What advice would you give a young person considering a career in real estate appraisal?
Don't do it! Run away! The real estate appraisal business is a tough industry to break into. Increased state regulations and licensing requirements have resulted in fewer appraisers entering the profession. It is necessary to apprentice with an established appraiser, and most experienced appraisers are unwilling to train anybody new for a variety of reasons. I was fortunate enough to work with Bill Cliatt for seven years before going out on my own. For a young person considering entering the industry, I would stress two things: always outwork your competition, and always maintain your integrity. Your career will be short if you are looking for a 9-5 job and simply trying to make everyone happy.
As an appraiser, how has your business changed in recent years as foreclosures have risen and more people have lost equity in their property?
I have been blessed to be on the Department of Veteran Affairs panel in both Georgia and Alabama since 2004. With such a strong military presence in the Columbus/Ft. Mitchell areas, my business has remained generally steady during the past few years. Foreclosures have taken their toll on the local market since 2008, but the loss of equity is also the result of the decline in sales. Locally, 2011 saw an increase in total sales for the first time since 2008. Uncertainty continues to rule the real estate world. Despite historically low interest rates, many people are still too uncomfortable with the overall economic situation to commit to buying a new home. Maybe after the election, buyers will be more inclined to venture back out into the real estate waters.
Your son Taylor plays football at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. What is a fall weekend like for your family?
Taylor graduated from Pacelli High School and our daughter Grace will be in the eighth grade there this fall, so we prefer to start the weekends with "Friday Night Lights" at Deimel Field. Go Vikings! Chattanooga is only three hours away, and a good number of the games are played at 6 p.m. We try to arrive before noon so we get a chance to see Taylor before the game. We usually tailgate with parents of other football players. Of course, the tailgate is not complete without some smoked wings from T-Bone's of Chattanooga and my wife Theresa's buffalo chicken dip. Theresa always makes sure we have plenty of food at the tailgate. The best part of playing in the Southern Conference is the close proximity to the other teams in the conference. Our longest SoCon road trip this fall will be five and a half hours, when we play The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Lots of travel, tailgating, food, fun and Blue and Gold. Go Mocs!
You are a lifelong Columbus resident. How has the city changed over the years?
As the old saying goes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." While Columbus has grown, with new restaurants and new stores, I still run into friends who were classmates at Clubview Elementary at Dinglewood Pharmacy, Deorio's or Country's BBQ. I have always thought of Columbus as the smallest big city in Georgia. What really comes to mind when asked this question is how many things Columbus has lost over the years. With loss comes gain, however, and, with that idea in mind, I have been amazed at the revitalization of the Uptown area.
What is the best kept secret in Columbus?
Tough question. I would say that everyone should know about the Riverwalk, the Uptown Concert series, Minnie's Uptown, Dinglewood scrambled dogs, minor league hockey with the Cottonmouths, Ezell's Catfish Cabin, Soccer at Woodruff Farm Complex, Smokey Pig BBQ, St. Anne-Pacelli School, the Springer Opera House, and wings from B.Merrell's.