Latest Bid Scam for Fee & Turn Time Quote

Latest Bid Scam for Fee & Turn Time Quote via Mercury NetworkLately, I and other appraisers who are ‘members’ of Mercury Network have been getting emails with what ‘looks like’ individual “bid requests” to quote fee and turn time for residential properties.

I say ‘looks like’ because the email only has the singular appraiser’s email address showing.

What’s actually been happening is the client is sending multiple emails to individual appraisers via Mercury Network. These emails always have an acceptance window of several hours, which is acceptable (unless 4 hrs or less).

But they are not honoring the time frame window to present a bid, and withdraw the potential assignment, after accepting a bid quote from a ‘fast responder.’ This has happened frequently lately, from different AMCs who use Mercury Network.

The latest one to me came in today at 11:06 am, with the allowance of 9 HOURS to submit a bid. That’s nice, especially for those of us who work in outlying rural areas, and who need to do property research before bidding.

At 11:57 am today, I received the following message via Mercury Network:

Thank you for reviewing the bid opportunity from HVCC Appraisal Ordering. Another bid was chosen for the FHA Appraisal (FNMA 1004) order placed on 12/03/2019. We hope to be able to work with you on a future assignment.

The only recourse an appraiser has with this awful behavior is to immediately accept any and every assignment presented. Then later either modify or decline the wonderful opportunity once requisite research has been done if it’s found that the property is complex.

This is just another reason to move away from mortgage lending assignments. Seek clients who are not game players and give you more respect.

Dave Towne
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Dave Towne

Dave Towne

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

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26 Responses

  1. Jeff Bodi on Facebook Jeff Bodi on Facebook says:

    Never would have happened under Dave Biggers.

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Dave Biggers fell into a huge payday (sold out) after HVCC established a market for a middleman. Instead of throwing appraisers under the bus one at a time, he threw all of us under at the same time. One week he offered a survey disclosing appraisal fees by way of with and without AMC involvement (appraisers side), months later he found his payday.

      Seek the truth.

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Dave Biggers went from selling his software to 1 out of 2 appraisers a year ($1,000 X 50,000 appraisers / $50,000,000), to handling 20,000 appraisal transactions a day via his Mercury Network. The 20,000 a day figure was used in the press release when he sold the company. Hell, 20,000 transactions a day at $10 a pop equals $200,000 a day or an additional $73,000,000 a year in income. His company most likely doubled in value due to the housing collapse / HVCC issue (introduction of Mercury Network), and he is just one of many who have profited off the backs of the appraiser.

      Seek the truth.

  2. Henrietta L Rawie on Facebook Henrietta L Rawie on Facebook says:

    Another good reason not to work with Mercury Network. I found them very rude and not worth my time.

  3. Lisa Nagle on Facebook Lisa Nagle on Facebook says:

    Kerrie Nagle

  4. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    Unfortunately Dave, and perhaps it started in the higher population appraiser counties first, but this has been going on for years by this company and many others. After playing this game for a short time (bidding on assignments), and wasting hours, days, and or weeks over the long haul, I haven’t open bid on an assignment for years. They could care less if 50 appraisers spend an hour each researching a property to offer a bid within their time window as its all about the 1st appraiser who meets the fee as already established via TRID. Do you think the assignment goes to the appraiser who exposes the most complexities of the property, the neighborhood, and discusses the possibility of not being able to meet some of the client defined demands in their 20 page engagement letter?

    Seek the truth.

  5. Avatar Tom D says:

    there are some good guys on mercury, if a client wants your talent, they will send only you the order with a fee. if the property was harder than their normal fee, they raised it. in residential, some of yous have not learned the ‘send me a bid’ offer? these people are wearing ‘appraiser beater’ tee shirts. i know the difference, but some appraisers even now, need a blog thread discussing ‘just discovered this trick’.

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      I get it Tom. I have two clients who use the Mercury Network ($35,000 to $40,000 a year) in a professional way, but unfortunately the system is ripe for abuse as detailed by Dave in this blog. Most are not looking for the appraiser who exposes the most complexities of a property to justify a higher than typical fee and turn time, but rather they are looking for yes appraisers who will take it at the standard fee (as quoted from 20 states away via TRID).

      Seek the truth.

  6. Avatar Dave says:

    This is an easy fix – bid with condition that if bid is not accepted by end of day – bid is no longer valid and future bird may be for MORE! I am finding that AMC’s say they want 24 hour/48 hour performance considering this a “reasonable” bid. THIS IS A RUSH BID and we must stand firm to let them know that.

  7. Avatar Thomas "Mack" Strickland says:

    I don’t bid because they are looking for bottom feeders. I’m not a bottom feeder, I’m a full fee appraiser. I do get full fee assignments from my regular clients via Mercury.

    • Avatar Dave says:

      I am curious – what do you consider “full fee” as on Mercury?

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Yeah boy! Go Thomas, it’s your birthday!

      This last falls editions of WorkingRE magazine vs WorkingRE inspector mag.

      Inspector mag; Don’t be a bottom feeder. Appraisal mag; amc solicitation every other page. Logical fault. It’s only a matter of time before amc’s realize home inspectors are probably easier to take advantage of then appraisers.

      “Full fee” on mercury is locational specific. Usually that would mean somewhere within a hundred or possibly two hundred (if you are in a high va fee area), comparatively vs the VA fees in your region. The typical expectation should likely be in the $450 to $700 range if coining generally; full fee. Full fee specifically means the appraiser did not share that with a middle management company. It is impossible to get ‘full fee’ if working with an amc, as almost none of them engage with cost plus billing practices, and if they do, they drive down the appraisers base fee to justify the engagement in the first place. Anyone claiming they are getting full fees from amc’s, or likewise amc’s stating they pay full fees, is telling a fish tale.

  8. Avatar Diana N. says:

    The bid routine is BS, the assignment goes to the “bottom feeders”. Lowest price possible. So sad what has happened to our profession since I started appraising 46 years ago.

  9. Avatar Anonymous says:

    The easy fix is to bid $700 for every bid offer.

    If all appraisers did that, eventually, $700 would be the baseline fee.

    But naw, let’s go another decade pretending someone is going to pay what a “good” report actually costs.

    • Avatar Dave says:

      Now you are talking – how difficult can that be!!!!

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      In my single county of practice there are 3.3 million people and +/- 900 appraisers all within 25 miles of me. Unfortunately, if 850 of us bid $700, there are still 50 appraisers whom the lenders/AMC’s can work with. I agree with you, but ALL might mean 900 appraisers in my county, but 3 in someone else’s county.

      Seek the truth.

      • Avatar Anonymous says:

        LOL, if 94% of the appraisers in a market are biding $X, and only 6% of the appraisers in a market are receiving work at $x-y, then you most certainly have evidence of “market fees”, collusion, price fixing, and all those nasty anti-competitive things that AMCs are NOT allowed to do under the law. Which…., and being that most states have their own anti-competition laws, and, the state boards that register those AMCs are supposed to by law, “supervise” those AMCs, that anti-competition thing, can go right to the state AG and state board, and by pass the FTC, unless of course, your state board is not “supervising” AMCs and your state AG is not enforcing the state anti-competition law. But you would need an attorney to tell you that.

        • Baggins Baggins says:

          FNMA CU mismo data entry systems does reportedly have full detail which includes; if an amc was used or not, the total appraisal fee for the consumer, and distribution of that fee between the amc and appraiser.

          FOIA for CU systems fee data? It’s a serious proposal, whom will be the first to see if that returns? FOIA is in part, specifically intended for this sort of thing where taxpayer resources go towards data assimilation from federal or federally sanctioned and funded entities, which is not shared back to taxpayers. If it’s government data, we have a right to view it. FOIA.

        • Avatar Susan says:

          I don’t need an attorney to tell me that my State Board is doing nothing to benefit appraisers, and nothing about fee transparency, customary fees etc.

  10. Avatar don says:

    Biding can be a time consuming process, when mistakes are made about the complexities of the properties. The appraiser has the final responsibility for getting it right or adjusting the misconceptions and interpretations.

    Previously I related of a bid I made on a 1,000+- acres property in trespass. I didn’t get the job, would liked to have had it, buttt.

    Long ago when beginning my business I bid against a previous boss, took three days to figure stuff out, lots of complexities, felt comfortable with my bid. Previous boss got the job, he had more experience, and proven reliability

  11. Avatar SB says:

    Mercury Network nothing more than an APPRAISER SURVEILLANCE APP/BOT in disguise.

    Unless you want CoreLogic to know when you’re going to the bathroom or having sex….



    Ever wonder why that appraisal order text message seems to show up when you’re in the field and not in the office?? They do not want to give the appraiser an opportunity to pre screen properties/check MLS to see how difficult the assignment will be and bid the job higher.

    CoreLogic knows EXACTLY where we all are.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      For amc’s, set them to vacation for a full years time from the client panel management list, and then wait and see if they have learned to do their job correctly next year.

      Mercury still refuses to furnish for the appraisers benefit:

      Information on how many other appraisers an order was sent to, how many times it may have been bounced, how long it has been in the distribution pipeline, and if multiple companies may have tried to assign that individual order.

      An option for the appraiser to clearly state they do or do not accept amc orders.

      An option to signal if the appraiser wants new clients or not, what their staff or business size is, what their open order capacity is, and if they have current active assignments or not.

      Meaningful fee and turn time data analysis tools which are available to lenders and amc’s, but not made available to appraisers.

      An individualized fee panel setting so fees can vary per client. Not all clients are equal.

      Call Mercury CSR’s and ask for the above tools to be made available, and continue the effort as years pass. You’ll see an entirely different side of the company.

  12. Avatar Rigo says:

    I’m located in California/Los Angeles. 18 years of appraising. I don’t bid. I agree to what most of you are saying. Our life’s would be different if we all unite.

  13. Avatar SB says:

    Mercury Network Appraiser selection criteria REMAINS TO BE PURE BULLSH*T

    Weighting factors include:

    Acceptance percentage
    Expiration percentage
    On Time percentage
    Professionalism rating (which idiot AMC employee makes that determination???)
    Proximity to subject
    Quality rating
    Rework percentage
    Turn time
    Revision turn time

    When I called them regarding integrating an ACH payment function into Mercury to get appraiser paid faster……. they LAUGHED at me.

    This may be the biggest joke of all…VP of Appraiser Advocacy???????

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      And those star ratings are not self contained for just one client. A select few of them are visible on an appraisers profile when other lenders surf for new panel pickups.

      Proximity systems are silly, they don’t have any checks or balances tools to identify virtual offices. If you want easier orders, set up a virtual office somewhere else and simply enter a new biz address.

      This reminds me of the weekly mafia shakedown at the local retail stop. We’re here for your protection now pay up. Why don’t you work with our amc partners instead?

      It’s obvious whom Mercury advocates for and that certainly is not appraisers. They may secretly help appraisers but as the cash cows are the amc’s, the public facing image no longer has room to accommodate the original mantra for why Mercury was created in the first place, to protect appraisers from amc abuses.

  14. Thomas E Allen on Twitter Thomas E Allen on Twitter says:

    Probably the only “profession” that “bids” on “jobs” that requires a 30 year old fee to “win”. Need a heart by-pass? Put it out for “bid”.


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Latest Bid Scam for Fee & Turn Time Quote

by Dave Towne time to read: 1 min