Non-Lender vs. AMC Appraisal Work
One of the hottest topics right now in the appraisal world is that of non-lender work. I am probably asked a question concerning non-lender appraisals a couple of times per week, at least. “How do I do more work for attorneys?” “How do I go about marketing to home owners?” “I want to work with more real estate agents, but I am not sure how to garner their trust.” Okay, so that last one was not a question, but you get the point.
Financial appraisal work through AMCs or local banks has slowed a great deal over the past few months. Appraisers I speak to report a 10% to 40% decrease in lender work since November. Why is this? There are many reasons, but the biggest has to do with the interest rates and the fact that many borrowers are ‘refi-ed out.’ There are some home equity line of credit (HELOC) loans being made and some first mortgages, but the volume is in the doldrums compared to where it has been. This has led many to look harder at non-lender work as a supplement or even a completely new business model for an appraisal firm.
Personally, I have focused on non-lender work for the past 12 months. It is certainly a different approach than what we are used to with the AMC business model. Rather than filling out application packets and sitting on the email hoping for new orders, you have to do a little networking, advertising, and name-dropping. It is not for everyone, but I can tell you by personal experience that the efforts you put it will be rewarded in the end. I have made several (mostly minor) changes to the way I do business that have helped me attract non-lender clients. For example, I have completely updated and changed my website and blog. I have begun speaking more to local groups of attorneys, Realtors® and other interested parties. Heck, I have even run a few advertisements on the radio! The results have been, well, rewarding. On average we get 5-6 calls per month from clients we have never done business with before. That is not just 5-6 new appraisal orders, but 5-6 new clients who can potentially bring us repeat business down the road!
Non-lender work is tricky, but this is to your advantage. Many appraisers want to do more non-lender work, but they do not know how to go about it or are unwilling to put in the extra work that is required. This is helpful to you because competition is minimal. While other appraisers are watching their computer screen for the next $225 appraisal request to pop up, you could be out doing a litigation appraisal for $300 per hour.