You may or may not know that Appraisers have to be incognito. More specifically we drive around taking pictures of comparable properties and figuring out whether they are actually comparable to the property we are appraising. Somehow we manage to drive,
navigate, roll the car windows up and down, take pictures and make sensible notes to ourselves about the comps. Sometimes we are even noticed by neighbors, passerbys, and the new owners of the comparable property.
Typically when this occurs it is while I'm driving by the house, and the owner (who is usually gardening, washing the car, or herding children) flags me down and asks me why I'm taking a picture of the house. Most often the ensuing conversation is pleasant
and I like to believe that both the appraiser and the home owner walk away with more information than they started with. In both Jackson and Josephine Counties, Oregon I have been asked to come inside many times. Imagine that!
On this particular occasion I was driving in the rain. I like driving comps in the rain and snow, I can be more incognito. I was at the end of my trip, and pulled into a shared driveway to turn around so that I could take my last picture out of the drivers
side window. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a truck had pulled in behind me. I pulled forward thinking that he wanted to drive by me into the adjacent driveway, he didn't move. Realizing that I must be in "his" driveway I carefully backed up into
the adjacent drive so that I was facing the street, and of course the other driver. He still didn't move, and suddenly I knew I wasn't in his shared driveway. I watched as his driver side door opened and he stepped out. I rolled down my window and put on my
"howdy neighbor" smile. He walked to my rolled down window, put his hands on his knees and said "Do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Not at all" I answered. "Why did you take a picture of my house?" I chuckled and thrust my "howdy neighbor" hand through
the window. "Let me introduce myself. My name is Margaret Nelson-Quin and I'm an appraiser". "OH" he sighed and chuckled himself.
The funny thing was that as I snapped the photo (remember it was raining with the associated lack of light), and the flash went off I saw a woman in the kitchen window. As I typically do when this happens, I put my camera away leaned over to the paperwork
in my passenger's seat and made as if I was writing something down as I let my foot off the brake to roll quietly away. In most cases this is a very effective tactic. Unfortunately for me I had driven past the woman's husband as I drove up the street to take
the picture, and passed him again on his cell phone as she told him I had just taken a picture of her! Cell phones, can't live with them, can't live without them!
What is great about this story is that I now have an open invitation to "come by anytime" and get the grand tour of their place. I love Oregonians.