Change is described as making something different, doing something differently, or some thing or some one undergoing a transformation. You can change your clothes, change your attitudes, change your mind, and even make change for a dollar. What I want to talk about is accepting and embracing change and seeing change as a good thing, not as a threat and something to be resisted.
Now, I know just the word change brings on a flurry of emotions for many people. Some people who resist change can become very nervous, break out in a sweat and actually think of ways to avoid or resist change. They will create excuses to make it sound like change is not possible. "I can’t do this because!" "I don’t have the money to make that change!" "Well that would never work because of this!" and so on. These people are creatures of habit and tend to adopt change late, if at all, and rarely lead by example.
Others look at change as an opportunity, as a way to improve or as a way to get better and they embrace change. They say things like, "What if we did it this way?" "Could this work?" or "Can you imagine if….". They don’t see change as a threat, but rather as an introduction to something better. They get excited and motivated and lead others through the process.
I would argue some even spend their entire lives looking for and working towards change. They are the idea people, the thinkers, and the dreamers. They can be political leaders, business entrepreneurs, writers, actors, athletes, and even appraisers! How many of you had another job before the one you have now, or even a totally different career? If you had never accepted change, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
Just think if Henry Ford hadn't changed the way we travel, can you imagine pulling in to the "feed station" instead of a gas station to fill up your horse? Companies like Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft have had a revolutionary impact on changing how we shop, communicate and work. Some people met these changes with resistance and others embraced them, ultimately, most have adapted and benefited from the changes. Can you imagine working without email today?
How many of you remember using glue sticks to affix 35 millimeter photos on to paper, then making photo copies and actually mailing them to your clients? How many of you remember when change occurred in that process? Computers instead of typewriters, digital cameras instead of film, email instead of snail mail? Can you imagine, as an industry, if we hadn’t changed the way we do things? Can you imagine doing an appraisal that way, today?
There is a wave of change that will be taking place very soon. Appraisal software companies are developing web based forms for completion of appraisals. This new way of accessing your software will provide additional efficiencies and allow appraisers to perform appraisals with more data and technology than ever imagined.
At the same time many companies are developing web based "appraisal systems" that will allow appraisers to collect, manipulate and interpret large data sets, rather than just three comps on a grid. The new software and systems will allow appraisers to present their data visually in understandable graphs and charts to make their appraisals more meaningful to their intended users and these changes will also allow appraisers to become more efficient as a result. Appraisers must embrace this change, or they will be left behind as were those that didn’t adapt to computers, digital photos and email a few years ago.
We all need to change, appraisers, lenders, regulators and AMC’s, or risk becoming irrelevant as an industry. As others are changing those that do not are left behind. We need to keep open minds about what we are doing today and how we do things tomorrow. We have to be open to change and embrace the opportunity it holds to improve everything about the appraisal industry.
We all have to have open minds and look for ways we can do something rather than ways we cannot. We need to stop putting up road blocks in our lives and business and not only accept change, but embrace it and see it as an opportunity to do something better.
If we all do not change, there very well may be another way to value real estate in the future, and it might not include appraisers.
Tony Pistilli, is EVP and Chief Appraiser of Axios Valuation Solutions, a Fort Worth, Texas based national valuations provider. Tony is responsible for all aspects of the operations and compliance for the organization. Tony has over 25 years of real estate appraising and lending experience. He has previously worked at large national banks, mortgage companies, a federal agency and as a self-employed fee appraiser. He has provided compliance and regulatory assessments to financial institutions, regulatory agencies and appraisal management companies. Tony is a member of several appraisal industry organizations and was a subject matter expert for the Appraisal Foundation in the area of declining markets. Tony previously served as vice-chair of the Minnesota Real Estate Appraiser Board. Tony is an AQB certified USPAP instructor and holds a certified residential appraisers license.
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