Tuesday, January 31, 2023 | The Latest Buzz for the Appraisal Industry

What happened to the human factor?

In today’s technologically forward era, every day there is less and less human interaction.  Something as simple as going to the grocery store, you used to give the cashier money or a credit card.  You might have even made small talk while you waited for your change or your credit card to go through and to sign off on the receipt once they handed it to you.  You are lucky anymore to see someone say hello or acknowledge the cashier’s existence for a split second, then slide their card through the machine and look down at the machine to follow the prompts.

We have all been experiencing something very similar our industry in recent years.  I can remember years ago I would build relationships with my clients, going above and beyond.  Taking that extra step to ensure my client would see what I would do for them so they remain with me as opposed to my competition.  I would build relationships with the processors and coordinators at some of the larger lenders, even they would know they could call on me with a rush and Luke would take care of it.

With the rise of over regulation and super imposed technological drive of appraisals in the past few years these relationships have slowly diminished.  Phone calls have almost become non-existent. When I called to see what happened I was told there is new management, I then spoke with new management to see what changes have been made and what I can do. Management informed me the computer assigns everything now and that’s that.  To which I explained that the computer does not always assign to the best appraisers.  The manager went on again to state that the computer selects the best appraiser based on turn-around-time, fee, and etcetera.  Suddenly it became very evident to me that all the work and relationships that I have worked so hard to build over the years have gone and are going out the window.  It felt like a repeat of the implementation of the HVCC when we all lost all of our broker clients.

Computer systems and algorithms will never beat human interaction. I’m much more willing to do something for a client that I have built a relationship with as opposed to a computer that auto assigns to me. This has to be considered and implemented as it will only benefit us, our clients, and the borrower in the end.  Our company has the ability to flip a switch and let the computer assign everything based on distance, fee, and etcetera.  Instead we take the time, effort, and care to contact the local appraiser speak to them, find out if they are competent for the area and the assignment, find out their availability and fees.  We build a relationship with the local appraiser with every assignment.  When the phone rings and we need a favor or need help, our files go to the front of the line because of the relationship we have built and established over the years.  It seems to me with everyone in such a hurry to get to the front of the line, some of us need to learn how to take a step back…

Jeff Bradford

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