TITLE: Chief Appraiser & Compliance Officer
BUZZ: Why did you become an appraiser?
TOM: I had to take over the family business, as the 3rd generation running a real estate and appraisal company.
BUZZ: What has been the highlight of your professional career so far?
TOM: I have had many highlights. Being National President of NAIFA in 2006; being an appraisal instructor for over 20 years traveling the country and meeting and educating appraisers nationwide; writing appraisal course books on FHA, Report Writing and Forensic Review; serving on the Board of Trustees and now on the Industry Advisory Council (IAC); last but not least investigating fraud for FHA/OIG and IMB.
BUZZ: What piece of advice would you offer young people considering a career in this profession?
TOM: Become a professional by joining a professional appraisal association such as the National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers (NAIFA). Do not limit yourself to just one appraisal discipline. Learn and grow by taking as much education as you can and network with your peers. Always remember this, “Learn to say NO” and do not let a client force you to do anything that you do not want to do or that would violate USPAP”.
BUZZ: What book would we find on your nightstand right now?
TOM: A boring one, “how to retire using non recourse loans”…lol
BUZZ: Can you share a funny or unique story about an appraisal you’ve done?
TOM: I have many…probably one of the most memorable ones was appraising a condo in Chicago and it was a movie celebrity’s. The doorman warms me to watch out for the cat. I go inside and I am measuring the inside when all of a sudden, “Bam! There is this cat clinging on my back throwing a hissy fit and scratching the heck out of me. I spin in a circle as fast as I can and the cat goes flying off and hits the window. I thought it was going to break and the cat would go flying out…lol. I figured that would slow the cat down but I was wrong.
The next thing I know that cat came at me with a full frontal attack, and thankfully, I was using a clipboard where at the last second I was able to put it in front of my face as the cat went, WACK! Needless to say, I backed myself out of the unit and when I got back down stairs there was this smirky smile on the doorman who just said, “I told you so”. When I got into my office to start writing up the appraisal, I was trying to figure out whether or not I could call the cat attack functional or economic obsolescence! Just kidding!!!
BUZZ: Do you have a favorite quote? Why?
TOM: I said it above already, “Learn to say NO!”
BUZZ: If you could change one thing about the appraisal industry today, what would it be?
TOM: The fees that are paid for appraisals. The fees are the same as they are now as they were back in the 1980’s which is just ridiculous. The scope of work is increased and the liability is greater than ever. Appraisers need to say no when an AMC or Bank only wants to pay peanuts for an assignment.
BUZZ: Thanks for your time, Tom!
TOM: Thank You!