From Our Desk to Yours

An editorial by Michael Simmons

Christmas … 2018

I was going to start this letter by reflecting on how quickly this year has sped by … until I was reminded that time appears to slow down for objects (like you and me) in motion. In fact, depending on one’s perspective; time itself is relative. The faster we go, the slower time appears to move. We call this time dilation. And, since the key to deciphering that time is not a constant is tied to the Theory of Relativity,  that might explain why I decided not to go down that temporal rabbit hole. But, just case you are interested, here’s the equation:. (Editorial note: just to be clear, none of this has any applicability to time adjustments for an appraisal. Different calculus – and very different curriculum.)

But it does raise a ‘philosophical’ issue. Can (and should) we slow down and look back on our journey this year? Did our experiences offer positive or negative teachable moments? Will those lessons aide us in being better prepared to face 2019? Ok, ok … I know what you’re going to say, it was starting to feel like time was dilating there for a minute. The answer though is a resounding YES to all of the above questions. But what does that mean?

Every experience, each teachable moment, all of the time we spent happy, angry, confused, scared or just paralyzed changes us. However, unlike time, which we’ve learned is relative, change is dynamic. It happens to us every day in ways big and small, seen and unseen, impactful and unrecognizable. I used to hate change. I was wrong. While I can’t honestly say I love change, I will say I embrace it. Even the change that my experience tells me is wrong, I try to understand it. I’ve come to believe that, in the understanding, I can either find acceptance or I can join in challenging the change. Change for all of us is, in fact, inescapable. In our lives, our professions and our industry. And the promise of 2019 is more change. So yes – let’s look back while we prepare for tomorrow.

But let’s not forget how important today is. Most of us equate the holiday’s as a season of giving when, for most, it’s more a season of receiving. There’s nothing wrong about being a recipient. Personally, I’ve always been uncomfortable about receiving gifts, even when I was a child. Ignoring the more obvious character defects that imply about myself; today I try to understand the kindness and sharing that comes from someone gifting – and accept it with grace. (another Editor’s note: if you’d seen some of the ties and sweaters I’ve been ‘gifted’ over the years, you’d understand that ‘grace’, like time, is also relative…).

I was told once that, in order to keep something, you have to give it away. In the beginning, that was not an intuitive statement for me and I struggled with the message. It took until I was able to translate the phrase ‘give it away’ to really mean sharing before I understood. Here are some thoughts on sharing and grace from last year at this time that I would like to offer again:

  •  Share. Make a gift or donation to something or someone new. Whether your allegiance runs to those with two legs or four – or no legs at all – it all counts. The value of a gift matters less than the act of giving. A single brick builds little, but enough bricks can build a home, or a neighborhood, or a world. Very few of us have the ability to save the Whales (or Polar Bears or Gorillas or starving children in parts of the world we’ve never seen) on our own. But all of us have the power to add our voice, our treasure, our time and our energy to help. And that collective effort can change our world. Whether it’s an extra warm coat you can donate, or a can of food, or a book, or just spare change – you’ve given far more than that gift alone. You’ve given hope … and that’s priceless.
  • Listen. Take the time to listen to someone or something that doesn’t fit your belief system. The act of listening is what’s important. It builds a path to understanding and respect.
  • Forgiveness. This is a hard one. I had to start with forgiving others before I could forgive myself. My Dad reminded me that forgiveness was not a sign of weakness but of strength. Toughest man I ever knew, my father. He always forgave – but never excused – me when I failed.


Do something for another outside of your comfort zone and experience the powerful feeling of a larger community. And no matter where your sentiments lie – or to whom you commune within your most private moments … Happy Holidays.


All of us at AXIS want to thank each and every one of you for your professionalism and dedication to accurate Valuations – Here’s to a prosperous New Year!

From Our Desk to Yours


November…. For some, it means the end of daylight savings time. To almost everyone else, it signals winter and the start of the holiday season. It also marks the final two chapters of 2018. But to absolutely every one of us, this November should mean one thing above all others: We here at AXIS hope that everyone exercised their civic duty and voted. To understand the issues of our day and express our personal opinions in concert with all our fellow citizens is a nearly unique privilege and duty that we owe to generations past, present and future. It defines us as Citizens of our democracy.

Now let’s look at what defines us in the world of appraising: Continue reading

From Our Desk to Yours

An editorial by Michael Simmons

Two weeks ago I boarded a plane to attend the Appraisal Summit in Las Vegas and lead a panel discussion on ways to benefit your business by bringing aboard a trainee. Once the boarding doors closed the pilot announced that we would be delayed. It seemed that a plastic cowling around the plane’s window in front of the Pilot had come apart. We were told to expect an hour delay. 20 minutes later the pilot came back on the intercom and in an excited voice announced we were close to being cleared for takeoff. It turned out that they were repairing the loose windshield with a ‘good epoxy’ and something the pilot described gleefully as ‘High Speed Tape” that was good up to 1,000 miles an hour! Not surprisingly, the aircraft got what I would consider to be eerily quiet. Continue reading

September 2018 Newsletter

From Our Desk to Yours

An editorial by Michael Simmons

Last month I started our Newsletter with a conversation about Summer. Except it really wasn’t about Summer. It was really just a way to introduce the topic of transitions in the world and their velocity of change – and how our industry gets impacted. So let’s continue the conversation. Continue reading


AXIS is blessed to have many employees coming from different backgrounds and ages. One day we posed the question: “What music reminds you of summer? You know, those lazy days spent by the water with the warm sun and an ice cold drink?”.

We were surprised by all the different responses. Some are iconic, some we never even heard of.  So we thought we would compile an AXIS Summer Mixtape playlist so you can enjoy some summer music on the way to your inspections. See if you recognize what we chose.


TRACKLISTING: Continue reading

Appraiser Independence Requirements, clearing up the myths

Now that some time has passed since the inception of the Appraiser Independence Requirements, there has been much debate over exactly what these mean to Appraisers. We typically hear that we should not have any type of conversation with Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Lenders or any other parties with an interest in a real estate transaction. However, there are exceptions that we all should be aware of, in those instances where additional information could prove vital to a valuation. Continue reading