you personally inspect it. It’s just good business practice…and most clients like it. However, they just might like a lower appraisal fee better!

  2. Koby says:

    Whilest John nas somewhat of a point, I’ll put one of my appraisals where I actually inspected the subject up against one of the “e-inspection” appraisal reports any day.

    Plus, I sleep very well at night– every night.