It’s 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.