John Philip Mason is a residential appraiser with 20 years experience and covers the Hudson Valley region of New York. He’s a good friend and a true professional who provides unique insight to appraisal issues of the day. Here is his weekly post called Solid Masonry. This week John addresses the lack of community within our profession. Jonathan Miller
A couple of days ago I was reading the most recent edition of Working RE, a quarterly publication put out by Editor, David Brauner and the folks at the Organization of Real Estate Professionals. This self-promoting publication focuses on issues concerning real estate appraisers, home inspectors, and well, self-promotion of the products and services they sell to these professionals.
In an article written by Mr. Brauner himself, Best Of Show Taking Appraisal Industry Pulse [Working RE] , he sums up some highlights of the most recently held annual Valuation Conference.
While the article touches on various items of interest, the very last summary jumped off the page and smacked me in the face, and I mean hard.
In the article David quotes Clark Gimple, IFAS of Texas, who said, “Appraisers badmouthing their own are fanning the flames and putting the profession in danger of losing its already damaged credibility.” Mr. Gimple goes on to say, “You don’t hear accountants, lawyers and doctors emphasizing the negatives in their profession. Even if they have contempt for one another, there is a professional code not to talk dirt in public. Appraisers should take a lesson from that playbook. Also, mortgage brokers, lenders, appraisal management companies and other clients need to know that like doctors, lawyers, etc., the appraiser is in charge of the appraisal. Do other professions allow their clients to set appointment times, turn-around times, fees and such? And you wonder why you get no respect.”
Now there is no doubt our industry has its fair share of “bad apples” and there is no reason we should not strive for progress. But maybe our profession is no worse than any other profession. We’ve all heard war stories and off color jokes about lawyers, doctors, politicians, real estate agents, undertakers and all kinds of professions. If the truth be told, most of us have shared such stories, including yours truly. Of course late night talk show hosts use many such jokes in their opening monologues and would shutter at the thought of giving up such easy and popular targets.
Reflecting on Mr. Gimple’s statements, I started thinking about various words associated with our industry and I decided to run a test. I googled a simple, positive statement, “good real estate appraiser” [Google]  and to my great surprise, came up with 81,400 hits. While this many hits gave me great joy at first, I quickly discovered that most (no I didn’t read them all) were related to websites of self-promotion, rather than objective commentary about us or our profession.
So Clark is right. We appraisers do lack fundamental traits common to most professions, a sense of common cause and a code of mutual respect. Effectively, we fail to see ourselves at oneness with everything and with beauty all around us.