The Humility to Ask

Humility to AskI was recently asked by a local lender to appraise 14 vacant lots. Though the lots were all quite similar, 14 separate appraisals were needed (obviously, a large discount was given for the multiplicity). Once a value was established for each individual lot, the lender came back and now wanted a ‘bulk value’ for 10 of the lots. Hmmm. That certainly changes things. Per USPAP in fact, we now have a new assignment.

As I inquired to the bank and got more information, it was clear that I was out of my element. The lender did not just need a total value (each appraised value added together), but a bulk discount rate (estimated reduction that might come from a single-buyer situation). What is a novice, like me, to do in such a situation?  Well, of course, I turned to Facebook.

I belong to two, private Facebook groups that cater to appraisers. They have proven to be a great resource when appraisers have questions about how to proceed with unusual circumstances.  Within just a few minutes of posting my questions, I began receiving feedback from other appraisers across the country. Almost immediately, I was asked if I had considered including a Certified General (CG) appraiser in this assignment. Honestly, it had never even crossed my mind. Due to the nature of the assignment, ‘commercial’ just did not enter my thinking. Certainly, the suggestion was sound. I should have immediately thought of it, but I am only human and I didn’t. Since I could have ended up in trouble by not including a CG for this type of assignment, I was very glad I had asked the question.

The next day, I picked up the phone and called a CG that I know and trust. He was kind and helpful. Within just a few minutes, he taught me things I had not considered. Armed with his information, I was able to get back with the lender, ask additional questions and explain what was necessary if they wanted to continue forward with the assignment. All in all, it was a positive experience.

When was the last time you involved another appraiser in an assignment due to your lack of experience? Honestly for me, it has been a long time. In some ways, that is kind of sad. It either means that I am pushing my limits without the use of a mentor, or I am stuck in my comfort zone and not taking on projects that stretch my abilities. Reality is probably more the latter, but I should be doing more to expand my horizons.

It is quite possible to have an entire 30-year (or 45-year as things are today) career and – other than our original mentor – never involve another appraiser (or expert) in our assignments.  Perhaps that is the business model you prefer. Consider however the possibilities when you develop relationships and work together within your appraiser-expert network. The increased fee I received from the lender was slightly higher than the fee I paid the CG for his work. Furthermore, I received an education in the process. Truly, it can be a win-win for both parties.

Dustin Harris
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Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on

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2 Responses

  1. Avatar Bryan says:

    I am glad you found a helpful Appraiser.

  2. bubba jay bubba jay says:

    i am a one-man show at my office, but i have two appraiser friends that i talk to regularly. i learn things from them, and they learn things from me. i highly recommend that other appraisers have the same kind of friendships. i know it will come as a surprise to some people, but none of us will ever know everything.


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The Humility to Ask

by Dustin Harris time to read: 2 min