You Are a FEE Appraiser Not a FREE Appraiser

You Are a FEE Appraiser Not a FREE Appraiser - Ponzi Scheme AMCs

you are a FEE appraiser, not a FREE appraiser. Do not continue doing business with AMCs who don’t pay you in a timely manner per your state law…

There’s an old phrase, whose origination is not precisely known, which says “mind your p’s and q’s.”

What it means is ‘watch what you are doing’, or various other aspects of life.

How many of you realize that the AMC business model as we currently experience, it is actually a Ponzi scheme in operation? Remember Bernie Madoff? That kind of scheme.

It’s been publicized recently in various places that several AMCs, including Appraisal Nation, Consolidated Analytics and Land Gorilla, have been delaying payments to appraisers for completed appraisal reports.

You absolutely MUST keep track of all outstanding unpaid report fees. Keep a log of all assignments, or put a printed copy of the invoice on your desk, and monitor DAILY incoming payments, and those that are unpaid.

Keep more close track of your clients which have multiple unpaid assignments stretching back 30 days or more. Those are the Ponzi Procrastinators who have to wait until their clients (the lenders) pay them, before the AMC can pay you.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to file a formal complaint with your state regulator against slow pay AMCs. Most states/territories now have AMC licensing & registration laws. Most of those have requirements for fee payment timing after a report is submitted. Find out what the maximum payment timing term is, and then CALL the AMC’s accounts payable person when that date is approaching to demand payment, or tell the person that you will file a formal complaint against the company if payment is not received by ‘xyz’ day.

AMCs (and the owners thereof) are masters at delay tactics. That’s how Ponzi schemes work, current payments are covered by future income, which may not materialize.

Remember, you are a FEE appraiser, not a FREE appraiser. Do not continue doing business with AMCs who don’t pay you in a timely manner per your state law.

Dave Towne
Image credit flickr - Quinn Dombrowski
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on

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32 Responses

  1. Avatar Cobra says:

    I listened to Mark Skapinetz podcast interview with Tedesco, Appraisal Nation CEO, & Dave Roberts Senior VP…

    Unfortunately, Mark was way too soft and allowed them to continue with their lies and gave them a platform to do so.

    Mark disappointed me! He was the one appraiser who stood up to AMCs abuses and now he seems to be their spokesman!

    • Avatar misguided says:

      It was not an interview. It was an infomercial.

    • Avatar Mark Skapinetz says:

      Cobra, appreciate the comment on the podcast. The idea of the podcast was to allow them to come on and speak about their letter more etc as well as some other info. It wasn’t meant for me to grill them into submission etc. they explained their side more in Depth than the letter as as I stated in the podcast, appraisers can judge for themselves. As far as being a spokesman.., I am far from that. I do work with them and some others while also building up my private side. I don’t have to defend myself nor my actions to anyone as they speak for themselves as to what I’ve done and will continue to do to TRY and help appraisers. My question will always be… what have you done? If you can do better then have at it..

      • Susan Layne on Facebook Susan Layne on Facebook says:

        Did you even read the letter they sent out? Total BS!! Like not paying is an administrative snafu. I don’t know who you are or what you think you’ve done for appraisers but I doubt we need your brand of “ help.”

        • Mark Skapinetz on Facebook Mark Skapinetz on Facebook says:

          Susan Layne yep. Read the letter and well I don’t need to explain what I’ve done or continue to do. If you don’t know that’s ok.

      • Avatar Cobra says:

        Mark, I’m glad you’re focusing on getting more private work. I understand why you were too soft. After all they are your client. However, may I suggest you don’t interview your AMC clients in such instances? Just a suggestion. An appraiser not relying on getting work assignments from them may have been better suited for such an interview.

        For my part, I have trained 43 appraisers throughout my career. I have not only trained them to be good appraisers but good businessmen…. I’ve taught them not to work with AMCs and none have. I always lead by example and practice what I preach.

        Others say working with AMCs is a business decision. I say such business decision is to the detriment of others’ businesses and our profession. Thanks for all you do!

    • Mark is nobody’s lackey. I work with him on numerous Guild issues, and he is anything but ‘soft’ on abuse. It was Mark, more than any other single person in the country that was responsible for Minnesota backing off on the 150 false ‘complaint’ letters sent to appraisers for 450 appraisal assignments.

      Neither Mark, Jan nor I or any other members of the Peer Review Committee or State Representatives score a knock out punch or homerun- every single time. Sometimes we have to give people enough rope to hang themselves or to take irrefutable positions.

      I haven’t watched it yet because of logistical reasons…but I have faith in Mark. If it was too softball, I also know I can tell him that without offense.

  2. Avatar Cotton says:

    Its time for appraisers and lenders to ditch the parasitic AMC business model. They have to go! They provide zero added value to the appraisal process. Their sole purpose is to rob the appraiser. What is the purpose of Revaa? Its existence is to pay off politicians to look the other way while the amcs scam the appraiser and consumer. They promote nothing but lies and deception. Time to say good bye to these amcs. They have clearly overstepped their initial intended use. Clear capital and Proteck need to be federally investigated for scamming the consumer and harming public trust!

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Be careful Cotton of calling out the AMC scam or those on their soapbox’s will treat you as the problem for calling out the facts as they are. Many appraisers create a team of offshore form fillers (Philippines anybody), so they can squeeze a profit based on high volume AMC work. In fact, many have even developed the ability to talk out of both sides of their mouth at the same time (AMC’s bad / need more volume to pay office staff / AMC’s good). Many seek profit over having sound morals, where I…

      Seek the truth.

  3. Avatar Coach says:

    Appraisal Nation’s explanation demonstrates just how dumb they think appraisers are. AMCs and appraisers have been deemed essential in North Carolina since day one. I don’t believe their excuse of not being able to get in their office to pay the appraisers. Let’s not forget they were once fined $10,000 in North Carolina for not paying appraisers on time.

    • I dont believe people that say they can’t get into the office to pay appraisers either. I have zero problem getting into anywhere I normally control access to.

      The letter’s initial claim was they had accounts receivable blocks of some imaginary description. More BS, though at the time I applauded the fact they let appraisers know.

      The real problem is clearly that they have a history of this type of thing. It’s indicative of a flawed business model, and may also be indicative of a flawed ethics model as well.

      If this were a one-time event I’d offer suggestions to them as to how they can avoid being a deadbeat in the future. But in reading through posts, it appears this is not their first rodeo for non-payments.

      That raises ‘BS’ to a whole new level.

      Unless you are prepared to keep working for free and let them get deeper and deeper in debt to your firm, I’d stop doing ALL credit work for them. Either they collect and pay prior to appointment setting, or simply cease working for them.

      I know of appraisers that have been fined up to $10,000 for not completing work they had been paid for. Why should it be any different for an AMC?

      • Avatar Steve says:

        Exactly, I call BS to. They will most likely suffer the same fate as Coester because of the same flawed business model combined with corporate greed. The banks pay the AMC every 90 days or so, and the AMCs used to get away with paying appraiser on the same schedule. Now that most states require AMCs to pay appraisers within 30 days some AMCs can’t keep up, and eventually they sink.

        They’ve no doubt paid themselves and their employees during the “uncertain time,” and they’ve for sure taken in revenue during this time. There is no excuse for not paying appraisers now or any other time; the banks have not been closed. Stop listening to their excuses, which are really just lies, and maybe prepare your claim form now so you be the first to submit it.

  4. Avatar Ralph says:

    I would think appraisers would be smarter about taking AMC work, just seeing Coester and Appraiser Loft stiffed thousands of appraisers with un paid fees, why don’t more seek out local banks and credit unions, at least you can have a relationship and deal with the client directly none of this 3rd party useless BS!

  5. Chase Pursley on Facebook Chase Pursley on Facebook says:

    I don’t understand the AMC value proposition. Maybe I’m missing something but it seems that AMCs could be replaced with a far cheaper piece of software that directly connects lenders and appraisers.

    • That’s been done. Mercury and others. The problem is that the lender (read that as LOAN OFFICER) can direct which panel appraisers are populated into their specific panels. You don’t even need to be blacklisted. Just ‘deleted’ when you produce unsatisfactory results. With no way of knowing it happened.

  6. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Although you and your fearless leader “the Appraiser Coach” may work with self described A & B level AMC clients in YOUR area, the problem Mark is those same companies a city, county, or state away are often F clients to other appraisers.

    Having a “what benefits me attitude” has always been and continues to be a problem within this industry.

    Seek the truth.

    • Avatar Mark Skapinetz says:

      First off no one is my leader. I lead my own way. Secondly, my actions and things I’ve done in the past and today to help appraisers all over speaks for itself and I owe you no explanations so the “what benefits me attitude” you speak of is once again more of your own made up rhetoric. When it comes to my business, yes I’m the only one that makes decisions of what I’m willing do and not willing to do. I don’t tell anyone who they should work for and who they shouldn’t work for and never will. That’s none of my business. Thirdly my podcast with Appraisal nation wasn’t intended to grill them. It was intended to allow them to use my platform to speak and let others decide how they wanted to interpret it. Do I work with them. Yes I do and thats my decision. Do I like the AMC model, no I don’t, never have and I even told them that as well. So while you may be out here attacking others that do, attacking the way things are run now and attacking me, I ask again… what have you done to try and make a difference in the way things are other than constantly complain and attack?

      • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

        If you’re a Dustin Harris defending Kool-aid drinking all-star fanboy, and a prisoner to the AMC model, what you’re leading can be debated.

        As it relates to “owe me an explanation” you of course do not, but don’t for one second think your marriage to the AMC system has not and continues to do harm to the appraisal profession. You working for the man, is not me “making up rhetoric”.

        As it relates to as you say, me “constantly complaining and attacking” perhaps you feel the same way Dustin Harris feels “In the end, you have three options if you are currently disliking your role as an appraiser: you can change professions, you can change the way you do business, or you can continue to be unhappy. Ultimately, complaining does little to help whatever difficult situation you find yourself in, so make a resolution now to start making different choices that lead to better results” (

        As I said in response to Dustin, “Thank God the colonist who participated in the Boston Tea Party didn’t have access to your blog or podcast Dustin (3 options, really), otherwise they wouldn’t have chosen option 4 which is to fight the establishment and start a revolution.

        No hard feelings Mark, and good luck doing the same thing over and over again (partnering with the likes of Brian Coaster, and or other AMC scum), but expecting a different result (there’s a term for that).

        Shooting the messenger, does not change the truth (seek it).

        • Mark Skapinetz had more to do with driving Brian Coester out of business than any other appraiser in the country. Hardly ‘partnering’ with him. Bill, that’s just plain offensive. You don’t have a clue as to what sacrifices he made to carry that one to the end. I do.

          • Avatar Mark Skapinetz says:

            Coward. A person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.

            You now will attack my character Bill Johnson or whoever you really are.

            You know nothing of my lawsuit other than what you have read. You have 0 clue of anything else. You made this personal. I don’t care if you disagree with my ideas or how I do things. That’s fine. I’m always looking for better ideas than I have etc. however attack me personally… lol.

            Keep hiding behind a fake name, keep on attacking people who don’t agree with you, keep on pretending you are doing such great things and keep on being afraid, cause that’s why you won’t come out of your closet. You’re hiding things, you’re hiding who you are for a reason.. You speak “seek the truth” yet you hide and are afraid for others to know who you are. How can you preach seek the truth when you can’t be truthful yourself. Think about it. I’ll say it. You sir are a Coward.

            I’ll await your amazing response. And once again I’ll ask you…. what have you done to try and make a difference?

          • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

            With all do respect Mike, choosing to work with AMC’s including the worst of the worst (Coaster / Brian Coaster), is in my opinion an example of partnering with the devil. Me calling out the facts (Mark’s business practices), should not be seen as the offense, but rather the AMC model he chooses to participate in is the offense.

            As it relates to Marks sacrifices, I applaud him for his efforts, but I also I understand that when you choose your own dance partner (AMC), and they step on your foot, comfort from others while you apply the ice might be limited.

            Seek the truth.

            • Avatar Mark Skapinetz says:

              Once agin Coward….. what are you doing other than complaining to make things different?

              • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

                Mark, this coward had the courage years ago to endure dangerous or unpleasant things and unplug from the AMC machine that is at the heart of many of the problems we face. Most appraisers work with AMC’s and I get it, but most appraisers aren’t stepping up on the soapbox and seeking attention with podcasts while they attempt to gain corporate sponsorship from those who are often the enemy of most. If you seek a slap on the back for your efforts, you got it, but again don’t shoot the messenger because he seeks the truth and exposes it.

                Seek the truth.

            • Bill, you and I work in large super urban areas or megalopolis’. Atlanta is not exactly the same market.

              The better part of 10% of the entire United States population lives in your market and mine (or less than an hour+- away), combined (OK SF has a small percentage too). Roughly 25-30 million?

              Atlanta’s population in 2019 was estimated at a hair over 506,000. The opportunities for independent work are far more limited than in LA-OC-SD.

              So, I can’t criticize someone in Atlanta, or Tampa, or Oklahoma CIty, or Sioux Falls or Provost or Portland for accepting AMC work. The appraisers didn’t create the AMC monopolies.

              Cuomo and title insurance companies did that. Very slow, but steady progress has been made since people like Pat Turner, and Marion Rhodes and a few other old-timers started fighting back.

              Coester created (or tried to create) a national monopoly with his one size fits all single national AMC appraisal fees (circa 2014??). A lot of lenders bit into that particular road-apple.

              Appraisers that HAD good clients had to now join AMCs in order to service those same existing clients.

              You have no idea how much behind the scenes backbiting and pressure Mark received from other appraisers to abandon his lawsuit against Coester.

              Mark himself was countersued for $20 million. He had to contend with and defeat that suit as well as win his own suit. Mark did what the entire State of Virginia failed to do in 2015 due to a cowardly state attorney general that lacked the balls to prosecute Coester for operating without a license when a lot of us that DIDN’T ever work for Coester tried to shut him down.

              As an aside, I had stopped writing as many articles here as I used to. I LOVE the support Dez has always given appraisers, but lately it seems like the same old people are busier sniping at each other than in finding solutions. Hijacking legitimate topics and sidetracking into peripherally unimportant or minor importance issues without offering solutions.

              Or carrying out ongoing vendettas again those they disagree with.

              Bill, you have always espoused high standards in appraising. Mark does the same, though the two of you disagree about the details and methods.

              That’s not a reason to start or carry on a flame war. Imho.

  7. Baggins Baggins says:

    I’m a half fee, half free appraiser….

    Nope, don’t like the sound of that.

    And those that continue to promote, fund, and abide a business model they disagree with, continue to influence parity pricing for the rest of us.

    These ‘business decisions’ have far reaching consequences which extend to everyone.

    Just get yours and forget about the devastation left in the wake.

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Those that choose to have a business model that relies on offshore form fillers (Philippines anybody), and high volume low pay AMC work to pay their office staff, either don’t care that their actions do harm to others, or understand and don’t have the morals to say no to the profit stream.

      Seek the truth.

  8. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Neither. I am a FREED Appraiser; as in free from the insanity of the dead end, non profit business.

  9. Alright folks enough bashing other appraisers!

    The purpose of this blog is to communicate with others, share ideas, come up with solutions… not to attack other appraisers.

    We welcome critical posts and opposing points of view and value robust and civil discourse. You may openly disagree, but state your case in an atmosphere of mutual respect, in which everyone has a right to a particular view about the topic of conversation. Please keep remarks about the topic at hand, and PLEASE avoid personal attacks. If the poster gets you upset, it’s the Internet and you can walk away from it.

    Personal attacks harm the collegial atmosphere we encourage on this blog.

  10. Avatar Christopher Allan says:

    Ps and Qs means mind your “Pints and Quarts”. An english phrase meaning watch how much you drink.

  11. Avatar Realrose says:

    Last week I was on Linkdin and saw a post by Brian Coester who is now a realtor. Who would guess he could get a real estate sales or broker’s license after what he did to appraisers, stiffing them for their fees. It is time we have a national data base for realtors who are cheaters, appraisers who do incompetent work, bankers who pressure appraisers and get rid of the AMC model. We have to stop this nonsense. Now that they got away with stealing our profession and giving a middle man AMC the power over our earnings, I hope the people in government have realized they did this in many of the institutions and departments of the federal government. And now we are getting killed by our own leader! I want people to be encouraged to address Coester on Linkdin; I told him he had a lot of nerve being an agent after stiffing appraisers in his AMC. These charlatans go on to wreck whatever they touch!


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You Are a FEE Appraiser Not a FREE Appraiser

by Dave Towne time to read: 1 min