Too Much Information...and some advice from what I've learned

Hey Folks! I used to update this regularly. Not so much anymore. Since it's been so long since I've written here, I struggle with how to approach an update. Do I just update with the latest? Do I try to summarize since I last posted?  It's a tough thing to figure out! Fortunately I have a fantastic wife who is always ready with an idea for me!

As many of you know, I am in residential real estate appraisal. It's not glamorous or extraordinarily exciting, but I enjoy the work and I get to see a lot of houses. I get to see a wide variety of houses. In varying condition. It's...interesting sometimes. So occasionally I will regale Autumn with an anecdote about my day to either a) impress her (nope, doesn't work), b) make her laugh (more success here) or c) gross her out (easy!). It's funny because she's in medicine and enjoys assisting in surgery. The cutting, sawing, drilling, scraping, sewing, twisting, wrenching and other various manipulations of the human body don't seem to bother her. But nasty houses do, and I've seen my share of those!

But back to my point: after I had told Autumn about today's latest appraisal tale, she said that it sounded like a good blog post. Side note: she's been trying to get me to blog for months. Since I haven't written in a while and this was as funny a story as I'd told in a while, I thought I'd give it a go. I have half a dozen half-written posts that will never see the light of day because I get a ways in and either lose interest or fall asleep on my keyboard, so the odds are against me actually finishing this. We'll see.

So here's my premise: I'll regale you with a few oddities observed in my daily appraisaling (no, not really a word, but it should be!) and thrown in a few observations about things I've learned since moving to Minnesota. I'll do that, you act interested, and we'll all go home happy! But where to start? Oh, I know. Here:

It never occurred to me that a person could say something as benign as "golf" and encounter something as horrifically different than expected as the scene you see above. Needless to say, it's a Minnesota thing.

Yes, I'm a material girl. Living in a material world.

For all the talk about how cold it is here, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to chill a pot of soup.

I will say this: we're all adjusting to our new life here in the upper midwest. But there's nothing like seeing a good friend once in a while!

And while we're on the subject of cold...okay we weren't, but we are now! Here's cold: when your cat won't put his paws on the cold concrete of the garage floor, instead eating from his bed. Cold!

Thing seen on the job, picture #1. I'm not sure who the four guys are that are around him, but I'm pretty sure I know the guy in the center. Well, I don't actually know him. You know what I meant! This was in someone's dining room. Admittedly this was around Halloween last year, but those pictures are framed and everything. I just hope they were seasonal.

Nothing significant here, just some cute antics to get your mind off of mass murderers.

Trin's funny about stuff, rarely really wanting anything specific. She likes all kinds of things, but she rarely fixates on it. It was different this year with the Barbie car. She spent her own money to buy it, which is not something she would usually do. Not earth shattering, but it was cute and notable.

Nothing say happy like little boys with big weapons. Smiles for days I tell ya!

Surprise! Didn't see that one coming did you?

One thing about living in a metro area: it's not as easy (or at least as appropriate) to stop and pee on the side of the road. In the middle of a fantastic snow storm, Teagan had a potty emergency. Good thing I knew where a park and ride was. Also, good thing no one was there!

Nice view huh?

And speaking of my awesome wife, thanks to her I got to demo a fat bike in the snow. Another activity that is very Minnesotan. Yeah, they're everywhere now, but they started here.

Something's fishy in this picture...

Something else is fishy. This is a bathroom of a house I went into recently. Yes, that's a bathroom. Yes, that's red shag carpet. Yes, it's on the walls. Yes, that is absolutely disgusting.

More cuteness to get the appraisaling picture out of your head.

We didn't really know we had family around here. But we do! This is the kids' great great uncle John. He passed away about week after this picture, which was at his 90th birthday. I'm so glad we were here to meet him!

I take bad pictures sometimes. Surprised? If this picture is any indicator, I am too!

Teagan has joined, with our blessing, the statewide cult of hockey. It's been really fun to watch him work hard and see results from it. Another benefit has been the coaching. It's hard to see in this picture, but Teagan has a glove off. That's because his coach always has the boys take they're glove off when they shake hands or high five their opponents. Respect and sportsmanship, good stuff!

Observation: This picture was taken at a local church just before a forum on race and culture, specifically about race and culture here in Minnesota. I'll admit that the snarky side of me thought about the irony of a bunch of white folks talking about race, but I'm so glad we have the opportunity to attend events like this, especially with the kids. Another tidbit is this: I might have been one of the only adults that didn't have gray hair. Okay I have a few, but you have to look closely. Throw kids into the mix and the Harrell's are bringing the average age in the room WAY down!

And now we come to the end, for now anyway. And as an appraiser, I am going to leave you with a piece of advice that I really want you to take to heart. Here it is: 

If you ever have an appraisal done on your house for lending purposes, the appraiser will call ahead and schedule an appointment. There will be pleasantries exchanged, probably by phone, but occasionally via email. Sometimes while trying to set an appointment, you may or may not have specific reasons for needing the appointment delayed or set at a specific time or day. That's to be expected, so feel free to express that. You can also, if you wish, tell the appraiser why you need it at a certain time, or why you are available when you might not normally be. That's great, the more information the better.

After the appointment is set, the day will come that the appraiser knocks on your door. If you have a dog, we usually appreciate some effort on your part to keep the dog from interfering with our work. The usual way they might do that is to jump up, or bark or lick the appraiser. Not a big deal, but if it can be avoided, it's appreciated. Another is to make sure all rooms are accessible for viewing. That includes bedrooms, so if you have sleeping children, the appraiser will appreciate foreknowledge of this so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Personally I prefer morning appointments at 8 am, so during the summer, kids are often still sleeping and I have to work around it. No big deal, as a parent, I deal with snoring and drool all the time.

Another thing you can do is offer the appraiser a cup of coffee. He or she will likely refuse, but appreciate the gesture. We do like coffee, but we also like to get in and out in a timely manner. Coffee does not help in this regard. What does help though, is to have as much information as you can about your house that might not be obvious. If you've made some changes, let us know. It may not change anything in regards to the appraisal, but the more information, the better. We like details! But here's the thing: there are limits to even that. Let me explain.

There is a situation where details should not be revealed. For example, if you are home during the day on a Wednesday. Feel free to tell the appraiser that you are not normally home mid morning on a weekday, but because you just had surgery the previous week, you are still recovering. That's great, the appraiser will appreciate that your schedule is flexible. He or she will also likely extend a kind word in regards to a speedy recovery from your procedure. What a nice conversation you two are having. But it does become a slippery slope, so please restrain yourself.

For instance, if you happen to mention that you thought you would be back to work a couple of days ago, that's fine. But you don't have to mention that it's because you're still sore. You can, but it's really unnecessary and starts to cross the line in what has been up to now a cordial and professional interaction. Most appraisers enjoy, as I do, the occasional chit chat. It can help smooth out a potentially awkward interaction that involves a stranger walking through your house taking pictures. But please be careful. And do not, I repeat, DO NOT, under any circumstances, no matter how friendly the appraiser is, or how interested the appraiser seems to be in your post-op recovery soreness, go on to tell the appraiser than you just had hemorrhoid surgery. I'm telling you, it's just too much information.


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