It’s Theft of Services!

AMCs Constant Bid Request... It is Theft of Services. It’s theft of services to constantly think it’s okay to drain appraisers time and resources as if we’re advocates of the AMC; all our time and energy constantly available to AMCs so they can shop us to infinity on a per diem assignment pattern forever to increase their own profits. They condition appraisers to become advocates of the AMC or you don’t get anything. That’s not how an ethical appraiser should operate. If they returned cost savings to consumers instead of using that as a financial incentive to select the lowest priced appraiser, it would be different. But as we all know, the AMC has that financial incentive because they refuse to implement rotational assignment, flat rate to appraisers, and cost plus for their own services, there is simply no way around it.

At one point during the heyday of around 2015-2016, I was tracking my expense hours to provide AMC fee quotes and TAT quotes every single day. I would spend approximately 2 to 4 hours every single day just trying to land orders, even with uncomfortably simple and brief property research like appraisers are supposed to provide. Even then, I was lucky to ever work another 40 hours on actual full fee appraisal work. And when I did land orders it was always end of the line complex assignments and I forgot how nice it was to complete simple tasks like condos and townhomes. That kind of beneficial low stress lower liability work became a distant memory after about 5 years of trying to work with AMCs, if not longer. At one point I was approved down the entire TAVMA list and beyond, as it was exceedingly easy to get approved with new AMC panels. It still is. I got that chore done in a week and spent the next decade regretting it. Although I tried to seek them out, I never once ran across an AMC who had a cost plus basis. I came across a few with flat fee and rotational assignment of appraisers, so they were better. But even so, the fee was always lower than lender direct. I finally said enough is enough, pass forever, when I nearly got in trouble because lazy AMC employees were forgetting to include counter offers and would ask me to revise and consider ROV requests to cover for their mistakes.

Funny story. It had been so long since I’d applied anywhere, I mistook First American for a default management company because I was tracking down this old Interthinx link, a company which FirstAM had apparently bought out. I did not make the association. I filled out the application only to stare at the FirstAM vendor services agreement again, like 14 years later, which they sent to me in an email: 24 hour TAT, immediate updates, penalties, non payment clauses, indemnity agreements, sterling systems records check, auto sharing of data with everyone from that network Joan Trice put together, unnecessary oversight. I was like, “excuse me, I thought you were a default management focused company, please erase my application and remove my numbers and such”. And just like that I received a half dozen new AMC panel invites. Oh darn, my mistake. I’ve quite literally spent more time asking AMCs to stop contacting me than I’ve ever spent trying to work with them. And now I don’t even bother responding to panel invites. I keep a digital record of these vendor services so I can review them years later. Every few years, here they come again with new branding and a new pitch, but it’s the same old company who failed every qualification metric I threw at them in the past. They’re even changing their forward facing names lately. They must think by just retooling everything, they can trick all the appraisers back. AMCs have become telemarketers recycling an ever shrinking contact list. Shoe is on the other foot these days. I just can’t help but continue to advocate for something better for the appraisal profession. One way or another, it’s going to happen.

By BG, Certified Real Estate Appraiser
Image credit Patrick Cannon

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30 Responses

  1. Avatar Pat Turner says:

    Well hell yeah
    It’s like they are trying to stay one step ahead of the bill collectors (or state appraisal boards)!

    10
  2. Avatar Koma says:

    Heck, some of them make you pay a tech fee for uploading a report to them. HA! I said Good Riddance to them!

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  3. Emails received from AMCs go immediately past the Junk folder to Deleted. Started doing this over 10 years ago.

    8
  4. Avatar Realrose says:

    I rarely took work from AMCs because they are leeches, allowed to degrade the professional appraiser and our objective ethical standards. I am glad someone finally named Trice for her duplicitous role in accomplishing the near total devastation of this work. The creation of Fannie, Freddie, AMCs, TAF, State licensing and organizations that feed off us by taxes cloaked as fees is disgraceful. Now we are being accused of bias as another control and more training to waste our time and money is fabricated. USPAP still rules, but banker’s lobbyists and special interests have put us in a number of lock boxes, making a formerly noble profession one that is wrought with relentless attacks on our opinions and so-called “modernization” efforts. Technology is a tool, but it has become a way to cut out human judgement and elevate algorithms to expert witnesses, and more unbiased ways to hide the redlining, racist business practices prevalent in our culture. The only solution is reparations and not blaming appraisers, although I know there are some that bend their opinions to experience a personal feeling of superiority.

    7
  5. Avatar Honest Appraiser says:

    The AMC business model will never be satisfied until the Independent Appraiser is paying THEM for the privilege to do the work. We need the Appraisers Invoice as page 1 of EVERY AMC report. Truth in Lending??

    9
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      “On page 1 of the amc report.” I have identified your primary problem. The amc’s are following the insurance industries lead now. Photo only and remote iphone type inspections for 5-15 dollars per is already a substantial industry, so by eliminating the appraiser completely, more profit. The 1099 property inspection, care, photo, and labor services industry is basically the end of the line. The big groups kick down the orders to mid groups and outsourcing opportunists, whom in turn hire anyone and everyone available, always desperate for discount help.
      https://propertyvendors.com/

      2
  6. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Unfortunately, many an appraiser have come under the spell of certain snake oil salesman who coached them into the AMC business model where the churn and burn of 4 to 9 appraisals a day was sold as doable.

    Seek the truth.

    7
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Ah, ‘The Coach’. He never was able to answer simple ethical questions regarding exactly how providing a thing of value to be the preferred selectee was in alignment with the Management Rule. He’s moved on to exploiting real estate systems in the tech center now. The program was simple; Outsource every possible appraiser related duty to non qualified third parties and trainees. Discount for higher amc volume regardless of harm to the peer standard and other appraisers. Write public articles to give the illusion of professionalism. Hire a great lawyer.

      4
  7. Avatar Bernard says:

    Look at the Dodd-Frank legislation after the 2008 crash for why there are AMC’s.

    George Soros had something to do with why it was written the way it was written.

    6
  8. Avatar ej says:

    While I agree with the sentiment stated in this article. What is being done about it? The corruption at the AMCs, Especially from Class Valuation, Solidfi I, and Clear Capital, is off the charts.

    8
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Vote with your wallet. Vote with your feet. Vote with your time. Vote with your patronage. Vote with your clicks. Sorry to inform those whom are seeking someone else to bail them out of this continued blatant abuse of power and ongoing racketeering enterprise known as amc’s; We can’t boycott the amc industry twice. It’s your turn now.

      And that’s the rub, it’s our industry, not some other groups industry. Without appraisers, there is no valuation services industry. The appraisal management groups presence is irrelevant unless appraisers choose to make the amc’s relevant with patronage. Each appraisers individual actions and individual choices matter. When an appraiser works with an amc, the appraiser becomes the customer of and willing patron of the amc. On account of the appraiser providing primary income support, that is in fact what a customer whom agrees with the business model of the product purveyor does. Love it or leave it.

      I”m on lately with the GSE offering special discounts and first purchase opportunities to hedge funds and investment firms during this latest down cycle which is just getting started. You may not know it, but reo is raging, repossessions are scaling up swiftly, and treasurer default notices from local counties are at 2008-2012 levels in many locations. The regular appraiser and regular citizen does not see this, as a substantial proportion of properties which would be otherwise discounted for regular citizen opportunities are instead funneled via special interest groups benefit to first receivers. FNMA & HUD promised to reduce this practice when Elizabeth Warren and other politicians called them out on this in 2015. At the time the GSE’s promised to make a substantially higher volume of defaulted housing stock available to regular citizens via first look programs and such. This does not appear to be happening at this time, various realty agents specializing in reo told me they are busier than in years, but most inventory is not moving through default managers whom return these properties to market, rather purchased upstream at auction in bulk by said investment firms and hedge funds.

      Since when was it the responsibility or mantra of GSE’s to give first purchase opportunities and special discounts to corporations when there is an ongoing shortage of housing stock, alongside an ongoing affordability and availability crisis. It’s quite ingenious really, they’re all artificially propping up the rental market and price of housing, without having to admit or reveal to the public how much damage their policies and actions have caused. There is no such thing as residential anymore under these special interest programs, it’s all commercial now. Like a triple win; the discount buy, the heightened sustained rental gain, the eventual high principal write off if they liquidate or artificially high resale price when the books need balanced. These actions are actively compromising market stability with a form of subsidized parity, withholding the effects of actual free market forces. Cumulatively these activities may be withholding trillions of dollars in property equity from regular citizens. Those accusing appraisers of withholding equity from certain groups out of perceived racial bias should take note.

      One agent stated an eerily similar position as appraisers; ‘they won’t need us much longer, it’s all going automated.’ This prompted a conversation about ongoing abuse of valuation services engagements, ‘these groups would have appraisers using remote services and completing desktops for 50 or less per order.’ Agent responded; ‘yeah, we use those services too, that’s where the industry is heading.’ The rebuttal however was that the difference is the sales agent flips bpo’s with remote/discount inspections, to then turn around and get full listing commissions. Where as the appraisers full insurance is now tied to a tenth of the compensation or less, with no further compensation down the line, increased liability due to lack of inspection and increased volume, a type of liability the agents pass off down the line but the appraiser can not.

      This is just one example of the extremely irresponsible mis management the appraisal management industry is responsible for, with their short sighted selfish advocacy for reduced fee discounted appraisal assignments and counter productive ‘appraisal modernization’ efforts. As these corrupt predatory non transparent amc companies continue to pretend to speak on behalf of all appraisers, despite less than a quarter of all licensed appraisers being willing to engage with amc’s. But hey, who cares about consumers or small businesses anyways, we are old news and everyone is sick of hearing people complain about lack of competent service, data security, affordability, availability, unearned fee raking, collusion, racketeering, special interest group favors, etc, etc, etc. People need to understand how our new government works, and that’s just the way it is. The alternative is taking our own industry back, one appraiser, one direct lender solicitation, one important informational disclosure at a time.

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      • Avatar Pat Turner says:

        Agreed

        That’s why AI doesn’t represent residential appraisers as they should

        1
        • Baggins Baggins says:

          Thank you Pat.

          In the latest AI email update; David Bunton, President of The Appraisal Foundation, and James Park, Executive Director of the Appraisal Subcommittee, are coming together to discuss a number of topics facing the appraiser profession. These topics include:

          Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI)
          Different Aspects of Reconsideration of Values
          Fair Housing and Bias issues
          Consumer Outreach
          Future Prospective on 2023

          Moderator: Johnnie White, CEO/EVP of ASA.

          Perhaps someone should email this apparently well accomplished individual whom will be moderating, whom is the VP of the American Society of Appraisers, and politely direct him to review the last few years worth of articles on this Appraisers Blogs website prior to this event. It’s safe to say most of us are no longer bothering to write in to AI, on account of over a decade of what we feel is inadequate management which has taken this industry in the wrong direction.

          https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnniewhiteceo?original_referer=
          https://www.johnniecwhite.com/about

          1
  9. Avatar Bernard says:

    Jim,
    It’s the source of the problem.

    4
    • Avatar JIM says:

      One of the reasons we keep failing in our fight against amcs is we keep misidentifying the enemy. We are not fighting George Soros or even the amcs themselves. We need to be fighting those that hire the amcs. I routinely contact any banks, credit unions etc that use amcs in my area to try to dissuade them from using amcs. Some have gone back to appraiser panels and most ignore me. Please consider contacting chief appraisers and such. Be persistent over time. I find some on linkedin and others on google.

      3
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Absolutely Jim. Amc’s have taken it upon themselves to sell appraisers services for us, for a hefty portion of the billable amount. The solution is to cut out the unnecessary amc middle men and solicit to lenders or other various client leads directly. The sales pitch is straight forward; Do not work for amc’s, the amc is not necessary for regulatory compliance, keep my contact for when your company stops working with amc’s, 75% of all appraisers refuse amc service, a wise move to order direct for superior vendor access as well as superior vendor service, support small business instead. Appraisers whom work with amc’s are subjected to reduced fee, double review, random state work product audits, additional tech fees, redundant records checks, supporting advocacy towards causes they may not agree with, the list goes on. All appraisers need to do is find the good people within potential client organizations and inform them the amc industry at large stands on many consistently false claims.

        3
      • Avatar Bernard says:

        Good idea.

        I’m also going to visit real estate attorneys and let them know I’m available.

        0
  10. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Anyone willing to come within 300′ of an AMC order is TWICE CERTIFIED (once as a appraiser and once as insane). I wouldn’t accept a easy appraisal assignment in 2023 for less than $600; hence, explaining why I refuse to jump back into the meat grinder.

    4
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      The fat lady ain’t sung yet. My last half dozen clients over a few years have voluntarily raised my fee without even having to ask. After the blood bath of the few hundred thousand mortgage lending layoffs, I have notably less contacts and connections, but somehow this show carries on. Appraisers dealing with lawyers and such claim a super busy status. I’ve been cutting jokes with people; Did you know all appraisers are racist now? They play along and I’m like, no it’s a true story, made the news and everything; the Brookings Institute said so, because they want to handle reparations money for a 15% payment processing fee. People are like; yeah, that figures.

      It’s all so flimsy and as long as studious appraisers continue to pay attention and engage, things will continue to happen. Besides all it takes is one good client, I have not had to market in a very long time. Give yourself some credit, the competition is not all that. And now this industry actually has newly minted licensed equity hires. Taking bets now how long they’ll last because although some have had a fast track to licensing, they certainly don’t have gifted equity based insurance or magical liability protection, the full weight of accountability and liability remains. Good times.

      5
  11. Avatar Pat says:

    Classless??

    4
  12. Avatar Bernard says:

    Having a hard time following main frame brain Baggins.

    1
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Did you just refer to me as a vitamin supplement? What’s more difficult to follow; One liners or in depth commentary?

      2
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Come on Bernard, we want to hear what you have to say on the matter. Bring it home. WEF and NGO’s like them are no bueno and we definitely appreciate people whom understand the concept these groups represent special interest favors, a developing climate of anti-democratic process.

      2
  13. Avatar Bernard says:

    Totally agree. Time to start contacting people we can work for directly. There is no good reason to have AMC’S in the loop.

    3
    • Avatar Koma says:

      Then they’ll start saying there’s a shortage of appraisers and a need for more avm’s or something to that effect. ? I myself have been dumping them over the past two years.

      2
  14. Avatar Honest Appraiser says:

    Maybe change the word “advocate” to “chattel” might be more correct – at least in the minds of the AMC business model.

    It’s theft of services to constantly think it’s okay to drain appraisers time and resources as if we’re advocates of the AMC; all our time and energy constantly available to AMCs so they can shop us to infinity on a per diem assignment pattern forever to increase their own profits. They condition appraisers to become advocates of the AMC or you don’t get anything. That’s not how an ethical appraiser should operate

    3

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It’s Theft of Services!

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