Working for an AMC? How Exciting!
Can You Tell I’m Excited about working for an Appraisal Management Company?
Today I received a notice telling me my best customer was changing over to an AMC for all their appraisal ordering. I have worked for this company for many years and have always enjoyed a great relationship. Today that ended. I can longer talk to any person at the bank.
In my application to continue working for this company I have worked with for so long, I have to provide sample reports, a resume, three business references, license info, info about CE classes I have taken. I have to sign to agree to new terms which completely change the way I get paid, how much I get paid, how long it takes to get paid, the amount of comps within my reports, agree to provide them pretty much anything they ask for within 24 hours, give them permission to make deposits and withdrawals from my checking account (in case they make a mistake or I don’t do something they ask), and basically give them more power over my business than anyone else should have.
It used to be my company and I had the ability to run it the way I saw fit. Why do they get to decide when I get paid, how much I should charge, what comps I include in my reports, etc.? The bank charges the buyers the appraisal fee up front. Now, this company agrees to pay me on a schedule with the fastest payment time of thirty days and up to six weeks to pay. And, for all their help in sending me work, they want to take a part of my fee. They want me to take less money and do more work. Try that at your job and see how you like it. Who wants to work more for less money? Oh, and we have to check in every single day. They expect me to check in every day to let them know what I am working on and when I will finish their work. Maybe I could finish it faster if I didn’t have to check in so much. I feel like a school kid with the teacher looking over my shoulder every minute. But, this teacher doesn’t even need a license. I have to have a license and take all this continuing education and they don’t have to have an appraisal license, yet they can dictate what is included in my reports. Wow! Who came up with this stuff?
Part of the deal also includes them judging the “quality” of my work. Their definition of “quality” is defined by national percentages and guidelines written for larger markets where comps are plentiful. In our market between 60-70% of all sales require “exceeding adjustments.” This area requires more art than most, but it is very similar to markets all across the country. There are simply not three perfect comps, within a one-mile radius and within 90 days for every appraisal report. So, since I do not have access to a large pool of comparable sales and my reports will require exceeding adjustments triggering their “quality” status, they will eventually describe me as a less than perfect appraiser and write that I do not provide quality work. I will be given fewer reports and perhaps placed on their do not use list. Eventually they will figure out that every appraiser that works in this market has the same problems and the comps we use are the best available. But, until they figure it out, they just might kill several appraisers business in the process. And, once you get on a do not use list, it’s Mission Impossible to get off that list. So, appraisers in our area work harder, must use more comparables than most other appraisers, have to do long addendums on every report, and have to know our market inside and out in order to explain everything in detail (to people who really don’t want to hear the explanations, they just want the report to fit their guidelines). You can type two full pages of explanations and still get the same request: please provide two more comps within 90 days and one mile. Boy, wish I had thought to use those the first time. Maybe they think I am hiding those just waiting on them to ask first. Talk about frustration. Can you tell I’m excited about working for an Appraisal Management Company?
This is the business I am in. However, I don’t see this relationship working out well in the long term. I will eventually look for other work and lose my longtime customer.
Sure, it’s the lender’s choice and I can always just say no. But, that hurts the lender and of course, my company. And why is it really necessary? It’s always about the money. But, that’s another blog. For now, too many good appraisers are being lost in the new appraisal process. The idea of Dodd-Frank and the HVCC making the appraisal process better is almost humorous. In my opinion, consumers are far worse today than they were and the only people who have come out good with all these changes are lenders and especially AMC’s. Read my book Death of an Industry.