Title: Chairman, Executive Committee, Designated Appraiser Coalition.
Why did you become an appraiser?
The challenge. I was a demographer for the State of Wisconsin estimating population for revenue sharing for the state’s counties. After a year developing a formula that survived a State Supreme Court test, boredom set in. An opportunity to estimate the demand for condominiums at Coco Beach, Florida, occurred as my wife worked for a mortgage broker who had a client developing a beach high rise. After that, it was feasibility studies for apartments, banks, and clinics. I left the state and began my career in appraising working with an MAI. It has never been dull since then and I am glad of my choice.
What piece of advice would you offer young people considering a career in this profession?
Good appraising is based upon an independent thinker, finding out the facts through diligent research and skillful analysis, and then reporting a sound conclusion. This is the hallmark of a professional. A good appraiser survives through thick and thin in the economy because of nurtured and expanded skills. Appraisers are practicing economists. And, the field of economics is a never ending learning process. That is why we never get bored. If you do not like boredom, and you are excited and enthusiastic about thinking challenges, and the hard work with solving problems, appraising is a good career choice.
What book would we find on your nightstand right now?
Frankly, I have not read a book for some time, although I have read, enjoyed and learned from many over the years. Rather, honing my skills with writing is more important to me, especially for appraising, but also for my pleasure with poetry and story-telling. A good appraiser writes well and using plain English has been my goal. Otherwise, you would find me deepening my knowledge and currency in economics, following the stock market daily, real estate and financing news, and world events, especially regarding our global economy.
Can you share a funny or unique story about an appraisal you’ve done?
Well, appraising a hole in the ground can be a challenge. It was a cave in Wisconsin. It started as a hole and as the mud and silt was removed over five years, the hole became a cavern with all of the stalactites, and stalagmites that one would expect, all artfully highlighted by dim blue, green, and yellow back lighting, narrow passageways, dripping water in a clear basin of water, and glowing eyes in the dark corners. The kids loved it. A local attraction became the basis for a fort with a pine tree palisade, log cabins, a playground, a snack bar, a blacksmith shop, and a parking lot. None of it would have worked without the cave. So the value had to be based upon an entertainment venue, ticket sales for the cave. (The cost approach made no sense. And there were no market sales for caves to be found.) For a very small fee I found myself very happy to complete this assignment.
Do you have a favorite quote? Why?
My favorite poet is Carl Sandburg. My favorite remembrance is of him saying that if you write words with three syllables or more, you have lost your audience and only inflated your ego.
If you could change one thing about the appraisal industry today, what would it be? Appraisers have been downgraded to the status of a clerk. My greatest desire is to restore to the appraiser the respect due a professional. That means going back to the basics of independent fee appraising within the framework of an association of like-minded appraisers willing to adhere to the highest standards of quality, diligence, education, and experience in their chosen field.
Tell us something about yourself that people might not know.
My wife Peggy and I have been partners in appraising as well as in our marriage for the past 43 years. Over the years we have run an appraisal office and ventured into real estate management, brokerage, ownership and development. That has been a real roller coaster ride, but we have loved it.
When not at work, I am most likely...
restoring a 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible with a four barrel, 383 block with 330 hp, and an RT suspension. Being from Detroit, my wife has excused me this greatly appreciated distraction.
What is the best thing about your job?
Appraisers meet people. I like meeting people and listening about their property. I am challenged daily by issues of value, that always seem the same, but are always different. Most recently, I am appraising a full service resort with a golf course and marina with a dive shop. From foreclosure to recovery, where is the value going to be tomorrow, in today’s economy? No, this profession has never been dull for me. That is why I like it.
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