Wednesday, February 28, 2024 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

Staying Relevant in the Appraisal Industry

Class Valuation, McKissock, and DataMaster are hosting a Free webinar on “Staying Relevant in the Appraisal Industry” June 28th at 2 pm with Mel Black, Matt Simmons, Jared Preisler, and Lamar Ellis. We sat down with a few of our hosts, Lamar Ellis and Matt Simmons, to get the inside scoop on this upcoming webinar.

Buzz: What is your background in the appraisal industry?

Lamar: I have over 30 years of real estate valuation experience and hold the Appraisal Institute designations of MAI and SRA. I am an approved instructor with the Appraisal Institute and the Georgia Real Estate Appraiser Board. I have served on the Board of Directors and as Educational Chair for the Atlanta Chapter of the Appraisal Institute and provided expert witness testimony for the FDIC. I have spoken at the National Conferences of the Appraisal Institute, the American Society of Appraisers, and the National Association of Realtors.

Matt: I got started typing residential appraisals when I was 19 years old and got my trainees license right around when I turned 20. I became certified when I was 22 and have been active full-time in real estate appraisal since then. I’m 38 now, so I suppose I’ve spent half my life now in this industry! I joined a larger commercial firm in 2005 to launch a residential division and eventually became a partner in that firm. Over the past 10 years my focus has been on developing new lines of business and ways to bring the skills we possess as valuation experts to markets outside of just lending and bank work and beyond the four walls of ‘appraisal practice.’

Buzz: What does it mean to stay relevant in the industry?

Lamar: Staying relevant in the appraisal industry is the only way to distinguish yourself in the competitive world of valuation. The techniques of data acquisition continue to expand and the need for better data is essential. Technology has made appraising easier, but it is so rapidly changing that it is essential to understand the new playing field it creates. However, with technology gathering information faster, better, and more efficient than past methods, reliance on current technologies can make an appraiser irrelevant in the future.

Buzz: What are some of the ways appraisers have evolved with new tech?

Lamar: New tech provides new opportunities. The same data acquired from an aerial inspection has value to a number of real estate industries players. Real estate professionals, especially appraisers, can be narrow-minded in their approaches to real estate and do not recognize the vast opportunities their knowledge brings to the decision table. When I started appraising it was the last year of typing an appraisal on a typewriter. I remember taping pictures onto reports and hand-delivering them to the clients. I remember using a 35 mm camera and having to get my pictures developed. I remember trying to measure the interior finish of an attic with a tape measure. Technology has made appraising easier but it is so rapidly changing that it is essential to understand the new playing field it creates.

Matt: The tools to complete them have definitely evolved. But the biggest change is probably just everyone’s awareness of them. In many ways, COVID pushed us faster toward the eventual outcome. This transition has forced many appraisers to confront perceptions of what we ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ do, and that’s a good thing. There are productive conversations about scope of work that the prevalence of desktops are bringing into focus. As an industry, desktops or not, we’ve needed to address that topic.

Buzz: Why should appraisers attend your webinar?

Lamar: Because I provide a unique perspective into viewing a property. An aerial inspection can provide valuable information that cannot be obtained from a ground-based inspection. Whether an appraiser plans to be a pilot or hires someone to fly for them, data can be acquired easier and more efficiently from the air than 10 years ago. I provide an understanding of aerial technology that no one else can provide.

I have a new 2-day seminar which is being introduced in Puerto Rico called “Aerial Inspections for Real Estate, Mapping, Measurements, and Modeling.” I am working with Skyline Software Solutions to provide the attendees an opportunity to use a mapping service to develop their own maps under a trial period and gain an understanding of how maps can be used for valuation.

Matt: I think appraisers are going to hear a perspective that’s unexpected and frames their business in a way they may have not previously considered. In fact, I’ll pose the question in advance. Exactly what business are you in and what’s its core competency? I’m planning to challenge conventional wisdom on this.

Buzz: Lamar and Matt, thank you giving us a behind the scenes look at the upcoming webinar, “Staying Relevant in the Appraisal Industry” June 28th at 2 pm. Can’t make that time and date? Register to receive the recording directly in your mailbox!

Tom Armstrong, MAI

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