Snowdon's Rule #1: Get Lost

We all have rules we try to live by. “Snowdon’s Rules” is a set of “best practices” I try to follow in my appraisal practice.

The advent of GPS devices has made it hard to get lost. I have one in the car I can unplug and take into the field. I have two more GPS systems on my Blackberry Storm. My tablet computer has street, topographic, and tax maps on board, and flood, environmental, and wetland maps are available with a wi-fi connection, as are MLS, sales data, and other resources. There’s really no excuse for not finding your subject property these days.

But I think it was better in the old pre-GPS days, when I got lost on the way to the subject and inadvertently got to know the subject sub-market in locating the subject. Before I even got out of the car I knew the property use mix, apparent vacancy rate, traffic flow, and other important information. Today, with our ability to drive directly to the subject without getting lost, we may tend not to explore the neighborhood as we should.

So now I drive directly to my subject property using GPS, and then turn the unit off and gradually drive a spiral route out from the subject. If I find myself lost again I know I’ve become well acquainted with the sub-market.

And I can just use one of my many GPS devices to find the subject again.

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