New Hybrid Desktop Hucksters

Michael Ford

Michael Ford

General Certified Real Estate Appraiser at Michael F. Ford Appraisal
Over 28 years appraising all property types and interests, in Southern California real estate. VP/Chairman National Appraiser Peer Review Committee, American Guild of Appraisers, #44OPEIU/AFL-CIO. - Michael Ford on e-AppraisersDirectory
Michael Ford

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Professionals With No Appraisal Experience Cornering The Hybrid MarketWhat could lure these successful 'professionals' from their chosen careers?

Fellow appraisers, I just received an advertisement for a company that wants to pay ‘me’ $50.00 an hour to do desktop appraisals. Actually, probably not me, because they prefer a degree.

Now, my routine hourly rate for complex appraisal assignments is $150 ($500 for EW and something variable in between for pretty much everything else). So they are asking me to take a cut of 2/3… assuming I could meet their degree requirement “preference”.

It got me thinking. I cannot always command my hourly rate for 8 hours a day, every day of the week, for 4.3 weeks per month, twelve months a year. So, how are they different?

Well first of all. They are professionals! One can always tell by the word “Degree”- Even AQB and TAF subscribe to this belief.

They don’t happen to be professionals as real estate appraisers, but this family business is indeed comprised of professionals. Professionals that have abandoned their careers in Medicine, Law, and even a CPA as well as assorted sundry other professions. Not being appraisers, they are unhampered by all those pesky regulatory constraints appraisers have. With diverse purely professional backgrounds, annoying issues like professional appraiser ethics become ‘debatable, more flexible items’ rather than clearly required or prohibited principles and actions specific to any one profession.

What could lure these successful 'professionals' from their chosen careers? Apparently an entire family elected to throw away all or most of their college, medical and law school educations in favor of becoming a multi-faceted appraisal management company. Having advanced educations, they readily recognized that AMCs are more profitable than their original chosen professions. OK, perhaps that’s a little unfair. Daddy Noe handed them the insurance service business he built. Nothing wrong with that.

The problem is their belief that being a general insurance service reports provider somehow makes them qualified to be appraisal service providers. (I’m beginning to wonder if the insurance industry as a whole has a ‘Potential Obscene Profits List’ someplace that urges dabbling in R.E. Appraisal once they hit a certain gross income?)

If AMCs can be profitable, just think how profitable AMCs can be that don’t hustle USPAP compliant products!

But here is where the sheer brilliance comes into play. WHAT IF THEY ONLY CHARGE 2/3 OF WHAT COMPETITORS CHARGE? Absolute marketing genius!

That’s right. Where other hucksters with little to no appraisal experience claim they will pay appraisers $75 out of $100 total fees for hybrid non appraiser inspectors / desktop appraisals, these savvy businessmen will only be paying $50 an hour!

Actually, that’s a petty great idea  because their executive leadership appears to be very top heavy. Just take a look at their Rogues Gallery, (Mueller Insurance Services, Inc. Tonawanda, New York). I clicked the ads in workingRE to get there. Also, BE SURE TO READ RipOffReports comments against them, and on their behalf. $10.00 an hour for college educated insurance inspectors??? Seriously?

OK, I digress. So what’s wrong with top heavy management? We know that Brian Coester used to pay his vice president about $180,000; from court testimony. If the Noe Family execs are the only ones getting that much (more perhaps?) then that’s $540,000 right off the top – plus their accounting, marketing and administrative level 'professionals'. It’s going to take a lot of $50 “+” appraisals to pay for that overhead!

Well, not unlike Coester, a disproportionately huge amount of money goes to executive overhead. Unlike Coester that executive overhead really has little or no appraisal experience. Their insurances services core business has been around since the 1980’s, they only jumped in the AMC feeding trough in 2014. It’s really worth the time to read ALL their online links, especially the Entry Level Jobs being advertised all over the country, plus the part time “staff Appraiser” positions.

Anyway, clearly with paying only $50.00 appraiser fees and field inspector fees of only $10 an hour if they are using their entry level insurance inspectors for that (covers their ALTA site inspections too, potentially) they can use their national ‘presence’ to corner the market, right?

At least until someone else comes along and says they can do it for $40 an appraisal. Someone like Streetlinks, or Corelogic or perhaps even our old friends at First American… and all ANY of them have to do is sell American Legislators & Regulators on the idea that completely circumventing FIRREA is acceptable.

Image credit flickr - CHRISTO DRUMMKOPF
Michael Ford

Michael Ford

Over 28 years appraising all property types and interests, in Southern California real estate. VP/Chairman National Appraiser Peer Review Committee, American Guild of Appraisers, #44OPEIU/AFL-CIO. - Michael Ford on e-AppraisersDirectory

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6 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    That’s $50/hour for a cookie-cutter. They want you to do multi-million dollar properties for $50. Good luck.

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  2. Baggins Baggins says:

    Don’t forget the tech staff. They outnumber qualified licensed appraisers 100/1 at the management level. To date I have never met a panel manager whom advocates for the appraisers first.

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  3. Joyce says:

    Got another one. Think I paid less than $1 and is $25.00 +/- online for very similar

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  4. Fritz Vogel says:

    No, it’s going to be 3 minute AB’s, for a low low price of $19.95, but wait….. accept the assignment now and get a page of stips on top of your 1 page report for FREE. Now that’s a great deal. What are these Bozo’s thinking? I know some starving Appraiser, in a wheelchair, with breathing tubes, who can’t leave the confines of a room will jump at the chance. This is not a charity! Garbage in Garbage out, I feel so sorry for the general public who haven’t a clue who/what is playing with their credit/future etc. (sorry if your in a wheel chair, with breathing tubs, confined to a room, but I’m a New Yorker and as crass and can be)

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      This relates to my argument that selecting appraisers individually is unfair to the group, and discriminates against many types of industry workers. Rotational selection helps assure that disabled and elderly still get fair access to work. The longer you take to complete, the longer it takes to get back in line to then wait for another. The quicker you complete, the faster you’re back in line. Shopping for terms and considering assignment by performance grading is codeword for biased imbalanced distribution which perpetuates remarkable attrition of industry workers. Here today gone tomorrow, the mantra of appraisal distribution management today. Quick products will accentuate this cycle. Welcome to the reservation I guess. Perhaps time to move to force salaried based lending to inhibit these money making schemes which could drive hundreds of thousands of American workers out of business so a few rich companies can rake another windfall? Missing the IVPI proposed clearinghouse approach yet? These are purposeful efforts to drive checks and balances out of the lending system.

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  5. MD appraiser says:

    Wow! Looks like the college educated inspectors are far more desperate than the appraisers doing these. Minimum wage here in DC is $11/hour and you’re not putting mileage on your car, dealing with expenses, liabilities, non-payment issues, etc. Who in their right mind would do these?

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New Hybrid Desktop Hucksters

by Michael Ford time to read: 3 min
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