How Are We Worth So Little?

12-24 Hour Valuations: How Are We Worth So Little?An appraiser sent me the following email. It has become clear to me that the valuation industry that engages appraisers now places more value on the physical inspection than it does the actual valuation itself.


They can’t replicate the interior inspection so the valuation portion is where the fee shaving occurs and believe they can come up with the value themselves or find people that will work for wages that won’t attract people who are competent, but rather, people that are desperate.

[Bold for emphasis]


You are receiving this email because you have expressed interest in completing desktop products for Computershare. If you are not interested in completing these products and wish to no longer be contacted, please let me know and I will remove you from our list.

We have recently completed a recording of our AppraisalX (Desktop Hybrid Appraisal) and ARA (Appraisal Review) training session and made it available for everyone on our BrickFTP site. This training runs for approximately an hour and covers both products as well as general system navigation within our Acuity platform. This is a requirement to complete, along with a short test, in order to be eligible to receive these assignments.

On the BrickFTP site you will find our video labeled “AppraisalX _ ARA Training Recording 2018-09-18” which is in .mp4, .mov, .wmv, or .avi format. These are all the same video, just different formats that your computer or portable device might be able to read. Also included within the BrickFTP site are our training documents: (Three for each product) A completion guide, instructions and an example. This documentation should be downloaded and reviewed in conjunction with the video and testing.

Within the video there will be instructions on how to contact us to have the tests sent to you. These tests will be sent through SurveyMonkey, which is a third party site. You are required to get a 90% or better on each test to be eligible. If you fail the test the first time a wait period of a week is enforced before a new test will be sent to you. If you fail the test twice, you will not be eligible to complete that particular product. We do allow you to review the documentation while taking the test, so these are essentially open book tests to ensure you pass.

Each of these products pays $50. The typical turn time for the AppraisalX is 24 hours from assignment. The ARA has two different turn times based on the clients’ needs. One is 24 hours, and the other is 12 hours (or basically the next morning).

Below you’ll find the link to our BrickFTP site as well as the login information you will need to access the video and training documentation. When you login to the site, click the upper left icon that says “All Files”. This will take you to the videos and documentation. You do not need to download any additional software to view these files. The website does have an option, but we don’t recommend this.


Username: HybridAppraisalTraining
Password: training@1234!

If you have any additional questions regarding this, feel free to reach out to me directly.

Thank you again and we look forward to working with you!

Sean Buford
Sr Valuation Analyst > Loan Services > Property Solutions
T +1 303 895 2858
8742 Lucent Boulevard, Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Because firms like this and their clients believe they can reliably value property through automation despite clear evidence they can’t. Their clients don’t seem to care about valuation reliability because of the need to drive more lending as profits have waned as well as the moral hazard created by the federal backstop used in 2008. The taxpayers will bail these institutions out.

Our industry has a weak voice, largely from a combination of self-loathing, ineffective trade group leadership and the shear nature of the largess of the financial institutions that lobby against us. We are the last resort for the consumer and taxpayer, but ultimately regulatory authorities have yet to prove they care.

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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13 Responses

  1. Leanne Kerber on Facebook Leanne Kerber on Facebook says:

    It’s sad what’s happening to our profession. We should have unionized a long time ago to have a voice.

    • Avatar chris says:

      Yes ! I have said it before. The nude models that stand in front of the art school students unionized. They got together for better working conditions, breaks, pay blah blah blah. But not us ! Why ???

    • Interesting. I just received a notice from Clearbox that they had partnered with Computershare and invited me to sign up for a $39 (presumably for the background check that is a redundancy to what my state already does each time it renews my license. (No thanks, Joan).

      100% of the fault for these garbage products are the state and federal regulators that have changed regulations which have permitted them to be called “appraisals” and variants thereof. TAF hasn’t helped by accommodating spurious processes and products by redefining what an appraisal report vs (old) summary vs restricted appraisal report is. Dictionary of R.E. Appraisal didn’t help with their 2010 definition which is so broad it covers ANY opinion of value. Credibly derived or not.

    • Many appraisers HAVE unionized. It’s called the American Guild of Appraisers, #44 OPEIU, AFL-CIO. Information is available at, more information may be obtained from

      AGA has been around for a while, but it was not until 2014-2015 under what was to become new leadership that we started aggressively defending appraisers and advocating at state and federal levels. We have a voice before federal agencies and bureaus now. We also support state coalitions in using their voices at the state level.

      What amazes me is the number of folks who say we should unionize, but who then do not join. Please join your state coalition today, and AGA as well. We could always use more active volunteers. Even if it is only to screen their states appraisal issues that need to be brought to our attention.

      Mike Ford, chairman, National Appraiser Peer Review Committee / VP Special Projects, AGA

      • Leanne Kerber on Facebook Leanne Kerber on Facebook says:

        I understand your point, but the American Guild of Appraisers is not a true union. They do not advocate in the way unions do across the country for hard working people. We should’ve been more organized in our stance to protect our profession and paid what we should be paid for what we do. Instead, I am still taking shitty appraisal fees from shitty AMCs with apparently no support from this industry, at least it seems that way.

        • Baggins Baggins says:

          So we’ve been boycotting all these years for nothing?

          They sold it, you bought it, and continue to do so.

          The world is what we make of it. Build from what’s available.

  2. Baggins Baggins says:

    When non licensed individuals take it upon themselves to validate licensed appraisers by way of their own phony made up testing and grading parameters. Think about the logic of a ‘manager’ whom is not qualified or licensed to perform appraisals themselves.

  3. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    You’re worth so little because you insist in being a one trick pony; an appraiser.

    There are thousands of other careers and business opportunities out there that pay you in spades for your talents.

  4. Avatar merv says:

    “It has become clear to me that the valuation industry that engages appraisers now places more value on the physical inspection than it does the actual valuation itself.” Physical Inspection/Valuation. Are they not part and parcel of the same thing? Can you have one without the other? When precisely is that possible? Is it EVER possible? Does USPAP address this? If so, where? These apparently simple questions occur after viewing Retired Appraiser’s drawing of horse and appraiser in conjunction with Mr. Miller’s initial sentence.

    It appears if we place Aristotle in place of the man in the drawing then that man can ‘tell’ how many teeth in the horse’s mouth simply from the configuration of the horse’s head. Ergo, the last question: Inspection (examination ?) or Valuation, which is more important????? Although I’m not Aristotle I know the answer. Do you?

  5. Avatar Rick M says:

    What I think the residential appraisal community forgets, is unaware of, or maybe misinformed is the lender doesn’t care about the value. They care about the level of risk. In most urban to suburban locations it’s easy to get an AVM range. The range gets better and better all of the time. Look at “Zestimates.” Yes I know the odd-ball and complex properties don’t conform but honestly, how many are there really. Start addressing levels and details of risk in the loan, market and dell your services from the risk perspective and I promise you better fees and more work. My two cents.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      The wise panel application reviewer turns not straight to the questionnaire, turns not to the appraisal samples or resume, but rather first looks at the EO insurability premium cost in relation to the coverage amount.

      A higher EO cost to the appraiser is indicative of claims, penalties, renewal with coverage gap, or some other past event. Agreed, best solicitations deal with the minutia of risk management. Get a claim, pay a higher premium for life. The sky is the limit to yearly insurance costs if previous runs of loose practice ever blow back.

      Exponentialize your volume of orders for a slight gain in yearly income, stack the risk up for later. What could go wrong?

    • Avatar merv conlan says:

      Rick, Risk? There’s no longer ‘Risk’. Well, unless you’re scheduled for a Red-Eye to Hung Chow Mein. See, Rick, Risk was hustled out of the arena by Ben, Yellen, Barney, Mario, Trump, et al. Where’d it go? Into your back pocket, Rick. You are now covering it!

    • Avatar merv conlan says:

      There’s yet another problem with Risk hiding out of sight, gone, disappeared. No Risk, no need for Moodys or any of the other sleazeball risk analysts. That category, Risk Calculators, includes appraisers. There’s no need for anything but machines….except maybe for the Inspection. Shucks, all that calls for is a guy with a BenDavis! Now, Rick, I’m part Tinker from waaay back, heck I was selling gold painted stones to neighborhood kids when I was 8; if you’ve got any notions of monetizing these ‘layers’ of risk associated w/appraisals let me know right away.


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How Are We Worth So Little?

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 3 min