Where is all the Mortgage Work?

Where is all the mortgage work

We should be busting with mortgage work.

Where is all the mortgage work? I talk to appraisers and they all ask the same question. With the looming spring market and low interest rates, we should be busting with mortgage work. But the appraisers I know tend to get a reasonable and customary fee of above $400. So is it going to the bottom third? Now don’t get me wrong; I am quoting 2 to 3 weeks due to our back log. But outside of VA’s it’s everything but first mortgage work. I am fine with it because it’s less hassle. I have never seen such a dynamic business shift.

The Bank of Japan just joined the European Central Bank. Many of the members have negative interest rates. This is causing a flood of investments into the US treasury market, thus driving down yields. That’s right, driving down mortgage rates and strengthening the Dollar. So I ask where is all the first mortgage work? Falling mortgage rates tend to make people wait for a lower rate. Rising rates or the threat of, causes people to commit.

Up and Comming Events:

  • VaCAP: February 23, 2016 – 10 AM – The Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board Quarterly Meeting. See the meeting and agenda on the Townhall. Customary and Reasonable Fees are on the Agenda. We need another good showing. Please come and voice your comments. Pat Turner is coordinating a group to meet for lunch after the meeting. Please contact Pat directly for info and to RSVP. Click here to Contact Pat.
  • CVRMLS Appraisal Forum: February 19, 2016 2:00-3:30 PM – 8975 Three Chopt Rd, Richmond, VA 23229 – Realist Training at Richmond Association of Realtors with wine and cheese and it’s FREE to CVRMLS Subscribers. Click here to register.

By Alex Uminski, VaCAP Treasurer

VaCAP Board
Image credit flickr - Thomas
VaCAP Board

VaCAP Board

Coalition of individual appraisers working together to unite, promote and protect the collective interests of all appraisal professionals in Virginia; to promote needed changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards affecting all appraisers in Virginia; to observe and report the actions of regulatory, legislative, oversight, and standards-setting entities of the Commonwealth.

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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Harold says:

    Here in Chicago, mortgage work is plentiful.

    Most appraisers I know are buried and can’t keep up.

    Unfortunately the big players in the game pay only between $300-$350

  2. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Thank you for your inquiry.  Our finest detectives (Ace Ventura, Ernest P. Worrell, Fabbrizio Disguisey, & Inspector Clouseau) were assigned to this case in 2009.  You will find a summary of their work below:

    Our research indicates that the mortgage work that you are inquiring about is currently being completed by:


    *Inhouse (direct hire) appraisers working for AMCs

    *Appraisal Sweat Shops

    *HVCC Appraisal lottery (reverse auction) winners with bids of $300 or less.

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    The Appraisal Foundation

    • Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

      With investigators like this on the case around the clock you can be assured that your fees and your profession are well protected. Sleep well appraisers. The Appraisal Foundation has your back.

  3. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    As it relates to most available appraisal work in my area of Southern CA, I’m always amassed when other parts of the county can quote weeks out for an inspection time, and still get the assignment. Ninety (90%) of the clients in this area demand 4 to 5 business day turn times with many expecting 3 to 4 days (they count Sat & Sun). If they call for a turn time you have no chance unless you offer to complete the work in 24 to 36 hours with rush assignments often due in 24 hours or the same day. I joke with people that I’m always 3 to 5 days out from being unemployed because of the circus like environment I work in, but If I could have a schedule set for the next 30 days, I think my stress level would go down 25%.

  4. Avatar Bryan Trenholm says:

    Remember being 5 to 6 weeks out??!!  We would have to call and remind people we were coming!  “Please bid fee and turn time”………………….seriously?

    • Avatar bill johnson says:

      In my neck of the woods Bryan (Southern CA) with a past family business model that employed several appraisers dating back 25 years, we have never been able to quote more than a maximum of 7 to 10 days out. With thousands of appraisers (competition) within a couple hundred miles of us, the clients would simply go elsewhere to have their loans serviced. I’m sure I’m not alone, but many of us have never had the luxury of knowing where we will be going 5 to 7 days out. I’m sure if you live in Idaho Falls where there is little to no completion, then the industry will be eager to wait 4 weeks for you services, but not here. I have often made the point that the issues we face as an industry vary from area to area and thus the solutions can be difficult to solve for all. With 5 day due dates in my area, I consider myself busy when I have appointments over the next 4 days, but in other parts of the county they may need appointments over 3 weeks to consider themselves busy.

      • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

        Bill, being one county away from Oregon is NOT SoCal! Heck you guys are even north of Pelosiland. *G*. You guys are so far north I think you have six months of night during winter, don’t you?

        Admittedly I only work for one AMC and I cherry pick location; turn time and fees.

  5. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    When I got in the business in June 1986 the turn time being quoted was 3 weeks before we even called to set up the appointment and then a turn time of from 3 to 4 MORE weeks to completion. Penciled draft reports were done in a day; with typed reviews and internally dictated corrections taking another two to three days to get ‘perfect’. No typos or correction tape allowed.

    I think more and more loan ‘production’ work is being done by AAVM and AVM; or BPO and “reconciliation” products like First American’s new PACE PRO (read up on THAT one for a real treat in built in inherently fraudulent-appraisal forms).

    The mortgage industry is already claiming an appraisal shortage exists. What they really mean is there is a shortage of appraisers willing to work for Unreasonably low fees. THAT is why they are trying to raise the deminimus threshold from $250,000 to $500,000 or even a million dollars!

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Sorry Mike I’ve never been to Oregon. I serve San Diego County and primarily the cities of Del Mar, La Jolla, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Rancho Santa Fe. I have made several arguments concerning the importance of location as it relates to this business and recently made the comparison of San Diego/Carlsbad (VA Fee of $450) to Idaho Falls Idaho (VA Fee of ($450) (Dustin Harris). Based on cost of living comparisons my area is 80% more expensive (Bankrate C of L Calculator) and should be at a rate of $810 to be equal to Idaho Falls. I also made the reverse argument and asked Dustin how business would be if his area paid $90 per VA appraisal or 80% less than what VA pays in my area. If you want a geographic competence reference then I would ask why the UAD forms do not have Canyon as a view option. If not a good ocean or bay view (again not included) then a canyon view is next in line.

  6. Avatar Diana N. says:

    The assignments are being taken by the appraisers willing to prostitute themselves for $250. Sorry if I insulted anyone, and I know everyone has to make a living, but this is called slave labor and you are letting the AMCs and lenders get away with it.

    • Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

      Too true. Respectfully, I think $300 is low, but then I don’t live in the mid west, or rust belt. For my area it would be low even for an AMC (but not unheard of). $250?

      Even prostitutes won’t work for $250 for 6 to 12 hours! (So, I’ve heard!). Think about it…we ARE paid FAR less than prostitutes !

  7. Avatar Chris Y says:

    Here in northeast Ohio – the Cleveland and Akron area – I have been busy with consumer loans, purchases are picking up, some refi’s and a couple of construction loans every week.  I just received three appraisal requests this week to challenge the auditor’s value.  Our fees generally run from $300 to $350 for a typical single family appraisal.

  8. Lisa Camilli on Facebook Lisa Camilli on Facebook says:

    Are you slow now Dottie? We are.

  9. Mike Ford, CA AG; AGA, GAA, RAA Mike Ford, CA AG; AGA, GAA, RAA says:

    My Apologies Bill. You were responding to Bryan and I misread it as ‘in my area Bryan-SoCal’ which didn’t ring a bell. Turns out there IS a Bryan Ca up in Humboldt County *g*. I’m seriously considering attending remedial reading classes; which in my area would be taught in college.

    As for “reasonable” fees you are preaching to the choir. http://www.appraisersguild.org/ Oct. 14 posting on fees.

    While $450 is better than $350; it’s still a fee that was being charged ten years ago.

    My highest sfr fees up til recently were down in your general area (Wine Country of Poway, and Olivenhain ). I tend to stay out of your area though other than for commercial-(though it WAS part of my region when I worked for IRS). Unless the fees are particularly high, it just doesn’t pay to go there.

    I always have to talk to local agents for a few hours and then to an AR I trained 15 years ago to get the local nuances. I’m fortunate in that appraisers I’ve trained over the years now range all the way from San Jose, down to San Diego and over to Las Vegas; with a lot of network contacts developed from Seattle; Hawaii, Idaho, Colorado, AZ, NM, Tx and even East Coast…Now if I could just make that network profitable for all of us! *g*


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Where is all the Mortgage Work?

by VaCAP Board time to read: 1 min