Appraisers are normally experts at analyzing real estate markets and property value, but appraisers who work from a home-based office or run their own small business may not be familiar with what it takes to manage an office.
It can often be time consuming and confusing, requiring a large chunk of time taken out of a work day (assuming one is working a normal 10-hour day), just trying to handle the small tedious tasks, such as organizing orders, calendar management, and keeping track of submitted orders to AMC companies, and making sure you are being compensated in time, if at all!
Even dealing with some of the AMC companies, is such a tedious task. Between keeping tabs on payment, receiving new orders, updating current orders, and submitting completed orders, often has me scrambling everywhere. Heaven forbid I should have to make an actual phone call to these AMC’s, will have me in a rage between being placed on hold from anywhere between 10-15 minutes, or even trying to communicate the purpose of my phone call (many of these AMC places outsource their staff to foreign countries, and the cultural gap in communication is significant!).
Ah, and I would be remised not to point out the ever so eloquent, Engagement Letters! Reading through one of these letters, often reminds me of those Snickers commercial they played during the Super Bowl a few years back…”Not going anywhere for a while?”.
If I have spent 1-2 hours trying to get through one of these letters would be a generous summation, but often times, that is not the case. Not only must you be careful to comply with USPAP requirements (this is always a given), but you must also be very careful to comply, understand and follow all the various AMC requirements/guidelines as well, and when you are dealing with multiple AMC’s, this can often times get very tortuous.
Every morning I wake up and ponder on how I can make my job/career more attractive, while maintaining a higher quality level, but spend less time on the menial tasks and ultimately make my life more rewarding and less stress full.
My colleague appraisers! Do you have any resolutions for me?
Thus far, what I have come up with is this:
Preparation – be ready to handle the work load for the day. Ensuring that all technical infrastructures are in place and adequate (computers, software, phone, internet connections, etc..), which I have come to learn in my years in this business that you have to spend a good portion of your earnings on the technological portion in order to make the business work for you! I have to now think about office space that will allow me the ability to handle the increase in volume that I have been experiencing in just the past few months. Working from home has become a bit of a challenge, due to lack of space and infrastructure needs.
Organization – Staying on top of time management; a) make sure to do your due diligence before going out on the field for inspections (navigate what your day is going to look like when driving between properties, keeping in mind time of day and any traffic concerns), b) Organize your orders mindfully, which often times will require a call to the MC explaining the situation, and you will be quite surprised to hear that they are often times willing to accommodate you.
Administrative Support – A good assistant can make your life so much easier. They help you get more of the important work done, such as, help with calendar management, communicating with the various AMC’s, helping to maintain your high work standards, and also helping to alleviate some of the stress involved in this business.
So to recap; Preparation, Organization, Administrative Support and Marketing, are all crucial elements for a small business to thrive.
I have not yet delved into the marketing aspects on my blog site…..stay tuned for more to come…
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