We Pay the Least & Get the Least Qualified Appraisers

In 2013, Brian Coester of the Coester VMS AMC tweets “we pay the least and get the least qualified appraisers.”

The graphic below was sent to me so I looked for it on twitter and the conversation is still there.

A long dormant appraiser twitter account @insidevalues engaged in a conversation with AMC founder Brian Coester back in 2013. Brian responded 4 days after the question and then explained the “elite gold club” set up where appraisers would get more volume at a lower price point. I kept trying to apply sarcasm to Brian’s (he has blocked me even though I don’t recall ever engaging with him?) responses to explain the context, but he would subsequently prove me wrong or he simply is clueless about social media nuances like sarcasm. After Brian engaged with this appraiser, the appraiser continued to tweet at him lulled into the false assumption that Brian would see the error of his ways and change his business model to fairly compensate appraiser to maintain a higher quality level.

This is a cavalier conversion about how an AMC can view an appraiser yet the industry doesn’t talk like this in public. We’re the widgets in their factory and the lenders are either clueless or don’t care because of the federal backstop. It’s incredibly insane that most of the mortgage lending food chain doesn’t get that this is the norm.
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Coester - We Pay the Least & Get the Least Qualified Appraisers

Jonathan Miller
Latest posts by Jonathan Miller (see all)
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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20 Responses

  1. Gregory Beck on Facebook Gregory Beck on Facebook says:

    He sends emails to my appraisers, “Missed an opportunity for assignments, send your license and E&O”….He needs a kick in the ass, for real…

  2. David Samnick on Facebook David Samnick on Facebook says:


    • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

      100,000 Thumbs Up For Your Comment

    • Avatar Diana N. says:

      David, check out the American Guild of Appraisers. Mike Ford has been doing a good job of getting appraisers paid.

      • David Samnick on Facebook David Samnick on Facebook says:

        I am friendly with Pete, Jan, Mike and the gang. They are great group of folks. Unfortunately they are small and participation to the Appraisers Guild is very LOW. Without real #’s their voice has become tiny. We need something with more teeth than the AGA is offering at present. Seriously if we don’t collectively come together and do something all of us will become glorified door greeters or hanging from a rope. We are the frog in the pot of water on the stove. If anyone knows this story that is us. Right now the water is a bit more than simmering. When it boils we are all dead. We need to find a way to shut the gas off and take control of the situation. It’s time but not enough are scared.

        • Avatar Diana N. says:

          That’s always been the problem, tried to form groups here in CT. only a few participated.  I know some appraisers are fat, dumb and happy because they are getting work at $255 & 300 per report, or have locked in with a law firm doing a ton of foreclosure work, so they are making $$ and cutting corners. Why should they get involved . It’s a damn shame ……….y

        • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

          Appraisers have had 8 years to boycott AMCs, make national news, yet they chose to sit and have their digits and limbs amputated because it was easier than doing something.

          I still find their lack of action amusing.

        • David we are currently  renegotiating our agreement with our union parent. One anticipated benefit is the opportunity to significantly broaden membership.and extend influence.

          Let me ask this David, if those of us attempting to further organize nationally with the weight of the largest and oldest union in the country behind us, what makes you think anyone else can start a successful  new and different union?

          Go ahead, give SEIU a call and let me know if they even answer you. They want government employees and bi weekly allotment paid dues.

          How big do you think those state coalitions are? Considering the number of people DOING something versus the 76,000 appraisers that are largely NOT DOING ANYTHING at all, I think we’ve been pretty successful in what has been accomplished.

          The 43 people who retained their licenses or got off do not use lists in the past year and a half thought we did enough. They are my number one priority. Other issues are hugely important like C&R fees. Remember all the public support for the C&R proposal that we spent many dozens of hours developing? Neither do I.

          Right now, The AGA’s NAPRC can handle defending appraisers. We are the ONLY association in the country doing that. But you go ahead and keep trying to undermine us in public and kill us with kindness and see how long even that lasts.

          I’m a volunteer David. It costs me a LOT in lost work to keep doing this. Not one of our state representatives gets paid either. It’s ALL volunteers. You volunteered for anything lately? How about membership development?

          Not sold on AGA? OK, fine-how about volunteering to build membership for your state coalition? ALL can use that.

          We DEFEND APPRAISERS. Others write group letters. Some have ulterior motives. Some are just wonderful, sincere groups of like minded professionals striving for changes.

          it’s real easy to sit up in the bleachers and opine about how the line up should be changed; or how other groups should be doing something for appraisers that will not lift a finger to help themselves. You want a rewarding but unprofitable experience …get down in the mud with me in the DAILY fights for appraisers and  against state regulators; monopolies, FNMA MAE,  AMCs, Feds with hidden agendas and a host of other special interests…all purporting to protect the public and preserve the integrity of the profession.

          All told with the AI’s active Chapters; ASA, and all the state and other groups there are probably less than 200 people ACTIVELY pushing to solve specific issues across the country. Fully fifty percent (or more) of their effort is wasted on members of our own profession pulling the rug out from under all of us ‘just for fun’ or to foster meaningless online debates.

  3. Elaine Fullwood Morgan on Facebook Elaine Fullwood Morgan on Facebook says:

    Where is the SMH button…this man is a menace.

  4. Chaz Thomas on Facebook Chaz Thomas on Facebook says:

    FTC needs to be investigating him/them instead of state appraiser organizations trying to abide by government dictated regs like Dodd Frank C&R

  5. Shawn Vanderhart on Facebook Shawn Vanderhart on Facebook says:

    Just say NO to these companies that try to underpay and make us undercut each other! No thanks !!!!

    • Avatar Diana N. says:

      It’s the bottom feeders taking the jobs and as long as they take them, seasoned, qualified appraisers will be hung out to dry. After 45 years, and all the money spent on classes and certifications,  it ain’t fun anymore.

      • Last week head hunter had offer of job purporting to pay $200K year (commercial appraisal). MAI owned and managed multi state appraisal corporation (franchise I think) claims their average commercial appraiser is doing 1.5 appraisals per week. No misunderstanding. I double checked and frankly scoffed at the idea.That’s right. 1 1/2 a WEEK! OK, two days inspecting (2) subjects and all rent, sales and land comps and then they have a whole 3 days to “analyse” and “develop” a credibly supported opinion of value for two commercial properties?

        Maybe the Dictionary of R.E. Appraisal has redefined the word “analyse” and I just missed it

        WHY is the AI rushing or seeming to rush to destroy its own profession?.

  6. Avatar B says:


  7. Avatar Ron - No, The Other One says:

    No one makes us undercut each other; that is our sole decision. As I believe Nancy was in charge of this nation during the last few years of his presidency, I never did cotton to her, but she had it right.

  8. Baggins Baggins says:

    So, when are state or federal authorities going to audit the amc’s? Well, it’s expensive to give a lot of money to charity, support social justice efforts, have socials and mixers with fine cuisine and fancy cigars, giving away food, education and clothing, hiring your family members.  Those things don’t come cheap.  It’s a free market and if appraisers feel like just giving it away to strangers so the amc’s can in turn give it away to other strangers, that’s their own personal business decision to make.  Me I’m more of a 100%’er type of guy.


  9. Natalie Aebi on Facebook Natalie Aebi on Facebook says:

    I occasionally get a request from coester. Fees are far from reasonable and customary. That’s what the delete button is for!

  10. Is there a New York appraiser much more familiar with your state’s Dept. of State layout than I, that can also verify an AMC license or registration?

    Just received ad from Working RE with info linked to the following: Mueller Staff Appraising”

    “Staff” appraiser position at $50 an hour (sure it is!). Desk appraisals or reconciliations from descriptions on their site. Nice buzz words to sucker in inexperienced appraisers but no reference to a state license or registration unless I simply missed it.

    One obvious question; how does one comply with all aspects of USPAP-other than by disclosing that no actual or credible market data was obtained by the appraiser for any aspect of the ‘appraisal’? is it possible? Certainly. Is it probable? Not likely. The hourly rate and common knowledge of reconciliation companies volume to achieve those numbers has proven for years that you can either do enough volume to make those rates; OR you can follow sound appraisal practices and USPAP…but not both.

    The New York State ‘Department of State does show an AMC law (other than the draft). What I cannot find is where one verifies AMC licenses. Can anyone help? Company name is MUELLER out of Tonawonda, NY

    It would also be nice if working RE would stop taking ads from folks that are trying to put us out of business. Are they a publication for their business of selling E&O insurance, or an ad revenue generator and consequences be damned?

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      listing quote; “Based on changing policies and service level expectations, the appraiser of the future will rely upon a qualified independent third-party to complete the physical inspection, while the appraiser focuses their energy on analysis and report” / Um, no. And who is more qualified to inspect properties than appraisers? What a joke. This ‘legacy’ appraiser rules the day and the brave new world tech nerds can keep all of it, I don’t need any of what they offer. If they want to restructure a business, they should start with demoting themselves instead. When appraisers cease inspecting properties in person they will no longer be appraisers, but mere statistical analysts which are already a dime a dozen.


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We Pay the Least & Get the Least Qualified Appraisers

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 1 min