Tag Archives: Team Work

4 Tips to Get Your Home Fall & Winter Ready

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Get ready for vibrant colored leaves and trees, crisp weather, and lots of pumpkins. Fall is almost here! As the seasons change, so do our home needs. We don’t want you to be left in the cold when winter slowly sneaks up on us, so here are four quick tips to get your home Fall and Winter ready.

1. Safety First

The safety of your home is a top priority, especially when the chilly Fall winds starts to take over the Summer sun. Some items that should always be tested? Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure to replace the batteries in all detectors, lightly brush away dust from the detector wall, and test the detectors to verify they are working properly.

Cleaning and inspecting the fireplace is sometimes overlooked, so always make sure to check for creosote buildup, as it is highly flammable. Don’t stop there though, dryer vents can cause quite the headache if not attended to.  Be sure to check for lint build up in the vents; if left unattended it could be a major fire hazard. Speaking of which, having a fire extinguisher in your house is essential for emergencies, and it should be easily accessible.

2. Inspect Your Roof

As for the exterior of your home, one of the biggest things to look for when weather-proofing is to make sure your roof is in tip-top shape. Start by scanning the entire area for loose, missing, or damaged shingles. This is a simple, yet effective way to find minor issues that could turn into big problems if left untreated. A few loose shingles could mean a leak, and nobody wants a leaky roof when rain, snow, and ice start piling on.  You can also check your roof from inside your attic. How? Simple- check the underside for water damage and holes.

Checking your gutters is another way to make sure your roof is stable for the Fall and Winter weather. Make sure your gutters are free of granule accumulations, and water can flow freely. Follow these tips, and your roof will be weather ready.

3. Check Your Furnace

Before the cold air sets in, make sure your furnace is ready to handle it. The first thing to do is clean or replace the furnace filter. Over the Summer months, the filter accumulates dust, debris, allergens, etc., and if not cleaned or replaced it can cause issues when you need to start turning the heat back on. In most case, simply changing the furnace filter will create a big difference in air quality, and your furnace will run more efficiently. Also, if you have the following: unusual sounds, poor performance, and/or erratic behavior, these are all signs that you may need to have someone inspect your furnace sooner rather than later.

4. Patch It Up

What is a good way to save money on your heating bill? Caulking and weather-stripping your windows and doors of course! When cold drafts blow in your house, you are more likely to crank up the heat, resulting in higher heating bills. But with a little caulk around your windows and doors, and weather-stripping, it can be all you need to make sure your home is comfortable and cozy for the cold weather. You can also use caulk around vents, cables and all pipes that run outside of your home. Even if you have already pre-weather-stripped your home, it is always a good idea to re-inspect your work periodically, as weather-stripping can weaken over time.

We are all enjoying the last few weeks of Summer, but it is a great time to start thinking about weather-proofing your home for the Fall and Winter season. These tips, combined with general home upkeep will prevent you from having costly emergency repairs, and get your home ready for colder, crisper weather.

-Sintia KrancicEngagement Coordinator

Industry Unity

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I have heard appraisers say, “AMC’s don’t care about the appraisers, they only care about getting their money from the lenders”. I have heard lenders say, “just get a new appraiser, there tons of them out there”. In between all these talks, lie us, the AMC.

How do we handle being in the middle of this ever changing appraisal market? Should we chase the money and not pay any attention to our appraisers? Not at all. Should we make our appraisers our one and only focus and pay no attention to our clients? Probably not a good idea. So what do we do? How do we handle this?

I think the key to a successful AMC and its relationship in the market is simple. Just like our society as a whole, there is one big key that is often overlooked… Equality. Being an attorney, I know a little something about the history of equality (I won’t bore you with Constitution speak).

Appraisers, Lenders, AMC’s, we are all just pieces to a puzzle. When you are putting together a puzzle, one piece is not more important than the other, is it? No, you either have a completed puzzle or you don’t. You need all the pieces for it to be a finished product.

I am sure there are some AMC’s out there who may believe that the appraisers play an insignificant role in the process. They may believe their one and only focus should be on the clients who are sending them business and money. In my opinion, the AMC’s who treat their appraisers as if they are not important, not only give other AMC’s a bad name, it is bad for the industry as a whole.

Our clients are important, they keep our business alive. Our appraisers are important, they keep our business alive. If those last two sentences sound redundant, that is intentional. Both sides are equally important, they are not mutually exclusive. To quote one of the best shows of the 1980’s and 1990’s, “You can’t have one without the other” (Married with Children, for those of you who didn’t get it! I am disappointed with you, if so).

We could have lenders sending us thousands and thousands of orders, but if we don’t have the quality appraisers we need, those orders are obsolete. We could have a panel loaded with all the top appraisers in the country, but if we do not have any orders to assign to them, that outstanding panel is obsolete. Our focus and the focus of all AMC’s, should be to make sure that both sides of the transaction are treated fairly. We are all in this industry together and the best results will be seen when we are all able to work within the industry together.

We understand that there are appraisers out there who do not like AMC’s. We also understand there are appraisers out there who will adamantly refuse work from AMC’s. That is beyond our control. As an AMC, we do not write or create laws. We are not Chris Dodd or Barney Frank (Dodd-Frank). The rules are there, they are what they are, our next best option is to work within the confine of those rules and be the best at what we do.

Again, we might be the connection between lenders and appraisers, but we are still only one piece of the puzzle. For the industry to thrive and the puzzle to come together, all the pieces must adapt and coexist. Just like a puzzle, all the pieces must be cohesive and fit perfectly together to see the exceptional completed product.

-John Hamameh, Chief Compliance Attorney

Revolutionizing the Company Culture

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Have you ever struggled with fostering a better, more inclusive company culture? This seems to be a common concern among companies, and Class Appraisal has created the Team Member Services Department to further promote our company culture. In fact, within the past 6 months there have been so many positive changes that our team has responded with overwhelming approval.

As with most businesses, there are several different departments within Class Appraisal; the team members of which do not regularly intermix in the day-to-day parts of their jobs. However, because we understand that each play a critical role to Class’ overall success we go out of our way to foster fun and friendship among the teams. Here at Class Appraisal, our culture is all about making each and every member feel like a valuable part of the team from the moment they chose to join our company.

How are we doing this?

Not only do we send each and every new hire a box of chocolates before they even start; on their first day we introduce them to the team via email detailing some of their hobbies, favorite movies/television shows, music preferences and past experiences. This helps create a common ground with those who already work here while building a foundation for personal conversations.

Team Member Services works tirelessly to bring everyone together in a fun and creative manner. We provide daily fresh fruit infused water to encourage healthy living. Every Wednesday the team looks forward to the treat cart where they can grab a candy bar, some mixed nuts or even chips to help break up the week with something tasty. Additionally, lunches are regularly brought in, ranging from pizza to taco bars, to congratulate the team on excellent performance and continuing business growth. These are just some of the ways that we show our appreciation for everything our team accomplishes on a daily basis. Also, we deliver monthly trainings which breaks the company into small groups of people from each department to learn and grow together and we organize a monthly Team Member Appreciation Day where we do team building exercises, such as the well-known Marshmallow Challenge.

Class Appraisal exists because of what our team accomplishes, and we are committed to creating an environment where appreciation, fun and friendship flow endlessly with a culture that is all inclusive.

Jen Kettle
Team Member Services Manager