Appraisal shops across the country have been family endeavors from the outset. Even today, if you want to become an appraiser, your chances are far better if you can join the family business. Fathers or Mothers pass along the critical thinking necessary and then supervise their fledglings appraisers. Most times, one of the parents is the appraiser and the other works in the office to keep the workflow moving while the appraiser is out in the field. That’s the case with the Perry family. We thought we’d take a break from the Covid-19 discussion and let you hear from an appraisal family who has been working at it for several decades. Chris and Brittany Perry are a husband and wife team who own CMP Appraisals in Virginia Beach. Some of this may sound nostalgically familiar to you and it’s a sweet read.
Buzz: Can we please have your history in the real estate appraisal industry?
The Perrys: We are a third generation appraisal team. Dad, or Michael A. Thomas, has enjoyed an appraisal career spanning over 35 years. His father, Grandpa Thomas, had over 30 plus years as well, getting into the profession after 35 missions as a B-17 navigator in World War II. Mom Thomas makes sure all office systems are a go. Everyone tells us we trained under the best, but we feel we trained under the toughest! Their guidance has allowed us to become the team CMP we are today. We had the opportunity to learn about market value from a team whose wisdom outranks value. One big lesson that came out of their trainee chair is the Appraisal Profession’s deeper role of personal service. Chris and I both came from service profession backgrounds. Chris served as Army Caisson and Detective/SWAT Sniper. Britt was a Crisis Support Worker and an Elementary School Teacher. Being able to access those past experiences has given our business a unified strength.
This is our seventh year in the Appraisal Industry, and each year has brought new technology to allow us to do our jobs more efficiently. New platforms help us present our industry in the best light possible—like this issue of Appraisal Buzz. There are so many hands involved in each real estate transaction. Building relationships with the many others in the real estate industry has been essential in helping us to do our job better and keeping communication open for our clients every step of the way. That’s really the heart of CMP Appraisals.
Buzz: Would you tell us more information about you both as a couple and company?
The Perrys: Actually, we met in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and we always say we left part of our hearts there. I was out with some friends when a handsome, young Cop showed up to handle a bit of a situation that was unfolding outside a restaurant. I tried just about every trick in the book to get his attention, but alas, he was completely focused on his task at hand. As Chris drove away, I made the off-hand comment to myself, “Well, there goes my husband.” It happened that one of the restaurant’s employees heard me. He told me that the dashing Officer’s name was Chris Perry and said that he’d “put in a good word” for me. Apparently, that word got Chris Perry’s attention. We have been married nine years now and have four children: three boys, who try to kill us both slowly and fast at the same time, and our youngest, a girl, who is the princess of our lives.
Coming from a family of appraisers, we had seen the many advantages of working for yourself. We also saw the struggles and tougher times that a small business owner can encounter. Despite the challenges we knew we’d face, we knew we had the mindset, drive, and hunger to build something bigger. We wanted more time together as a family. We wanted to call our own shots. We wanted to build a legacy for the people we love. That’s really the moment CMP Appraisals was born. So we took the plunge, made a career change, and here we are!
Honestly, our favorite part about working in the appraisal industry is maintaining our connections with the people who comprise the pulse of our community. Just like teaching, Britt is still scheduling, keeping databases, and chatting with people in our surrounding neighborhoods. Chris still spends the majority of his time in people’s homes. Only, now he’s invited.
Buzz: What are some of your favorite things about working with your spouse?
Chris: I’m the one who lucked out here. I don’t know any other woman who works as hard or wears as many hats as Britt. She’s our administrator, she handles billing, she manages technology and supplies, and the list goes on. All of this is on top of being a great wife and mom.
Britt: Oh, that’s an easy one. He finally lets me pick out his clothes. Up until this point there were a lot of t-shirts and camo. A lot. My real favorite is the shared passion and vision we have for our business. We have a common goal of supporting our family, giving back to our community, and laying the groundwork for something that will afford our kids the opportunity to do the same. When your company name carries your family name, it adds that much more significance to your drive. We teach our kids that CMP is a part of our family.
Buzz: What are some of your least favorite things about working with your spouse? What problems arise that you hadn’t expected?
Chris: My least favorite thing is not sharing an office space. My office is upstairs, and Britt’s is downstairs. So hearing my wife yell my name a large portion of the day is probably not any husband’s ideal scenario. We are hoping to get that remedied here soon.
Britt: The hardest part for me is nailing Chris down for a scheduled morning run down. I’m the type of person who likes to sit down and go through an agenda, check off items, etc. Chris is much more on the fly. I try to meet him in the middle. If he can’t commit to meeting on Mondays at 8:00 am, then I ask him what time works for him and try to go from there. My schedule is usually a little more flexible. If no time works, then I just call him and verbally go through the day’s action items. I track him down somehow or other. After all, I do know where he lives.
Buzz: What is something that you would like for appraisers to understand about working with your spouse (or a partner in general)?
The Perrys: The big perks of working as a husband and wife team is the synthesis it provides. It’s economical, efficient, and allows us to manage our workload around our family’s schedule. Every call we make, every case that comes in, only passes between the two of our hands, and we are in constant communication throughout the day. Just to keep things even more streamlined, we share a virtual line between our two phones, so when people call or text us they know they are reaching out to both of us. Whoever is first available will get back to them. It may not work for everyone, but it works for us. It’s always funny when I get a call from someone saying, “What’s up brother!” and I have to say, “Sorry, it’s me, the ‘sister.’ The Appraiser’s in the field!”
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