Who is Mark Skapinetz?

Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

Certified Real Estate Appraiser at The Appraiser Coach
A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on e-AppraisersDirectory.com
Dustin Harris

Latest posts by Dustin Harris (see all)

Skapinetz Believes Appraisers Are Being Held Captive by AMCs

Mark Skapinetz believes that appraisers are being held captive by AMCs….

Reserved is not a word that anyone would use to describe Mark Skapinetz; at least of those who know him. Shy is not in his vocabulary. Mark is the founder of the “100% Real Estate Appraisers” group on Facebook. He joined me on April 23, 2017 as a guest on The Appraiser Coach Podcast to discuss everything from training the next generation of appraisers to the AMC debacle.

Mark believes that appraisers are being held captive by AMCs. Though he works for a handful of AMCs himself (in other words – he is not completely anti-AMC), Mark is very picky about the clients that he does work for. In Mark’s opinion, customary and reasonable fees are like unicorns; they don’t exist. Though he is a believer in the free market system, Mark shares his opinions about the current situation we find ourselves in.

Mr. Skapinetz is a huge advocate of getting involved in the process (political or otherwise), and he sets the example. He is involved in a national coalition, moderates a private Facebook group, and lets his voice be heard with regard to appraiser independence. “Free the appraiser” is his mantra, and he is constantly pushing for a better life for valuation professionals.

During our interview, I asked Mark a intriguing question, “Is the problem with the AMCs or is it with the appraiser?” In other words, is it the low fees the AMCs are pushing or it is the fault of the appraisers who are accepting such low fees?

Mark is an insightful individual and gave credit where credit is due. “It is both,” he answered.

What about appraiser shortages? Do they exist? Mark believes that much of the mantra is overblown and untrue. His view is that it is more about a lack of appraisers who are willing to sell themselves out to lowest common denominator than an actual lack of appraiser population. However, he is not immune to the situation at hand. There is an aging population of appraisers and not too many new trainees coming in to take their place. Mark is anti-four-year degree, but he is pro reasonable qualifications and is an advocate for new blood in the industry.

Mark’s Skapinetz is a real appraiser with real opinions and his interview is worth a listen whether you are new The Appraiser Coach Podcast or a long time listener. To join Mark on Episode 219, click on one of the links below.

 
Podcast: Mark on AMCs and Whatever the Hell Else He Wants

Image credit flickr - ♥.Lolaa.♥
Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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28 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    there is no doubt fault on behalf of the appraiser that is accepting low fees. Appraisers must communicate with each other to set reasonable fees not the AMC

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  2. Mark’s views are always insightful. He is a sincere appraiser that cares about his profession very much. Mark should have some more news shortly that readers will find especially interesting.

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  3. jeanie says:

    Great podcast Dustin and way to go Mark!

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  4. Raymond says:

    hmm…..well I have stated it before and I will state it again. the amc business model is no friend of the appraiser. The amc business model was designed for and by lenders and lender interest groups. The AMC business model is basically professional slavery. Hello appraisers, anyone home?

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    • Raymond you are 100% correct. The problem is that the business model is entrenched thanks to Cuomo and a Congress that flat didn’t give a s*#@…and largely still doesn’t. Ocwen’s biggest customer used to be the U.S. Treasury Department! That pretty much says it all.

      Most “banks” have dissolved their appraisal infrastructure so even if they agreed its a bad model they wouldn’t readily  be able to go back to the old model. Some are going toward the newer model AMS vs AMC which will be even more insidious.

      As near full automation of process as they can get. I’m sure there will be more than enough “appraisers” willing to do the AXIS model or PACE PRO equivalent GPOs (garbage price opinions or Fantasy-valuations) for $65 to $75.

      AGA will continue to oppose both. As Im sure ASA will as well.

      Raymond after your previous clarification of your background, I automatically exclude you from criticisms of AI. It’s unfortunate AI leadership doesn’t think as you do. Your comments are always helpful insight.

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  5. Wayne Courtney says:

    Well Gee, It is not going to be a surprise to say that there are only 75,000+/- appraisers in the U.S. With all of the high tech ability available to a third grade class we as a profession do not know what the actual number is. Why is that? Why is it that we do not know from month to month how many appraisers are actually employed in this occupation. We are not talking millions….just a few thousands. We are paying these folks to do what?

    Why is it that some of the very lowest ranking appraisers within our group have risen to become the gurus…the instructors…the coaches? What happened to those folks that professed themselves as our Premiere Peers? The MAI (REALLY) now many of those operate the AMCs that undercut our daily existence. It does not matter whether you are a trainee, have a license, a residential certification or a general certification. Any and all of the above have recognition from the state which issued that recognition. In other words you should be a professional if you have a licence or certification.

    Maybe you have not done the appraisal of the explosive manufacturing facility, the high rise office building, the airport expansion for La Guardia, LAX or DFW. That does not mean that some silly AMC can exploit your licence/certification and dictate how you do your reports.

    An AMC is the most pitiful group of folks that have ever emerged onto an occupation. They provide nothing and produce nothing. They need to be stopped, only the appraisers can stop them. Let’s be coached, instructed, gurured, expowed…sent your money, did  I mention …send your money! LOL (or put that same money toward your retirement…you will need it!)

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    • Raymond says:

      Wayne, I’m a MAI and I do not own a AMC and many of my fellow MAIs don’t own a AMC. Plus, i do very little lender work because the $s are NOT there and as we all know, AMCs and lenders don’t really recognize any appraisal designations. The AMCs seek the most “fast and cheap” appraisals. That’s their general opinion of quality appraisals. Bottom line, the AMC business model is basically professional slavery.

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      • Wayne Courtney says:

        Hello Raymond, thank you for your response. I was a candidate for the MAI designation many years ago. I took all of the required courses except for report writing. At the time I was teaching the USPAP courses and my 5 years had expired since I had taken the course with the AI. They sent me the notice that I must take said course (even though I had taught said course over 5 times within the previous year) ALL THEY WANTED WAS MONEY! I dropped them like a bad habit! They suck!

        I wish you the best but not the AI….just a joke on this profession!

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        • Raymond says:

          Wayne, i’ve been in the profession for 41 years and I’m in the process of phrasing out. We are all a product of our appraisal experiences. I started as a residential appraiser for a lender, then a income property appraiser for a lender, plus doing appraisals for construction loans.  i was a chief appraiser for 2 lenders and then i moved on to be a independent. I was a chapter president, many years ago, for a local AI chapter.  I realize my opinions differ from many typical AI designated members. I view appraisal issues from a more independent view. Yes, there are issues with the AI and the appraisal profession. IMO, the AI has attempted to be a all encompassing organization that seeks to the best interest of all appraisers. However, in the process of achieving that goal, coupled with the splintered nature of the profession, the AI has loss control and influence of the lending appraisal process. It can be argued that the AI never had control or influence.  Many can throw rocks at the AI,but the problem and blame runs wider. In the meantime we have seen(over 25+ yrs) the rising up of all these other appraisal groups and their designations that offer other options with the same mission to better the profession. While this goes on the lenders and their interests groups have gained more control of the lending appraisal process than ever before, IMO. Its professional slavery, when the appraisers very client has total control. Where’s has the impartiality gone? The AMC business model is just another means to control the lending appraisers and hide behind the vail that the AMC model improves “appraisal quality”.  The techie solutions are also just another way to reduce appraisal costs. We all know that’s quite laughable.  For me the question is when and how can the appraisal profession regain control(from non-appraisal entities) of the lending appraisal process????? To say nothing about regain some basic profesional respect.

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  6. Jeff says:

    I agree 120%. The problem with todays gurus rising to the top is the industry just like other industries is being taken over. We need to stop this and I agree the way to do this is getting rid of the AMC. Unfortunately with other professions regulations are not producing good appraisers but rather good test takers. I went to take my certification test due to new guidelines in our state seem to have decided that my application had come back in to compliance after 9 years and 8 months. The catch was the guidelines stated my application was only good for 10 years after denying me approval for 9 years and 8 months of that time. So I go take my test after I finally found a testing facility that could get me in. After an excruciating 4 hours of trying to decipher what parts of the questions were actually part of the question and which most probable answer could be the right one I failed the test. I was given four hours and still was unable to finish the test in time. Every question threw a curve at you and didn’t test you on what you know but how you could interpret the improper English questions being asked. So after four hours bam my test was  over and I didn’t even finish answering all the questions. The interesting thing was the lady running the facility said she had worked their for a very long time and never had one person ever come in to take the certification test. And to the point of instructors, we are loosing instructors in the same fashion as appraisers. I was talking to an instructor about testing and she was saying that her and the only other USPAP instructor in our state couldn’t pass the USPAP test that was required to teach the USPAP class. She had to plead to Danny Wiley who was on USPAP at that time to take the test again. And her strong suit is test taking. So my point being we are also being held hostage by testing (compliance regulators) and AMC’s. Our country is being held hostage by this testing craze that has infiltrated our schools and just about every profession. I am for testing but it is so out of control that testing has become a critical thinking exercise and does not measure what someone know as much as how you can strip down a question that if in English class you would get an F for writing because of the misleading nature of your paragraph

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    • Mike Ford AGA, GAA, RAA, Realtor Mike Ford AGA, GAA, RAA, Realtor says:

      Jeff the USPAP test you get is the same one we all get. It is a national USPAP course and approved test. I empathize with you about poorly written questions. All state and federal tests have them. You have to assure up to a 10% point loss just because of them. That is why it is all the more critical to insure that you are fully prepared for the tests prior to taking them.

      I’ve never heard of USPAP testing being a limited facility center that is difficult to find. Are you conflating one type of test with an initial state license test? I’ve had friends that had 15 years experience as good appraisers that had difficulty with upgrade license tests. Some took them 5 or 6 times (particularly where English was not their native language). One of my best friends who all would consider fluent admits nuances can cause him difficulty. Deliberately tricky questions are unfair to all and do not test subject knowledge-they only test reading ability at a level that exceeds federal educational standards.

      Good luck to you. The solution is in studying-not easier tests. Though better written ones would benefit all.

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      • Jeff says:

        Mike thanks I appreciate it. I really don’t think they gave the test a test run because it would be really difficult to complete in 4 hours. The average pass rate for first time taking the Certification is 66%. Wonder how many appraisers went back and took the test again. My concern is we are not getting qualified appraisers anymore but rather good test takers.

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  7. Jeff says:

    The consensus is that the AMC must go. So every chance you get to have a lender on the phone or email,  let them know how much better working directly with the lender can be.

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    • Raymond says:

      I really don’t do amc/lender work. However, i do work DIRECTLY for a small lender that needs residential, only, reports. What a world of difference from these AMCs, this lender emails me the request, I set my fee, my turn time and if there is a question on the report they email or call me to discuss. it all works very efficiently.

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      • Wayne Courtney says:

        Hey Raymond, we do not do AMC work either. Our huge corporate office consists of myself and my daughter (certified residential) LOL…I have mentioned before that I am semi-retired and my daughter and her husband has two children and are foster parents. They are also involved in missionary work going to Haiti in July to drill water wells.

        I am a general certified appraiser. I am approved with VA, FHA, TexDot, etc. I have done work for numerous relocation companies, insurance companies, state departments, county governments, city governments. I am talking about right-of-way for water line, sewer line, wet lands, flood plain, road acquisition, road abandoment, national guard armories, high rise office buildings. I have been on the witness stand for various courts.

        I am not opposed to a designation. The last court testimony was in Upshur County, TX where the judge thru out all of the appraisals prepared by the MAI after my testimony. We did win that case!

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        • Raymond says:

          wayne, a  AI designation or any designation plus a license or certification doesn’t make an Appraisal Saint. We are all human and we all make mistakes. I think, if anyone is not making some mistakes, they must not be very busy or may be just fooling themselves.  LOL.

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          • Wayne Courtney says:

            Raymond, I really am not trying to put the AI or any of its members down. I live in E. Tx and I spent thousands of dollars attending AI classes in Dallas/Fort Worth; Houston; San Antonio; Austin; several trips to Boulder, CO in a stupid attempt to obtain that damn MAI designation. I had to leave my business and my family for weeks at a time to pursue this folly! I spent all of this time and money to finally realize that the leaders of this organization were the ones that were creating the AMCs and selling our occupation into the ditch. I do not forgive them for that!

            I earned the IFAS designation from the NAIFA and was a chapter president. I also earned the GRI designation on the Realtor side of the coin,Realtor of the year, local chapter vice president and then president. I attended TX A&M each summer for three years obtaining the SOARS designation and that turned out to be nothing. How about all of the classes I took trying to earn the CCIM designation or the SRWA designation? I have spent a small fortune and the only designation I have really earned is that of “DUMBASS”. Trust me…that is a designation that I truly have earned and deserve. I have done the home builder route, the State of TX property arbitrator route, the inspector for FEMA in the disaster situations. I even obtained my
            recording agents license as a property insurance agent. All I want to do now is just play around and do some travel. I just hate to see my fellow appraisers earn the same designation!

            Some of my peers will say, gee…you never finished most of the designations that you set out for. I can honestly agree with that. I just want you to know that I did not have a pot to pizz in. I was not from a wealthy family and with a wife and two kids to feed, that was the best I could do. Throw rocks if that makes you feel better!

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            • raymond says:

              Wayne, well I wish you the best success. After 40 years, I’ve been phasing out of the appraisal business.It was not a bad prprofession when I got in it. However the last 10-15 years the profession in the lending arena has significantly decline, because non-appraisal entities have taken full control of the lending appraisal process. Yes I’m concern about the current crop of appraisers. There is few $s to be made in the lending appraisal sector.

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              • Hey Raymond, I really do wish you the best of success also. I am tired of being a state certified general appraiser. I have had the opportunity to appraise wetlands, floodplain, right-of-way, flood way, Right of way for water lines, sewer lines, construction easements, slope easements, temporary construction easements, high rise office buildings, explosive manufacturing facilities, steel plating facilities, national guard armories, damages from oil drilling sites, street abandonment, insurance claims, IRS, etc. Both of us seem to have a lot of years of appraisal service behind us. Neither one of us can make much of an impact on this profession at this time. All I can say is that I will our fellow appraisers the best!

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            • Kudos Wayne! I’m a firm believer that the education is far more important than the designation. Particularly as I get older. I ‘took” the NACVA business valuation course at home after the unopened boxes of educational materials were sent to me by old IRS friends that refused to learn it (the concepts are frequently directly opposed to things we have all learned are basic requirements of sound real estate appraisals). I also took the free online CourseRA offerings where you get top flight courses from major universities for free but you simply don’t get a certificate. I took Statistical Analysis from Princeton (seriously) though it will never be documentable resume experience…but it may help in verbal interviews where the knowledge can either be tested or ‘considered’ for what it’s worth.

              I’ve recently (this cycle) refused to keep taking mind numbing, repetitive easy courses for CE requirements. If all I do is to take easy courses then how do I personally benefit? This time around I took Mckissock’s courses for High Volume Distribution Centers (so called ‘fulfillment centers’); Fasto food restaurants; hotels, advanced hotels, storage centers, work files, and my state’s and federal regs courses in addition to USPAP. Takes a little longer (almost the actual time credit is given for!), but I wasn’t bored and wasting time.

              There may be better courses but these were economical (same price as the mind numbing courses), and I actually added to my personal knowledge.

              Wayne, like you I had to drop out of college to survive. I respect those with meaningful degrees and that actually practice high ethical standards; but I’d never look down at another appraiser simply because he or she lacked a certain designation…or any designation for that matter.

              We all passed the same test, right? Either that test is meaningful or it isn’t. and the public is just being scammed by FIRREA.

              But the latter is a topic for a later time and upcoming article.

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  8. Mark skapinetz says:

    Hey. This was about me.  Lmao.  Hijackers.  Ha ha. Good discussion.  Love it.

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  9. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    “Mark believes that appraisers are being held captive by AMCs”. LMFAO
    The man must be both prophet & genius! Meanwhile, the rest of those living in The Land Of Appraisers figured that one out EIGHT YEARS AGO.

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