Appraiserfest Has Your Back

Appraiserfest Has Your Back

AppraiserFest tshirt
Appraiserfest movement has your back (and teeth).

After an amazing Appraiserfest conference in San Antonio, I had to have an emergency root canal. So for protection, I wore my Appraiserfest t-shirt and all went well. Proof positive that the Appraiserfest movement has your back (and teeth).


What The Appraiserfest 2018 Conference Happening Meant

I can’t speak for each attendee at the San Antonio happening but I can say what it meant to me:

  • A big thanks to Phil Crawford, Mark Skapinetz and Lori Noble for making the dream happen!
  • There was LOVE everywhere – I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to teared up when they talked about the event
  • This was the first “non-trade group” appraiser-centric event in history
  • About 80% of attendees (my rough poll) had NEVER attended an appraisal conference before
  • A documentary crew interviewed a number of appraisers about their experiences during the financial crisisAppraiserFest documentary
  • It was “appraisers-only” so everyone was relaxed and open for discussion
  • It was not a “complain-fest” and was orientated towards the future
  • The event was entertaining and upbeat at all times – like a rock concert
  • There was almost no “whining” (and we’re good at that) since the purpose of this event was to inspire appraisers to look at other business opportunities right in front of them
  • Appraisers who were military veterans were honored in a moving ceremony

AppraiserFest Veterans

  • Attendees were inspired to share their successes such as operational tips and new sources of business
  • Appraisers were lauded for their valuable skills instead of being “beat down” by the entire mortgage world as a cog in the mortgage machine
  • AMCs were not regularly dissed during the sessions despite their damage to the quality of valuations, partly because lenders are just as much at fault and we can’t solve the AMC problem ourselves
  • Most appraisers said they continued to be pressured to “hit” numbers by lenders and AMCs
  • The appraisers that attended were taking responsibility for the future of their careers
  • The mortgage valuation arena is going to lose more of the brain trust of residential valuation if they don’t rethink waivers and hybrids
  • It was widely discussed that hybrid products increased turnaround times and reduced valuation quality so there was general confusion as to why AMCs were aggressively pushing them (it is just another source of business revenue, otherwise no advantage)


  • Our largest industry trade group focuses on fear and “how not to get sued” – none of that at Appraiserfest
  • Many attendees won’t be able to get the image of Mark and Phil in bubble suits out of their mind (they’re not sorry about that)

Skap Crawford in bubble wrap

  • I always had Frank Black’s song “Czar” as my fantasy intro music and gave my song request to Phil before he even finished asking the question
  • I finally got my own “G5”

Jonathan Miller G5

Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller is President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986. He is a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut, performing court testimony as an expert witness in various local, state and federal courts.

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14 Responses

  1. Sounds like it was such a great experience. Look forward to attending next year. Good points, particularly about AMCs, since they are largely doing the bidding of the lenders they are hired by. Yes, number hitting pressure is still there. See it simply by not meeting sales price on an appraisal report, and watch the fur fly.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      The most effective solution to stop that is to simply assign orders in strict rotational fashion to all active panel appraisers. They don’t get back in line to wait for another one until the one they have is completed. They know their position is secured by simple standard rotational process. But how then to apply performance pressure to the appraiser or do clever things like shop for discounted rates to pocket the difference…

  2. Lori Alexandra on Facebook Lori Alexandra on Facebook says:

    I see this being 3xs the size next year. Good to see everyone finally coming together.

  3. It exceeded all expectations. Great job Lori, Mark & Phil….and all of your tireless volunteers, family and friends whose help made it possible.

    • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

      Mike I did not attend the Appraiserfest. I thought the structure of this forum was ridiculous and did not serve the average appraiser in any way! They could have made a tremendous progress in leading the appraisal profession toward a goal of professionalism but they just did as we all expected, THEY SUCK!

      • Wayne, how can you have an opinion about something you know nothing about aside from speculation and hearsay?

        I’m never a fan of such conferences and this was the first I ever opted to attend. I was blown away by the quality AND the suggestions on exactly how the average appraiser can improve their business and professionalism. It exceeded all expectations.

        • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

          Mike: I questioned this conference from the inception. You are right that I did not attend. The fact that I did not attend was NOT an over site, I purposely did not attend. As a group the appraisal profession has a zillion problems but WE could solve 97% of all of those problems within six months if we were to just come together and do so. Appraisers could not possibly have any worse enemies than themselves! Thank GOD that I have finally retired from this business. I still love it and a lot of the people involved. It is just a shame that something so simple has to be so hard!

          • Baggins Baggins says:

            I just can’t afford to go anywhere…

            • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

              Isn’t that true! There’s nothing like winding down business the week before you need to leave, and when returning taking another week to build up business. To take a one week vacation (what is that), is to lose or slow down ones income for +/- three weeks.

              As there was no whining, and it wasn’t a complaint fest, I wouldn’t have fit in.

              Seek the truth.

          • Well, I certainly can’t argue the 97% statement. Nor would I want to. You are correct.

            Along those lines, when someone (or a group of ‘someones’) takes a positive step to try to build that unity it is counterproductive to disparage their efforts.

            Wayne, there is never a shortage of us (including myself) willing to find faults. I’m trying to work on myself.

            • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

              Mike: I am lazy….that is why I have retired. As a certified general appraiser with 40 years of experience I could be working 24 hours a day 7 days each week. Never will I work with an AMC. I do not ask what will you pay, I state what I charge.  I am not trying to be boastful as any appraiser can do the same if they will just get with the program! LOL…so easy!

  4. Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

    2019 is just around the corner. Why don’t we take a few minutes and educate each other about the tremendous number of appraisal assignments available that has NOTHING to do with a management company! I would request that each of you add to this list as I am sure that I will miss many possibilities. I will start with the local sources. How about your friendly Realtors. They have sent me hundreds of assignments over the years. How about builders or contractors? How about your local accountants? How about the local attorney? (divorce, right of way, estate, etc.) Homeowner’s association, rural water supply company, school district, city government **** a wealth of work as they need right-of-way for roads, water and sewer easements, lift stations, and on and on and on. Not my intention to write a book but we have not discussed the county government or the state government or the federal government…..MY GOODNESS there is so much appraisal work out there that even the most pitiful appraiser could stay busy and make good money! What is the problem?

    • 1. Federal agencies such as IRS hire subject matter experts as field reviewers (COTRS).

      2. School districts and college districts also hire appraisers for condemnation work (and typically pay a very good fee).

      3. Hard Money Lenders-but only those that allow (prefer) field collection of fees directly from the borrower at the time of inspection.

      4. Your neighbors and other parties. It’s ok to ‘farm’ your neighborhood just as a real estate agent does.

  5. Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

    My father was a barber and had his own shop. As a kid I grew up running around and the customers watched me grow up. There is just something about your barber…people tell their barber “everything”. I suppose that I have heard every joke known to man. At age 14 I knew who was running around on their wife and what politician was a crook. I am not bragging but I was damn good at checkers! We fought World War 2 almost every day!  If you are a barber…you go to the front of the line at the doctor’s office or the auto repair shop. I was just “there” if someone had a six pack of beer I was given one too. As a kid I was friends with the sheriff, the congressman, the college professors, guys at the sawmill, etc. I think that appraisers should go out and tell the whole world that they are open for business. No need to be shy…tell them and tell them again….at some point “they” will listen and send you a hell of a lot of business. All of these people are just like YOU!


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Appraiserfest Has Your Back

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 2 min