Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mary Cummins, Appraiser Rules of Etiquette


As a real estate appraiser I absolutely agree with these rules of etiquette. I can't tell you how shocking it is when I used to get my home appraised and the appraiser showed up in shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt. Yes, we live in Southern California but that is no reason to look unprofessional. If I must check the crawl space or roof, I will bring a coverall. All appraisers should follow these rules of etiquette. 

The Appraisal Rules of Etiquette

by Kevin Hopkins

In this day and age, it seems like a lot of things have fallen by the wayside and good manners should not be one of them.  When you do an appraisal, you are representing yourself and the people who have hired you. A certain degree of professionalism should always be the standard and not the exception.  With that being said, what are the expectations in this day and age? Here is a list, by no means exclusive, of rules to live by.

  • Be on time. Not half an hour early, nor half an hour late. If you show up too early, homeowners might not be prepared for your arrival and if you show up late you keep them waiting. Time is money and you shouldn't waste anyone else's time.
  • Cell phones should be used sparingly, if at all in a customer's home. Sometimes it cannot be helped, but personal calls that seem to ramble on do not endear you to anyone. If you must answer or use the phone, do so as briefly as possible.
  • Don't ask to use the homeowner's bathroom. Yes, if you ask, they will point you down the hall. But you are a stranger and should not impose except in the direst of circumstances.
  • Don't ask for anything to eat or drink. Again, take care of these needs before or after your arrival. If they offer you a drink, you can accept their hospitality but don't sit down to dinner with them.
  • Keep your vehicle presentable- inside and out. For years, UPS drivers would wash their vehicles daily to maintain a professional image and often, that is what a homeowner would see both first and last.
  • Maintain your personal hygiene as well. Some of you will laugh, but others will argue. Bathe daily, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, clean and trim your nails, shave all necessary areas, floss and brush regularly and get your hair cut at least once a month.
  • Personal attire should be business casual or better. Polish your shoes and brush off any lint. Depending on circumstances, you could get dirty. I would recommend a change of clothes and/or a pair of coveralls.
  • Laptops belong on your…lap. The homeowner does not know where your computer has been. Don't set your Ipad on their table or countertop and send a germaphobe into orbit.
  • Be prepared to take your shoes off inside. This still unsettles me a bit, but some homeowners will cringe if you do not take off your shoes inside. I know a person who refused to do so and wound up discoloring a $10,000 Oriental rug. Some homeowner's will provide you booties to wear inside, but you might be advised to bring your disposable ones and make sure there are no holes in your socks- just in case.


Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.