Written vs Spoken data
I had the privilege of attending a Yoga Teacher training by by a 91 year old
retired history professor from Bombay. He has practiced yoga daily for 60
years and he walks 5 miles every day. And his mind is as sharp as his body.
Professor Sanghavi spoke of the oral tradition of communicating sacred Hindu
texts that are about 3,000 years old and were only first put into print
about 200 years ago by a German. Hindus believed is was sacrilegious to
print them. That by writing them you can make mistakes and mis-communicate
Our modern society tends to believe the written word over the spoken one. Is
that always correct? I recently attended an appraiser meeting at the
Realtors Association. As typical, the appraisers whine about the Realtors.
How the data on the MLS sometimes appears to be wrong.
"Why don't you just call or email the agent and ask them?" I questioned an
"I don't have time to do that" she huffed. And everyone else looked at me
like I was nuts.
In appraisal class last week the teacher emphasized the importance of
verifying the written data. Only one appraiser beside myself, a woman from
Fargo (where the market is seeing increasing values), said that verifying
data was her typical practice.
It is the bias in our society to believe data in writing, to accept those
appraisal reports as accurate, to assume the written data is more correct
than a conversation. When the opposite may be true.
Say you're appraising a townhouse in Maple Grove. There are 10 sales of
identical floor plans within a one mile radius with a clear data pattern
that were all listed on the MLS. Verifying each sale is probably
When appraising land, custom homes, income property, where there are so few
sales and the property characteristics are unique - - its critical to
understand the story behind the sale. Real estate transactions are
significant events and most people remember the circumstances of the sale in
amazing detail. If you ask them.