Daily Archives: March 14, 2017

President’s Message: A Theme for ICAP in 2017 and Beyond

President’s Message: A Theme for ICAP in 2017 and Beyond

Appraisal Professionals – what does that really mean?

Professional, per Webster’s Dictionary is defined as one “possessing great skill in a specialized field, one with assured competence.”

Profession is further defined as “an occupation or vocation, a calling, requiring training in the liberal arts or the sciences and advanced study in a specialized field.”

Historically, “professions” were limited to the practices of medicine, law or religious clergy. Today we also attribute “professional” to the fields of personal and financial services; so add accounting, if not “wealth management.” In the building trades we have architects and engineers. And while so many of these fields are focused on client assistance, arguably valuers are above all -as neutrals in service to the public alone. Only clergy have a higher claim, in their dedication to the Almighty.

Professionals are generally esteemed for their expertise, but also for their evident success – too often measured merely in monetary terms.

But what truly sustains professional services are long term client relationships.   Think about what the professionals in our own lives and businesses may provide us: they counsel, they teach, they may save us money, sometimes they make us money, sometimes they fix problems, sometimes they even cure. On rare occasion they perform seeming miracles. They earn our respect and esteem.

Now, let’s look at the typical appraisal “business.” Ask yourself, do we really develop the kinds of clients who would respect us as professionals?

Who would most appraisers list as their clients? Banks, lending agencies and government regulated institutions? Too often our work product, “the appraisal” is viewed by such clients as a mere commodity. Quality and insight have been so homogenized all that differentiates one provider from another is cost and turn-time. Then, this work product, truly an expert opinion of value, is subject to heavy regulation with severe penalties for non-compliance.

Let’s look at our sister professionals in the law and accounting fields. Yes, the drafting of some contracts, the filing of some taxes are surely commodity services that underpin many businesses. Yet, most lawyers and accountants grow in their profession by leveraging their specialized knowledge and skills to also provide counsel. Professionals help their clients solve problems. They aspire to become trusted advisors.   So should appraisers.

Perhaps ICAP can help our members in a small way by giving them a voice with our regulators and tools with our seminars. If ICAP has a theme this year, it is to help our members grow their business and become better respected by our clients. Respect within the firms where we work, be it brokerages, banks or government agencies.   For those in the fee business, perhaps we can help you grow your client base beyond lenders and develop the kinds of sustaining relationships that truly value your good counsel.

Barton DeLacy, MUP
ASA, MAI, AI-GRS, CRE, FRICS
President, Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals (ICAP)

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