Appraiser’s Response to Metro-West

Metro-West Solicitation Blast & Appraiser's Response

Metro-West Appraisal, thank you for your bulk email solicitation…

I will consider accepting work from you on the following basis:

  1. My minimum fee for non complex FNMA guideline compliant SFRs is $550 (net). There are no exceptions. Any upload fees or other forms of service charges  or ‘convenience’ fees will be added to that fee. I do not accept or authorize discounting of the fee for any reason.
  2. The premium or surcharge for property with a transaction amount or other characteristic that requires completion by a certified appraiser, is a minimum of $250. However the final bid will depend on the specifics.
  3. Properties in the multi million dollar range will be bid in a range starting at $2,500+. It is assumed the property complexity will warrant considerably more time.
  4. My normal turn time is 10 to 14 WORKING days. That is Monday through Friday. If I choose to work on a weekend it is for my own convenience – not yours. Please don’t assume I’m available for your work on Saturdays or Sundays. Some assignments may take longer to complete due to circumstances outside the appraisers control (need for owner to provide permit verification, etc.). When this happens you will be notified by email at the address or through the service you select.
  5. You must agree in advance that my proof of E&O insurance will NOT under any circumstances be attached to or even forwarded via email outside of your office. E&O does not protect appraisers. It only serves to invite litigation by unscrupulous attorneys that know E&O insurers will almost always settle rather than litigate.
  6. My state runs a background check every two years at renewal time. If you wish to have any additional checks run it is at your own expense.
  7. My appraisals are transmitted as a complete report. They are not intended for decompiling, or review, or consideration in any form of abbreviated summary. Doing so relieves me from any and all accountability or losses that may be sustained by you or your clients as a result of making decisions based on only selected portions of an appraisal that is intended to be read in it’s entirety.
  8. ALL payments must be received in my bank account within two weeks from the date the report is first submitted to you by me.
  9. I will properly address any potential errors, rebuttals and legitimate appraisal questions posed by the (1) client, or (2) actual underwriter (name and title required), or (3) FNMA provided such inquiry is made in a timely manner.
  10. I will not respond to any form of “review” that is not fully USPAP compliant.
  11. It is expressly understood and agreed by your firm that any specific order conditions or guidelines are subordinate to these, should there be a conflict.
  12. I will usually accept, counter offer or reject proposed orders within 12 hours.
  13. I will attempt contact with the point of contact you designate  within 8 hours of a confirmed order.
  14. For appraisals involving sale transactions you must provide a final executed contract signed by all parties at the time the order is placed.
  15. For condominiums an HOA contact must be provided. Additionally prior to completion you must provide an copy of the CC&Rs or articles of Association.
  16. Scope Creep: any requests for additional data, analyses or services not contracted for up front will be charged at the rate of $150 per hour above the base fee. Feel free to ask for any additional information you wish on this basis.
  17. I am a professional. In the event that you are unable to comply with any of these terms you may wish to contract with an appraiser who is not.

Your offer and my acceptance of any work from you is deemed to be your consent and agreement to these terms which will supersede any conflicting terms that your own (or clients) boilerplate policies may contain.

PS: This appraisal and written appraisal report is my professional work product. Even the use of public or paid subscription data in the context of this report is professional work product. No part of this report including sale prices, adjustments, conclusions or ratings of particular properties or any other data may be used by the client or other third parties for the purposes of adding to unknown databases without my direct and express consent. I am responsible for assuring that no part of my report will be communicated in a manner that is misleading. In the absence of specific alternative voluntary agreement by myself and you it is agreed that the default fee or “value” for each instance of unauthorized use or data extraction will be at a rate of $150 per page.

Metro-West Solicitation Blast to Appraisers

Subject: Expand your business
From: Metro-West Appraisal
Metro-West Appraisal Co., LLC – 30 Years of Excellence

Concerned with inconsistent workflow? If you’ve grown frustrated with endlessly pursuing new appraisal work and not reaping any of the benefits, Metro-West is here to help. We understand and work to alleviate the pain points commonly felt by appraisers to enable personal and financial growth for our staff. Appraisers’ volume of work is subject to a range of outside factors, which can result in frustrating periods of slowdowns and delays.

Thanks to our relationships with lenders nationwide, staff appraisers at Metro-West can enjoy steady pipelines while growing their business.

Michael Ford
Latest posts by Michael Ford (see all)
Image credit flickr - James Petts
Michael Ford

Michael Ford

Over 28 years appraising all property types and interests, in Southern California real estate. VP/Chairman National Appraiser Peer Review Committee, American Guild of Appraisers, #44OPEIU/AFL-CIO. - Michael Ford on e-AppraisersDirectory

You may also like...

48 Responses

  1. Vincent Ralph Simon on Facebook Vincent Ralph Simon on Facebook says:

    Nice thought but it’s hard to take that stand when there’s an ass for every seat. Someone will accept lower fees for work. Maybe a national Appraiser Union.

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Vincent, Seriously? *G*

      Click my url please. American Guild of Appraisers IS a national union. Part of #44 OPEIU, AFL-CIO….and before you ask; yes, we are active. In the past year and a half we have directly intervened on behalf of 43 appraisers that had either been blacklisted, or had complaints filed against them with their states.

      I keep forgetting how AppraisersBlogs has grown. My mistake. Thought most readers were aware I am a union organizer. In any event we try to defend appraisers that are treated unfairly. We also seek to educate appraisers so they avoid trouble in the first place. Check us out by clicking name link Mike.

      • Avatar Todd Nuccio says:


        This is directly from the American Guild of Appraisers website…

        “The AGA is a non-traditional union. This means that we do not engage in collective bargaining, do not strike and do not enforce a closed shop.”

        They do promote the appraisal industry, but that won’t exactly help appraiser’s compensation as a whole. I guess it’s better than nothing.

    • Avatar Todd Nuccio says:

      Vincent, I talked about an Appraiser’s Union 25 years ago and was scoffed at. Now most appraisers have to deal with lender owned AMCs and other low wage AMCs. I’m grateful for direct lender work and AMCs that pay more than most, but I’ve had to deal other AMC sweat shops in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely abhor public unions (who do they negotiate with???), but if private unions can protect a group from big corporations and their lobbyists (of course it’s the government that allows corporations their power to control commerce), God bless them. Perhaps one day appraisers will unionize. But evidently, today is not that day.

  2. Tom Markoski on Facebook Tom Markoski on Facebook says:

    Excellent points to add to my AMC negotiations. RE: Taking a stand; It all starts with each appraiser looking back at you in the mirror.

  3. Avatar Tom D says:

    just like the amc your column has too many stips. 1. what is the fee?  2. don’t expect me to call the homeowner right away.  usually getting past those 2 questions with good answers will expand my time talking to you.

  4. Avatar Raymond says:

    i didn’t waste my time to reply to Metro-West. but i like your reply, LOL.

  5. Avatar Bryan says:

    I’m sure with Fannie and Freddie eliminating the necessity for an appraisal will strengthen all of the above demands.  Residential work will be bid down to $50.00 with an oversupply of appraisers and lack of mortgage appraisal requirements. A wise man once told me “Spend at least 5% of your work time planning your next career or job”. Better make it 50%!!

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Axis and others like them are still looking to impose those $65 make believe appraisals where ‘broker’ (or his / her handyman) does the property inspection and you write up the ‘fully USPAP compliant’ (sure it is!) form on line. In their eyes ALL you need is the pdf copy of the report they give yoi to use s your workfile.

      Bryan I can move to another career overnight. I try to add that 5% to time I spend fighting for my current profession. Join me, anytime!

  6. Avatar ma2804sd says:

    Hahahahah. In a perfect world these requirements might work but not in ant state I know of. If these are your requirements then your days must be pretty quiet!!!

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Very quiet.

      Since most of my work runs in the over $1,500 fee range (complex or units or C&I) I don’t need to work everyday; and when I do I can take the time needed to try to do the best work I know how to do. Sure, there are rush orders…but not less than a week or I turn them down.

      If YOU raised your minimum fee to $500 or $550 how much time would that give back to you assuming your comfortable with current earnings per year?

  7. Avatar Diana N. says:

    Absolutely love it. 🙂

  8. Avatar Jack Of All Trades says:

    Metro West is one of the main Pimps of the appraisal business. I for one applaud Mike Ford for writing that reply ….they are a bloodsucking sweat shop/AMC anyways.

  9. Avatar Troy says:


  10. Avatar Eric says:

    Thanks Mike –  everyone seems to admit they still need us and their Big Data crap doesn’t work so….  AMC’s are gonna hang around as long as our weakest links and the gubment allow I suppose.   I’m hoping we a lot more of the TCValuations bankruptcies and then maybe someone in DC will get a clue that these parasites are just fleecing the system and stealing from the public while shamefully raping Independent Appraisers for trying to survive.


  11. Avatar Chris says:

    I just wrote this to a management company who is begging me to accept an assignment….
    I am currently working at capacity for the VA. 10 a week at $450, no declining, just send them and get them done, no turn times either.

    They want quality. And for some strange reason…they get it the 1st time, not after 30 stips from the cheapest and fastest appraiser from an hour away who is starving because of their business model.

    Where did all the appraisers go…wait, the management company business model only paid them $200-$250 for the 1st couple years….more years than that if I recall.

    Actually wasn’t it their business model to shop it around to the lowest bidder with the faster turn times…

    Ya, That’s what they did. And made mad profits.
    Real bright of them….no one ever thinks about supply and demand.

    When these fees go to $1,000 with no turn times I will jump from the VA and do all that extra work you guys look for, like pics of everything, including mail boxes, street signs, water running, lights on, open utility boxes, air units, heaters, hot water heaters, septic tanks, wells, every room including basements and maybe in front views, rear views and side views.

    Remind me again….Where did all the appraisers go ???

  12. Avatar Annie says:

    We can’t set fees based on the amount of the transaction.

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Annie you are right but transaction amount IS a legal and legitimate indicator of potential complexity.

      For example-If transaction amount is over a million it REQUIRES a certified appraiser. Should they only charge same amount as a regular licensee?

      In my market area two million plus housing tends to be much more complex than million dollar housing…and four million is a whole new category. Ten million? Fifty million?

      I’m not doing any of those for a fee of $450. Risk is astronomically higher. So, yes, I DO use estimated or claimed value range as a huge preliminary factor in determining my fee. In 30 years of appraising I’ve only seen one improvement in the five million range that was only a 1,400 sf house (partially on stilts over the ocean at Malibu). Most multi million housing is very much larger.

      Ever seen a wall to wall three foot deep hand carved forest scene mantle for a fireplace from the 17th century? Rococo decor vs Baroque?

      While million dollar housing is not all that rare anymore, two million plus is far less common. I usually spend considerable time interviewing the owner before I ever quote the actual fee…but I have a probable fee range as soon as I’m told it’s  “probably around $4 million+” (as close to 4k as I can get-if Im hungry maybe down to 3k and if circumstances support it I’ve gone as high as $4,500). Does fee affect my conclusion? Never. Is the fee conditioned on the result? Again, never.

  13. Avatar Raymond says:

    Annie, that’s a given. Fee should be set by the difficulty of the appraisal assignment.

  14. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    I like it but that certainly was a great deal of effort to convey instructions on where to go or what to do to themselves.  I preferred using the 3 word approach.

    • Avatar Dean says:

      Paul, or shall I say Horace, is that you?  Congratulations on your retirement.  I wanted to take you to lunch, but your phone was disconnected and your email did not get a reply.  Are you still here in the desert?

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      LOL! RA you know I don’t talk that way. Not in public forums anyway, but I like your answer too.

  15. Baggins Baggins says:

    Oh Yes!  May I Please?  I’ll go to the 2014 approach first.

    We’ve provided quality valuation products throughout the United States for over 25 years. Stop wondering when you will receive your next order and allow yourself the peace of mind of having stable work. We offer certified appraisers more than just a job; we provide opportunities to prosper in a valuation career. Take shelter from the real estate industry storm and join our team while maintaining your independence!

    I find it fascinating, this new tone of pain and offering relief, applied to the same old message.  Newsflash, the same lenders which keep firm based employee models going are available to any licensed appraiser in equal measure and real time.

    Metro west is the one that made it, the king of puppy mills.  There have been a thousand such companies though, it’s just a model which discounts for volume, farms orders out, and offers benefit through consolidation and pooled participation.

    The realities of firm modeling is you’ll be working for much much less than if you were a solo operator.  You’ll ask for time off, you can’t just take it.  Some people feel good about being employees though, they live check to check and find more value in employment modeling than others.

  16. Avatar Keith says:

    Good luck with that! How much business do you think you will get; your article is right next to the one about appraisers bidding against each other. There are still a lot of slob appraisers out there who aren’t good enough to get full fee work. They will be under bidding the rest of us and snapping up all the work. And now Fannie and Freddie throwing appraisers under the bus? GAME OVER !

  17. Avatar Nick says:

    Great company to work for. They cover most of your bases that you are complaining about. I’ve worked for them for 9 years and make a lot more then I did when I had my own company.

  18. Avatar Donna Kloepfer says:

    I know this article is old, but I wanted to ask, if maybe you have some information on Metrowest in general. I work for them currently. Work is VERY inconsistent, with the excuse that my turn times are too high. Meanwhile it is over 90% on time. They had the reasoning, that if I lower my fee from a contracted $200 per appraisal to $175, I would get more work. Well that worked for a week. They really do not keep appraiser in the loop with work consistency. Just curious if you have any info on the company as a whole. Would I recommend working for them, probably not.

    • Avatar chris says:

      They are playing games with you. Drop them…Then you will see what you are worth. Are you on the west coast ???

    • Donna, respectfully NO appraiser should be accepting $200 let alone $175. ANY company that would offer such fees has zero integrity. Why would anyone work for clients with zero integrity?

      • Avatar Donna says:

        Appreciate your comment. They are an AMC, and you never get the full fee. When I do work independently I get a higher fee, but that work is hard to come by. I have been in the business a really long time, and I think it is the only business where I make less and less, never got a raise, and I am not treated as the professional I am. Unfortunately, it is the nature of the business.

        • OREP WorkingRE publishes an annual list of AMCs that supposedly pay normal fees and reportedly have decent reputations. I never tried it but before accepting insultingly low fees I’d urge you to try it.

          I agree some areas of our country dont have the variety of work opportunities as others. Keep reaching out like you are doing. Sooner or later someone is going to give you a link to a good client.

    • Donna, to paraphrase – insanity is repeating the same mistakes you (or others) made in the past and expecting the results to be different.

      The first mistake was accepting any work from them. The second mistake would be to accept $175 work from them. They already treat you like a coal miner that owes their soul to the company store.

      Every minute you waste on them is a minute you can’t market yourself because you are too busy working for less than half pay.

  19. Avatar Raymond says:

    funny AMC story, i received a email for clearcapital to do a $8-10 million estate home and their proposed fee was $261!!!!!. LOL…………LOL

    • Avatar DianaN says:

      Gee, and you didn’t take it, sounds like a good deal to me. LOL These AMC’s are pathetic, and unfortunately so are the appraisers that still work with them, they are ruining what was once a very good profession. So sad. :(.

      • Avatar Donna says:

        Its not the appraisers, its the nature of the business, and the AMC’s and lenders are making the fees a problem. PLUS, the fees they charge the applicants is not reflective of the fee an appraiser gets. I sit here with no work because I want a minimum $175….its a joke really.

        • Avatar chris says:

          Put you name on Appraiser USA, call the lawyers, nursing homes, accountants, go into the small local banks and tell them you know these use a selective panel, but you would be available when they take their vacations or start to slow up….google a list of ALL Amc’s and contact them, put your fees into their portals, when things get busy and turn times go up, they will call !!! Tell realtors who don’t know how to list a house, that you will help them. so the realtors will tell their people… send an application to the VA, yearly, they throw them away yearly and start over. Don’t give up, call some other appraisers who may have better paying clients…or clients that pay better and that they hate….dont give up !!!

        • Donna, decades ago LSI proved there was no bottom that they were not willing to go to on fees. When normal fees ran around $300 they paid $275-$289 which was NOT a bad deal if they were giving you 1/4 million a month in billing. Less than 10% for high volume from a fast paying client with volume so high marketing wasn’t necessary.

          The problem started when former founders split off and started ATM and they began to compete with each other for the same clients. They kept going lower and lower until at $189 I said the hell with them and the firm.

          Im told they got as low as $125 but stabilized over the years around $175. They; and any of the derivative corporations they morphed into are pure bottom feeding pond scum. They gave up on appraiser competency decades ago; they haven’t even tried to pay a C&R fee in over two decades.

          Yet appraisers still work for them. THAT is a problem. When you MUST do 2 a day to survive; quality suffers. Eventually, lenders and regulators say “appraisers aren’t that good anyway” why not use AVMs? In the meantime those low fee appraisers cant find better work because they are spending 12-14 hours a day doing low fee jobs. It’s a Catch-22. Point is appraisers competing on low fee will never see the bottom. There will always be someone like them willing to undercut.

          There is NO REASON for any appraiser to be accepting $175 for an appraisal anywhere in the USA today. None. ALL appraisers working for fees that low should consider working as trainees or entry-clerk-appraisers for other appraisers charging normal fees of $400 to $500+-, and willing to split fees. After 25% overhead, taxes and SSI $175 is $131 or about $16 an hour.

          I believe Uber drivers make considerably more than that. Personally, I’d rather TRAIN MY COMPETITION to compete on the same level as me, than to see them compete only on fees. Seriously. Win bids by being more professional; nicer, happier, faster (with equal quality), more responsive or simply better at spell checking, and I will applaud and congratulate you (them).

      • Avatar Raymond says:

        diana, what’s more pathetic, is that AMC will find some appraiser (if that’s what we can call them) to do that $8-10 million appraisal for $261 or some fee close to $261. pretty amazing…lol

    • The temptation to accept it would have been SO strong…and then never call them back until they call you for status. “Oh, I thought it was a joke-my ridiculously-funny-discounted-low-fee-schedule appointments are about three months out – will that work for you?”


Leave a Reply

We welcome critical posts & opposing points of view. We value robust & 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, & PLEASE avoid personal attacks. If the poster gets you upset, it is the Internet, you can walk away from it.

Personal attacks harm the collegial atmosphere we encourage on AppraisersBlogs.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

xml sitemap

Appraiser’s Response to Metro-West

by Michael Ford time to read: 4 min