What to Wear?
No this hasn’t suddenly become a fashion blog. This is really for my fellow female appraisers. My apologies guys, some of this might apply to you, but I am really speaking to the gals. I am a part of several appraiser groups and one of my favorite Facebook groups is the I am a Female Real Estate Appraiser Groups. This topic comes up often. I am also a member of some new Clubhouse groups Real Estate Appraisaltalk and Appraiser Trainee Talk and again this topic came up, so I thought I would share my experiences with how I dress as a female real estate appraiser.
When we are observing properties, it is important that we dress professionally. If we are doing an appraisal for lending, we are a representative of our client. Although we are not an employee of the client, we do represent them. Often, we are the only person actually seen by participants in the transaction. Also, we represent ourselves, our business so we want to dress professionally. We are professional licensed appraisers performing our work and should look as such. That said, what works for walking around properties, in between bushes, in the mud, etc?
What Works For Me
I am aware that we all appraise in different locations with different climates. For some appraisers, they are working in snow-covered areas for an extended amount of time, and for others, we deal with the heat. We are located in North Texas, where the weather varies but definitely we are working in the heat in the summer. When I first began appraising, I struggled with what to wear. I wanted to look professional so I wore slacks, a nice shirt, and basic flats but this was not practical. We perform many appraisals on rural properties and walking around them requires special attire and footwear. So, here is what I have found through the years that’s worked for me.
For our company, we wear polo shirts with our logo embroidered on them. I found a great site that has lots of choices of shirt designs. You upload your logo to them and they will add it to their system. They require a one-time logo setup fee. After that, you can order anything with it. We have ordered shirts, bags, beanies, stadium blankets, and caps from them. They are constantly having good sales and most products have no minimum order. I recommend searching through the different types of polo shirts. They have polo shirts designed for ladies. For our hot weather, I recommend the “dri-fit or performance” because they will help keep you cool. I also have ordered a nice button-down top that I will wear occasionally but more in the wintertime. Here is a link to their site: LogoUp
For me, it took a little longer to find the right pants. For the longest time, I wore slacks but they weren’t very functional and it was difficult to find any with pockets. I finally discovered, (well maybe after some convincing from my husband), they make work pants for women designed for working outside. For me, I like the Dickies brand. They make several different styles but they are the most durable and comfortable pants I own. They never wrinkle, they stretch and do not tear if they get snagged on a barbed-wire fence. Best of all, easy machine washable for care. Here is my current favorite pair https://amzn.to/3f7qaNW: (Post edit: here is a link to what my husband wears. He loves them: https://amzn.to/3hnDDUx – also see below)
Where we work, the right pair of shoes is extremely important. Some of the things to watch out for here are cactus, fire ants, scorpions, poison oak, poison ivy, and bull nettle . I found a pair of slip-on boots so that I can trudge around properties and easily slip them off when going inside. We do have snakes here that we have to watch out for so a fully covered foot is important! Oh, I forgot to mention surprises left by the family dog, if you know what I mean! Since we do rural properties we also walk where the cows and horses leave behind their surprises! Here’s what I use https://amzn.to/3tHQinC :
My husband will wear his boots for our rural appraisals or homes where the terrain is a bit more rugged. He also carries this pair of shoes around as they are easily slipped on and off:
There has been a suggestion in the comments regarding wearing shoe coverings and these are also a very good option for entering a property. Let me know in the comments if this is something you use. Why or why not?
Here is a recommendation:
It’s good to always keep rain boots and a rain jacket in your vehicle for when it rains or it is muddy : rain boots and rain jacket with a hood
I know this isn’t my typical blog but I really wanted to share this with anyone who is wondering what to wear for appraising. Hopefully, it will help some that are new to appraising. I also know that not everyone wears this attire. Just like our markets are different, so are our climates and preferences. I guess I really wear the same thing my husband wears but just my version of it! I would love to hear from others what they wear as an appraiser! What do you wear? Please tell me in the comments!
Great post, Shannon. I too think it is important that we dress appropriately. I have heard stories in the past that some appraisers in my area were wearing shorts and flip-flops to inspections. While I agree that we should dress for the season I think that is a little too casual! It’s good to know that the pants you refer to don’t rip or snag easily. I have ruined numerous pairs of pants this way. I might have to give them a try. Thanks for posting the link to where you get your shirts. I don’t have any with my logo but I think that is a great idea.
Thanks, Tom! I guess I should have posted my husband’s. I will go back and add the link to the specific ones he likes but he calls them his almost indestructible pants! The LogoUp company is great because they are always offering flash sales and they have a variety of shirt types to choose from.
I’m all for wearing my pandemic sweats and tank top… Kidding. I’m all for somewhere between business casual and professional for the most part. For the longest time I would only wear slacks and a collar shirt, but lately I’ve sort of morphed into jeans and a tucked in collar shirt a bit more. It works for me and it has seemed to work well with clients also. This depends on the client and property though too. I think once the pandemic is over I’ll get back into more slacks as I’m speaking in offices and such. That’s me.
Thanks, Ryan! Yes to pandemic sweats!!!–well when perhaps not going out of our home office. Seriously, I think each area, climate, and assignment is going to be different as far as what professional attire will be. We will wear jeans western boots when headed out to an equine ranch because in the horse world that is professional dress! Thanks, as always, for your input.
What a completely vapid topic!
Wear what is appropriate given the climate, terrain, and structure …. or not.
Professionalism, expertise, dedication, competence, skill etc. are NOT derived from what you wear. Anybody can wear a business suit.
I live in a moderate climate and for years wore Armani shorts and Gucci flip flops. When the market crashed and work dried up, I switched my brand to Kirkland (Costo). In the winter, when the temps drop below 70 degrees, I actually wear socks. I have only done one appraisal barefoot, and that was because I stepped into a dog mess in my best flip flops. All kidding aside, appraisers are one of the few agents of the lender that a borrower actually comes into contact with-so we should keep that in mind and look sharp
Use paper shoe covers. Do not take your shoes off and expose your socks or bare feet to the floors (and germs/pet fur/nasty carpet) of a strangers environment.
Frederick, while agreeing with your comment that anybody can wear a business suit, this post is more about what that professional attire looks like for a real estate appraiser. As mentioned, it is different based on climate and I love hearing about the differences. It is my opinion that professionalism does include attire. Certainly, we need to be competent, skilled, credentialed, and have expertise. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Thanks, Mark! Yes, the family pooch can certainly leave us nice surprises in the yard! I agree, often we may be the only face-to-face personal interaction that a borrower has.
Karen, you make a very valid point. Paper shoe covers are a great option! This is such a great suggestion, I have added it to the post with a suggested link. Let me know if you have additional recommendations. Thanks for the input!
I live in Florida, near Tampa. 99% of my work is done in Hillsborough County, Tampa’s location.
I did live in Memphis, TN and started in the appraisal industry 06/01/1966 with the Assessor of Property. We had to wear slacks, dress shirts and a TIE!!!!! Once I retired and started my own business I wore a polo collared shirt with my logo over the left breast, when cold I wore jeans. When it was warm…hot, I wore shorts. Now pretty much shorts and the collared polo with the logo. It really doesn’t get cold enough to wear jeans. I have NEVER had anyone say anything. The majority of the time I’m overdressed with shorts when compared to the borrower (on a refi) that I meet at the home. Of course the Realtors always try to out do each other and dress to the nines.
But, they don’t have t measure the homes and get your pants caught on the shrubbery and stickers and barbs, etc. So, I really don’t care what someone may or may not say. I’ve been in this industry now for 55 years and when I worked for someone else they told me what I had to wear. Now, I work for myself and I alone make that decision.
David, I love that you wear a polo shirt with your logo. That’s what we do and it just makes sense for us. We are representing ourselves and our business. Congratulations on 55 years in appraising! Wow!
Denver, CO and surrounding market area – Shall I sing to the choir and add a comment? My primary work area is rural large acreage properties (about 80% of what I do). About 15% of the remainder is very high-end single family properties. For either, I wear a pare of black jeans, a collared polo and casual loafers. I’ll admit, when doing a high-end SFR, I go out the day or two before and by a new pair of jeans and polo ;). Thats about as “professional” as I get in the field.
I will also challenge Fredericks comments about “wear what you want”. I was doing an appraisal for a client once that required two appraisals ($5+ million dollar home). I was in my usual attire, the 2nd Appraiser showed up about 30 minutes late (we had a 1 hour window to be there) wearing a t shirt, pair of kaki shorts and flip flops. It was a 7,000sf home. I spent about an hour and a half on the inspection with a litany of questions for the Owner upon completion (it was a historic residence). I noticed the other appraiser wasn’t there but didn’t say anything.
But the Owner did.
Noting my efforts on details he was quick to make comment that the other “Appraiser” was in and out in about 20 minutes and didn’t say a word. He wasn’t even sure if the other Appraiser measured the house (of which there ended up being significant discrepancies between county and actual GLA if they used county record).
His biggest “complaint” however was how un-professional the other Appraiser appeared. He couldn’t imagine someone going to “work” dressed so sloppily not caring how good at what they do or think they might be. If time hadn’t been a issue for him he said he would have denied the person entry and complained to the bank. As it was, he said he was going to at least sent the bank president ( a personal friend of his) a formal letter.
Moral is, wear what you want when not dealing with the public. But on site, you represent not only yourself but your client as well.
Along with the attire, I will also comment that what you drive also says a lot about your “professionalism”. I have a 20 year old Jeep. It might be old, but it looks nice and cared for. For the “big stuff”, if its not snowy I cheat… I have a 30 year old Jag or on occasion a 60 year old Jag I drive. First impressions are everything and again, since we represent the Client, then let the customer know at the door that your good at what you do and you care about what you do and your client.
Bill, thank you for your comments as well as your illustration of how important the way we present ourselves can be. I am sure there are many that have similar stories. You’re correct,what we drive can also leave an impression. We drive our Toyota Tacoma truck for our rural appraisals and when in high-end areas, we will drive our Audi TT and sometimes our Toyota 4Runner. Our vehicles don’t have to be fancy, but practical, well cared for, and well professional. I can’t imagine what a homeowner would think if we drove up in our 30-year-old “farm truck” that has many dents on it and peeling paint.