You Are Not Alone – AGA

You Are Not Alone - American Guild of Appraisers - AGAHow many appraisers do you know that are enthusiastic about the future of our profession?

How many appraisers believe that they are alone in the fight to save their profession?

How many appraisers do you know that feel trapped in a “no win” situation with increasing liability and time commitment without being properly compensated or appreciated?

My name is Jan Bellas. I am the National Membership Coordinator for the American Guild of Appraisers (AGA). Please give me a few minutes to tell you how the AGA can help you and other professional real estate appraisers.

  • AGA is a national organization focused on addressing the critical issues seriously affecting your business both on a national and state level such as “BLACK LISTING”, Appraiser Independence and Reasonable & Customary Fees.
  • AGA’s sole purpose is to provide a UNIFIED VOICE FOR ALL PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS across the county and is NOT in competition with any other national association or local coalition. In fact, AGA works hand-in-hand with the professional national and local groups and individuals across the United States and welcomes collaboration with other allied groups in an effort to support the professional appraiser. Through this interconnected professional “Brotherhood” and “Sisterhood” of appraisers we will be able to create a UNIFIED VOICE that will be able to begin to allow our profession to truly be independent and autonomous.
  • AGA is affiliated with the OPEIU that represents 104,000 other high end professionals such as doctors, nurses & pilots and has the full support of the AFL-CIO representing over 12.5 million consumer members. This relationship gives AGA unprecedented access to national and local legislative initiatives along with the entire gambit of federal agencies that will allow a proactive response to issues that arise.  Additionally, AGA members have benefits that include savings on individual health insurance, discounts and other support services that would only be available in such large organization.




Congress, State Legislatures and the Feds only care about the numbers of consumers and voters. If we do not have a sufficient critical mass, we will not get effective audiences with these rule makers in order to effect the necessary changes BEFORE they go live. AGA is fighting to keep the profession alive, to stop the abuse of the appraisers and the loss of their independence. I get calls every week from appraisers who are despondent feeling that they have little or no recourse in a fight against banks and AMC’s. If you are one of the lucky appraisers not affected by “Black-Listing”, think about your brother and sisters in the appraisal profession. Don’t sit back and watch appraisers being shut out of their profession as a result of blatant pressure by lenders who want to control the lending process. We are determined to stop the takeover of our profession.


Go to our website, select JOIN and follow the directions. The 2015 annual calendar membership dues are $375.00. However, your Representative has negotiated price for you to just $225.00 if you join during our membership drive. Once membership has been established, you will receive your AGA Certificate and Membership Card to access your benefits.

We have some very dynamic plans for AGA in 2015 that include launching of the National Appraiser’s Complaint Hotline, E&O and USPAP seminars that are FREE to active AGA members. National legislative meetings with high level officials, the CFPB and other regulators and legislators are beginning to discuss patterns of abuse and solutions to protect appraisers.

As the National Membership Coordinator, I take my role very seriously. I have a personal goal to talk with as many professional appraisers across the country as I can because I want to hear your story because… AGA is YOUR VOICE. We want to build AGA to serve the working appraiser and not just to collect fees. Tell us what you want.

So who is the American Guild of Appraisers here for?  YOU!

Jan Bellas
National Membership Coordinator
800-660-1835 (toll free)

ABOUT THE AMERICAN GUILD OF APPRAISERS/OPEIU GUILD 44 – The American Guild of Appraisers/OPEIU Guild 44 seeks to represent the interests of appraisers, developing a strong presence before the U.S. Congress and each of the state legislatures. By working closely and exchanging dialog with other like-minded organizations, the AGA works to educate consumers about the appraisers’ non bias, independent role in the value process, while ensuring the accountability of both the appraisal profession and the financial institutions with which the appraiser provides services.

ABOUT OPEIU – The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO represents more than 104,000 members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. OPEIU represents employees and independent contractors in banking and credit unions, insurance, higher education, shipping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels, administrative offices and more.

Professional organizations and Guilds affiliated with OPEIU are a diverse group that includes nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, appraisers, podiatrists, clinical social workers, minor league baseball umpires, teachers and helicopter pilots.

Photo Credit flickr - David Pacey

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20 Responses

  1. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Like I’ve stated in an email to you months ago Jan, support an AMC boycott or an all out National Appraiser’s Strike and I’m with you both financially and physically.  Nothing else will work to gain back the rights and fees of appraisers; if there were another option you would have witnessed it between 2009’s HVCC Day & today.

    I never dreamed that any profession could take such a beating and pop out of bed each morning to ask for more.

  2. Baggins Baggins says:

    Well, with the appraisers forum recent move to block all posters whom use adblocker and other user friendly software, the constrictions to free speech continue forward.  Looks like the appraisersblogs might be the last vestige of free speech available to the appraisal community.

  3. Avatar Koma says:

    It’s funny that I keep hearing from lenders, AI, eggheads in Washington, etc that borrowers will only pay at the most $500 for an appraisal. Just the other day I tried to tell that to my HVAC guy that I will only pay $30 hr plus labor. As he was laughing he said bye and hung up the phone before I could say just kidding. Then I went to my Doctor and said you know what your office visit was $60 in 1995 and that’s all I’m willing to pay now and so on and so forth…you get what I’m saying. Why would I keep shelling out money to organizations (AGA, State Organizations, etc) that I don’t have anyway to give if everyone is saying the most I can get is what was being paid back 20 years ago??

    With the amount of time it takes for anything to get done for us appraisers, I’ll be retired (which will be in a few years) before it takes effect. Just take a look at C&R Fees. Louisiana just took action against a (one) company…big deal. It only took 4 + years since the rules went into effect and they were fined what $5,000. Everyone’s saying what a great day for appraisers in LA. Rubbish! I’m going to charge what I believe I’m worth and if they don’t want to (by the way they are paying my fees now) pay then I’ll retire sooner. I enjoy my profession, but I will not work for peanuts! Take charge of YOUR business and charge what your worth!

  4. Mike Ford CA AG: SCREA, AGA, GAA, RAA Mike Ford CA AG: SCREA, AGA, GAA, RAA says:

    Jan, I respectfully strongly disagree with RA. You, more than most know exactly what we do at AGA for appraisers. It’s a lot more practical that talking about boycott’s with people that are barely willing to organize for meaningful actions; let alone the very things that many oppose unions for in the first place..

    From the dozens of calls asking for specific assistance with state board’s, AMC threats or intimidation, to lender blacklisting we offer specific advice based on the circumstances, or write the appropriate authorities on behalf of our members; to taking action to influence legislation. ANY member can call either myself, or Peter or any number of experienced appraisers for answers to specific situations at any time.

    We have contacted FFIEC; CFPB, and submitted a proposal for minimum reasonable fees; and are planning a small campaign right now to get the C&R proposal adopted in one specific jurisdiction already. I’ve been trying to break through the bureaucracy at CAR & NAR for six months. I FINALLY spoke directly with their lobbyists that are referring our offer to work together on common interests “upstairs” less than three days ago! That was an outgrowth of the efforts they were engaged in that we actively supported.

    Getting people to join in doing nothing is easy. Getting them to join and do SOMETHING is a lot harder. The more members we have that are willing to help fellow appraisers, the more benefits we can offer. If we do NOTHING, then the AI President is right. In five years appraisals will be nothing more than commodities driven by a tacit willingness to jump through whatever hoops foreign investors want us to jump through. We will deserve to be the professional fall guys that we are being set up to become.

    All we have to do is continue to do nothing. The wheels are already in motion compliments of the ABA; MBA and a host of AMC organizations that ARE willing to organize to suppress appraiser fees.

    MOST appraisers are completely oblivious that all this is going on right now, OR about how important these issues are, or should be to them.

    Great article; and thank you for writing it and AB for publishing it.

    • Avatar Wayne says:

      Hey Mike…

      I just do not understand how the appraisal “occupation” can be in such a mess (Too many fleas on this dog!). The Appraisal Institute submitted their U.S. Valuation Profession Fact Sheet – December 2014…I think there is a more recent one than this. However this Fact Sheet indicated a total of 78,800 appraisers in the U.S. and possessions. This Sheet also indicated that 31% of this number were residential appraisers. So…that would be 24,428 appraisers preparing residential appraisals as of December 31, 2014. Heck we lost about 900+ appraisers last month per ASB. There is a daily drop in our ranks of from 1 to about 12 each day of the month. It would really be interesting to have an accurate count of the licensed/certified appraisers as of any particular date.

      There was a recent article in an appraisal news letter asking “where will AMCs get appraisers?” That is real funny as personally I hope that parasite AMCs are totally incapable of finding any silly appraisers willing to be their host! The more scum out of this business the better! let’s stop feeding these parasites!

      I think that the typical residential appraiser is working all alone and trying to feed their family as best they can! They do not realize that they are one of very few! One day they will raise their dumb head and see that they are selected to do the assignment because they are the ONLY GAME in town! Sure there are some markets where there is an oversupply of appraisers but that is getting smaller and smaller. We all know appraisers who are licensed/certified but are working in other professions. They are counted as active in this publication.

      I predict that we will loose about 5% more of our appraisers within the next twelve months and that interest rates will increase at least 2% and we will see more changes in this occupation. I predict that many appraisers, mortgage brokers and AMCs will go out of business during this time period. I do not see where a union, an appraisal organization, a coach, newsletter, etc. will make much difference. Time will tell!

      • bubba jay / Retired Appraiser II bubba jay / Retired Appraiser II says:

        you didnt give the source for your numbers Wayne, but i can tell you that ICAP (IL) did release the license renewal data from the state of IL yesterday, and it wasnt good. at all.

        (BR) – before renewal.  (AR) – after renewal

        trainees.  (BR) – 557.  (AR) – 368

        certified residential.  (BR) – 2516.  (AR) – 2203

        certified general.  (BR) – 1572.  (AR) – 1401

        total appraisers lost – 673.  (-14.5%)

        thats just IL.

        if they all had the same software provider, (the one i used to have), that software provider just lost around $450,000 in renewals.

        thats just IL.

        appraisers have tried to warn everyone for years, and god help us all when the real estate wheel in our economy, and everything else that it touches, starts coming to a grinding halt.

        the bleeding DEFINITELY continues . . . . .

        • Avatar Koma says:

          Bubba Jay,

          That’s what I’ve been saying the past couple of years. WV just put out their #’s and last years total was at 635 and (drum roll) this years total is at 553. A -12.5% +/- drop, but there’s no problem here. Let’s not forget just how hard they’ve made it to get licensed in the first place, let alone move up the scale. When the next crush comes it’s not going to be pretty! Nothing will happen until it hits the big banks (Freddie/Fannie) right in their wallets, then we’ll see change. I guarantee it! Look at the history that is the only way changes happen in this profession.

        • Avatar Wayne says:

          The source of my numbers were stated at the U.S. Valuation Profession fact sheet – December 2014. I was just guessing about the interest rate increase and future loss of appraisers. Today Chevron is paying 4.70%; Coco-Cola is paying 3.17%;and Kinder Morgan is paying 8.73% as of this moment. Why would we not expect to see an increase in the interest rate? The price of most things seem to be increasing (except for appraisal fees). I have a barber licence and have noticed that some shops are running a “special” for a regular cut at $15.00. This is at one of the “discount” clip joints! These barbers work inside when it is cold or hot. The do not deal with rain or snow. They are paid when the service is preformed. The level of respect that the typical client has for a barber is light years ahead of that for a real estate appraiser. My mother passed away in April of this year. I attempted to explain to a silly mortgage processor what was causing the delay….SHE SAID THAT THEY ORDERED IT..blaw, blaw… She did not care who died…just get that damn appraisal turned in on time! Does anyone think that I will ever accept another assignment from that bank? From what I can tell …the appraisal occupation is the most pitiful job on this planet. I cannot wait until I can retire and quit this foolishness!

  5. Wayne I absolutely love sincere, well thought out opposing views like yours. Thank you.

    A couple clarifications though. By numerical volume residential work is about 60% to 90% of my total volume. That means I do a LOT of residential work too, though I don’t consider myself to be a “residential” appraiser in most surveys. Years ago, C&I appraisers probably still had about 80% that did both residential and C&I work (or their shops did). Comparatively few designated appraisers and non designated commercial appraisers did purely commercial work. 20%? Honestly don’t know.

    What I DO know is that traditional high level institutional appraisal jobs that used to attract, or go to C&I appraisers have disappeared just as fast as the growth of AMCs that replaced their in house expertise has been. In fact, where C&I work used to be very lucrative, it too has suffered under the competition from AMCs catering to C&I clients. THESE appraisers do not ‘drop out’. They get creative and make or TAKE positions for themselves. Positions and work that USED to go to residential appraisers. The dirty little secret of small C&I shops is that residential work pays the bills. C&I work pays for the vacations and down payment on new cars.

    Assignments I used to routinely get $5,000 to $10,000 for have dropped to a range of from $3,000 to around $4,500. Why? Increased competition from the top downward!.

    The question of “Where will AMCs get their appraisers from as we retire” is purely rhetorical. Those asking it don’t really care as they are already in the process of preparing the way for lower cost alternatives that may be overseen by designated C&I appraisers that are increasingly working in supervisorial or ownership positions for AMCs and similar interests. That’s partly why they are trying to get states to allow alternate provisions to USPAP for non GSE work. We stopped them in California, but had no opportunity to stop them in Texas. Perhaps if we had more members down there. Its not likely we will stop them in Tennessee either. Or in Illinois. There are a lot of reasons why not, but one factor is that the state coalitions in two of these states are heavily influenced by the very people trying to get these alternative standards passed!

    I thought like you did back in 2010. Back when California used to have or was rumored to have around 25,000+ appraisers. We dropped down to around 12,000+- since then but there still does not appear to be a hint of shortage. When licensing started there were only 7,800 of us.

    IF we drop down to say 5,000 MAYBE we can kick fees up higher by simple supply and demand. Of course just in case, GSEs ALREADY HAVE AUTHORITY to fund loans WITHOUT appraisals being completed before funding if there is a proven shortage! THAT is another alternative to joining a union or coalition.

    I too don’t know if the AGA or state coalitions WILL succeed in getting REASONABLE fees mandated and black listing eliminated. We’ve had some success, and the methodology (political lobbying) has a proven track record, right or wrong. Same with AMCs. THEY have MANY organizations and some of the most powerful have already succeeded in creating financial roadblocks for smaller, independently owned AMCs like those that are appraiser owned. CFPB did not speak at the recent ABA convention in San Diego to warn bankers that “there is a new sheriff in town” and that they had better behave.

    You are right. MANY more appraisers WILL go out of business …if they do not get help somewhere. THAT is where AGA is already making a difference. I do not just write articles for blogs. I write on behalf of AGA to state regulators; to lenders executive offices re blacklisting and other intimidation, and to legislators; NAR & my own states CAR. I’ve spoken before TAF, and have built new bridges to some coalitions and just recently with NAR itself (a six month effort). I am also available to ANY of our members when they have a problem and just need another appraiser to bounce ideas off of. Someone that wont undermine them. I have no idea how all this will actually work out Wayne. I know what I am striving for though.

    I also know that if I/we do nothing, that is exactly what will get better for appraisers. Nothing. You are welcome at anytime if you change your mind. or contact . I can also be reached direct anytime up to around 10:30 PM PST at (714) 366 9404.

    • Avatar Wayne says:

      Thank you Mike for your constant efforts to promote the appraisal industry. I think it would be great to sit down with you and many others on this forum over a cheeseburger and chat. The AI publication I had referenced above indicated that 11% of the current appraisers were over the age of 66 and 51% were between the ages of 51 to 65. Gee that makes a total of 62% of our group at or nearing retirement. What do we plan to retire on?

      Some of the studies I have read indicate that the majority of Americans have less than $1,200. saved for retirement. WOW….could that be true? All of us that were born after World War II and considered the baby boomers? Social Security with a security net of $1,200.? Is that why appraisers are working into their 70’s or later?

      I have to admit….I was much more like the grasshopper than the ant. I wish I had some of that money that I tossed away over my lifetime. Now, retirement is in my future and I am seriously looking at the financial situations that I will have to face. Thank goodness that I do not buy into the C&R bullshirt for appraisal fees from AMCs. I charge my clients a reasonable fee and invest as much as possible in legacy dividend stocks. I know I waited too late to do this, but better late than never! I may have to work a few years longer than most but I do not want to miss out on any of the cruise ship adventures either….Life can still be a lot of fun!

  6. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    Bubba Jay / RA and Koma: IF those are real numbers from the state itself, then that IS “concerning.”

    As a profession, it shows SERIOUS problems. From a selfish perspective, it brings us all one step closer to being able to give giant single finger salute to the banks; BUT it also brings them one step closer to being able to con Congress into thinking that there is a real shortage of appraisers and that the only solution would be to allow them to use (MUCH cheaper) AVMS.

    Either way, we have some REAL BIG FIGHTS ahead of us all. Lets not just all stand around bent over at the waist like last time around with HVCC, huh? This isn’t rocket science folks. Lenders have already said what they think needs to be done. Anyone REALLY think Congress has the collective integrity (on either side) to stand up to the banks when they want to convert to AVMs?

  7. JH JH says:

    I know I’m not alone on days like today.  Landmark just sent me revisions for a 3 month old file.  Remarkable, truly remarkable.  As long as these out of the box companies can outsource everything, and the staff of every day working individuals does not need to be appropriately licensed and qualified, the broken record will keep on skipping.  A two hundred dollar upcharge for wasted time and process hassles, did not even come close to covering the headaches when dealing with under qualified and outsourced processors.  Appraisers throw in the towel, because of outsourcing, as much as anything else.

  8. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    Hi JH, I cannot imagine any kind of “revision” request that I would agree to after three months time. Even for a nuisance fee of $200. IF I had made a mistake, then certainly I would fix it via a new addendum; or maybe even a new report (disclosing the prior report) but I would NOT change a report that is already out there (I assume you did not either). More comps? MY concern would be that perhaps they received a post purchase audit not directly related the appraisal and that they MIGHT be focusing the attention elsewhere. I know-not likely, but I VERY cynical these days.

    I’d treat ANY revision requests that far down the road as an invitation to get in trouble via USPAP if not handled more carefully than a couple hundred bucks compensates for. Now you have me really curious.

  9. Avatar Wayne says:

    I have written several responses to numerous topics. When I attempted to post them it was a joke. Never have I had such a silly time trying to post to any site. I give up…just a waste of time.

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Wayne-be patient. The hosts of this blog DO read the posts. I know of several instances including myself where posters had problems and they intervened to provide a short cut. I noticed a new form of capcha today and maybe that’s the problem.

      Wayne, in terms of blog space providers I think Desiree and her associates are probably the best friends appraisers have today. It helps that they are in the business and understand appraisal issues. Don’t give up, YOU ARE important to them!

  10. Avatar Wayne says:

    I have written several responses to numerous topics. When I attempted to post them it was a joke. Never have I had such a silly time trying to post to any site. I give up…just a waste of time. Hell…even this one did not post

  11. JH JH says:

    Why not just have this website go to a full forum platform?  Appraisers Forum now has this annoying denial of service deal, if you use adblocker and such.  By now, it’s surprising nobody has tried to compete yet.  If the choice is flash ads and blogging, or no ads and no blogging, the choice is clear as day.   There needs to be competition, so that one website does not own the majority for the news and blogger approach of practically the whole industry.  The whole cookies and cache approach is clearly inferior to an actual forum site hosting scenario, complete with log ins, settings, and ability to edit, review, research, etc.  Please consider morphing this site to a full on forum setting, complete with log ins, appraiser vendor listings, and premium membership capability.  I don’t mind a pass through advertisement or something along those lines, but the thought of trying to perform meaningful research and reading, while a brilliant flash ad shines like the sun on the same computer screen as a blog post, is not a respectable approach to the readers and users of a web site.  Thank you to AppraiserBlogs, for having respect for the readers, and not forcing such advertisements.  That’s why I’m blogging here lately, rather than there.  Now that accepting advertisements or ponying up a membership are mandatory with the competition, I’m sure many a users of adblock like myself are just waiting for an alternative.  And if you’re not using adblock by now, you’re living in the stone ages.  It’s worth every single penny, of the absolutely free cost to acquire.  Adblock represents a meaningful and intelligent push back against unwelcome advertisements that treat news readers like consumer drones.  If I need something, I’ll seek the product out.  What we don’t need, is mandatory advertisements.  Imagine if your television would lock and not allow you to change channels, when commercials are on.  That’s much like what net surfing without adblocker is like.  Pick up adblock or it’s equivalent, available on a variety of varied tech devices, and thank me later.  There is a script hack to trick the adblock denial software, but who’s got time for that, just to make quick blog posts in a spare minute.  Thank you.

    • Hi JH, unfortunately we do not have the man power and time to manage a forum. We also don’t want to force appraisers to register to use our site. To prevent SPAM, registration is necessary for forums. Then there is the issue of spam registrations, monitoring posts, moderating comments/posts, etc. Since we’re working appraisers just like you, we just don’t have the time to manage one. Maybe the 2 retired appraisers commenting on this blog, RA and RA II/bubba jay, will be interested in starting another appraiser forum.

      Just keep in mind that anytime you are interested in starting a discussion, all you have to do is email us and we’ll publish anything you want to share with other appraisers. Thank you for your support.


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You Are Not Alone – AGA

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