How well do you think your appraisal department is doing providing excellent customer success for the lending side?

Appraisers are amazing at determining market value, but often at the expense of the business side. It takes leadership to find the time to improve your processes and not be singularly focused on reviewing and ordering appraisals.

The go-to reason is that we’re just too busy to do things differently. No time to investigate superior methods to achieve productivity to enhance the customer experience. Often the reason for the chronic workload is the lack of strategic planning.

Part of the challenge for appraisers to be strategic and less tactical is the valuation product tends to make us hyperaware of typos, mistakes, and incomplete information. We chronically worry that we missed important details on a review or about signing off on an appraisal for our bank. Always on the lookout for what’s wrong. Change that mindset to look for and expect “what’s right.”

5 Leadership Qualities

  1. Visionary
  2. Encourage strategic thinking, innovation, and action
  3. Self-aware and prioritize personal development
  4. Focus on developing others
  5. Flexible

One very important attribute for leadership in our industry is visionary. A good leader clearly defines WHERE their team is going and HOW they’re going to get there. I’m certainly guilty in the past of expecting my employees to read my mind of where I want to go. If we also don’t discuss how we’re going get there, then we’re just wasting time.

“How we get there” is often based in improved processes. Technology, specifically software, should be a toolset that works the way you do. It takes leadership to find the budget and the time to coordinate. Choose tools that create efficiency so you can deliver productivity for your client, the lending department.

Optimistic leadership, cognitive fitness

Going to Appraisal Institute meetings is about comradery and education, but it has little to do with how to run a successful appraisal department. Appraisers in leadership roles need to be around other businesses, that’s where leaders hang. Vistage, Dale Carnegie and entrepreneurial groups are fantastic resources for executive coaching and peer advisory groups.

Say yes more

As appraisers, we tend to get frustrated if new initiatives don’t get completed in a perfect and timely manner. The reality is, creating new ideas within your department takes time. It takes change which is hard. It feels odd to welcome diversions and not get annoyed that it interferes with your day to day “work.” Let go of immediate expectation and take the long vision. Talk to your peers that have already made this journey and ask them for suggestions.

Ideate with your team

A successful appraisal department requires ownership to engage your people. It’s like having a coach but no actual players on the field. It doesn’t make sense. You won’t win. Pick a representative for reviews. Select a representative for a workflow platform. Choose an overall project manager who’s in charge of the outcome.

It’s critical to get by-in from your people. Don’t just delegate duties to the team without earnest conversations, otherwise it can lead to employee frustration that you’re just dumping more work on them. Talk through their project position, what it entails and general timelines.

Get feedback along the way through quick meeting huddles. Check-in with team members, understand their priorities and unblock issues. The agenda should be set with each team member bringing answers to these questions.

  1. What did you accomplish yesterday?
  2. Top three priorities for today?
  3. Are you stuck on anything?

Provide tools for your department

Consider an appraisal and environmental workflow platform like YouConnect designed to scale with your institution. Provide your bank significant cost savings through workflow and improved appraisal process.

Streamline and automate your repetitive processes. The platform enhances transparency and visibility with a centralized awareness of collateral. This serves to create consistency for your institution’s approval process and level of accountability with employees.

Where do you go to become a leader?