Stand Your Ground!

VaCAP Board

VaCAP Board

Coalition of Appraisers in Virginia at Virginia Coalition of Appraiser Professionals
Coalition of individual appraisers working together to unite, promote and protect the collective interests of all appraisal professionals in Virginia; to promote needed changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards affecting all appraisers in Virginia; to observe and report the actions of regulatory, legislative, oversight, and standards-setting entities of the Commonwealth.
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Stand Your Ground in Protecting Your Business!Many states have laws in place that allow citizens to protect themselves and their property without prosecution. In the appraisal profession, you must also stand your ground to protect their business.

Social Media is a quick and easy way to communicate. Recently there have been numerous appraisers reaching out and sharing trouble getting paid from some Appraisal Management Companies. Some are claiming they are long time clients with no issues in the past.

This is wake up call for all appraisers to pay attention to the economic and financial side of your business.

Volume is slowing as school starts and the selling season ends. Volume is down for lenders and AMCs as well. Some AMCs do not have the financial resources to survive a seasonal slowdown and are attempting to overcome their bad business model at the appraisers’ expense.

Here are some things to watch for;

Late Payments: AMCs will withhold or delay payments to appraisers. Some will even send over revision requests just to delay payment. Virginia law requires the appraiser to be paid by the AMC within 30 days of the initial submission of the report. The AMC can send over revisions for months, but the appraisers must be paid within 30 days. Stand your ground on late payments to protect your business.

Low Fees: Out of nowhere good AMC clients will solicit assignments at lower fees than before. Just yesterday we heard of an appraiser receiving an order for a manufactured home in a rural area for $100 less than what this AMC was paying for a cookie cutter subdivision home. Just because the AMC has a bad business model, it does not mean appraisers do. Stand your ground of reasonable and customary fees.

Side Note: The appraiser’s cost of producing an appraisal report may fluctuate as expenses change. Have any of the appraiser’s expenses been reduced? Just the opposite has occurred. The National Association of Realtors, which most appraisers are members of announced a membership fee increase. Portal and upload fees have increased, software fees have increased and health insurance costs continue to increase. Appraisers are now being taxed in some areas as well. If anything, appraisal fees should be increasing. Now is the time to re-evaluate your expenses and profit.

Stock Prices: Some companies are publicly traded. What trend does their stock represent? Have you looked at the financials of these companies? Are they in the red or black? Are factoring companies issuing credit to these companies? Stand your ground when choosing who to conduct business with. 

Social Media: Yes, social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, etc. There are lots of sources concerning the appraisal profession. Join the groups, sign up for blogs and pay attention. Appraisers share lots of information and much of it is beneficial. Visit the Appraiser Resource Section on VaCAP’s website for links to many of these great sources. Stand your ground in protecting your business.

Perhaps the most beneficial thing appraisers can do to stand your ground is continue supporting VaCAP. Our collective voice is being heard by State and Federal Legislator, GSEs. and other interested parties. We work collectively in protecting the profession and public trust. To learn more about VaCAP visit our website.

For VaCAP membership (renewal or new member) click here. Follow VaCAP on Facebook. To email VaCAP click here

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING VaCAP!

Image credit flickr - Elvert Barnes
VaCAP Board

VaCAP Board

Coalition of individual appraisers working together to unite, promote and protect the collective interests of all appraisal professionals in Virginia; to promote needed changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards affecting all appraisers in Virginia; to observe and report the actions of regulatory, legislative, oversight, and standards-setting entities of the Commonwealth.

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41 Responses

  1. misguided says:

    AMCs that do not pay or are slow to pay:

    Coester VMS
    Consolidated Analytics
    GOT Appraisal
    Appraisal Nation

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  2. JC says:

    Add Landmark to the list. They pay over 90 days and you have to call them on every report for payment status.

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  3. Jack Of All Trades says:

    Let’s name the AMC’s that pay slow or don’t pay at all

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  4. EJ says:

    Robbing Peter to pay Paul, the typical AMC ponzi scheme.

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  5. Great reminder, but what should appraisers Actually DO in these circumstances?

    1. LATE PAYMENTS: from previously timely payers is the first sign of serious trouble. Do NOT carry any more on the books for any one AMC than you can afford to lose without harming your families income and ability to pay your own bills.

    You can be tactful – decline new orders temporarily due to busy schedule but in the meantime CALL them and find out when payments are going to be mailed. Just say you would like to take a weekend vacation with family and are holding off til more discretionary funds come in…or something else that is innocuous. You want to get paid, but you also don’t want to lose a good client at this stage. IF the promised payments don’t come WHEN promised, then cut them off. Why care if you lose a client that isn’t going to pay you anyway?

    2. Low Fees: WHY would any of us be working for low fees to begin with? Slow or not, you do NOT cut your fees! Try this instead…make flyers to pass out to all your area brokers and offer to measure GLA of houses (you can also do interiors too or even wall locations). It’s up to you. Just REMEMBER to have a disclaimer that states rounding and limits liability. That the purpose is for showing general floor plan layout and traffic flow. Each user must assure themselves as to any one room dimensions. You should be able to get anywhere from $150 to $500 for these. Competitive measuring services that use GeoSLAMM Zeb Revo Lasers (or similar cloud point measuring) charge around $900 – but they get all the wall locations too.

    IF you are smart you can also market it to owners (dress it up with set-backs, fences, pools, big trees, covered and uncovered patios, maybe different colors for living area vs other areas, use car icons if THEY have a truck, use a truck icon-sports car, etc). Feed their egos. You could include an insert of hand out as to WHY knowing gla is important; or how different houses, condos townhouses etc. are measured.

    ALSO-contact family law attorneys and real estate attorneys in you rarea, but that takes longer to build up a base. MAYBE even offer to help area agents do their CMAs (WITH them, not FOR them!). Get creative for new appraisal opportunities. Even for tax purposes like establishing a basis; or depreciation schedule of improvements for income producing properties.

    3. Stock prices: learn to read fundamental stock prices and trend data BUT I’m not too sure how much weight I’d put in these. Clarocity (Canadian-Toronto Exchange) has been tanking for well over  year and was itself derived from a former failed corporation (ZAIO). It’s stock is down around 1/2 a cent now. It was never a big ‘performer’ but I can’t see how its survived this long. Apparently there are lots more suckers willing to fall for a good sales pitch rather than looking at fundamentals. Often, when traded stock corporations are spinning around in the toilet bowl, they seek to merge and rebrand themselves as “new and improved’ (like Clarocity).

    BEST advice is to avoid such hucksters in the first place. IF a company depends on low fees in order to compete, RATHER THAN ACTUAL QUALITY of appraisals, then their model is going to collapse anyway. Again, look at CLarocity and companies like Coester VMS.

    4. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE signing up with a new AMC. Check with other appraisers. Check for online comments. ASK here, or in 100%Appraisers Facebook pages. IF they have a reputation for foolish stips avoid them (it’s also a sign they may pressure on value or negative property disclosures). I won’t even consider an AMC that does not allow for a five day turn time – even IF you can do it in 2 or 3 why commit to it? Can’t you also use the extra days to do a ‘cold review’ on your own work before sending it? IMHO anything less than 5 days IS a rush and requires a premium. IF your AMC doesn’t think this way, chances are they are not worth working for or having as a client representative (remember the BANK is still YOUR client). AMCs are only agents of a client. Make sure THAT is fully understood between you and them.

    Good luck to all. It IS going to slow down. Probably a LOT before it can get better, IF it is going to get better. And THAT is still very much an uphill battle.

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    • RockyRoad1234 says:

      What a wild read! Mike, have you seen the Clarocity company stockboard — it is getting pretty entertaining. These folks are out for management blood and are talking about corporate corruption and financial crimes through docs they have uncovered (shocker from Shane and Appraiser Loft). Seems the funding has stopped coming in. Appraisers will be the first to feel the burn if they don’t have enough to pay our fees.

      Stockhouse privacy policy (version 1)

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      • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

        Thank you for the link but its old background data rather than about what you posted (out for blood, etc.) unless I found wrong article at Stackhouse?

        FYI their stock is only HALF the value shown in the link. (Half a penny vs whole penny).

        Hopefully no appraisers that read AB are still foolish enough to have anything to do with this company that seeks to put appraisers out of business. ALL anyone really needs to know about them is (1) Zaio and (2) one of their execs past history with AppraisalLoft.

        Oddly, THESE seem to be some of the folks that TAF and FHFA take their inspiration from. I guess if they aim low enough for standards, they will never be disappointed.

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        • Anna R Todaro says:

          No wonder Rachel Appraiser reported Ms Trice was sooo congenial to appraisers at the Expo meeting over the weekend. I held my tongue and did not post that Madame Trice must be reading some writing on the wall to lower herself to kiss up for something. Doesn’t fool me. I knew it! Sometimes we should forgive… but once trust is stolen…. NEVER forget. And don’t waste time kissing up to anyone.

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          • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

            Hello Anna, Rachel is a respected appraiser blogger that is also an SRA. She is a frequently published appraiser and has a well deserved reputation for honesty and objectivity. I suspect Ms Trice was on her best public behavior, and that is all Rachel is saying. She’s not endorsing her or her companies.

            Rachel’s more recent background has largely been from the perspective of appraisal reviewing. Her views may vary slightly from some of our [independent fee appraisers] own but I’ve never seen a hint of less than top notch ethics and strong appraisal knowledge. She is working toward preserving the same high standards that most of us are. I think she is still fully deserving of our respect. Respectfully, lets try not to make enemies of friends. There aren’t all that many willing to speak out and risk personal and professional reputations in the pursuit of bettering our profession. Just my personal opinion.

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  6. Chris says:

    Charge late fees!!! That gets them every time, Make them sign an engagement form!! I know you won’t get the order half the time, but they will get it!!! Stick together, talk to the local appraisers in your area, a simple search with Alamode will tell you 50-75% of them, call them, talk, work it out, stand together against these companies!!! Other companies advertise and suffering the same thing you are!!!

    Call the lenders, tell them they DO NOT HAVE to use management companies!!! Most do not know and would love to get rid of them, a processor in between the L.O. is all they need, But they DON’T know that!!!

    1 beef and beer every year will solve ALL the problems, Its not price fixing, it’s price stabilization. You urban appraisers are screwed if you don’t get together!!!, I called 85 in the Phila and suburban in 2006, all cried the same story, none would stick together!!! They have paid the price. I know the bottom feeders are out there!!! But they can’t do more than 10-15 a week competently!!!

    East coast appraiser, PA you west coast guys still have an oversupply – I feel your pain!!

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  7. Advocate says:

    Lets not forget about the shortened turn time. I am getting requests for due dates within 4 days. Maybe if I had nothing else to work on, but my pipeline is usually at least a week out. Just another way appraisers get pressured.

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    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Once in awhile on a specific property I’ll consider short turn due dates WHILE I AM ON THE PHONE with the client. NEVER as a matter of habit, or policy. It depends on my current workload, the fee and apparent complexity and always has a disclosure that IF the subject turns out to be more complex or unusually unique than described in the discussion, all bets are off regarding turn time. Also, any premium paid for faster turn time is forfeit if a result of undisclosed permit or use issues not disclosed when I’m agreeing to terms and a specific fee.

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      • EJ says:

        So, am I to assume you also bid on AMC work?

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        • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

          EJ, Not in a very long time. Not seriously anyway. My friends that are also appraisers I used to mentor own an AMC. If I want work they’ll give it to me. Last one was a desk review February 9, 2015.

          Every single time an AMC DOES send me something to bid on, my usual response is $1,500 and 5-10 WORKING days. Sometimes if what they send is really strange I’ll bump it up to $3,000. So far no takers.

          My post above refers to ALL assignments. Attorneys, private clients, hard money lenders, tax returns etc.. All non AMCs; and includes commercial assignments. I don’t accept ANY assignments where I have not already looked up the subject and run at least cursory comps to see what I’m dealing with. THEN there is the interview as well.

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          • EJ says:

            Good to know, I try similar bids but never get any takers. For some reason I continue to receive request outside my coverage area by over 100 miles so I bid $3500 and 30 day turn. Figure I could contract with a local appraiser, pay him/her and get room & board for a week or so & still come out on top.

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            • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

              Concur. Seriously, IF they send me dumb requests for bids I bid fees at which if offered I would take the jobs. I also answer ALL fee surveys with my honest rates. Starting at $650 for non complex fnma right next door up to around $1,500+ depending on what and where. Its in case they are compiling the information for C&R fee support. Wish all appraisers would do the same on surveys instead of thinking they are bidding to get specific jobs.

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              • Baggins Baggins says:

                One can not engage in fair billing and bidding practices with many amc’s. That is because they contract a flat rate to lenders and if you bid higher than their predetermined rate, they take the difference from a general funds pool rather than having the appropriate fixed cost to that individual borrower, for that individual appraiser.

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  8. Baggins Baggins says:

    Oh why bother. If you take work from amc’s you’ve already lost the war and are just standing in line to lose individual battles. I’ll find a new line of work before I pay to play.

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    • EJ says:

      Agreed Bags, I have not heard almost anything from AMC’s for awhile now. I’ve either piss them all off or priced myself out of their market for my rural market area. But the funny thing is, my work with local banks, attorneys and individuals interested in market value reports has greatly increased. Nothing like cash at the door.

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      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Well according to the for sale FTC, anti competitive practice only applies to appraisers, and amc’s are free to railroad us out of existence with no consequences what so ever.

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  9. ArtBHest says:

    I am completely exhausted in my efforts to get paid for these hybrid appraisals I’ve been completing for months. It seems like I am late to the party with regards to Clarocity Valuation Services, LLC. They had been paying (somewhat) regularly earlier this year and now its like pulling teeth to get anyone to answer my calls and tell me why I am not getting paid.

    Has anyone else had any issues with Clarocity Valuation Services not picking up the phone and running months late on payments? Anyone have any ideas on how to get recourse? I have done some poking around and there are stories of the company being out of money and I am owed several thousand dollars worth of fees.

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    • Advocate says:

      You need to search Clarocity on this blog. Why you are doing business with them is a discussion for another day. The legality of the hybrid product has been questioned in several states. What state are you located in? Your best bet may be to file a complaint with your state licensing board.

      Keep in  mind if your state is one that is questioning the legality of the hybrid, you may be shooting yourself in both feet and jeopardizing your license.

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    • Advocate says:

      Take a look at their stock that is currently at 0.0078  USD and read what the investors are saying.

      http://www.stockhouse.com/companies/bullboard?symbol=v.cly

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    • EJ says:

      You must have been completing quite a few of these hybrids to get in the hole several thousand bucks. Sorry for you.

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      • ArtBHest says:

        My office had a pretty steady stream coming my way, in addition to some 2055’s for a federal client but then *poof*, nada. Very frustrating.

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    • marion says:

      Well,

      Lucky for you,

      one of the Chief Appraisers, (Bill Waltenbaugh, SRA, AI-RRS) posted he will get appraisers paid, along with his phone number, so that appraisers can call him directly. Oh and if he doesn’t answer the phone, you can call his brother-in-law Ernie, the other chief appraiser. Oh, and if those guys aren’t around, you can speak to their wives who are the secretaries, and are supervised by their husbands. Oh, and if they are on lunch break, you might speak to one of their children, who are being supervised by their moms, who are being supervised by their dads, all on your dime.

      Here’s the phone number: Post #17

      Clarocity Valuation Services / Valued Veterans

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      • ArtBHest says:

        This is absurd! I don’t know if I should be rolling on the floor or absolutely flabbergasted. My my my. . . looks like I did not know what I had gotten myself into. Am I reading this correct. This is the same Bill Waltenbaugh from AppraiserLoft, who left us out in the cold a decade ago? The band has re-united for another tour?  Dads, Moms, Sisters, Brothers, Children. It’s a family affair!

        Kissing those fees goodbye I suppose.

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        • Advocate says:

          That is only part of the story. The Trice’s are up in this as well. Carol Trice is (or was) their chief reviewer, and her sister Joan gave Ernie Durbin some sort of award for being a visionary. Good luck getting your money.

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          • Marion says:

            Ernie the Valuation Visionary for 2018. Oh, and the joint is run by Shane Copeland, and that Makker guy from Appraiser Loft is there, along with one of the original Zaio guys.

            I wouldn’t look for too many of them today and tomorrow, as it’s Expo time. Appraiser party in the middle of the one year remembrance of the LV mass murder. They might be donating blood or something.

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            • Baggins Baggins says:

              This time around they defrauded stock investors instead of just swindling appraisers and consumers of mortgage lending services. Serious legal charges are hopefully forthcoming.

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              • Nahhhh – any defrauded investors would be Canadian since their stock wasn’t good enough to sell in USA.

                Besides, if they didn’t get sued for defrauding investors under the ZAIO scam, they’ll probably slip through on this one too.

                I’m still waiting for an explanation from TAF as to how Durbin was ever a board member there….then again I never got an explanation about the Mexican National Business Valuator (non citizen) that was on a board there either.

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  10. EJ says:

    Will this crap ever end? Where’s Fred & Barney when you really need them.

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    • marion says:

      This crap ends when Appraisers stop extending credit to companies they know nothing about. You try getting an unlimited credit plan, 30-60-90 days same as cash, without filling out a credit application. Doesn’t work for you, yet, you let it work for them.

      Stop it. Just stop it. It’s not 1940. Appraisers, get these companies to apply for credit with you, before you extend credit to them. Else, it’s payment at the time of service, just like every other “service” company out there.

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  11. George St Johns says:

    Well done Mike

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    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Thank you George, that means a lot to me coming from you. (For those that don’t already know it, George is the President of the California Coalition of Appraisal Professionals). If you are a California appraiser and not already a member I encourage you to join…right along with your Appraisers Guild Membership! *G*

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  12. Ken says:

    Sorry to chime in late….How many of you are trying to extract fees from Coester??? I have spoken to their accounting bozos a dozen times on a couple very dated files where the refis were completed within a month of the appraisals per public records!

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    • IF Coester is beyond the agreed payment period I would strongly encourage that you contact the client directly and remind them that ASC and the Feds see NO DAYLIGHT between them as the lender-client and their selected AMC. None.

      1. Send a demand for payment letter to the lender and explain that their agent has failed to pay for professional services on their behalf as agreed;
      2. IF your state has an AMC law file a complaint immediately.
      3. If the lender does not get you paid within about three to five days, then file a complaint against THEM with the state AND their regulatory agency. I guarantee they have charged the borrower or debited their closing statement (unless they are like AMROCK or similar firms that may pay for appraisals)

      Ken, as you said-you are late to the post. Document all your contacts with CoesterVMS.

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Stand Your Ground!

by VaCAP Board time to read: 2 min