Appraisers Shortage? A Personal Story

Poorly Treated Appraisers Refuse AMC Work Causing Shortage

Very large lender who treats appraisers poorly…

I received an email from an AMC I have not worked for before at 2:15 PM. They were looking for an appraiser to complete a 1004 report for a very large lender who treats appraisers poorly. The property is in a suburban/rural area, on 5 acres, about 30 minutes from my office.

I responded that I could do it, but not until early NOVEMBER, due to being fully booked until then. I requested the rep let me know if that would work for the AMC, and if so, I would then provide my fee.

About an hour later, reply message said my turn time would work for them.

About 4:30 PM, I responded with my fee which was stated to be higher than normal because of the very large lender and a delivery date around Nov. 10. In that message I told the rep that I DO NOT PUT LICENSE OR E&O in any report, for any client, at any time. I also told the rep that I had to be notified by noon if my conditions were approved, as I do not hold days on my calendar for prospective assignments.

Very early this morning, the assignment was almost approved – with fee and turn time – but the rep said I would have to pay $44 to have a background check done.

I replied that I don’t pay for any background check for any client, at any time.

Shortly after the rep’s message said license & E&O would not have to be included in the report.

At 11:15 AM, rep’s message said ‘management’ would pay for the background check, and to “Please fill out the attached application and send it back quickly so I can get the assignment given to you.”

I looked over the application, standard stuff, until the part where it said to include a COPY OF DRIVER’S LICENSE with the application.

Guess what I told the rep, in a reply message sent at 12:15 PM??

About 10 minutes later, rep replied back that I could “blank out the license number” but they still needed to see the license image.

At that point, I decided to go to lunch. It’s now 4:50 PM as I write this.

What do you suppose I’ve decided to do with this potential assignment from this particular low echelon AMC?

A day was wasted by the AMC trying to place this assignment for this very large lender who treats appraisers poorly.

I relate this to you because this kind of situation happens frequently between quality appraisers and low tier AMC’s, and it’s likely one of the key reasons why appraisals are not getting done as quickly nowadays as they once were.

It’s not just a ‘shortage of appraisers’ available for assignments (as Brian Coester is fond of saying). It’s because of relationships that have been damaged by major lenders and their AMC’s that have caused appraisers to disregard potential assignments.

Dave Towne
Image credit flickr - Quinn Dombrowski
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on

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30 Responses

  1. 'Payam Parang on Facebook 'Payam Parang on Facebook says:

    Jesse Taylor

  2. Avatar Wayne says:

    I agree that was a day wasted. Dave, you and I have been around this occupation for a long time. Several years ago we made the choice to drop any and ALL AMC’s. I cannot remember doing an appraisal for any AMC that they did not come back with some trivial bullshirt….sometimes over and over. I mean REALLY? are we appraisers or not? If so…there are thousands of appraisal sources…State Highway Dept, County Road & Bridge, City of ???, Water District?, Parks and Recreation, micro wave tower locations, water lines, sewer lines, pipeline easements, drainage easements, slope easements, Insurance claims, divorce, partnership disputes, OIL and GAS litigation, estates…and on and on and on…Who in HELL needs an AMC? Appraisers working for AMC’s deserve exactly what they get! I am only ONE person and can only do so much….add that to the fact that I do not want to do Much…and there your are! LOL I do will all of you the best!

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      I’m starting to see evidence there are more vendor managers than vendors themselves.  Whom will start up the amcimplodometer?  Clock is ticking.

  3. Avatar Martin Randolph says:

    I have a long list of AMC’s that I have put on my DNAWF (Do Not Accept Work From). The reasons vary. One for “slow pay” up to 120 days. Another due to “extreme underwriting conditions”. The assignments start out as a 1004 and by the time I deal with multiple “now we need this” resulting in a couple of legal pages of extra, non paid for time and resources it scope creeps to almost/if not a self contained report. One used to be a joy to work for before they were acquired by another AMC who’s name we do not speak. Another who only works for a lender (bank) that stiffed appraisers when the AMC before them went belly up. Another one sends out “Rush” orders because this is a reassignment. Can every order be a reassignment? Hmmmm. And of course the multiple AMC’s who send out orders with a fee indicated that is 50% or lower than what I consider customary and reasonable. To make a long story longer, there is not a shortage of appraisers. There is a shortage of appraisers who will work for low fees, adverse conditions and stips. JMOCO (Just My Own Convoluted Opinion).


  4. Baggins Baggins says:


    Truth is treason, in the empire of lies.  The assignment game is a mediocre distraction at best.  How soon the full circle rolls around, yet again…..

  5. Avatar Jeanie says:

    Wonder why appraisers are declining AMC orders? Here is another story. This was posted on AF and demonstrates the aggravation appraisers go through on a daily basis:

    This Is Why I Hate AMC’s And Some Lenders

    On Engagement Letter:

    **Smoke detector and CO detector photo & commentary are required! You must determine if both are present ON ALL ORDERS!**

    IDIOTIC? Any AMC tools out there know why this is?????????

    Then I get stipped for this…and only this:

    Please correct or comment on the following:

    1. Comment that refrigerators are standard and customary in sales for the area

    I already stated that they were excluded from value….personal property???

    2. Basement bar and cabinets in the basement are permanently affixed.

    No, they are super glued to the floor???

    3. Garage remotes are provided for the permanently affixed garage openers

    No but your momma is.

    Wasting my freakin time.

    • Avatar Wayne says:


      If I were in charge I could solve those problems faster than you could take a breath! Also, If I were in charge the AMC would fill bankruptcy before a bird could chip….I would end this foolishness!

    • Baggins - "Stop Calling Me" Baggins - "Stop Calling Me" says:

      Well Jeanie that’s simple. They’re unlicensed, inexperienced, and are trying to just dive in and create value for their services.

      CO detectors standard requirement in CO. Therefore applied to all states. Fridges customary in sale? Well, standard boilerplate is not good. Some markets that matters and conveys, others not. It is a possible adjustable item and they pick up on that via contract analysis. Then that’s where they get bar and garage remotes, via standard contract inclusion.

      Truth is they don’t know what they’re doing in many regards, but take a reactionary approach. Amc licensing is a failure for companies. We need individual amc worker licensing. They must all be tested, licensed, supervised and trained. They are supposed to be compliant experts but are quite often just clowning around trying to find the pulse. It’s a typical telecom endeavor, sharp employee turn over, pre scripted call technology, and a one size fits all application where profit comes before all else. Running an amc is literally an out of the box telecom business. How most amc’s appear to me lately are like aggressive telemarketers. Calling relentlessly looking for coverage and profit, not respectful of whom they’re calling, sharing and buying lead lists. Poaching customers and promising rainbows. Really, behaving like the aggressive phone salesmen of the 80’s. They’re like amway on steroids. My phone rings every half hour. These people are not businessmen, they’re telemarketers placing me as the customer.

    • The temptation to ‘play the game’ would be so strong on this one….


      1. “I don’t know.”

      2. “Please explain what you mean by permanently affixed”. I mean a roof is normally considered permanent, but they are removed and replaced all the time. That kind of affixed?

      3. Are you telling me that garage remotes are provided for the automatic openers or asking? (Even better if there are no auto openers reported), then the answer is simply “sometimes.”

      No wonder there is only one AMC that tolerates or likes me…once in awhile.

  6. Avatar kevin klosterman says:

    The blue spots are geocoded addresses of what’s left of all the Ohio licensed appraisers. This is not in balance already as the bigger cities have coverage but, most of areas outside the outer belts are left with very sparse coverage. How do we fix that?


    • Avatar VA Kleinknecht says:

      Kevin Klosterman……..where did you find your map?

      • Avatar Kevin Klosterman says:

        I data based every current licensed appraiser in Ohio then geocoded the office address of each one.

      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Well it’s a fail anyways. I just used the HUD find an appraiser link and ran a search for one of the areas w/ no blue, and found some appraisers. Perhaps you have not forced a minimum blue dot for even 1 appraiser? I’m not buying it. Just fact checked that with the hud lookup tool and found appraisers in areas w/ no blue what so ever. You can put that map to rest there Jr.


    • Avatar Wayne says:


      Lets see…there are craters on the moon, what am I going to do about it? There are areas in podunk Ohio that does not have enough appraisers…what am I going to do about it?

      Actually, I am not going to do a damn thing about it…I hope that you do nothing either!

      • Avatar Kevin Mark Klosterman says:

        Your logic is fine if you feel insurance inspectors are OK to replace you in all these shadow areas and anywhere you can’t. The EGRPRA process is likely moving the De Minimus from 250K to Complex which will fill in all these areas with something else but it’s also effects the shaded areas as well.

        “Doing nothing” doesn’t change a thing….

        • Baggins Baggins says:

          Kevin Easy. Direct consumer to appraiser billing structure. Scaling appraisal fees based on price and complexity factors combined, which is compliant with ethical principals if the lender provides a reasonable scale. Or how about the one that matters; Stop backing the lenders with taxpayer funds, audit the fed, and watch lenders care about risk vs reward, instead of just the reward part. There is nothing wrong with that map. Fools rush in and the city is where the most turnover happens. See my above picture I guess.

    • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

      It appears that intelligent appraisers fled the countryside and fled the business entirely (the smart choice) or fled to appraiser friendly states like Virginia or Louisiana. Give it time, the remaining Ohio appraisers will eventually gain the wisdom required to remain solvent.

      How do you save the appraisal profession?  Stop pretending someone else will fix the problem for you and band together. Still can’t figure it out? Go to the ant.


    • Baggins Baggins says:

      This is an amc coverage map, not a true appraiser populace map. The poster is an amc manager hopefully with better intention.

      All you amc guys need to do is demand better base minimum fees for all appraisers everywhere and run with fixed cost plus. You know, the amc got exactly what it wished for; ready substitutability of service. Promote a high base minimum fee as a permanent standard and the appraisers will come to you.

      • Avatar Kevin Klosterman says:

        That is very old news and I no affiliation with that company I ran away from myself. That map came from current data directly for the DOC as anyone can request it and I’ll even share how to map it. Posting rude comments won’t further your cause one bit and I’m sorry as I likely won’t follow or share on this forum anymore either as you guys seem have it all figured out.

      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Thank you Kevin. Edited. DOC? Please provide a refresher on that term.

        If in doubt, check the HUD find an appraiser link, that’s the link I give to many a requestor seeking coverage.

        If the demins raise it will crush an entire industry. Without the ethical base which polices this industry, it will turn into an advocacy free for all.

        If inspectors are to replace appraisers, many in turn will become inspectors and drive them out of business. And we won’t be hindered by the same regulatory set. Think sourcing is bad now just wait until there is no central licensing authority. I guess the amc’s will have to rename themselves to imc’s.

        The broken record skips on. I’ll go realty service and play a bigger role in directing consumers of mortgage services away from gse’s and back to cu’s whom hold in house. Be careful what you wish for.

        You’re tinkering with checks and balances systems which are long standing traditions of this country meant to protect We The People. You guys talk as if the governmental authority serves the lenders. If you thought audit the fed was tough to control now, wait until consumers have no independent checks and balances systems to promote trust and confidence in the system. If the only work I get is complex 500+, I’ll probably start at 2.5k per request. FNMA really should get wound down if that happens because they will have undoubtedly departed from the mantra which justified their federal charter in the first place.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      To answer your question specifically in the simplest terms; Incentivize the problem. One would have to remove those with their hands in the cookie jar first though, or at least lock the jar.

  7. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    As it relates to an appraiser shortage (?), I provide the following numbers. If we say there are 75,000 individuals who hold an appraisers license, but look at the actual number of appraisers doing work (as determined by the Collateral Underwriter), you will see roughly only 50% are doing work. The issue is not license related, but something else (fill in the blank). If you ask the tough questions and truly offer to change the pitfalls of this industry (high entry, low pay, high liability, turn times, scope creep, AMC presence, etc. etc. etc.,) then in a matter of weeks the number of practicing appraisers would jump significantly. This true addressing of the real issues will also on a long term fix the lack of new trainees.

    • Avatar Wayne says:

      Bill….a great reply!

      Basically if there were not so many factors making the existing appraisers miserable, there would not be so many bailing out! Reducing the entry requirements for this occupation will not solve a thing. A lot of us that are all ready in the business do not want to stay. Why would some “new” person want to join up unless a lot of the problems are solved? It is like beating a dead horse to continue to go over and over the problems. We all know what they are. Some of the things I believe would help solve the problem: Increase the appraisal fees to a professional level. Get RID of AMCs in the appraisers pocket. Require all AMCs to be paid directly by their client without participating in any part of the appraiser fee. Create a percentage penalty fee added to original appraisal fee for ANY scope creep. Require all lenders of any type to pay appraisal fees in full within 30 days! Create a reasonable limit to the liability related to the damages an appraiser can incur as well as a time limit for the liability (unless fraud). Make it common practice that any appraisal requested to be completed within less than 10 business days receive a rush fee. Allow VA appraisers to decline any assignment at any time just like any other business on earth.

      One last idea: Change the current members of the Appraisal Standards Board and any other board that rules us. Require all members on these boards to have actually completed an appraisal within the last 90 days. Require that no member have any ownership or affiliation with any AMC. This should also be a requirement for all state appraisal boards. Now…Have OUR boards make the rules and regulations for the practice of appraisal. Eliminate the ability of Fannie, Freddie, VA, FHA, etc. in creating any rules concerning the practice of appraisal. If we were to do these things we could actually become a profession. Other than some major changes in this industry…it will continue to go down hill. Just my opinion, yours will most likely differ!

      • Suggestions were so good I lost track of the original post (map)! Well stated.

        RE MAP- Without a ‘scale and population stats the map is meaningless. I doubt there are any appraisers in Oriskany New York either…or enough business to support one. I’m pretty sure there are some in nearby Utica. Most appraisers have cars. How many State Legislators does Ohio have covering the same areas? Can a legislator that lives 5; 10; 20 or 50 miles away from me still cover ALL my legislative wants and needs?

        OTHER: Wayne, there are issues with ASB (and indeed all the TAF Boards) but I don’t think they are fatal. There was only ONE residential oriented appraiser on standards board when I checked last time. One. THAT needs to change. There should not be even one non real estate appraiser on any board dealing with real estate issues, principles or educational requirements. Not one. They have zero competency on R.E. issues or they would have a license as appraisers. Respectfully, the mix of General Certified to Residential certifieds should not be more than 1/3. Maybe 40%.

        The TAF was NOT tasked by FIRREA to cover all (nor any of) the other unlicensed disciplines it currently includes. By extending their reach so far beyond their mandate, they have fallen into a common bureaucratic trap of not fulfilling their mandate at all-to becoming counter productive to it.

        As a private organization, they are free to do what they wish (outside the federal monitoring mandates and any special requirements of the feds for appraisals that is).

        What they DO need to do though is separate ALL non real estate committees, boards, policies, definitions and rules from USPAP. If they want to cover R.E. Appraiser issues as well as other disciplines, then segregate them!

        Principles do not change bi annually. Principles are fundamental. They reflect at their core, foundational beliefs that rarely change-even over decades. That doesn’t mean ‘never change’ but certainly they don’t change every time some data huckster promotes new software; or a lender or FNMA want to defraud more investors (with the blessing of THEIR regulators). A new lender ‘fad’ doesn’t mean standards need to be adapted to it.

        FIRREA Title XI has failed to fulfill its primary obligation. To protect the public trust. Hell! in 28 years they haven’t yet defined what ‘public trust’ is…though they opine via non binding FAQs what they think it may be.

        The Feds do not respect USPAP. Even TAF does not respect it or they would stop torturing it to make size 2 dresses ‘fit’ size 18 users. As appraisers we cling to it what it is supposed to be, but few respect what it’s become. Certainly the American Public doesn’t respect it.

        In 28 years, TAF has not managed to educate the American Public as to why they should embrace 9insiston) USPAP.

        TAF has a lot of fundamental work to revisit. Periodic refocusing is not a bad thing. I hope they will make the effort. Those I’ve met all seem to be good people.

  8. Avatar Eric in NC says:

    There is NOT a shortage of appraisers willing to work and work hard. There IS a shortage of appraisers TIME!! If you waste my time – I will not work with you if at all possible. My time is my worth – as well as my local knowledge and resources. Good bye and good riddance.

  9. Avatar Eugene says:

    I turn down assignments and 2 hours later I get a request for the same assignment. It appears that appraisers are either turning down complex assignments (Waterfront, Octagon homes, External Obsolescence (Factory in front of subject), or low fees or requirements from certain clients. Appraising 16 years and I only work with one AMC. I am in the process of turning this work into a part time supplemental income and pursue other work full time. My B.S. and M.S. degrees are in a different profession from appraising. I think it will slow down some time in 2017 due to rising rates. I am going to diversify and not rely on appraisal income. Anything I do for appraisal work will just go into savings.

  10. Avatar don says:

    USPAP is the standard that an appraiser defends itself with when being sued. It cites a body of evidence, that justifies our actions, sometimes this body is dead and appraisers have to use arithmetic and vocabulary, which is allowed by USPAP. It doesn’t matter that agencies don’t recognize it because they are still  the records.

    1004 with all the sub letters is appropriate with the appropriate H&B use. Many problems come from using a form instead of a letter report.

    Engagement letters should always be set the beginning of the appraisal. None of the software companies try to protect the appraiser or enable him to collect a FEE, arrange for a cancelation, or charge for extras like leased products non Real Estate products etc. which do contribute to the Realty.

    It seems many would do an incomplete report rather than operate an honest appraisal business.

    How do appraisal organizations hold themselves together without advocating dishonesty or incompleteness amount their members.

    Should YOU encourage more litigation to weed out the quicky?? Turn in your buddies??

    Is an Organization more important than individuals, are Unions a practical answer, aren’t they heavy with administration, which re-organizes.

    Still interested although retired


  11. Don, great questions and points. In reverse order:

    No, not all unions are top heavy. The AGA (a Guild) is far more lean administratively than most state coalitions (although our parents are more typically bureaucratic). We don’t need to schedule a Board Meeting to make policy decisions. That happens in a series of phone calls and conference calls – in a matter of hours for important issues. Not days or weeks.

    We have one – repeat one paid employee. Everyone else volunteers including our President. We weren’t formed to provide big buck salaries for a bloated leadership cadre.

    As for turning in our buddies. ANYONE out there undercutting fees due to false economies and deception is not a buddy of mine. They shouldn’t be anybody else’s buddy either. They are people that are taking money out of YOUR families pockets just as deceitfully as if they were picking your pocket. My daughter’s future is far more important to me than those folks well being. IF they cannot live and work honestly, they need to get the hell out of my profession.

    Sixty to seventy percent of my volunteer time with the Guild is spent trying to assist members defending themselves against false or over stated (alleged) USPAP violation charges. ZERO percent of my time is spent defending or trying to defend dishonest appraisers or dishonest actions by appraisers.

    No one should be encouraging more nuisance or purely technical complaints against appraisers. USPAP itself should always be the guide for when a complaints is made. Is (are) the nature of the oversight(s) substantive and does it (they) have a significant effect on the conclusions within the context of the clients intended use?

    Organizations are made up of individuals sharing common causes. When they forget that, then they need to rethink their priorities. When their leadership becomes so highly compensated that protecting their piggy bank is more important than serving their members, then those organizations need to reconsider their core values and objectives.

    Don, the one area I disagree with is problems originating with form reports versus narratives. With forms; a missing area or incomplete area is visually apparent. With narratives, verbiage can (and often is) substituted for substance. What used to be true self-contained formats have become frequent vehicles for inappropriate advocacy or hiding omissions and improper short cuts.

    My last form reports (for court) were 122 pages and 92 pages respectively. It was not all canned fluff either (maybe 5 pages of boilerplate national and regional trend data).

    What we all could do is to make and effort to help each other unselfishly and avoiding gratuitous attacks on each other. (That includes me btw; though I hope any attacks made aren’t gratuitous). Honest debate is helpful.

    Self serving biased views with hidden ulterior motives by appraisers is far more damaging to our profession than all the AMCs and phony forms ever created. WE have traditionally been our own worst enemy.

    • Avatar don says:

      In your order:
      A guild, born of necessity is an admirable project. Congratulations on keeping it pure. And then comes the future

      Acquaintances, buddies, Associates, etc are all required to participate in this. We either we call ourselves professional, technician , licensed, or certified. We are the basis of be-livability for what we do.

      The Hot question is do diminish our ranks, or diminish our credibility. If we turn in our competition do we lose our membership?

      My first boss lost about 3 years going thru the chairs on his way to P. of a local chapter. He paid outside legal help on his way up questioning uniformity of national qualifying criteria.

      He was rewarded greatly in recognition, but economics were tough. Can you-we-concerned-etc build and keep a group of perfect members, is self internal education mandatory, is a waning membership destructive.

      The 1004 form is dangerous for court reporting because it opens discussions from Mark Twain’s 5 “W”s. Too many for a jury or a judge.

      Accomplishing a demo report in the stead of couple of questions among experts doesn’t require a huge report. The opposing side can’t question what is not stated.

      You encourage my interest. Thanks. Keep it up, encourage the pride in doing things WRITE. Keep involving others to define what they do and to protect themselves.

      I’ll be watching

      PS: When my daughter worked for he, she could get into the boarded up houses easier. She would fit in the smaller windows


      • The biggest fear is long term ‘purity of purpose’. Look at most large unions. Look at TAF and look at AI. Once disassociation with MEMBERS stated needs starts, it’s downhill. We are far from that stage (yet).

        Odd how we insist that we are professionals yet FFIEC; state regulators, FNMA, TAF and yes, even AI all treat the residential appraiser as less than technicians. Easily replaced with half-assed hybrids and AVMs (in their view). Look at TAFs 2nd draft opening comments “In recognition of new forms and formats…” they decided we need to revise USPAP (what a surprise!). No matter that NOT ONE of those ‘new forms or formats’ is something that hadn’t already been tried and failed in the past. Most notably because they VIOLATE EVERY STANDARD held to be important! TAF has sold out to MISMO and other special interests 100%.

        Their real task is to hoodwink the public; con appraisers, and convince regulators that letting the Mortgage Bankers and other commission compensation interests in the lending process write their own rules and standards for OUR profession is a good thing.


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Appraisers Shortage? A Personal Story

by Dave Towne time to read: 2 min