‘Opportunity’ to Work for Free is Not a Plan
Appraisers, I’d like to disclose a personal ‘opportunity’ that was presented to me last fall, early winter.
A company with AMC roots was, or is, recruiting people to become “property inspectors” with the resulting reports potentially fed to other appraisers who do HYBRID, or maybe even DESKTOP reports. The GSEs never intended the DESKTOP report to incorporate separate ‘property inspections’ from a hired third party, but that’s been the evolution because they just look the other way.
Last fall, due to the slowdown we were experiencing then, I thought “well, maybe.” And I told the recruiter I’d do 3 of these assignments to give it a try.
Well, I was still busy with other appraisal assignments, and then came down with a very bad cold, (flue or mild COVID) which knocked me out for about 3 weeks. I never was able to complete their required on-line training. But during this interim period, up to a few days ago, I gave this ‘opportunity’ further critical analysis in terms of time spent versus the fee income potential.
The recruiter revealed that vendors would go to properties up to 20 miles away, presumed based on a radius measurement from the office, do interior and exterior observations, record data on an app on the phone, and provide a sketch using another fairly well-known ‘measurement app’ that you’ve all read about by now. Then that ‘stuff’ would be uploaded via the internet. All this for no more than $120.
Yesterday, I sent an email to a different company rep who re-inquired about my coming on board with them:
This morning, the recruiter sent me this message:
The point of this message is “know what you are worth.”
Far too many appraisers don’t have a clue about what it takes to break even, let alone make a reasonable profit. That’s why AMCs are able to bully appraisers into lowering their fees, just so the AMC can stay in business.
Far too many appraisers fail to understand that AMCs cannot function without appraisers. But appraisers are far too willing to race to the fee bottom just to keep a few dollars rolling in.
It’s stunningly stupid to do that. But it happens every time order volume decreases.
And, for the most part, it happens because appraisers fail to communicate with their local peers and establish a policy about holding individually established customary and reasonable fees steady, despite pressure from the AMCs to force them down.
Working for peanuts is not a ‘plan’ that works well for appraisers.