We always hear from our subscribers that no one is listening and you aren't being heard. Well there is one person who is using his voice to make sure appraiser issues are being talked about. Phil Crawford hosts a weekly radio show, "Voice of Appraisal" designed specifically for appraisers. His no-nonsense approach to issues in the industry creates a cutting edge program that provides insight into the profession that is rarely heard. We were able to get in touch with him and ask him a few questions about the industry as he sees it.
Buzz: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Phil. Can you start off by telling our readers a bit about your history in the appraisal industry?
Phil: I have been in appraising for 14 years. I started out as a licensed residential appraiser in 2001, in the great State of Ohio, and upgraded to a Certified General appraiser in 2008. As most appraisers, the business is in my DNA. My father is an appraiser and so was my grandfather.
Buzz: What kind of broadcasting background did you have before you started "Voice of Appraisal"?
Phil: Cincinnati is a huge radio town. This is the birthplace of radio, started by Powell Crosley, the "Henry Ford" of radio. We are the home of 700 WLW, 550 WKRC, 1480 WDJO, and Voice of America. I grew up with radio and have always been a big fan of it. About eight years ago I was invited to be a guest on a mortgage show to talk about the appraisal profession. The show had two hosts and the interview went well. The next week I got a call from one of the hosts saying that her cohost was retiring. She asked if I wanted the job and I said yes. That's how it started. Over the years I became the host on several shows and multiple stations in the Cincinnati market. All real estate oriented.
Buzz: What were some of the reasons behind the creation of a show about appraisals?
Phil: Like I say on my website, appraisal has become this "lone wolf" profession. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, however, the industry is lacking this comradery that it had in the past. The large appraisal organizations that commanded thousands of members have dwindled within the past 25 years. With the creation of USPAP and national licensing, appraisers have become more isolated in their business practices. Most feel very alone and wonder if the issues, demands, stresses, and downright anger (that they feel on a daily basis) are felt by others in the profession. Knowing this, I decided to take the two "talents" I had, radio and appraisal, and combine them into a show that could offer a "voice in the wilderness" to isolated appraisers and promote friendship among the many, or should I say few, in the appraisal profession. I am a field appraiser. I take the "field of battle" every day. I speak the language of the brave souls who put their lives, liberty and fortunes on the line with every appraisal report they sign and deliver, and I'm not afraid. Keep in mind, my show is not USPAP compliant. I am an interested party, I have an advocacy to appraisers, and we need to protect our profession which is a key and integral part of the real estate market. That's what the show is all about. The response to the show has been incredible and I would like to thank our many sponsors who make it possible.
Buzz: What do you think are some of the most important topics appraisers are talking about right now?
Phil: There are many. I would like to see a nice two year plan laid out for the profession.
First, in interest of the public trust, I believe that the fees paid by homeowners to banks and AMCs must be unbundled. Homeowners must know what they are paying for and were the money is going. The newly form CFPB may be a big help with this issue. We must also promote the "cost plus model" with banks and AMCs.
Second, we must now realize that the appraiser state coalition movement, which is highly promoted on the show, is the future leadership of the profession. These coalitions are working on issues, within their states, and also starting to work together on national issues. A new generation is starting to take the reins of leadership and is following a model of organization very similar to the US Constitution of 1789! (I only wish Congress would as well!)
Third, we must start to finds ways to limit or liabilities. If I weigh the liability of the average 1004 report, the fee associated with it should be (at a minimum) $1000.00.
I'm an appraiser; I know the value of our worth!!!
We take on some serious liabilities that most professions would not even think of. One complaint by an AMC, Bank, or homeowner could shut down an appraiser's office for months, if not permanently. We have to start familiarizing ourselves with our State Commissions and those who control them. We need to get out to real estate offices and teach agents how our profession works and how they should act and react, when dealing with appraisers. We need to push locally for more appraisers to be on MLS boards. We also need to educate, a very uneducated, public on our role in real estate transactions and how we can protect them. They need to see us as protective auditors of value, in what may be the biggest financial decision of their lives. (Buying a house) I think if we can move forward with these simple goals, we can make a big difference in our profession and begin to break down some walls that have been put in place over the years. Walls that separate us, not only from other professions, but from each other.
Buzz: Why do you think there aren't more video or audio programming options like yours for appraisers who want to discuss the industry?
Phil: A radio and podcasting show on a national level is not easy. The shows must be informative as well as entertaining. I think that would be the reason why video and audio appraisal programming, on a national level, is low. That being said, there are some awesome "power blogger" appraisers out there who are taking their local marketing areas by storm. Two that come to mind are Tom Horn, who runs the Birmingham Appraisal Blog, and Ryan Lundquist who runs the Sacramento Appraisal Blog. These two appraisers have awesome sites that cover local issues and have videos that show common concerns within their markets. I only wish more appraisers would follow this model within their marking areas.
Buzz: What direction do you see the appraisal industry headed in the near future?
Phil: Rocky, but moving forward, like a ship in a storm that is still heading in the right direction. The next two years are going to be "life changing" for our industry. We are now heading into a hurricane of new Fannie and Freddie guidelines, a new six billion dollar market of desktop products (which are quickly taking the place of BPOs and AVMs), appraisal drone technologies, big data, and fee and liability issues. Overall, I remain very optimistic that we will weather this storm of change and, in the end, come out as a respected and honored profession. With new leadership from the state coalitions, new forms of communication between appraisers, and the torch now passing to a new generation, the future will be a wild ride, but one that we should not fear. I plan on covering it, every step of the way!!!
Buzz: Where can Buzz subscribers find your weekly shows?
Phil: Shows can be found on www.voiceofappraisal.com. A new show is available every Wednesday. They are podcasts, so you listen whenever you want. I also want to give a special thanks to the studios of 1480 WDJO in Cincinnati where the shows are recorded.
Buzz: Thank you for your time we look forward to your upcoming shows.
Thank you for all of the hard work you are doing for our industry and it was a pleasure talking with you today!
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