Top 6 reasons real estate appraisers should have a blog

Should appraisers have a blog?

The real estate appraisal profession has gone through a lot of changes in the last 5-10 years. Increasing regulations, changes in how appraisers and banks communicate, and the proliferation of appraisal management companies have changed how we do business. Our cheese has been moved multiple times.

reasons real estate appraisers should have a blog

Some appraisers have chosen to leave the field for other work that is more stable and that pays better. Other appraisers have found ways to make mortgage appraisals work. They have accepted scope creep and the constant nagging of appraisal reviewers who require us to make nit-picky changes to our appraisal reports. Many times the very information they ask for is already in the report if they’d only take the time to read them.

Yet another group of appraisers has chosen to not perform appraisals for mortgage lending because of the very reasons I have just mentioned. Instead, they choose to concentrate on non-lender work, such as performing appraisals for divorce, estate planning, bankruptcy, pre-listing appraisals, PMI removal, and even for buyers who pay cash but still want to make sure they are getting a good deal.

A blog can help you get  your message to the masses

In the days prior to all the change appraisers could concentrate on just working on appraisals. Work was plentiful and once we proved ourselves to our clients we really didn’t have to worry about marketing because work would continue to roll in. Currently, the assignment of appraisal jobs is not so much about doing a great job but instead, it is about who will do the quickest appraisal for the lowest fee.

Because things are not like they use to be, appraisers have had to be very resourceful and resilient professionals. For those choosing not to continue down the mortgage lending appraisal path, we have had to find ways to market our nonlending appraisal services to the masses.

One way to do this is to communicate our skills and abilities to clients who need them through the use of digital marketing. This includes social media and blogging. My focus today will be explaining the top reasons real estate appraisers should have a blog. For those non-appraisers reading today I would like to say that these tips can help anyone who provides a service and wants to get the word out about it. If you have anything to add please leave a comment below and we’ll keep the conversation going.

Top reasons real estate appraisers should have a blog

1) Informational- Having a website helps the public know what you do. Most people only know that appraisers perform appraisals for people when they are buying a home or refinancing their mortgage. They are unaware of the other nonlending appraisal services we perform like pre-listing appraisals, divorce appraisals, estate planning appraisals, appraisals for PMI removal, bankruptcy, and even appraisals for cash buyers. By making them aware of what you do they will know who to call when they need your services.

2) Helps you get found by people needing an appraisal- Years ago when people needed a professional to help them with their problem they would look in the phone book. Can you think of the last time you used a phone book? Me neither. People now use Google to find everything, including real estate appraisers. By having a blog you will be included in the search results provided by Google. If you are an appraiser and have an informational blog you will be ahead of about 99% of other appraisers in search results because most appraisers don’t have a blog, which is good for you if you do since your information will show up before theirs.

3) Helps establish you as an expert- By providing answers to common questions you are able to show the public you are an expert. This is how I approach my blog and I have found it to be very beneficial to agents, homeowners, and mortgage professionals in my area. I learned how to do this by listening to Marcus Sheridan who was able to save his struggling pool business by becoming the go-to guy to have pool questions answered. If you want to learn more about how you can utilize this approach you may want to read his new book “They Ask, You Answer“. You can find it on Amazon.

4) Helps you get information to the public about things happening in your profession- In addition to answering commonly asked appraisal question on your blog, you can also inform the public about changes in the profession. An example of this is when the Home Valuation Code of Conduct was sworn into law. I was able to let readers know how this would effect how appraisals were performed. This also occurred when TRID was created. Keeping readers up to date on what is happening will keep them coming back to your blog because they know they will be able to get the latest and most accurate news from you.

5) Provide real estate market updates- Appraisers are in a unique position to share relevant and helpful market data to the public. We perform market studies every day on the areas we appraise in. Why not share this with your readers? Anytime I am in a neighborhood that has a lot of good sales data I will create some graphs and share this information on the blog. People want to know what homes are selling for in their neighborhood as well as whether prices are increasing, decreasing, or holding steady. This will help them find value in your blog and whenever they need an appraisal or know someone that does they will call you or pass your name along.

6) Use as a platform to enact change in the profession- Appraisers can use their blog as a platform to bring attention to current issues affecting appraisers. By providing a story from the appraisers perspective readers are able to get a more balanced understanding of the news topic and consumers can make better-informed decisions or at least form an opinion by looking at multiple perspectives.

There are many more reasons to have a blog, whether you are an appraiser or any other business owner for that matter. Do you have a blog? If so, what benefits have you found that you can pass along to those who don’t have one? Please leave a comment below to help those trying to make a decision about whether they should start one.

Question

Do you have any other questions or something else to add about starting an appraisal blog? Leave me a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going. As always, thanks for reading.

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Comments

  1. Thanks Tom for your post.I absolutely agree with your view.The market is always volatile and it’s not possible for me to guess the market just listening to the grapevine.I would like to include the most important term on property selling.It’s nothing but property appraisal.A professional, licensed.,reputed property appraiser can figure out all the possibilities and the report itself is the answer to the question. Their perception on modern appraisal should be mentioned in their blog because most of the generation loves to read on the web.A reliable property appraisal update is the best answer for customer’s queries.

  2. Tom, are you trying to get me back on the horse? I’ve been taking a break from blogging lately, but it has been so busy it does not feel like a break. 🙂

  3. I agree with some refinements/reminders added. These are indeed some quite reasonable items in favor of an appraiser blog. Speaking as an appraiser with a few decades in the business, having the public understand more about what our product is and how it is derived is a positive thing. We need to educate and reinforce to the users of appraisal products and the general public the utility of our work, particularly in the face of nonsense AVM results, out-of-area appraisers working for chick scratch and producing predictably bad results, etc. And if you are going in the direction of non-lending work, it could help differentiate you within the marketplace, give you a bit of that “expert” edge you reference.

    At the same time, if an appraiser does much expert witness work, or if they should find themselves in a situation where they are giving testimony related to their work, I can also foresee some potential pitfalls. You and I and any appraiser who has an adequate sense of self preservation are used to adding caveats to general discussions about real estate and real estate valuations, it is second nature. Likewise, we need to be very careful in online postings where our identity as a real estate professional is known. In my opinion, a blogger will need to be on guard for comments that might have potential for being mis-characterized by an opposing counsel in order to impeach our testimony or, worse, to impart liability. I’ve read your blogs from time to time, and I like your approach, so I’m not talking about you personally, but I say this to remind myself and our fellow appraisers that blogs, as well as social media in general may seem beneficial or harmless, but they also hold the potential for taking a bite out of your tail with a misstep. The ever useful, “your mileage may vary” comment probably needs to be on a hotkey for an appraisal blogger.

    I’ve had social media comments brought up in a deposition, though on an unrelated matter. Though it was not me that was on the chopping block in that case, it did make me think hard about the potential liability of that kind of thing. My own website is down at the moment because I don’t have the time to straighten out a server issue, and I’ve given thought to doing more than just a quarterly “news” section, but right now, it’s just about a lack of time. I applaud your management skills to do as much as you do.

    • Thanks, Tim. You bring up some great points. I guess if others can scour our social media accounts for information then surely attorneys on the opposing council probably could as well. You are correct about your “mileage may vary” comment. In my writing, I try not to infer that every homeowner will get “X” amount for this amenity or that, or that being located next to such and such will all have the same effect because we all know that things are different everywhere. I think if we can keep the topics we discuss simple and just discuss methodologies then we should be safe, hopefully.

  4. I’m sold and I have no plans of stopping. Keep up the great work Tom.

    • I hear your Ryan. Thank you for all the encouragement over the years as it was you and Bill Cobb who helped me get started. I could not have done it without the help you two have given me.

  5. Thanks Tom. These are all reasons why I started again…

    • Your blog is a great resource for both locals and others wanting to know about how and why appraisers do what they do. I especially like your excel articles and how they show how appraisers use excel to come up with adjustments. Keep up the great work Joe.

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