Being the Chief Residential Appraiser of Martin + Wood Appraisal Group with a staff of over 25 appraisers is a lot of hard and gratifying work. Last year, I was sworn in as Vice President of the Ohio Collation of Appraiser Professionals (OCAP)-- an intellectually rich group who has come together with a mission dependent upon the collaborative efforts of members to strengthen the appraiser voice.
When the chapters meet we focus our discussions on the issues that appear to be threatening the real estate appraisal profession at its very core. The topics we tackle range from improved appraisal quality, such as sharing best practices on constructing a thorough report narrative, to other solution oriented topics such as revision management. We assist the appraiser in the understanding of the methodology behind the client prompts for, what seems at times, the never ending sea of revision requests. I liken some of these requests to that of chasing unicorns; being asked to include and expound upon items that don't exist in the market and often times have nothing to do with the reconciled value. This ultimately creates and encourages an environment of polarization, resentment and frustration, as the rules of engagement seem to change weekly, often times with no notice.
One invaluable benefit of OCAP membership is our commitment to data sharing. At the coalition chapter meetings future members should know that we open up our data arsenal and freely share market data, like unique comparable sales for dome, berm and other oddball home sales and condo project and single family rental data.
My involvement in OCAP reminded me of the isolated nature in which the majority of my fellow appraisers work. Since the departure of a "society" of appraisers or other face-to-face networking groups, it seems that the average rank and file appraiser independently working alone in their home offices have few options to access a scheduled meeting with their peer group.
What’s so exciting about the coalition and its organizational model is the kind of attention and support we are getting from our state regulatory board. The involvement of the Ohio Division of Real Estate and their Director, Anne Pettit, has tremendously increased the value of membership of OCAP. Anne and her staff are devoted participants in our annual summer seminar every year. She sees the value of the thought leadership, information sharing, access to continuing education, demonstration of best practices and tools, introduction to potential clients, software demonstration and the list goes on!
OCAP is also aggressively involved, and has been since the arrival of Dodd-Frank, in the conversation regarding the legislation of AMCs. Our relationship with the Division has allowed for seats and voices at the "table" whenever there are interested party talks or requested appraiser input on the language of this proposed legislation. The current bill the Ohio house and senate will ultimately vote on has the mark of the collective OCAP input running throughout. Ohio appraisers can sleep easier knowing their Coalition brethren has kept their best interests in mind and included that spirit in the language of the legislation that directly affects us all so deeply. This is yet another truly amazing accomplishment of this organization.
I see the benefit of the global conversation as a member of the Collateral Risk Network. Meeting with other thought leaders of this industry from all over the US and the world, it was obvious the next concerted effort of the grass roots state coalitions and networks are to come together.
My hope is this article will reach the leaders of more states that are not currently involved and inspire them to establish their own coalitions or join an existing one.
Anyone interested in joining OCAP please contact Charles Gress or visit our website www.ocapweb.org for more information.
Charles Gress has been in the appraisal industry for nineteen years and serves as the Senior Vice President & Chief Residential Appraiser for Martin + Wood Appraisal Group. Mr. Gress is noticeably involved in the attraction, education and retention of appraisers within the industry having trained over 30 appraisers in his time. Martin + Wood Appraisal Group, LTD., established in 1965, Is a full service appraisal company offering appraisals on all property types. He was also a candidate nominated for the "Valuation Visionary Award" by industry pier members of the CRN in 2012. Charles Gress currently serves as President of the Ohio Coalition of Appraiser Professionals (OCAP).
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