As the end of the year and holiday season approaches, I would like to acknowledge that the Appraisal Institute has made an abundance of progress this year. I am very optimistic about AI’s future. I want to outline some of our major achievements of which I am proudest.
AI’s Major Accomplishments Throughout 2020
- We have dramatically improved our relationship with TAF this year. In fact, we are co-sponsoring a symposium with them on, “Promoting Trust for Fair and Affordable Housing.” We also have two Designated Members who were recently appointed to their boards – Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, AI-RRS to the ASB, and Byron Miller, SRA, AI-RRS to the AQB. Congratulations to Scott and Byron.
- We have completed a comprehensive research project on how to attract new members. This is titled the New Member Model. We are nearing the ready to launch stage. This is an extremely exciting development that can successfully catapult the Appraisal Institute into the future by attracting new members and creating a more welcoming atmosphere throughout the Appraisal Institute.
- We are engaged in a complete evaluation of our education program, its development, its delivery, and creating a competitive advantage for us. We anticipate making changes throughout 2021.
- We are working on a mobile-friendly AI connection to our website, which is needed by our membership.
- Finally, the Find an Appraiser project team has been working at a fever pitch. The Appraisal Institute has the largest and most highly qualified dataset of appraisers in the U.S. We should be maximizing this dataset to work for them. The project team’s work will absolutely create more value to being an AI professional. Connecting clients to appraisers is a must-do mission.
Ultimately, our job as leaders of the Appraisal Institute is to increase membership value and attract new professionals.
In addition to the accomplishments mentioned above, I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge what else the organization has done this year.
- We have maintained and expanded communications with our membership. The AI Answers series on our YouTube channel and our early pandemic commercial and residential webinars were tremendous successes. One well-known member wrote to me after the CRE webinar that he was prouder of the Appraisal Institute than he had ever been in his 30 years of membership. These events have brought new value to being an Appraisal Institute professional.
- CFMAP is fully launched with all AI chapters. It reduces minimum chapter criteria and ensures uniform processes across our platform. It also allows us for the first time to know in advance when chapters may need help so that we can respond promptly.
- Our staff was moved offsite as the pandemic emerged and was given the tools to continue to work effectively. They never missed a beat due to superior planning and leadership by CEO Amorin. We should thank our extremely dedicated and highly skilled staff as well. Thank you, staff.
- We successfully published “The Appraisal of Real Estate,” 15 edition, which was last published seven years ago. It contains significant new revisions and enhancements for the valuation profession. Not to mention a significant source of revenue for the Appraisal Institute. We continuously prove beyond any doubt why the Appraisal Institute is the thought leader of the valuation body of knowledge.
- We formed a University Relations Committee, which will play a crucial part in attracting new AI professionals in the future.
- We have begun to address unconscious racial bias in valuation. We will continue to make the Appraisal Institute the focal point for improving the valuation profession in this crucial area.
- We helped draft and continue to support and encourage the Appraisal Portal legislation’s passage to lower the administrative burden that our professionals with licenses in multiple states feel.
- We set a record of positive communications at the Board of Directors level. We have utilized the GoToMeeting environment and have completed an AI record 12 BoD meetings as of Nov. 13.
- Last but certainly not least, staff successfully collaborated with our executive directors to provide refinements to NetForum so that that chapter operations would be enhanced. This was a very successful endeavor, and improvements will continue.
AI’s Focus on the Future
Early this year, I was asked what my goals were for the year. The item at the top of my list was a much more intuitive website. I used an expression of why it was crucial for us, which is “first touch.” You may know, 15 years ago, we captured most classroom education. That is not the case today. That was where and how we got members, by first touch. We need to replace that advantage, and an improved website would be a great place to start.
There are some real-world obstacles to a total website revamp. It is unlikely to be inexpensive and will require a great deal of staff time. But now, with the New Member Model, the education study, and the Find an Appraiser Project Team’s work in full gear, they all can be incorporated into a new website. I’ve tempered my push for an enhanced website in 2020, back into the reality of our resources and appropriate timing. More importantly, we are and will be, addressing membership value and the first touch principle.
The Appraisal Institute Strategic Planning Committee is presenting the New Business Model recommendation, which will shape the organization’s direction. This will be a culmination of nearly five years of research and study. At the same time, chapter leaders have been exploring different business models. This is an exciting time for Appraisal Institute professionals as leadership considers the future.
While we are still analyzing the data and recommendations we have been given, we know that some underlying factors bode well for our future. These include our excellence in education and our ability to convey important information to our professionals. We also need to attract new individuals. To do that, we will have to have a “big tent” mentality and help from all levels of our organization.
The Appraisal Institute is focused on the future. The path forward should take the best of what has made us so highly respected throughout the valuation world and marry those qualities with valuers’ needs outside our membership and those entering the profession. We have a lot to offer every valuer. We will be working diligently to help them become part of something larger than themselves and succeed in a vibrant professional environment. Stay tuned for more details.
Our membership and the entire profession are counting on us to succeed and move the valuation profession and the Appraisal Institute in a successful direction. As I’ve said before, “we educate, we designate, and we elevate the profession. That is what we do and who we are.” Our big initiatives are proof that we are focused on the future with definite plans for the benefit of our entire membership.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the cusp of great things.
AI Webinars Continue to Provide Timely Information for Appraisers
Here’s some current and important information that may be useful to your business.
The Appraisal Institute continues to host AI Answers sessions on select Wednesdays. These sessions are conducted via GoToMeeting. Please check out the recordings of these sessions.
During the Nov. 4 session, Appraisal Institute Director of Government and External Relations, Bill Garber, spoke with Co-Founder and CEO of Eval.com, Deborah Clark, MAI; Attorney and Owner of Christensen Law Firm, Peter Christensen; and Senior Managing Director of Valbridge Property Advisors, Burton Lee, MAI, to discuss the realm of alternative valuation services in commercial real estate.
On Nov. 11, Bill Garber spoke with Appraisal Institute Manager of State and Industry Affairs, Scott DiBiasio; and Appraisal Institute Manager of Federal Affairs, Brian Rodgers, to analyzes the results of the 2020 federal and state elections and to look ahead at potential future legislative actions related to real estate appraisals.
AI and TAF to Host Joint Symposium in December
I encourage you to save the dates of Dec. 9-10, 1 p.m.-4:15 p.m. EST, for a free virtual symposium with the Appraisal Institute and The Appraisal Foundation, “Promoting Trust for Fair and Affordable Housing.” This symposium will allow real estate appraisers to hear from leaders from across the appraisal profession, mortgage lending, and academia discussing fair and affordable housing issues. Discussion topics will include the latest research on fair and affordable housing, impact and innovation in the appraisal process, and potential legislative, regulatory, and financing solutions that can promote community and economic development. Learn more.
Other News Around the Appraisal Institute
And here’s some other important news from the Appraisal Institute:
- The Appraisal Institute continues to expand its social media activities. Be sure to follow AI on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and its blog, Opinions of Value.
Have a safe month!