A candid interview with Phil Crawford, host of “Voice of Appraisal”
I typically write about market conditions, answer frequently asked questions readers have, as well as pulling the curtain back on how and why appraisers do what they do. Today I want to change things up a bit and share with you an interview I recently did with Phil Crawford, a fellow appraiser, who has become a catalyst for change in the appraisal profession.
In case you haven’t had the opportunity to listen yet, the title of Phil’s Youtube show is “Voice of Appraisal”, which describes his intentions very well because he wants to provide a bigger platform for appraisers voices to be heard on a national level, as well as encouraging them to create change through grass roots efforts. He believes that our profession has become splintered because we are not working together. This, combined with stricter government regulation and various organizations that promise to protect us (but haven’t), have left our industry without a voice. His show provides weekly updates that break down what is happening in the appraisal world and how we can respond to it. His show’s mission statement offers to:
…seek to insure future generations of real estate appraisers a prosperous and rewarding career, strive to protect and strengthen the public trust which our profession is responsible, and break down the walls between the real estate appraiser and the American people…
His first show broadcast on March 11, 2014 and it has steadily grown in listeners. Many national level companies have gotten on board as sponsors because they believe in Phil’s program and the positive impact it is having on our profession. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did asking Phil his opinion on these issues. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
Tom: First, a little about yourself Phil, can you tell us how you got into the appraisal profession and your background in broadcasting. How did you mesh the two?
Phil: I have been a certified general appraisal for about 15 years and been in radio broadcasting for about 8 years. I am a third generation appraiser so the “appraisal DNA” runs in my blood. A few years ago, I was asked to be a guest on a live mortgage radio show in Cincinnati. The show went great, the reaction was good, and one of the hosts of the show retired the following week. The remaining host called me and asked if I would like the job, I said yes, and that’s how my radio career started.
Tom: Why did you decide to start the “Voice of Appraisal” Program?
Phil: I have a firm belief in markets. I would say that my economic theory is down the road of an Ayn Rand and more in line with the Austrian School. That being said, I believe that markets should be as “open” as possible with small regulation and ,most importantly, small manipulation. Appraisers are a fundamental part of an open market and play a key role within the economic model. The appraisers job is to derive that opinion of market value. That point at which the supply and demand curves meet to produce price point recognition. This process is so important to the housing market and must be taken very seriously. Today, many would argue that some markets are too manipulated (commodities, stock, bond). The real estate market within the U.S. must be as open as possible and appraisers must protect it. These appraisers, these professionals are small in numbers and must have a voice to communicate key issues for the profession and to protect the public trust. This is why I started the show. To offer such a voice to appraisers.
Tom: What do you hope happens as a result of the program and how do you see it evolving?
Phil:I would say the following: More understanding of the appraisal process by the general public, Greater comradery between appraisers (especially the younger generation), Super strong and highly supported Appraiser State Coalitions, Less fear from appraisers to handle difficult and controversial topics, Ending the Practice of random Blacklisting…PERIOD!!! Create a platform for future National Leadership which will develop in time, Have appraisers work together towards a common goal, develop a true “Mission Statement” for our industry, and Develop an “Appraiser’s Bill of Rights”.
Tom: What do you see as the most important issue in real estate appraisal for 2015?
Phil: Big Data Trans humanism. The merger of man and machine and the great valuation experiment that has been in process for over a decade. We will also need to focus on our skill sets and professionalism. I believe that the overall outcome of this experiment will result in a greater need for intelligent, highly trained and educated real estate appraisers. As a profession, we are going nowhere. Appraisers are needed in the field today, as they will be needed 20 years from today.
Tom: In your opinion what can appraisers do themselves to better the profession in 2015?
Phil: Besides developing new skill sets and increasing overall professionalism, I think the most important thing that an appraiser can do this year is START INTRODUCING YOURSELF TO THE WORLD! There are real estate agents, title agents, lenders, investment groups, builder associations and typical “Joe bag of donuts” who know nothing of what we do and the world we live in. They know nothing of the issues we face and how these complex situations could affect them. We must introduce them to our world. Do this, and watch your business and credibility grow. I promise it will!!
Tom: If there is one challenge you could give to appraisers to help them to become a better appraiser or to help the profession what would that be?
Phil: Always be sure to take time and look up from you monitors and notice what is going on with the world around you. Look at the “Macro” picture of our industry and start getting involved….and start getting along!!! Given the state of our industry, none of us have really anything to be proud of! It is in crisis and turmoil and working together with our follow appraisers is the only way for us to start solving the problems and challenges facing us. Your fellow appraiser is an ally, not an enemy.
Tom: You obviously believe in state coalitions since you speak about them on your program. How do you see these coalitions affecting the profession?
Phil: One word…Revolution!. These coalitions are the key to affecting change in our industry. They are grass roots, low cost, and offer guidance and protection to appraisers. They also can highly influence state boards and agencies that are in charge of appraiser disciplinary actions! They can work with these state agencies to make sure USPAP is interpreted in the proper way. This should lessen liabilities on appraisers and protect them from frivolous complaints and actions. These groups greatly affect our “local levels” which has the most governing and regulating impact on appraisers within their course of business.
Tom: Are there any final words you would like to share with the readers?
Phil: A story. There once was a soldier in the American Civil War who came up with the perfect way to stay alive throughout the many bloody battles he would face. He decided to wear a Union Jacket and gloves and Confederate pants and hat. Half of his insignias on his jacket would be Union and the other half Confederate. He reckoned that his uniform would cause such confusion as to which side he was on that no one would shoot him for fear he was one of their fellow soldiers. He went into battle one morning…and was the first one shot! When his body was recovered he was found to have been killed with 10 Union bullets, and 10 Confederate bullets. The meaning of this story? You must pick a side when it comes to the issues we face today and get off any fence you are sitting on. If you don’t, you could be taking “friendly fire”, from ALL sides. Join your state coalition and GET INVOLVED. These problems will not fix themselves.
Tom: If someone has not had a chance to hear your show yet can you tell them where they can listen?
Phil: All shows are available on our Youtube channel and our website which is www.VoiceOfAppraisal.com. A NEW SHOW IS AVAILABLE EVERY WEEK, thanks to our many awesome sponsors!!!
Tom: How can people contact you?
Phil: Easy…my email is firstname.lastname@example.org!
Please feel free to leave any comments about Phil’s show below. If you haven’t listened yet I highly recommend it because it’s entertaining as well as informative.