Why’re appraisers always swamped?

The alligators represent inefficiencies, tedious manual processes and duplicative work. 

Appraisers have never worked harder, but what makes a successful appraisal department? 

Too much to do 

With defined outcomes, you will move away from the chronic condition of, “I’m swamped.” Measure performance by grading your appraisers, measure deliverables and communicate your expectations. Change your leadership style from transactional to transformational and watch the magic happen. 

Those responsible for appraisals in banks are busy. Long hours for many. A typically week might include different people wanting different things from you. They’re asking lots of questions. 

  • Lenders – “Why did the value come in so low?” 
  • Reviewers – “The appraiser is being uncooperative, what do you want me to do?” 
  • Auditors – “Can you provide me with the following documentation for our review?” 
  • Regulators – “How many hotel appraisals did we order in 2020-2021? 
  • Upper Management – “Why did the value drop so much since the last appraisal?” 

Even if you answer the above, you might get even more questions. Your lender might ask, “My borrower wants a lower cost, can you bid it out again?” The reviewer might ask, “Should I take this appraiser off our approved list?” Upper management might query you for, “What’s the cap rate for large flex industrial buildings in [insert city]?” It goes on and on. 

Buy back your time 

An appraisal workflow platform, if designed well, can buy back your time. It should make your life better, a lot better.  

5 Appraisal Department Best Practices 

  1. Ongoing training post-launch to ensure maximum productivity. 
  1. Specific reports you need for upper management. 
  1. Real-time notifications of system improvements. 
  1. Menu pull-downs, engagement letters and appropriate nomenclature. 
  1. Talk with client success folks. 

Don’t be busy, be effective. Avoid wasting time, reduce stress and relieve potential heartburn. Expect your workflow to work the way you want to. Answer questions quickly and with confidence. 

Outcome versus output 

Defined outcome. Measure performance. Lead and coach to success. This management style is alien to most in the valuation world. Appraisers tend to be technicians. We need to focus on the valuation, but not every single detail. Take a coaching position.  

Encourage your staff to perform. Provide guidance. Encourage communication and ideation. Select and successfully implement software appraisal tools to be successful. Move away from the manual process. 

People don’t leave banks, they leave bosses 

Invest in your people, expand their skills, improve their attitude and it will positively impact their life. Customer experience trumps product since people do business with people they like and trust. Engage client satisfaction issues with executive leadership support and involvement. 

Running an appraisal department takes determination, passion, strategy and a complete engagement to the banks vision by its employees and partners. 

Build people, build the business 

Listen for feedback. If your software tools are not fully implemented across the board, have a meeting. Ask your staff what they like and hate about a particular solution. Seek an outcome, rather than a list of complaints. Ask your peers what solutions they think works best. Get referrals. 

Most of us in the valuation vertical say the same thing, “I’m swamped.” Some of the feeling of swampiness comes from micromanagement. It comes from lack of software solutions and a coaching style to encourage your staff to fully take advantage of productivity tools. 

As a chief appraiser, appraisal manager or chief credit officer, you’re the leader for your department. Your team includes lenders, job managers, SVPs, VPs and credit. The team would be supported with outside vendors like appraisers, reviewers and environmental firms.  

Utilizing an appraisal workflow and vendor management platform like YouConnect can help drain the swamp of chronic appraisal volume inefficiencies, tedious manual processes and duplicative work.  

It’s hard for me to write this being a FSU Seminole, Go Gators!