Unsolicited Appraisal Request
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Well who said 2020 would be a nice calm year for appraisers? VaCAP has been receiving messages from appraisers about some of the crazy dumb stuff lenders and amcs are doing. What is scary is the things we are hearing are very reminiscent of 12-15 years ago.
A long time VaCAP member forwarded an appraisal request to us he received via Mercury Network. All was good with the order, turn time, fee; all good except for one little issue, payment was to be collected at the door from the borrower! We remember those days. Anyone still have uncollected checks? Every appraiser who has been breathing over the past 10-12 years knows this request is a violation of Virginia AMC Regulations which was taken directly from Title XI of FIRREA. It does not matter if it is a lender or amc; this request is a violation of state and federal law. Who is overseeing the compliance of these companies?
Another appraiser reached out about an appraisal request from a company he is not signed up with. No real issue here, appraisers get unsolicited requests all the time. Well this appraisal request was a bit different. The amc who sent the blind request also sent a username and password in the same email. Now it may have been well intentioned, but seriously how dangerous is this to the appraiser? What about the borrower? Is the borrower getting the service he or she paid for and deserves? How presumptuous of the amc for creating an account for an appraiser. Is this really any different than what Wells Fargo did when they opened accounts in customers name without permission?
And then there was the appraiser who received a different blind solicitation from an amc she is not signed up with. This email, perhaps more professional than some others:
“Hello – We have an assignment in your identified market and are inquiring into your availability to complete as well as meeting the requisite knowledge, experience, property type / geographic competency and the time frame you would anticipate needing to complete this assignment for us. Please respond to this email with your fee and turn time. Your quote must be in writing. Verbal quotes will not be accepted.“
The amc graciously provided a link to sign up and another link to obtain the mandatory background check. They only want her fee and turn time. Not a word concerning her qualifications.
Most of us are very busy now and many will just ignore these requests. Please do not. Please take the time to respond in a professional manner that you are a professional and their actions are questionable at best. Do not be afraid to copy the lender, agents and borrowers. Many are unaware of how appraisers are being selected. The borrowers deserve a quality appraisal by a competent experienced licensed professional appraiser. After all, that is what they paid for. Don’t think for one minute agents will sit back and let their deals go south. Most lenders will bend over backwards to maintain a positive relationship with agents and most agents have more than one lender relationship.
Now think for a moment how supply and demand works. When demand is low and supply is plentiful, prices go down. When supply is low and demand is high, prices go up. This is how a free market works. Translate this specifically to the appraisal profession: when appraisers are slow, our professional service is not in demand. When appraisers are busy, our professional service is in demand.
Now for just a moment, let’s talk about those dirty words call “price fixing.” We all know price fixing is illegal and we all could get in trouble for it. In a free market situation, supply and demand will fluctuate. This is not price fixing; it is a free market at work. There is nothing illegal, unethical or immoral with appraisers adjusting their pricing in a free market based on supply and demand.
One appraiser shared on Facebook how Uber and Lyft charge “surge pricing” during peak travel times of the day. When traveling in the Express lanes along I-95 in Northern Virginia, are we not charged more during peak times? What about I-895 connecting South Richmond to the East Henrico? Does it not cost more during rush hour? Does it not cost less for that 5:00 AM flight and more for the 9:00 AM flight?
Just today, many appraiser received notification from loan officers, despite very low interest rates, lenders are raising their rates. Price fixing, no; a free market reacting to supply and demand, YES! Don’t be afraid to run your business as you see fit. Don’t be afraid to charge your worth. If clients want your professional service, they will conform to your fees and policies.