Do You Have Two Appraiser Brains?
So, do you have two brains?
One appraiser brain says you must be “independent, impartial, and objective.” (USPAP) It wants to be good. It wants integrity and to sleep peacefully at night.
But there’s another brain. It’s primal and wants to survive. It has other responsibilities: meet the bills, feed the family, pay the mortgage, and pay government taxes/fees. And recorded in this brain is that part of the standards which say: Do what your clients expect; do what everyone else does. As paraphrased, the sole guides to an acceptable scope of work.
The two brains may not talk to each other. Each has a different job. They proceed along parallel paths. One has feelings and beliefs and automatic responses. The other swears it’s being logical, clever, and correct. Each works fine.
And then . . .
You sign a certificate that states you have no preconceptions, no personal human bias or partiality, and that your results are not contingent on meeting the client’s expectations (desired result?).
The ethics rule says you must not mislead or defraud, even as the required definition of value may tend to do exactly that: mislead or defraud. (More to come on this topic.)
Even as the stated purpose of standards and professional intents is to “promote and maintain a high level of public trust”, (USPAP Preamble) your work must meet two requirements:
- The expectations of the users; and
- What your peers would do (right or wrong).
So, do you have two brains? One brain that wants you to feel good about yourself – your integrity, honesty, and ability to provide a result you really believe in. Or the other brain, that tells you: “I need clients to like me so they give me more business to feed my family, pay the rent, and buy a nicer appraiser car.”
Which brain wins? Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs clearly places the need for food, for safety, for family/friends/sex first. These drive human decision. These drive survival.
With basic drives assured, we’re able to enjoy self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, and by others. Then are we truly free human spirits, able to demonstrate morality, creativity, and spontaneity. Critical thinking improves, bringing effective problem solving, and a real acceptance of the facts/assumptions, logic, metaphors, and the stories that we tell (our comps).
Yet appraisers are driven down in Maslow’s hierarchy; by client expectations, and the excuse that everyone does it(“our peers”).
Six years ago, I formulated a personal mission for Valuemetrics and Evidence Based Valuation©. The mission statement: “To help prevent the next economic meltdown.”
Yes, our solemn signed certification puts us into an impossible human state. A state of rules, regulations, expectations, and peer pressure. A state that psychologists might say brings on dissonance. A conflict between one of our brains and the other.
One appraiser brain says Survive. The other says Respect Yourself.
How do you do both?