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[Commercial Grade] It’s A Two-Way Street

Commercial Grade is a weekly post by John Cicero, MAI who provides commentary on issues affecting real estate appraisers, with specific focus on commercial valuation. This week, after a winter slumber, John looks at client traffic patterns and explains why sharing information is not a one way street.

Disclosure: John is a partner of mine in our commercial real estate valuation concern Miller Cicero, LLC [1] and he is, on Thursdays on Fridays, one of the smartest guys I know. …Jonathan Miller

I am on the list of approved appraisers for a major national bank. I’ve submitted dozens and dozens of bids over the past year, and was not awarded even one assignment. It is this lender’s written policy that they must select the lowest fee and, as I’ve said on my Soapbox before, I never aspired to be the lowest feeonly the best appraiser. (However, in the interest in developing a relationship, I have in my opinion submitted quite aggressive fee proposals)

What, then, to do about the frequent phone calls that I get from this bank’s loan officers who are looking for market data for their underwriting? This has been a real dilemma for me. My regular clients know that I will do back-flips for them when they need somethingbut I am not sure how to respond to these particular requests.

I presume that I get these calls because they know I have good market data. My firm keeps abreast of the condo market and, with our Miller Samuel [2] affiliation, probably have the best condo database in the City. Sodo I continue to send out this data to the underwriters, who will then turn around and hire another appraiser? Do I trip over myself, gushing that I’d be happy to supply them with valuable market data in the hopes that maybejust maybethis time they’ll pick me from the field of appraisers that they’ve sent bid requests to? Do I tell them I have just what they need but I am not going to help them, and risk being taken off the list.

Or do I just get their email address and send them a link to this Soapbox post?

For a while I’ve explained to the callers that I am happy to help them, but they need to remember that it’s a two-way street. But nothing has changed and I am still grappling with an appropriate response.

I would appreciate any feedback and advice from Soapbox readers.