The Way Things Used To Be

The Way Things Used To Be - No Raise in 20 Years“We haven’t had a raise in two decades.” Give me a break!

It’s a common complaint in our industry that real estate appraisers haven’t had a raise in two decades. The argument goes that twenty years ago, the standard fee for an appraisal was $350. Fast forward twenty years and it’s still $350.

That’s a great sound bite, but the actual logic is deeply flawed. In real terms, we’ve had a huge raise thanks to the massively reduced amount of time we spend on our appraisals. It’s something I’ve written about before (Never Had a Raise in 20 Years), but I was reminded of it recently when I took a little trip to the real estate board office in my local city.

I was there to work on a divorce case that I’d successfully bid for, which needed some retroactive comps. Normally that’s the kind of research I’d send one of my assistants to carry out, but because of the craziness that the holiday period often brings, that wasn’t possible this time. So, I went to the office myself, dug out some dusty old sales books, piled them up on a desk and started going through them.

I guess that sounds pretty boring, huh? But you know what? It was great! As I pored over these historic volumes, I was overwhelmed by memories from the old days. I was reminded above all, of just how far our profession has come in a pretty short space of time. Now I know there are plenty of you out there with far more experience than me — the crowd that used to carry out inspections on horseback, dodging dinosaurs on the way there and back. I have been in this business for over 20 years now though, so I’d like to think my little trip down memory lane has at least some value to the younger appraisers out there!

When I got started as a qualified real estate appraiser, back in February 1996, it was a very different job to the one we have now. There were no smartphones. There were no tablets. Every inspection was carried out with a clipboard, a pen, a 100 ft tape measure and a 35mm camera. Many of the smaller towns I covered didn’t have MLS, or even a board of realtors. The only place you could find comps were in books that the real estate offices kept — in which they were reluctant to share with each other!

A typical appraisal would look something like this; I’d go through my inspection, taking the photos on my good-old 35mm camera, then head to one of these real estate offices. They’d recognize me immediately and wave me over to the usual area where I’d dig out a comp book, sit down at a table and leaf through it. If I found a good comp, I’d need to photocopy the relevant page, or if that luxury wasn’t available to me, scribble down all the information by hand; the address, the square footage, the year the property was built and so on.

The next stop was the courthouse. If you wanted the deeds, you couldn’t just ring up the staff there. Oh no! You had to go there and get all the information yourself. Bear in mind, the courthouse could be 50 miles from the real estate office you were just in and trying to navigate around rural areas back then – without GPS or Google Maps – was no joke.

After that, it was Walmart time. To any younger appraisers reading this today, you would not believe how much of my working life was spent in Walmart. I’d take my camera to the one hour photo booth there, hand over my film and simply spend the next hour wandering the aisles like a lost soul. I think that within a few years I’d gotten to know the aisles of every Walmart across three states by hand.

After I’d gotten the photos I would head back to my office and start putting together the actual report. Fortunately, I came along after the typewriter days, so at least I’ve always had a computer – along with a (primitive) copy of a la mode – to work with. I’d sketch the property, make the adjustments and so on, then print the whole thing out, take the photos and a good old-fashioned glue stick and literally paste the photos onto the paper! Finally, I’d photocopy the relevant map for the property from the phonebook (which usually had the best readily-available maps), add that in, staple the whole thing together and fold it, stuff it in an envelope and FedEx it off. And… that’s how we did real estate appraisals, back in the day!

A single real estate appraisal back then would take me two or three days, working eight hours per day. Nowadays, at an extremely conservative estimate, I can do four times as many appraisals. That’s what technology has done for our profession. This is why I take issue with people who say, “We haven’t had a raise in two decades.” Give me a break! Instead of complaining, we should realize just how far we’ve come in a short amount of time, be grateful for the technology we have access to now and in particular be mindful of the less fortunate appraisers who’ve come before us.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 078 – The Way Things Used to Be.

Dustin Harris
Latest posts by Dustin Harris (see all)
Image credit flickr - Anton Stokes
Dustin Harris

Dustin Harris

A multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children. Dustin Harris on

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127 Responses

  1. Jeffrey Patterson on Facebook Jeffrey Patterson on Facebook says:

    VA increased fees last year from $400.00 to $600.00 … my standard non -VA fee is $650 to $800.00.

    Keep in mind my assignments take 8 to 10 hours to complete. Not sure if that is because its rural or because I do more than one approach to value or because of the housing diversification.

    I learned to just say no to $350.00 … maybe other appraisers just need to learn a second word?

    • Avatar don says:

      I mentored in a small general shop beginning in 9/1961. They had just given up doing FHA at $20, and bitching at the $25 VA was paying. VA required a street and a front view, a cost approach (of our own observation) a notation of the trade name of the appliances, drawing including of the internal walls, three closed sales, and verified with the recorders office.

      We started the process at the County offices, or title Cos. In 1972 I was collecting $55, and working for several hard money lenders on forms of my own design for more $. and doing bankruptcy appraisals

      I encourage you Blobbers, and some of the recent start up appraisal organizations to challenge some to the counter productive punitive rules for appraisers.

      We have historically grown on our individual reputations.

      don, no longer an appraiser, Realtor, businessman, no longer responsible for deadlines, but interested.

  2. Ross Grannan on Facebook Ross Grannan on Facebook says:

    Fees should be higher, but parts of the job are a lot cheaper and easier. Remember running to your local photoshop constantly; dropping thousands on film development? Printing reports, ink, paper, etc.

  3. Tres Kirkland on Facebook Tres Kirkland on Facebook says:

    Some things have gotten cheaper, but others more expensive. Insurance, software, upload fees, gas, have all gone up, not to mention more is expected in the reports as well.

    • Robert P Lutz on Facebook Robert P Lutz on Facebook says:

      You’re right, Tres. In fact, when I did my taxes last April I found that my business taxes were about 42% of my gross income. I’ve cut ‘way back hard on my expenses but I still have 19 line expense items…and that’s working out of my home. When I was a bank appraiser I always imagined I could earn a lot more, working out of my home. But that turned out to be a myth.

  4. Avatar Advocate says:

    Sorry Dustin, you lost credibility when you stated you went to Walmart. Not a good company then, and not a good company now. Independent businesses such as local appraisal offices should support other independent businesses, not mega corporations that put local shops out of business.

    As far as no raise in 20 years, your logic is seriously flawed. You have failed to factor in inflation. Nothing today cost the same as it did 20 years ago, not even the 1 hour photo at Walmart.

    And what about experience? Someone with 20 years experience that has continued to learn and experience financial cycles, certainly is worth more than someone just starting out. This is true in any industry, not just the appraisal industry.

    • Avatar Mike Schwartz says:

      I just checked on the impact of inflation – from Feb 1996 to Feb 2018 using the BLS web site – a very handy tool. Your $350 fee today would have to be $562.60 to have the same buying power. The real measure isn’t fees which doesn’t account for the changes in technology OR scope, but annual income after expenses. Not sure about the rest of you but my income doing residential appraisal has dropped by 20% in real dollars over the last 8 years (2009-2017). Inflation knocks off another 14% for a grand total of almost 35% decline in buying power. You don’t need to ask why people are leaving the residential appraisal profession.

  5. Avatar Iron Mike Sharpe says:

    This article BLOWS MY MIND! While technology has greatly increased productivity and has helped appraisers be more efficient the fees do not match the times. By using your logic then a 16” pizza that cost $5.99 in 1983 should be cheaper today due to technology, machines etc. But instead that pizza costs $12-16 today. Huh  that’s odd. Oh that’s because of inflation, and  higher costs of ingredients, rent, electric, fuel and so on. A couple things you forgot to mention: 1) inflation 2) the higher costs to do business: ie, website, mobile phones, high internet charges, apps, higher MLS costs, higher E&O costs, higher health insurance costs, AMC TECHNOLOGY FEES, PORTAL FEES, higher gas prices, batteries for your laser, and so on and so on. Should fees be higher than in 80’s? Yes. Should they be higher than the 90’s? Yes. BUT that’s your business decision. You run your company how you see fit to make a profit. You charge what you want to charge. Although AMCS will have something to say about that. But don’t tell me I don’t deserve a raise due to advances in technology. My business takes into account ALL my costs and expenses as well as my time to perform the analysis needed. There is a lot more to running an appraisal business then just technology. I am very efficient in what I do but I’m also not just pumping out reports because the technology is better. 

  6. Avatar Raymond says:

    Hmmm…..1985  My first appraisal fee was $275 cod. The report took at least 1 week and when submitted I was never questioned about adjustments, comp selection etc. Fast forward to 2002 I deleted almost all my lender clients. Still happy doing non lender appraisals.

  7. Avatar Michael Wilbanks says:

    I completely disagree with the author. I started appraising in the 1980’s. The level of accuracy and detail does not compare to today’s standards. We now run statistical analysis. Triple check comparable data and even break down basement area, finished area and utility. The level of education and technology fees involved today has completely changed. If the author decides to prostitute their services that is their decision. We should all stand together for reasonable and customary fees.

  8. Avatar E J B says:

    This is BS

  9. Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

    “This is why I take issue with people who say, “We haven’t had a raise in two decades.” Give me a break! Instead of complaining, we should realize just how far we’ve come in a short amount of time, be grateful for the technology we have access to now and in particular be mindful of the less fortunate appraisers who’ve come before us.” REALLY? What a crock! Yes, many appraisers are employees and have to ask someone else what their salary will be. From what I can tell the majority of us are self-employed business people. For those of us that are self-employed we only need to look in the mirror each morning to see the person that sets our salary! It seems that many of my fellow appraisers have succumbed to the AMC treadmill and are worked like a rented mule. I do not think they enjoy that situation because they complain constantly. This site is wonderful as it lets each of us express our opinions at no cost or penalty. It does not seem necessary but I would request that APPRAISERBLOG post a spot where we can all add the thousands of types of appraisals and users. Maybe then some will figure out that the AMCs are just one source of work and the most pitiful source at that!

  10. Avatar Scott R. says:

    This article made made me laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. It sounds as if it were written by an AMC? Where are the costs for computers, software, internet access, portal/technology access, insurance costs, education, increased fuel costs, etc, etc, etc. Talk about being completely out of touch with reality. 

  11. Avatar Phillip Burnett says:

    Back in the day an appraisal might be what 12-14-16 pages TOPS, right? And nowadays, it is pushing 40 pages almost every time and truth be told, we have more time wasters today than we ever had back then?

    I mean, the time spent at the local one hours photo paled in comparison to today’s AMC’s (who have no working knowledge of the appraisal industry). Worse still, the companies (AMC’s) that we are forced to deal with have virtually no common sense (nor do the lenders anymore either for that matter). So, you sir are sadly mistaken, misguided and totally off base with regards to this topic.

    Moreover, one must wonder certainly wonder, EXACTLY WHAT TYPE OF RESIDENTIAL WORK IT WAS THAT YOU WERE DOING IN A THREE STATE AREA, AT THAT? As per your own words, “I think that within a few years I’d gotten to know the aisles of every Walmart across three states by hand.”

    Really? So, you are such an outstanding and all knowing appraiser that were proficient enough to appraise residential dwellings across a three state area? WOW!!! No wonder you’re writing for the AMC’s, big banks and lenders now! As you are obviously a hack (a plant) and you certainly should have no voice among appraisers! Because you sir, are not an appraiser, as I would define it!! So, please leave us alone, in your attempts to help the AMC’s beat us out of money, as you are as pathetic as the day is long!

    • Avatar Tim says:

      You go Phillip, this guy is nothing but a hack at best. I have seen him speak what a loser & this douche is training other appraisers? There’s the new batch of $200.00 order takers

  12. Avatar Tim says:

    Give ME a Break Dustin… Handpuppet for Joan Trice. WOW way back then YOU DID YOUR OWN REPORTS? WELL, MAYBE SOME OF IT. Of course, it’s easier for you now as you have dozens of grunts doing your actual work. When was the last time you actually drove a comp yourself? You are pitiful, I bet your reports are as minimal as possible with the least amount of data and explanation as possible and mostly canned statements. Do us all a favor, go away and take Joan’s emails about her precious AMC conventions with you what a dick. 

    • Avatar Scott R. says:

      Rather harsh until I looked up more information regarding Dustin Harris. Have to agree. 100%. One of his comments really confirmed it for me. He clearly thinks he is better than most of us. He wrote “Normally that’s the kind of research I’d send one of my assistants to carry out, but because of the craziness that the holiday period often brings, that wasn’t possible this time. So, I went to the office myself, dug out some dusty old sales books, piled them up on a desk and started going through them.”


  13. Avatar Raymond says:

    Dustin you’ve become a target and you should not be surprise. The amc business model has made the lender appraiser into a professional slave. Appraisers have no say in the lending appraisal  process. They either submit to being a slave or run away. Along with thousands of other sppraisers, I chose the latter years ago.

  14. Avatar Bill Johnson says:

    I’ve went back and forth with the author for some time on this issue, but in reality one can not focus on a profession by looking in a mirror (myself, my fees, my reality), but must look at issues from a big picture point of view (industry wide). By volume, most appraisal work comes from residential lending where on a national average the appraisal fee charged to the borrower is at or near $500. If by volume 80% of residential work gets filtered through AMC’s, and such parasites on average take $125, then by default (big picture), the typical fee paid to the appraiser today is $375 (gross fee). To keep things simple (only focus on gross fees), one should do the same big picture analysis from 20 years to determine what the fee was then ($325?). If industry standards were say $325 then (20 years ago), but today the number is $375, then technically I would agree gross wages have increased. The reality of course is that gross fees don’t pay the bills but rather the net fee does, and for many many reasons (big picture), the net fee on average is less today than from 20 years ago. If you expand beyond simple business expenses (net wage), and bring in other general consumer expenses (then versus now), the gap significantly widens in what one truly has left over ($), then versus now.

    As I believe in keeping your friends close, but your enemies closer (AMC’s), I just received an order (AMC / SingleSource) for a 1073 due on 03/16/2017 for $225.

    I will of course not take the order, but the point is $375 (gross) might be the national gross (my opinion), but many an AMC could care less.

    Seek the truth.

    • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

      Hello Bill, I am not trying to be disagreeable but your post seems to be very one-sided. I just returned to Galveston, TX Saturday from a cruise. I drove the 45 miles to Houston and then the 4 hours to Lewisville, TX to take my lady friend home. This drive carried me past thousands and thousands and damn thousands of commercial properties. We are talking skyscrapers, malls, hospitals, airports, apartments, auto dealerships, fast food locations, service stations, the Houston Ship Chanel with all of the chemical and industrial facilities, and on and on and damn on! This long ride was on highways that required each inch of land to be appraised and purchased. How many dollars were spend to acquire appraisals on all of this right-of-way? How many dollars were paid in court fees to appraisers? Were there construction easements, slope easements, drainage easements, wet lands, flood plain, on and damn on! My point is that there are about 35,000+/- general certified appraisers in the US. Most of us do not give a silly damn what an AMC wants. A good appraiser friend of mine passed away two weeks ago and left me as the only general appraiser in our county. I am 66 and just earning a few dollars for the next cruise. I am not trying to coach anyone nor tell you what to do. That person you see in your mirror is the only one you have to answer too. Best of luck to all!

      • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

        I get it Wayne. In trying to take a complex question and make it as simple as possible (gross fees then and now), my focus was residential lending (national level) as most appraisers (+50%) by volume do this kind of work. If you say there are 80,000 unique appraisers (?), and via the governments collateral underwriter (CU) portal they show 50,000 unique appraisers pushing work through their system, then more than 50% of the appraiser population does residential work. Typical appraiser, typical property, at a typical fee (national level), is what I was attempting to establish in determining what was, versus what is today (fees). In determining the health and future of our profession, I think its more important to look at and address big picture issues of the bottom two thirds (typical residential appraiser), then to push and promote what the top one third is doing. Right or wrong, the powers that be seem to want to quote what the minority is doing (high fees, CO, WA, OR), while ignoring the reality for most.

        • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

          Thanks for the info Bill. You make some very good points. What difference does it make about gross fees and net fees, etc. I have only been interested in what MY fee was. I do not care what someone else wants to charge. If my fellow appraiser wants to stick his head in the toilet…. I do not have to follow his example. I will just flush for him and move on! It would be wonderful if some of us could tell those in this occupation some interesting things. First, they would not believe us. Second, they all know much more than the old dudes. Therefore some of us just say “yes, it sucks”, “true, I understand”, “Yep, I do not blame you”… and the whole time we are booking the next cruise!

          • Baggins Baggins says:

            The core principal of the appraisal profession is protecting the public trust.  To ignore the management rule is to violate that trust.  See my below commentary.

            • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

              Come on Baggins….No one is watching so we do not need to bullshirt each other! Would Wells Fargo betray the public trust? How about Countrywide? How about all of these folks that are willing to pay a BILLION DOLLARS in fines but …gee, we do not admit any wrong doing. If you fined my ass a billion dollars I bet you that i had done something wrong! All of this is just too silly, why play along with the game? Let’s just say you arrive at a value of $10,000 less than the agreed contract price. You figure that you prevented some poor dude from making a financial mistake. NO…YOU are a dumb SOB…You have a Realtard on the buying side that hates your guts. You have a Realtard on the selling side that hates your guts. You have a buyer and a seller that hates your guts. You have a loan officer (working on commission) that hates your guts…even the loan processor hates your guts! SO MUCH FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD! How could you possibly be so stupid as to not arrive at a value equal or more than the contract price? DUH…lets send your report to the state appraisal board with a complaint….PUBLIC TRUST, MY ASS!

              • All valid sarcasms. Seriously though

                What single meaningful thing has The Appraisal Foundation done in the past ten years to preserve and protect the public trust?

                • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

                  These folks changed a comma to a period and the new “highly improved USCRAP book” is available for purchase! Really I am glad that I am nearing retirement from this stupid occupation! I feel sorry for my friends that are younger and have to play this game. We could stop this and make this a profession but so many of our group are as dumb as a rock! They really deserve what they are going to get. Oh well, off my soap box!

                  • Baggins Baggins says:

                    Wayne, that’s not what I’m referring to. Ethics book; management rule; providing a ‘thing of value’ and the need to disclose that. I’m on about how volume producers (quality result arguments aside) often gain the lions share of orders via discounting, but then ignoring that cost savings are not returned to consumers, but are instead pocketed by middle management as an incentive to select them instead. Public trust is not just the result, but also in the costs and distribution process. When all consumers are charged the same but the appraisers fee varies with no savings return, that’s when discounting service costs becomes a bribe. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, dude, what’s your fee and turn time? Codeword for price shopping to pocket the difference. The growth of amc ties directly to ignoring the FDIC guidance on fair selection. How does the VA do that again… A model for all, but let’s just ignore these details if not dealing with the VA directly…

                    • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

                      My friend Baggins, I admire your concept of equality and fair play for all. I did not take the public to raise and they probably like me a hell of a lot more than I like them! I consider myself to be honest and when I prepare an appraisal it is my honest opinion without any preconceived opinions. They may not agree with my opinion of value but my report will explain how I arrived at the value conclusion. They can agree with my opinion or they can dream themselves as rich as they please. My appraisal is not provided for debate. They have agreed to pay a fee to me for MY opinion…I do not give a rats ass what their opinion of the value may be. Really, I do not give a damn. I have no desire to debate the opinion of value or have additional comps, or other BS shoved my way. Yes, I know that I have a bad attitude…but some folks want to know the truth and that is what I do. I really do not care if they like the number! It has worked for me for 40+ years.

                      • Baggins Baggins says:

                        Thank you. Hey you know, **** the public, only veterans deserve that kind of sensible protection in regular mortgage lending.

            • Avatar don says:

              When a son forces his older parents to refinance their home, is the public trust served?

              Was W.F. great growth and later near failure serving the public trust?. Sense when did Congress or the Senate represent the public’s trust.

              This appraisers obligation is to represent the words stated in his reports. If the form 1004-? isn’t clear, the appraisers obligation is!

  15. Avatar Ron S. says:

    Dustin. Your logic is seriously flawed. how much are you being paid by the AMC’s? I think this will be the last blog post I read from you. Really disappointed and disgusted with you. I will be moving on.  

  16. Avatar Rick G. says:

    I put this guy in the same “sleaze  league” as Brian Coester.

    • Avatar Kent says:

      Coester is the WORST AMC I have ever worked with.

    • Rick (& others), there is no comparison between them. I know Dustin to be an honest guy and sincere in his willingness to help other appraisers. I don’t personally follow his methods and I don’t personally believe start to finish multiple reports per day are possible by one appraiser. What I DO know is that highly respected appraisers; some of whom are SRAs follow his methods using support staff (wives and or employees) to increase their efficiency.

      Let’s not lose sight of who the real enemies of appraisers are. I don’t agree with articles like this belittling the fat that appraisers have NOT had a raise in ten years. Most of us have already had to increase efficiency simply to do all the extra unnecessary garbage lenders and even amcs impose. That should not be understated.

      BUT we also should not compare an honorable guy we disagree with, to one like Coester that was clearly ethically challenged, to begin with. Dustin Harris was the first pod caster that gave AGA a public (audio) voice. He did not steer us or misrepresent us in any way. In fact, he was helpful and supportive of our effort to reach out to appraisers.

      Thats not remotely ‘like’ Coester.

      There are people like Dustin Harris and Roy Meyer who perform a valuable service to those that can apply their tchniques and methods in their markets. Not everyone can (or wants to)

  17. Avatar Jack says:

    Wow, I’ve actually been following the author’s opinions as of late. I must say that I suspected a skewed point of view. I can’t believe I’m responding to this.

    Very quickly: We are not stupid. I’d go back in time for the same fee if I didn’t have to deal with the extra 4 to 18 hours it takes to complete a report today.

    For all the bullies out there, don’t bother responding. Even with all of our newfound technology, I’ve seen all the changes over the years and know how long it takes to complete a report. You’re not fooling anyone.

    Smiley Face

  18. Avatar Bryan says:

    My annual income has reduced.  I still work approximately the same amount of hours.  There you go. 

  19. Jeff Duecker on Facebook Jeff Duecker on Facebook says:

    The convenience of technology is an investment which everyone forgets about the costs involved. Yes tech saves time so you technically make more money. But that tech costs a lot of time and money. So no when it’s all run through the wash we’re still making the same money.

    • Avatar Robert P. says:

      Also, fuel cost have increased, the cost of data has increased, auto expenses have increased, errors and omissions insurance premiums have increased, my appraisal software company charges more, and liability has certainly increased from what it was 20 years ago.

  20. Avatar TruthBTold says:

    What hasn’t been mentioned is the demise of free enterprise in the appraisal profession. A middleman has been inserted in the process that assists the banks, not the appraiser, generates no revenue for themselves, yet looks to make their money from the appraiser. Banks have created their own guidelines, to make the process more cost-effective for them, while increasing the effort and time spent for the appraiser. Scalability;  banks have created their “own” guideline which requires a certified to inspect everything a trainee does etc… But Mr. Harris knows all of this. What are Mr. Harris’ real motives????????

  21. Dustin, two decades ago we also used to say “jumped the shark.” which is what you just reminded me of. 1997 gas prices (national average) were only $1.20 a gallon. Today I’m paying $3.40 to $3.79 for premium in California unless I go wait in lines at Costco. I think my internet was under $30…maybe about half for dry-loop DSL. So, if my fees were $350 then, I should be making $1,050 for the same jobs just to keep pace with gas price increases, shouldn’t I? MLS fees; cost of appraisal software and maintenance fees were also much lower and I owned the software. I wasn’t merely renting it or being held hostage to ‘The Cloud’ (which benefits NO ONE except the service provider and software developers that realized they can’t make as much money selling product as they do by renting it and then charging an additional premium forever to access it! E&O requirements over $250k were rare. Dustin in 1997 it still only took me a day to research, inspect, analyze, conclude and write up an appraisal report (sfr). How is it that someone as tech savvy as you are was taking 2 to 3 days?. I can go back 25 years ago and recall the old office manager where I was Chief Appraiser paged me five times in about a three minute period every time I drive by the intersection where I threw the pager out the window. Dustin in addition to money, the average quality of life during the work day for an appraiser has gone down too. Stress levels have gone through the roof. A law was passed thirty years ago (ok 29) that most appraisers embraced wholeheartedly. Even back then it was too restrictive for lenders that were heading for a HELOC binge. Despite that, the bar was raised for quality and most appraisers operated as true professionals. Now we are treated worse  and with more contempt than any other job in the country with the possible exception of real estate agents and lawyers. One bright note over time. My SLK cost $40,000 in 1997(8). Same car in 2017 only cost me $3,200… but admittedly it had lost that new car smell two decades ago.

  22. Avatar E J B says:

    Remember to get about 10 background checks every year too. I received a request last week that had 14 pages of AMC requirements and another 7 pages of lender requirements so I guess the 1st 14 pages were AMC nonsense. 

  23. Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

    Folks….Appraiser Management Companies cannot manage appraisers if they do not have any! Tell those SOBs to bite a fat hog in the ass! Just my opinion, yours may differ!

  24. Avatar TruthBTold says:

    Wayne, is that how they get “pulled pork”?

  25. Avatar Scott R. says:

    The next Martin Shkreli ??

    • Avatar Scott R. says:

      I think I should have written the next Martin Shkreli in reverse.

      According to Dustin Harris we should all be lowering our fee’s. We get paid way too much, have too much free time on our hands, what with all our assistants doing the work for us and all this FREE technology that has made our lives so much more easy and simple.

      My goodness, with all the assistants Dustin Harris has working for him does he even need to get out of bed?

      This Dustin Harris !@#$%^ has me wound up. It’s people like him that simply need to go away.

      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Lowering fees when dealing with amc’s is code word for advocating on behalf of greater middle management profit so one can receive the majority share of orders. If cost savings from reduced costs of services are not returned to the consumer, the appraiser has knowingly or perhaps unwittingly offered a bribe. It is the co mingling of fees that creates incentive to defraud. Eliminate co mingled fees, eliminate the problem. There is nothing wrong with discounting and efficiency, but only so long as the market price to consumers represents the true market pricing in a non distorted fashion. If there was only 1 order and everyone had to compete, should that only pay out 1 dollar? If there are 10,000 orders is it acceptable for the appraiser to upcharge to the moon? No on both, ethics in billing matters, and that’s in the book too. Discounting for dollars, brought to you by big data.

  26. Avatar Fritz Vogel CREA,CRS,CEI,GRI NY Cert. Appraiser 25+yrs says:

    Wow, you must be in a time warp, ware all “costs” stayed the same from 20 years ago. With the background, education, hours and liability we have now, along with the new “requirements” and “expectations” that have nearly doubled. USPAP in 2000 was a 85 page document, now just the update course hand book is 50 pages., we work harder in may other ways than driving, inspecting, and typing, now 1/3rd of my time is wasted on BS, not “Accurate Value” Accurate Comps”, just total BS to satisfy a AMC trying to impress a Lender (JT).  The AMC’ idiots, siting in cubicles making $ 10-12 hr. telling us how to do OUR job, costs us more time and money to satisfy people like J. Trice, who will give our services away to land another account, lie to the G’Ment about the mythical Appraiser shortage (really just not enough of us wiling to work for nothing under crappy dictatorial UW wantabees). It has cost us PLENTY, now you the author are stating we should be grateful for technology??? and we are making too much $$$. Nonsense .

  27. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Your magnificent Coach must have lived on a different planet from the rest of us.  Twenty years ago I could do 2 cookie cutter homes (1,000 sf boxes) a day or one complex property per day.  I doubt that I could finish one appraisal in 48 hours today from all of the discussions I’ve had with appraisers.  1004MC, UAD, crazy coding, unending requirements to repeat what you said in the report, extra comps, more photos, etc.

    As for fees:

    1992: $250

    1994: $275

    2001: $400

    2007: $400 to $600

    I hear appraisers today stating non VA fees averaging $350 to $375.

    As stated above gasoline alone has gone from $1.25 to $3.20+ and that’s just one example.

    I’m not sure what The Coach is smoking these days but he needs to share it with the rest of us.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      So many of them are high on cash, that’s why they all in unison refuse to answer the below question regarding providing a thing of value with a straight forward and direct honest response. A relatively common ailment these days. It’s coming around again and more swiftly than ever, get ready for it. Personally I’d give an arm and a leg to return to the way ‘things used to be.’ Oh the glorious days when personal accountability mattered and enforceable ethical principal was tangible not just theoretical. I like this article, it helps highly critical consumers understand what they’re up against. Their supposedly unbiased valuation representative is highly likely to spend less than 2 human hours of their own time. A coincidence that outsourced services and selection by fee and turn time in violation of FDIC guidance is not mentioned? How many coincidences does it take before the people believe? It’s easy to come up these days, but is that really what you would want to promote?


  28. Baggins Baggins says:

    Still waiting for the ‘industry leaders’ to answer the quintessential question:  If the cost savings from reduced cost of their appraisal services is returned to the consumer, or allowed to be used an incentive to select them instead.  They have leverage, why don’t they demand such ethical accountability?  Big data causes such inconsistency in a swiftly moving market, it’s not a coincidence that international investors have stronger positions than Americans these days.  Country for sale.  Q help us, this deception will not abide.  Yes, definitely we need a few new checkboxes and data fill items in the FNMA forms;  Comps sharing programs used?  Outsourced data typing services used?  Report development assistance used, outsourced or internal?  Specifically state the appraisers billable amount. / You know, back in the day, there were far fewer ways for appraisers to game the system and there was no middle management to promote such behavior.  Instead of horses, now we’ve got appraisers driving blind 200mph in formula 1 cars through residential neighborhoods.


    • Baggs, you know high cost of appraisals for consumers is code for “& the banks investors think they are entitled to a cut of it too”

      Also, just when we thought out sourcing could get no worse…

      Maybe add a box or line for Country/State of origin for appraisal reports? Americans might object to Hyderabad Pakistan as being a cost competitive replacement for Bangalore India. At least Indians haven’t had recent history of support for Al Qaeda and/or Taliban.

      …or a new mandatory disclosure “No portion of the appraisal fee proceeds have been used in support of terrorist organizations?” Who would ever have thought to even ask if fees for outsourced work is being funneled to enemies of our nation or way of life?

      Far fetched…really?

      • Baggins Baggins says:

        FNMA line items:

        1. Inspected yourself, or used trainee? Note name, date, time, cost.
        2. Outsourced any developmental duties? Note name, date, time, cost.
        3. Used any comps sharing program? Note the source, cost, and effective date of the shared data.
        4. Appraisers billable amount? Note total fee to the consumer alongside the appraisers billable figure. Note any per diem or other costs associated.

        If consumers knew how many tricks were played on them at every turn, they’d be much more careful about taking out loans. For serious valuation analysts whom supposedly are the final check to fraud, surprisingly few understand the definition of collusion and defrauding consumers.

  29. Avatar Mike Armentrout says:

    While Dustin is perfectly capable of defending himself, I’m a bit surprised by the extreme criticisms. The frustration among we appraisers is certainly understandable on many fronts but we need to find some common ground. People have different perspectives and experiences. It simply can’t be said that “one size fits all”. Sure; change is inevitable and our profession is no different. I don’t have a crystal ball but I do know we need something to agree on or our lack of unity may be a catalyst to our demise. As a side note, what makes the AMC such a bad business model is that we essentially compete for the same space in the market. The problem is that they are not really appraisal providers.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      If the efficiency model was not a virtual profit center to accelerate the growth of middle management, causing market distortions in pricing to consumers, volume players would get less traction and careful laborers would have more staying power. Turn times would not be the focus, neither would the fee. Do you honestly believe middle management operates the way it does to save the consumer a dollar? Reality check time.

      • Took me awhile to see you mean (I think) 3rd party intermediaries rather than actual middle management in the sense I think of it. It’s actually a fundamental of our capitalist system.

        Noting happens until someone sells something. Be it commodity or service; tangible or intangible. Where there is a need ‘fill it’. Where there is no need ‘create it’.

  30. Avatar TruthBTold says:

    Mike, I agree with part of your statement, all for one and one for all. But Dustin’s’ a guy who has placed “himself” in a position as an educator and advocate for the appraisal profession, who comes out with articles and statements that are misleading and totally contradict the appraiser’s experiences and struggles. It’s almost as if he’s worked out a deal with an AMC and or bank to promote their agenda, for a payday?????? His sales history seems to support this!  

    • Have to agree with you there. I personally like Dustin because I’ve spoken with him several  and he made me feel comfortable during a long ago interview promoting AGA on his podcast. It’s human nature. I also know a guy (SRA) I used to work for that says he’s followed some of the power group practices successfully (in L.A.). Although he’s exceptionally well organized (former IT background); and has a spouse dedicated to helping him be successful – coupled with appraisal office management, he is proof (to me anyway) that at least some of Dustin’s techniques work. I couldn’t replicate his actions, but he makes it work for him.

      My friend charges (and gets) about $150 an hour and specializes in higher end complicated sfrs. I’ve never known him to short cut appraisal quality.

      I don’t agree with all or even most of his published views. I cringed when I read this one. I too see more willingness to accommodate or rationalize low fees and abuses than I am comfortable with. I try to maintain intellectual honesty in my views about Dustin’s’ articles and advocacies even when I seriously disagree with them. I don’t believe him to be a dishonest man but I think what he teaches can easily be used by others to excuse or facilitate their own appraisal inadequacies.

      • Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

        Mike, I have a lot of respect for you. I have no doubt that you are an experienced professional appraiser. You and I have been around the block and seen a lot from the appraiser point of view. I consider you to be a peer as I know that I have seen most every situation possible and I think that you have also. I cannot help but disagree with your association with Dustin. I do not know him but from what I have read and are aware of I am not impressed. He is a self-professed coach however I am unaware of any credentials to back up this claim. Mr. Dustin may be a wonderful guy, sorry that I do not know him but after reading this article I do not believe he has a clue. Is he trying to recruit appraisers to provide labor for the AMCs? Have I misunderstood his intentions? Best wishes Mike!


        • I respect that Wayne. If I had not spoken with him directly over the years, I’d likely have a different opinion too. For the record, I’m not an advocate of his approach to faster turn time. My belief is that for MOST people it would result in what I consider to be unacceptable short cuts.

          No question about it Wayne. You caught me straddling the fence on this one. It’s not in a comfortable position, but its an honest one. I appreciate that we can have room for disagreement on individual issues and still maintain mutual respect. Thank you.

  31. Avatar Jack says:

    Something jumped out at me after reading all of these posts. There is no legitimate response from Dustin.

    Sometimes I wonder what motivates people. Having seen his podcast, is it possible that he said these things to call attention to himself? Maybe trying to add some subscribers to increase the advertising revenue as the “Appraiser Coach”?

    What he said really doesn’t make sense. We all know that.

    Nice job Dustin. Look at the name recognition you received for your “You Tube” channel. I honestly feel bad for the knowledgeable appraisers you have interviewed and ultimately exploited. I hope they read these posts.

    Positive note: communicating with your peers is always great. Maybe something good came out of this scam.

    • Avatar Cort says:

      Very interesting take on this Jack … you may be onto something. Personally, I read this article from Dustin and sat for several minutes in total disbelief of what I just read … literally with my mouth gaping and scratching my head! There are literally way to many things to dispute. A complete lack of understanding of what the rank and file deal with in REALITY on a daily basis. I thought to myself, who in their right mind would write such crap? Then I remembered that Mr. Harris seems to be most interested these days in other “advocates” of the Appraisal profession such as the Joan Trice’s of the world (Appraisal Buzz, Clarocity … who is having trouble paying appraisers … Clearbox, etc.).

      He and the aforementioned certainly don’t represent what most of us think, so how do these jokers get the platform to act as an authority? …. Can you say “Click Bait”?

      In the future, I think we should all simply delete the Appraisal Buzz emails along with anything the author of the article has to say … in other words, don’t fall for the “click bait” trap. Just as it is true with any “extreme” organization of any kind (politics, policy, etc.), if they are ignored, they become irrelevant and will eventually … go away.

      • Avatar Cort says:

        … follow up: Remember, the Harris’s and the Trice’s of the world primarily sell advertising space these days. If nobody opens the emails, the adds don’t get seen, hence the less “clicks” their sponsors will see … hence, the greater likelihood  these folks will become less of an annoyance.

    • Avatar Marc says:

      He won’t respond…here anyway. But, how much do you want to e=wager that, if he did, his response would be along the lines of “I was just trying to gin up some discussion on fees by taking a contrarian view.”

  32. Avatar IMJSAYN says:

    I don’t agree with Dustin for the many reasons already posted by my colleagues above. However, I have met him in person and he’s a very likeable guy. And even though I don’t agree with him on a good many points, I don’t believe he deserved some of the harsh comments.

    I’ve read his comments on his blog and he does state that his fee for 2017 was “north of $500”. So he’s not against fee increases. I think what he was trying to communicate is that we have benefited from technology and that it has made our tasks more efficient.

    I don’t know why he stated $350 in his article. I haven’t done $350 appraisals since 2000 but then again I don’t do amc work!

  33. Baggins Baggins says:

    The question carefully avoided; Why are cost savings of reduced cost of appraisals services not returned to borrowing consumers? (via efficiency models in the context of this particular conversation). The answer is simple; The reduced fee provides a financial incentive for the distributor to select that appraiser ahead of others. This is why rotational assignment matters, and lack of rotational assignment is the mechanism which allows fee shopping and unearned fee raking.
    Not a one of them has read the appropriate guidance, or if they did the knowledge went in one ear and out the other. The various industry managers sure are good at buzzwords, but can they actually read? Signs point to no.

    pg7 and beyond.
    reg z, Sub part e, section f, customary and reasonable

  34. Avatar Raymond says:

    people, just a reminder, the AMC business is no friend of the lending appraiser, the AMC model was designed by and for lenders and lender interests groups behind the cloak of improving appraisal quality through better appraiser independence. Now most know that improving appraisal quality was not GOAL or the current REALITY.  The reality is the appraisal professional has loss all influence, authority and control of the lending appraisal process. Now can the appraisal profession muster up enough professional strength to reverse this loss of control?  

    • Thats the big question Raymond.

      Most of the established professional associations don’t have the desire to do anything other than lobby for their own sacred cows. Promotion of relaxed requirements (outside USPAP) for evaluations is their current favorite.

      Most (but definitely not all) state coalitions cannot drive significant changes or improvements in their own states, and cannot effectively affect national issues at all.

      Recognizing that most of the solutions MUST originate from (or at) the fed level, some state coalitions have formed a National Coalition of States Organizations. On the other side; our ‘enemies’ or at least supporters of the AMCS and REVAA have formed counter “National Organizations” to spread misinformation and promote AMC interests. Our collective efforts are highly diluted now.

      I’m a union (Guild) Member & organiser and while we are capable of affecting national policies as well as dealing with state issues we can only do so with broad support from appraisers all across the country. Not only our own members, but those of other groups as well.

      The trend over the past two years has been to see more and more new groups try to emerge as (The) independent leaders rather than to unite. As long as that continues, appraisers will be little more than periodic noisy voices that politicians only have to pay lip service to when they are running for reelection. We’ll continue to see last minute calls to action for window dressing letters when decisions have already been made before publicized bills were ever drafted. Legislators usually have to be influenced BEFORE bad legislation is written.

      For our part the American Guild of Appraisers (AGA) will continue to focus efforts on defending individual appraisers since no one else does that at all. We will try to obtain health care for our members. We have already obtained free college tuition via OPEIU. OPEIU has also made special Union Mortgage Services available to our members; along with other benefits such as discount car rentals; lodging, and varied other online discounts.

      When there is some evidence of serious long term specific planning desire with clearly defined national appraiser goals and objectives, the AGA will lend it’s support and strength of it’s parent unions..

      In the meantime, we’ll continue to try to herd cats toward achievable but currently very distant common goals..

      For those that WANT to actually DO something, contact

      • Avatar Phillip Burnett says:

        Ahh, well finally, here it is, the answer that we’ve all been looking!!!

        So, basically “The Self-Proclaimed Appraiser Coach” <<NOT>> comes on here, starts a big stink, that He knows everyone will get all wound up about.  Then, you come along here, “Straddling The Fence” (and yet you are somehow being the silent savior, via your UNION Thievery)???   REALLY????

        Come, come, now do you honestly think that everyone on here is that daft?  That we would not see through your veiled little skit here?  Wait, don’t answer that, as it is quite clear that you do!!  Or else, you wouldn’t be doing this, now would you, Mr. Union Hero?   Hmm, come to think of it, I do see your banners all over this “BLOG”.  So, perhaps this is nothing more than another paid UNION PROPAGANDA MACHINE?

        WOW!!!  What a freaking Farce this is!!!  And to think I almost thought that you might have been somewhat respectable for a moment there????  However, controlled argument skits are total BS and not the way to go about things at all.

        By the way, you might want to correct you contact’s email address spelling on your little Union Advertisement Bill Board there, as my guess is that it is,, but, hey I could be wrong there too, right???  Careful how you answer this one tricky rick, as you don’t want to blow your cover, now do you???

        • Phil, I can’t speak for other folks being daft or not but your post speaks for itself. IF you were still licensed I’d probably take a bit more time to address what you think are issues.

          Anyone that has been a reader of this blog for any length of time knows exactly who and what I am. Whatever other failings I may or may not have, being secretive isn’t one of them.

          THANK YOU for proving the point about WHY nothing meaningful can get done by or for appraisers.

          • Avatar Phillip Burnett says:


            I’ve been licensed for 18 years, however, thank you for assuming, as it always helpful when any opposing side helps you out, by espousing mistruths, now isn’t it? So, perhaps I should thank you for helping to prove my point, huh?

            What I feel are issues are pretty obvious, as I’ve been pretty straightforward / forth coming, don’t you think?

            Either way, I’ve seen similar such UNION PROPAGANDA before, played out in a very similar format even.  It’s just a shame that the Union folks feel as though they have to play on people in order to advance their agenda.  Which to me suggests a Very Dishonest Core and your little savior Union Bill Board stance right here at the end says it all.

            I would also point out, the reason that you can’t herd us cats is because most appraisers that I know, don’t like the dishonest nature (which always seem synonymous with what Union brings about).  In that, most of the appraisers that I know are just plain tired of the BS, period. And that would include the sly fox union mechanisms being employed herein as well.

            So, again thank you for proving my point!

            PS, Not that it is any of your concern, however, the Air Force added an “E” to the end of my name due to a typo on my birth certificate (in one of three / four typed spaces).  However, since you’ve made it your business, here is what you were looking for, but, could not find!

            National Registry Appraiser Report
            First Name: PHILLIP
            Middle Initial: M
            Last Name: BURNETTE
            State: LA
            Status: Active
            Credentialing State: LA
            Credential Certificate Type: Certified Residential
            Effective Date of Credential: 01/01/2018
            Expiration Date of Credential: 12/31/2019
            Conforms to AQB Criteria: Yes
            Disciplinary/Other Actions
            Current Disciplinary Actions Limiting Ability to Appraise: None

            State Contact Information
            The National Registry reports as public information active disciplinary actions that limit an appraiser’s ability to appraise (current revocations, suspensions, and voluntary surrenders in lieu of discipline). If you require further information regarding other types of disciplinary actions, completed disciplinary actions, or credential specific information, please contact the state agency directly.

            LA Contact Information

            • Avatar Superfly Snuka says:

              Always love tough guy talk Phillip. Especially in forums and blogs.  Lol. Quite an interesting set of responses from someone who probably has never done anything at all to help the Appraisal industry (my assumption). While maybe you have (doubt it) I find it very interesting that you felt the need to spew off some really interesting thoughts with words like “union thievery” on an organization you most likely have absolutely no clue about or how they do things. UNION PROPAGANDA MACHINE? Another interesting comment. Since when is it not ok to actually put out information on an organization that helps appraisers in many ways? Isn’t that how you get members? Get the word out? Show support? Mike Ford whether you like him or not has contributed countless articles and thoughts to this profession. I don’t see much of you out there at all. Is it because you are scared? Don’t care?  Or is it that you like to complain and want others to make things better for you? Just because you don’t like the AGA or a UNION or what some have said doesn’t mean you need to spew out crap just to make yourself sound BIG. You actually made yourself sound a wee bit shallow and well arrogant. For a 20 year appraiser I would expect more then angry comments and attacks. But you would rather use your own beliefs to put down others for theirs. Apparently you know exactly what the AGA DOES, has done, will do and more. Right? Oh and yes. You are wrong as it is but anyone that knows how to use google can figure that out.

              So question??? If you and all your appraiser friends are sick of the BS, tell me sir what are you doing about it besides crying on a blogs page? Enlighten me please.

              • Thank you SS, and you are right. The issue isn’t about me. It’s about trying to get the things done that need to be done for and / or by appraisers. Phillip’s still welcome to join us.

              • Avatar Phillip Burnett says:

                Your response is comical! And in as much as I would love to engage in a battle of wits with you. However, I try not to pick on unarmed individuals (like yourself).

                Wow, this is exactly how it happened on LinkedIn as well! And I just find it hilarious how you all are exposing yourselves here! But, hey to each his own brotha! Listen, why don’t you call your mom and tell her your being a bad ass on the internet and see if she will bring you a hot pocket down to the basement?

                • Avatar Superfly Snuka says:

                  Ahh. Yes. Tough guy again. Unarmed? You do know that this is a public forum an blog and well I think I’m armed quite well. I feel sad for you. Is business that bad? Are you sad? Angry? Upset? Again you didn’t answer the question posed to you which makes me and everyone else believe that you have done nothing but be a cry baby waiting for that handout. I’ll await your next post with more bullshit and attacks. I’m sure the LA Coalition would love to see how one of their members behaves. Oh wait. Yes. I’ll wait for the next moronic comment. Btw JR, hot pockets are so the 90’s and throwing in mom jokes?? I feel sad for you.

                  • Avatar Phillip Burnett says:

                    WOW!  UNION STALKER #2 HERE!

                    Sorry sillyfly, however, no business is not bad and I’m not sad, angry nor upset, but, sure you seem to be now don’t you? And truth be told, you are the one attacking me there hoodlum. And I’m sorry, that your intellect level is so low that the whole:

                    Battle of Wits / Me Not Beating Up On Unarmed Folks was over your head.  However, I guess I shouldn’t expect much from yet another Union Stalker. Yes, I’m a member of the LA Coalition, but, you already knew that right, Mr. Internet Stalker.

                    Sorry man, but, you’re not even engaging enough to disagree with.


                    • Avatar Superfly Snuka says:

                      heh. I laugh because you are plainly to amazing to see what I did and how your wits were destroyed by your last post. Ahh. I can do this all day with you sir and just watch you make a fool out of yourself.

              • Avatar TruthBTold says:

                “Superfly Snuka” now that’s a name. Talk about a niche! The only thing Mike Ford is guilty of is abbreviating your name! I could hear Curtis Mayfield in the background as I was reading your post. Cooooooooollllll. I love you man! Or much better for me, woman.

            • Phillip, I assumed nothing. The name YOU POSTED was researched and came up as an expired.

              It’s up to you if you want to pretend to be someone else while posting. A lot of people do it but don’t get all righteous when your own game playing results in people being mislead as I’m sure you intended all along.

              Phillip, a lot of us have been volunteering our time for years to try to reverse negative impacts from HVCC; low fees, price fixing collusion between banks and AMCs; hybrid appraisals dressed up to pretend to be USPAP compliant (PACE PRO) etc.

              By the way you have NEVER seen “such union propaganda” played out anywhere before because there has never been another Guild like AGA. Never.

              As for thievery we have ONE paid staff member (and it isn’t me OR our President). No one is getting rich or doing what we do for the money. Coincidently I am a registered Republican and publicly identify myself as a republican union organizer so no one is lead astray. I’ve also pointed out here numerous times that we are a non partisan guild interested only in promoting issues of benefit to appraisers. We don’t care if our members are independent, dems, or repubs; and we have no intention of trying to change anyone’s underlying political philosophies by anything other than example on appraiser-specific issues.

              We have directly helped over 65 licensed appraisers either defend themselves against false charges; over-charges and other issues such as being black listed or not being paid for work already done across the country in just the past 2 1/2 +- years. In one case we’ve helped an appraiser that was railroaded by Maryland get his case reopened in the Admin Law Court which is almost unheard of.

              In 2015 we were probably the primary motivating force behind an already approved State Bill (AB624) being buried in the Appropriations Committee long enough to kill it (though it has since come back as SB70 in Ca). A lot of people tried to stop that bill. From TAF to ASA-to AGA but after we all lost it took ONE PHONE CALL from our sponsor union OPEIU to have it effectively killed (in just two days).

              Maybe if you actually took the time to learn what you are ranting about instead of jumping to conclusions you might accomplish something.

              More and more unions have crossed traditional invisible lines and barriers to promote jobs… including directly supporting very large businesses efforts to expand. Read SCIG issue for an example. A half billion dollar proposed railroad expansion project. Every union you can think of (literally) attended public hearings, harbor commission meetings and city council meetings for Los Angeles and Long Beach to try to overcome false fear based coercion related to it from opportunists. It wasn’t the union members creating raucous whistle blowing demonstrations using kids at each meeting. THAT is what motivated me as a republican ANTI union appraiser to change my views. BNSF reached out to labor and labor responded favorably and supportively.

              Philip a lot of unions have learned that you cannot get jobs or benefits from people that have no work or products to sell. Right up until very recently AGA advocated win-win solutions for ALL involved parties. Lately we see some of the involved parties as the problem. TAF and State Regulators specifically.

              At some point even we have to tell our members “These folks are not working in the best interests of appraisers”, and they are not doing what Congress charged them to do under FIRREA OR Dodd Frank. There are times when using the weight of a traditional union is helpful. We don’t squander our access to that kind of power or use it to intimidate. DO we try to use it persuasively? You bet!

              Now, please tell all the readers what exactly have YOU done for appraisers lately? Aside from taking cheap shots, that is?

              PS The Air Force doesn’t get to rename people. If you were BORN Burnett and the certificate was wrong with an ‘E’ MOST people or their parents would have done something about that decades ago – instead of applying for and obtaining a license under a false name.

              The application even asks if you have ever been known by any other name. Burnett and Burnette are NOT the same name.

              • Avatar Phillip Burnett says:

                Mike, not that is any of your business whatsoever (as I’m not creeping around looking you up at the ASC website), now am I?

                I am a member of the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Coalition and we advocate for appraisers both on a state and federal level. And yes, I have been a part of organized efforts, to ensure that certain pieces of legislation (important to appraisers) gets through and more. And I have been to state capital and rallied against things such as HVCC and the like in so doing. So, please go patronize someone else, alright?

                And yes sir, I absolutely watched a very similar scenario play out on LinkedIn some years ago. And myself and another appraiser (from Alabama) called you all out on it, then too. Wherein you all played good cop, bad cop and then the UNION swooped in to save the day, imagine that? So, I’m afraid that you are wrong there as well.

                You know, if you all were just honest about your business. Instead of playing games (such as what we see here). Then, perhaps folks like myself might view Unions differently. However, it’s kind of hard to get a warm fuzzy feeling about any one in a Union, whenever you are being attacked, told you are a liar, etc. So, all I can say is that at least everyone can see you all for what you really are? As you’ve all shown your true colors here sir!

                So, hey folks, if you don’t want to be STALKED BY UNION THUGS (as I have been here). Then, you might not want to question anything that they say. Because this is a prime example of the UNION work at its finest. As they will stalk you, creep you out, accuse of you of not knowing your own life events and challenge every aspect of your being. But, they’re not trying to be bully’s, or anything, right?

                • Desiree Mehbod Desiree Mehbod says:

                  Phillip Burnett,

                  It looks like you have a personal issue with Mike Ford. May I suggest that you contact him directly. His contact info is readily available on his website and Google.

                  From what I gathered from your comments, this is not the first time you’ve gone head to head with him. This is not the proper forum to discuss your personal issues with Mike Ford or the AGA.

                  Your personal attacks in this public forum paint an ugly picture of appraisers as a group. Your snide comments and disruptive behavior give the rest of us a bad name. You are not adding anything meaningful and constructive to the discussion!

                  Please take your hostility and insults else where.

                • OK Phil, you were amusing for awhile. I’m busy. Bye.


        • Avatar Xpert says:

          Looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

          Phil, this one is for you buddy 😉

  35. Robert P Lutz on Facebook Robert P Lutz on Facebook says:

    Lately I’ve been quoting $350 and the caller’s always say, “I’ll call you back, but they never do. Today I quoted $325 and got the job. Fees are heading down in my area my area now that 40+ appraisers in my region are all competing for non-lender work. Next stop may be $300. -Retired BofA appraiser with 30+ years experience.

    • Robert, just saw our post for first time. B of A was probably the premiere bank as far as training appraisers and supporting sound appraisal practices in the 1980s and possibly early ’90’s. My original mentors were designated, (former (retired) Regional and Division Head appraisers from B of A.

      Doing work for your old Trust Department when it was headquartered in Pasadena, CA was always a positive and rewarding experience. Old timer MAI there used to call me annually to appraise his property in the Portuguese Bend Landslide Area. Fond memories. Thank you for reminding me.

  36. Avatar Fritz Vogel CREA,CRS,CEI,GRI NY Cert. Appraiser 25+yrs says:

    You guys have brought this to a whole new level. End the blog.

  37. Avatar Jack says:

    So after all this discussion – the blog has ended with zero action. Par for the course. Same thing over and over again. Care but do nothing.

    The reason for the lack of respect for our profession is this:  Some of us no longer have respect for our profession. If we don’t look out for ourselves you can be sure nobody else will.

    The only other people showing interest in the appraisal profession are clearly those that continually cut us off at the knees every chance they get.

    For those of you accepting fees of $225 for a single family appraisal, I can always compete with you, but I will not. I’ll take the second job to provide for my family until you fall by the wayside. I refuse to comprise my integrity at all cost. I’m one of the few people left that sacrificed for the better good.

    Yes, I’m disappointed, angry and ashamed to tell people what I do.

    To those of you responding to quote requests. Do you realize if you quoted a fee worthy of your “time” you could actually make a living worthy of your credentials? You could actually get paid what you are worth?

    You are the so called “State Licensed/Certified”, USPAP compliant “Real Estate Appraisers” that enable the appraisal management companies to strip appraisers of the income we most certainly deserve. 

    Guess what – after they receive your quote, they high five each other and laugh at us because they just received bonus points in addition to another commission for selling you out for a lower fee. Win-win for the AMC and the lender who is charging the AMC proceeds back to the borrower.

    Anybody care about the borrower? anybody? Public trust – no wonder why they don’t trust us. As far as I can see, the only viable option is to get on the same page and join a Union. The Appraisal Guild (AGA) sounds like a good starting point. They are already up and running with working knowledge. I have experience supervising a union. I was never a member but I saw what they accomplished. I didn’t agree with how that particular union (or other major unions) took advantage of the system, but I would hope we would be different and honest.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Well, it’s complicated… Inflation, QE money printing, and constant purposeful regulatory confusion had rendered the appraisal position as customary since lenders seek to qualify borrowers on their income, paying less attention to actual real property worth. In that regard the participators whom go with the new programs really are more successful. When one advocates for the largest interest at play, being preferred over people with independent views is a natural consequence. Toss in some additional unearned income via discounted fee with no price controls which then distorts market pricing for consumers, that seals the deal. Very strong reasons to advocate against unions if one has made a successful play at advocating for lenders interests first. Advocate of the day award goes to Phil B. If you’re waiting for government to save you, you’ll be waiting forever. If you feel the pressures of running solo are too high, that’s where professional group and union memberships come in. Each individual action matters. The fact that you’re even answering quotes is the problem. I don’t even answer and instead redirect the sale and demand direct assignment or bust.

    • Don’t be too discouraged Jack, and thank you for the open minded approach to AGA. The blog isn’t ended. The particular post has been beaten to death, and that’s ok but the AppraisersBlogs continues.

      This post was about Dustin’s views and collectively we went off the rails rather than sticking to the issues. Again, that’s OK. Anytime we get so much diverse participation it shows people are paying attention. Most of the posts were informative.

      Every article I read here now shows far more insight and depth of knowledge of the problems we face as appraisers; and the real causes. Appraisers are ever so slowly building up to a critical mass of frustration that may eventually become focused anger of the “I’m made as hell and not going to take it anymore” kind.

      Look into the history (and influence) of NACAO. That’s probably where the core ideas(or collusions) that lead to many of our problems originated.

      Some appraisers think everything is fine and we can all sit around singing Kumbaya. Others think state coalitions and only state coalitions are the solution…for purely state issues, they could be right.

      Still others think those state coalitions can beneficially affect national policy by working with existing agencies and TAF; who in turn have long ago sold out to folks like NAHB, ABA, AMA, REVAA, and CoreLogic as well as other special interests promoting IVS. The same folks that worked so hard to eliminate the distinctions between Business Valuators and Real Estate Appraisers. In this, they are wrong.

      I used to think working with or through TAF could be the best road to fixing our problems. I no longer believe that. They are far too willing to ‘play ball’ with bad players in our profession. In fact they are committed to “collaborating” with many of them.

      When enough appraisers are fed up with the gamesmanship, deception and misdirection we may actually make positive headway. It will likely entail the coalitions as individual entities; professional appraiser peer groups, and the Guild or similar union influences that are willing to take the issues directly to Congress rather than allowing the intermediaries to distract us for another ten years.

      Right now as a profession we are all heading in different directions. As long as that continues, AMCs, ABA, AMA and other lending interests rejoice.

  38. Avatar Kent says:

    When I started in the business November 2007 it was common for both my trainer and I to get $350 per order. 10 years later I am regularly getting $500 to $650. I don’t charge rush fees, complex property fees (but I also won’t work with lenders that try to abuse this policy by sending me only complex files) or trip fees. My turn around time is usually no more than 4 days and I could work literally every day of the year. I have both direct lending clients and AMCs as a source for orders. I am a total jerk and my volume has decreased significantly. Apparently telling every AMC and lender “I don’t care if I have to go through every client on the face of the earth, the only communication we will have is that you will send me the order and I will return the completed order on or before the due date” makes you a jerk. But I have been doing that for 10 years, I am down to about 5 clients who love me, pay me top dollar, almost as if there is some direct correlation between professional respect and the amount paid. Its in your hands.

    • Baggins Baggins says:

      It occurred to me years ago that when distributors prioritized pleasantries and courtesy over independence and skill, they were actually demanding the appraiser take a position of advocacy similar to their positions as employees. It is irony that the majority of work for independent valuation goes to the most pliable most courteous participators. They don’t have to like me, and I don’t have to like them. All that is necessary for engagement is adherence to the principals of unbiased checks and balances systems. People who roll over have no business in this business. I don’t ride the bench to cover only complex work for cherry pickers, nor do I advocate for lenders and middle management interests to defraud consumers in the form of concealed fee raking gained from a discount of my work product. I charge each lender the same regardless of sourcing for standard work product. Should an amc be involved, I’m likely to charge an additional 100 dollar hassle fee since I’ll usually be working with quite stanch advocates. The most effective way to break this cycle is to sell to lenders directly and immediately withdraw the offer of appraisal services if they use a middle management company. As soon as your company stops allowing middle management to defraud consumers, I’ll be available to provide you appraisal services. No deal.

  39. Avatar Bob Hatfield says:

    Sounds like someone has been drinking the AMC analytics Kool-Aid. While there is no doubt that some things have changed that increase productivity, digital photos being the most notable, to make such a “change” into an article that claims appraisal fee increases are not warranted is laughable. 20 years ago when you were standing around Walmart waiting on your film processing, your state appraisal board wasn’t dreaming up ways to string you up. That massive increase in “productivity” sounds like subdivision houses. That’s some pretty quick highest and best use analysis. How did that research into future zoning changes work out? Did you read USPAP before blindly taking those “desktop valuation” assignments that the AMC promised were “USPAP-compliant”? Just something to think about between podcasts…

  40. Avatar Fritz Vogel CREA,CRS,CEI,GRI NY Cert. Appraiser 26+yrs says:

    Just the cost of living from 1996 to 2016, Calculations would be +/- $350. report 1996 would now have to pay an appraiser $562.50 a report just to KEEP UP with the basic cost of living. But the AMC”s having a problem keeping up with payments (Clearbox, et al.) of $325 a report. All while collecting $500. from the (“client/lender”). I do delete the Appraisal BUZZZZ, I’d rather get one than read that crap.

  41. Avatar Marc says:

    So, Mr Appraiser Coach, what say you?  By the way everyone, let’s see a show of hands on who would actually pay this guy for appraisal “coaching”.  

  42. Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

    Hello Phillip, I am your neighbor in Texas. I respect your 18 years in this business and I bet you have some very real complaints. My 40+ years as an appraiser, Realtor, builder, etc, has made me one angry SOB! I have been approved as a real estate instructor on the college level by the TREC and as an appraiser instructor by the TALCB. I have had the opportunity to appraise everything from high-rise to flood plain. Many times in the court room as an expert witness. I have had the opportunity over the years to value some very unusual and complex real estate. I suppose that is why it does PIZZ me off to see someone set themselves up as a coach or trainer, etc. when in my opinion they do not have a clue. I am very much opposed to all of these various appraisal organizations that charge fees and issue a pitiful “designation” for a fee to someone that clearly does not have the background or experience to hold that designation. We do NOT have one single group that represents the large number of appraisers. That is why we are not taken seriously before any government board or panel. As a group we need to get our act together. I am nearing 67 years of age and have more appraisal work than I know what to do with. Really, I just do not care and only have interest in my next vacation or cruise. I will say, that I have respect for Mike Ford. He seems to be working very hard for the best interests of appraisers. I do not understand why as he could be spending his time on his family or better things. Just my two cents, this occupation needs for those interested to really join together and force a solution. I wish I had more interest, but I am just too tired of it to care. Best of luck to all of you!

  43. Avatar Phillip Burnett says:

    Hello Mr. Courtney, 

    You know your name sounds very familiar, any chance that you would have ever have come out our way (Louisiana) to pick up some form of continuing education?  I only ask because early on in my appraisal career, I was Louisiana Chapter President, Chairman and Board Member for NAMA for many years.  That is, until its eventual demise.  So, I am wondering if we have met before at an educational event, or the like?   

    Normally, I’d go dig out my old NAMA book to see if you were a member, or what?  However, we lost our home and office in the 1,000 years flood that swept through here in August of 2016.  So, I unfortunately do not have any of those records anymore.   

    Either way, thank you for your kindly worded response, I really do appreciate it.  And I may be falling for the oldest trick in the book, by responding here.  However, as you can probably tell, I don’t react well to any acts of intimidation.  So, it’s probably safe to say that I will never be bullied into silence.  Although, I will never allow myself to be made a victim either though.   Because I accept no one’s definition of my life, as I am the only one who can define my life. 

    The reality is that I just must look at it, as sticks and stones sort of thing.  The funny thing is that I was always the class clown and never much on confrontation, to begin with.   Which is probably why one of my favorites sayings comes from Dr. Seuss:  Always be yourself, because the people who mind don’t matter.  And the people that matter, don’t mind! 

    I do find it somewhat odd though, that what transpired above here, seems to fall in lock step with my idea of a union in the first place.   So, please forgive my reluctance, as I do respect your 40+ years as an appraiser, Realtor, builder, etc.  And I readily agree that the things that have befallen the appraiser have made me very angry as well.   You are 100% right though, we do not have a single group that represents a larger percentage of us.  And I too am fed up with the bought and paid for designations as well.    I can also see how our fractured / lack of unity is causing us more harm than good too.  And I agree that as a group, we really do need to get our act together.  I also know that he who believes is strong, and he who doubts is weak.  And strong convictions precede great actions.  So, I am still very hopeful for our future. 

    Also, thank you for your reassuring message with regards to Mr. Ford.   However, contrary to what has been stated here, I do not have any sort of on-going battle with Mr. Ford, at all.  As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure that we have ever even spoken before the above encounter.  Because for the most part, I stay too busy to post much anyways.   I will say that given your testimony that I may have misjudged him and / or his intentions as well?  As I do agree with the greater majority of what he seems to be saying.  Or at least from the posts he’s made that I have taken notice of here and in the past anyways.  So, I may need to give this incident some additional, or re-consideration, if you will?   

    Mr. Courtney, I really do appreciate your efforts & kind words and I appreciate the fact that you took time out of your schedule to make such a nice gesture.  As it is very refreshing, and something not often seen these days.   And please understand that I am not typically an unpleasant person at all.  In that, I am much more comfortable being the class clown, than I am in having to defend a position.  Not that I don’t have enemies, as I am sure that I have some out there somewhere.  What’s the old saying, “If you have enemies that means that you’ve probably stood for something in life”, right?   And I was raised to tell it like it is, even if it hurts.  Cause my parents made sure that it would hurt a lot worse, if I didn’t when I was coming up.    

    Again, thank you for your kindness and taking the time to point this out to me, as I really do sincerely appreciate your efforts.  And please know that I am not above saying I am sorry and or making amends.  Therefore, who knows you may see another post from me again today! Thank You!!

  44. Avatar Phillip Burnett says:

    Mr. Ford, We clearly got off on the wrong foot here and that was predominantly my fault. So, I do sincerely apologize! Therefore, I am going to attempt to right the ship here, if I can? As I firmly believe that it is our choices that show what we truly are (far more than that of our abilities). And thus far, my abilities have apparently only served to cause disdain, or so it seems anyways. To be more specific (I hate lame generalities in loosely conceived apologies).

    So, Mr. Ford, I sincerely apologize for my rants earlier!  As I will be the first to admit when I am wrong. And regardless of what I may have thought, or felt at the time, Ms. Mehbod is correct, as I should not have made some of the statements that I did. As she was also right about them being disruptive as well and in the long run, they do nothing to forward any good cause whatsoever. And while I may not agree with some of the mischaracterizations of our disagreement, nor do I agree with the personal attacks either for that matter. But, it takes two to tango, right? And I was wrong there as well, as I should not have made some of those statements, no matter what. So, again my apologies!  And before everyone decides to come at me yet again, hopefully everyone would hear me out here. As I will readily admit that aside from your remarks (directed towards me), I do agree with most (if not almost all of what you have said herein). Once again, I’ve never been too proud to admit when I was wrong. And it was wrong of me to come at you in the manner, in which I did. Therefore, I would hope that we can put that behind us now?

    Having said all of that, I feel compelled to respond to some of the things noted herein. Because I am interested in making a difference and for the most part, I am exactly as you had described in a post earlier. As I’m very close to the point of; “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” kind of disgruntled-ness. And although, I have an utter disdain for unions and the like, as I’ve never seen anything good come out of them. However, it may be time for me to weigh all of this out, a little more carefully?

    Therefore, I will spend some time reading up on the Appraisers Guild and some of what you’ve said here as well. Because on the surface the Guild does seem to share some of the same interests that I have. My only reservation is the union aspect of it, which I will readily admit I do find difficult to overcome. But, knowing what is right, doesn’t mean much at all. That is, unless you are willing to do what’s right! As that is the measure of a man, at least in my opinion anyways. I do know that strong people stand up for themselves, but, the strongest people stand up for others as well. And I have always been more of an encourager, as the world already has plenty of critics, right? So, I would hope that this would settle any dispute that we may have had earlier.

    And Ms. Mehbod, for the record, I did ask the monitors to remove my prior commentary, as it was never my intent to distract from any form of betterment, that we all might receive from participating herein. However, I was informed that the by-laws do not allow for such. But, just so you will know, I made the effort to do so, nonetheless!


    PS, Sorry for the length, however, the AMC’s have created this disorder, that I now seem to have. And maybe you’ve heard of it, as it is the over explanation, over simplification, double redundant illustration syndrome? Therefore, I have trouble writing even the simplest of statements without having to resort to reduction of the ridiculous. In that, good old common sense left the building on that fateful day that Dodd Frank / HVCC arrived and apparently its not coming back either!     

    • Desiree Mehbod Desiree Mehbod says:

      Mr Burnett,

      I sincerely thank you for your comments. Through your most recent comments you have demonstrated that you are a man of high integrity and moral courage. You certainly have my respect!

      I hope that you continue participating here on this blog and continue to fight back. We need to work together and support each others more than ever.

    • Sounds good to me Phillip. Btw Im just Mike to friend or foe alike.

      In the big picture whats important is that we all try to achieve pragmatic solutions.

      Re Unions – You are preaching to the choir…to a point. In 1975-76 I supported Navy Federal Credit Union’s Washington D.C. Mobile Branch Manager, Don Ricky in trying to get NFCU to recognize the right of workers to unionize. We were a quais civil service, military oriented credit union. Treatment of employees could at times be high handed. In an extremely odd bit or irony – the union seeking to represent us was OPEIU!

      When the right was acknowledged and we were given ballots to vote for or against, I voted AGAINST it. You see, the very union I supported in principle, was offering to help us earn salaries ‘consistent with other Washington DC area federal credit unions’. That would have meant a CUT of about 2/3!!! I figured if they hadn’t done that homework, the heck with them.

      In 1983 I went to work in a steel barrel manufacturing plant (I’d burned out on paper pushing and pay was really GREAT!). United Steelworkers Union. Our pay was 4 times MORE than the guys around the corner (South Gate CA; Rheem Man.). Company owned the Real Estate and all equipment outright since end of WWII. Our pay and benefits were SO great it was cheaper for the company to shut down the free and clear plant than to pay our next ‘negotiated’ wages. I was ok with that because it was a short term fill in job for me – not a career path. My uncle and a cousin weren’t so lucky though. I really gave a lot of thought to unions as a concept after that (not positively). I really thought they were doomed to kill themselves by ever increasing demands without regard to business realities.

      Fast forward 2009 when I was in the National Treasury Employees Union. 100% useless echoes for exec comp managers. Worse than useless. Rubber stamps for inhouse policies.

      Around 2012-14+- I was voluntarily working in support of a very large (half billion dollar) proposed railway project outside Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach. One that would have cleaned up the air in my own neighborhood and possibly reduced nearby freeway traffic… not to mention create a lot of jobs in my own backyard. A lot of artificially manufactured opposition was ginned up by eco-terrorists and environmental extortionists. Noisy, tear jerking phony demonstrations, false expert testimony, etc. ( /SCIG ).

      BNSF reached out to ALL the related unions. Electrical workers, carpenters, pipefitters, iron workers, ILWU, Teamsters (I think) and a whole bunch more I can’t recall. In all the many meetings THEY were always calm and presenting the logical, factual business friendly side of arguments (for obvious self stated reasons). It was the other side that used the underhanded tricks and gimmicks to try to kill the project. What impressed me was how much a huge business (BNSF Railroad), could achieve cooperatively with all the other unions on their side. The key was nothing more than looking for FAIR solutions whenever possible without trying to hold anyone up or deceive in the process. WHY couldn’t appraisers do that with HVCC and other abuses?

      My first contact with Jan Bellas was not one where I wanted to hear a lot of rah! rah! rah! for unions. I was a reluctant supplicant. (This was after the “biggy” completely corrupt SWIU government sponsored appraisers union never responded to one inquiry). Not one.

      BUT… Jan, Pete Viti, Leo and several other members I met and spoke with made me realize these guys (AGA) were different. I “tested” them by writing in response to AFL/CIO President Trumpka’s first newsletter I ever read to see if I ‘d get grief or kicked out for suggesting they stop automatically funding EITHER party from now on and make candidates go back to earning every single election.

      I’ve also routinely identified myself as the only Republican Union Organizer I know (or at least the only one willing to admit it) in public. They still haven’t kicked me out. Apparently I AM allowed to think non traditionally without penalty. OPEIU still reached out to help us bury CA AB-624 which had already been passed into law. Convinced me.

      Not long ago I was fortunate to be part of an executive core seeking to modernize our articles and by laws between AGA and OPEIU where broad benefits like health care; & FREE two year college education and a host of other more minor but still important “extras” were discussed and agreed to in principle. OPEIU President Lannigan and one of his delegated directors in New York are preparing a customized package for AGA members consideration. Like all things there are cost to benefit considerations.

      Phillip, for our part (all National and State Leadership Guild Representatives; and Committee Members are strictly volunteers aside from Jan whose responsibilities mean less outside income opportunity) do to time demands of the Guild. No one is getting wealthy on members backs or from their dues.

      In the past couple years we have directly helped 65 appraisers get off blacklists; defend themselves against false complaints, & get paid. We have also influenced some rules and policies among federal regulators; and State Boards. We may have had small influence on TAF educational & qualifications policy though nowhere near what we had hoped for.

      MOST IMPORTANTLY we have identified core national problems which if left as they are, will spell the end of real estate as the profession it currently is. So, I respect heart felt opposition to any union. Not all are good. The record is not outstanding.

      We are trying very hard to change that perception. OPEIU is supporting that effort. I’m very excited about the opportunities and prospects for appraisers to regain our profession. Unlike TAF and many other organizations our leaders don’t get huge salaries derived in part from sponsors whose interests run counter to those of appraisers. Join us if you will. Oppose us if you feel you must. But please do so with full knowledge of who and what we are.

      Thank you.

      • Avatar Jack says:

        Mike, this is the most optimistic I’ve felt in years. Maybe we CAN take care of ourselves if we start working together.

        Some of the responses I’ve read referenced gaining support from other unions or at least some guidance. I hadn’t heard of this before. Is it possible to get support from groups with different vocations that are already well established?

        Again, we’re not looking for anything more than what we deserve for our hard work. When the initial unions were established so many years ago, they were organized for very good reasons. Many things were accomplished. I would argue that the appraisal industry has been beaten up so badly that we fall into that category.

        Over the years, some have exploited the power of the union for personal and selfish gain. Certainly, not all are bad. I will admit that after my experiences with certain unions, I was left a little bitter. For example: the Union in Boston that intimidated the film crew while filming a cooking show. The union eventually won that case too. My point is this, if we could organize for the better good, I’m sure most appraisers would be on board as long as we keep it real, honest and do it with integrity.

        Maybe even the appraisers that have no choice but to accept the lower fees will be helped in the long run.

        • Jack, you made my day. Thank you. Yes, we can work with other disciplines even though I think ultimately our regulatory and qualification structures should be different.

          Ideally ALL coalitions, The Guild and other professional group  such as AI, ASA, NAIFA and the rest would work together. Heck, in California a couple years ago  ASA, even carried The Guild’s communication to State Senate FInance Cmmte when I couldn’t go myself. We’ve reached out to AI and we already have some cooperative contacts within NAIFA.

          We even reached out and worked with TAF before we realized they are as much a part of the problem as any possible solution.

          You are absolutely right re real, honest and with integrity. We strive to always stay within those guidelines.

      • Avatar Phillip Burnett says:


        OK, so I had no idea that different unions would / could compete for different organizations, etc.. So, I just learned a lot there. And I have to say, that this is a very eye opening experience. Which makes me wonder how many others there are out there (who hold the same beliefs as myself) which was that all unions were bad news? And not just for forced membership fees, or the like, but, for the backing of democrat candidates against the will of its own members? As that is honestly my worst nightmare!!

        Hmm, I feel like I’m in the twilight zone (waiting on that song to come on dew, dew, dew, dew), as this is not a place that I ever expected to be, NEVER, EVER, NEVER! However, you make a great argument, one that I am not sure that I can find good reason to disagree with. And that’s really saying something there, because I am the hardest of hard sells, as I have been staunchly opposed to any sort of union forever and ever amen.

        I have no reverence for TAF whatsoever. As they are (in my opinion) the most impotent, unhelpful organization to purport to promote public trust within the valuation community. I’ll just leave it at that, as I don’t even want to go there.

        As far as calling you Mike, I will do my level best. However, please do not take offense, if I slip, as it is not intentional at all. It is just that I was raised to show respect, no matter what. So, I mean nothing by it, as it is just in grained in me is all. Sorry!!

        Thank you for taking the time to elaborate and supply me with all of this additional information, as it really is helpful. Man, for your sake, I sure do hope all of your converts aren’t this hard to earn!! Again thank you for taking the time and being so understanding with me. It is just that this is a totally different way of thinking and / or view point for me. One that I never would have dreamed that I would even consider in the first place. So, you’ve made some pretty major in roads here in that regard.

        Again thanks for your time here, it is greatly appreciated!

        Thank You!!

        PS, You must be a rare bird? I mean, a Republican in the state of California? Means that you must be one of what like, three, then right? Like trees in the desert! LOL! Sorry, I warned you though, class clown! Have a great weekend!!

        • It’s my privilege Phillip….and yes, I’ve always been a round peg going into a square hole. Truth is, I think MOST people are the same way to different degrees.

          Few of us are the ‘absolutes’ that demographers, politicians or Facebook advertising hucksters like to label us as. Its one of the reasons automated software will never be a suitable substitute for reliable, appraisals performed by trained appraisers.

  45. Avatar Wayne Courtney says:

    Mr. Burnett,

    You sound like someone that I would like to know!

    Yes, I have attended numerous classes in the Great State of Louisiana. I was previously a member of the International Right-of-way Association and even met all of the requirements to earn my SRWA. I did not continue my membership and never did apply for the designation. We held a lot of our chapter meetings in Shreveport. I know quite a few appraisers in Louisiana and one of my best appraiser friends lives there. Talk about a clown, he is the only guy I ever met that bought a mile or so of abandoned railroad track and right of way. I ask him what in the world was he thinking? He began to educate me as to the price of scrap iron and sale price of used railroad cross ties. No wonder he was laughing!

    While I am writing this I would like to offer my sincere apology to Mr. Dustin Harris. I have made some rude and unnecessary comments regarding his being a coach. I have never met Mr. Harris and he has never done anything to me. I do not agree with all of the ideas that Mr. Harris is promoting but he is most certainly entitled to his opinion. I wish him the best!

    • Few of us are perfect. I fall so far short of that goal. It’s nice to see others have similar challenges once in awhile. How we handle our errors is a real sign of who we are. Wayne, I commend your integrity and class. Well done sir.

    • Avatar Marc says:

      I actually did take an on line class several years ago from “the appraiser coach” on the use of notebooks in the field. I think the cost was $35 or $50, and I learned valuable tips such as attaching a Disto to an IPad with velcro and placing it in a plastic freezer bag in the rain…you know, real important and useful tips like that. Total waste of money and the last “class” I will ever take from “the appraiser coach”, ever. I haven’t read every post here and am not sure what comments you made about him being a coach Wayne, but I don’t find it rude to point out that Mr. Harris is far from an appraisal expert, and is simply self promoting a business product. Yes, he is entitled to his own opinion, but he is not entitled to his own facts, and while his self promotion as “the appraiser coach” is business savvy I suppose, it does tend to misrepresent the quality of the product provided in my humble opinion. So, best of luck in his endeavors, but I’ll take my advice from legitimate appraisal organizations and peers.

      By the way, like you Wayne, I hold a professional designation to go along with over 40 years of appraisal experience, so I know an expert when I see one (usually anyway, as he did get me for one class).

  46. Robert P Lutz on Facebook Robert P Lutz on Facebook says:

    Fees are dropping here. These last few weeks I’ve been quoting $350 when folks call. Lately they’ve all been telling me “I’ll call you back” but they never do. Apparently there are appraisers here in my market working for $325 or even less, and that’s here in the San Francisco Bay Area market where values are typically greater than $750,000. I haven’t had any new work in several weeks. The next call I get I’m going to quote $300 just hoping I get some new work 🙁

    • Robert DUMP those AMCs!

      My friends AMC (which is NOT a high paying one by any means) routinely pays $350 anywhere and Usually pays $400 just for asking – that includes SF. Once you start the race to the bottom there is no end of it. Before you quote $300 make sure you can live on ALL your fees being that much. Once you sell yourself short, it’s real hard to go back. I know you have to eat and pay bills so if getting new clients isn’t an option, do what you must. I just encourage a lot of soul searching first.

      I know of a lady in the Sacramento area that will drive to SF (or pretend to) and do full 1004s for $225 & drivebys courtesy of Google Streets. I’m told she is now also doing 10-15 unit apartments for $750. Did I mention she is NOT general certified? OK, she can’t fake an inspection but I know when I last reviewed her work every single comparable in an out of area neighborhood was an MLS photo. I KNOW you are way better than that!

      There will always be people that short-cut; violate license and competency levels and the clients that encourage it. You don’t want to work for them or compete with them.

      The entire SF (City-County) market is a complex market. Seek better clients Robert. See if you can affiliate with a commercial guy and cross train-or start becoming THE area expert on 2-4 units.

      Email me direct and ask for free NIDA template – makes income property SO  much easier and defensible. Good luck.

      • Robert P Lutz on Facebook Robert P Lutz on Facebook says:

        Thanks for your message. Sorry I gave you the wrong impression. I haven’t done AMC work since 2005. Only non-lending work these last 13 years. Business was brisk here in that arena until 2018.

        How times have changed! Now it’s a feeding frenzy here with up to 40 appraisers within a 10-mile radius of my office competing for limited non-lender work. Even long time appraisers are bidding $275 and getting the work, just to stay employed.

        Even my old attorney clients are now calling me first, to ask what I charge, before giving their clients my phone number. Many attorneys here in the Bay Area have become price conscious on behalf of their clients. That’s bizarre. That never used to happen.

        • That’s different than what I’m seeing and hearing but you are the guy there on the frontlines. Charging $275 (which was LOW even for 1990) is the point where I’d go back to loan production work I think. Best of luck to you and I hope you see drastic changes soon.

        • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

          Try being in San Diego County Robert where there are over 900 licensed appraisers within 20 miles of me (All in a single county), and most likely 5,000 within a few hundred miles (Southern CA). Its funny how some say there are good AMC’s based on perhaps what they pay (C&R), but those same companies might pay $300 for the very typical $900,000 property in my area.

          Seek the truth.

          • Robert P Lutz on Facebook Robert P Lutz on Facebook says:

            I seriously doubt there are 900 licensed appraisers within a 20 mile radius of your office. There are only 11,000 of us statewide!

            • Robert, more than half (2/3?, 3/4) of the total state population of 33 million is located in L.A. & immediate area; SF, & SD. It’s not unreasonable to believe less than 10% of all appraisers are in San Diego. Outside of our large urban hubs or ‘megalopolitan areas our state is actually pretty rural overall.

              Stands to reason most appraisers would be where population centers are.

  47. Avatar Raymond says:

    40+ years in the appraisal business and the fee structure has always been an issue within the mortgage lending appraisal arena. The reason why, is that the lenders mentality of good appraisal service is “fast and cheap appraisals”. Not much has changed, from what I can see, with lenders. However, I pretty left the mortgage lender appraisal arena some 15 years ago.

    • Ray, back in ’86 my mentor charged 10% more than everyone else. He rarely lost a client because of fees. Even the ones that got upset when we didn’t ‘hit ‘ value would usually come back after trying someone else for 2 or 3 months.

      The biggest issues were HOW we dealt with requests for reconsideration (most failed, BUT NOT ALL). We suppressed our egos and looked at the data. IF we missed it or new info legitimately supported higher results we were honest about it and made the changes.

      Second biggest issue was turn time. In ’86 Our turn time was 6 to 8 weeks; two weeks before we even called to set an appointment AFTER payment was made! Even FNMA (direct) and Trust Dept of B of A and relo folks knew we had a 2-4 week turn time on COD jobs.

      There were also only 7,500 appraisers in California from around that time to the first license issues in ’91.

  48. Avatar TruthBTold says:

    I’m going to keep posting this; banks and AMC’s are doing whatever they can to keep an oversupply of appraisers, to keep appraisal fees down. Take on trainees as a last resort. We must start to monitor the appraiser to business volume ratio. Find every way possible to maximize your profit with your own resources and people who are not appraisers until we gain back some leverage. Get a side gig, do not lower your fees! Colorado and other places where there is lots of growth, be very careful of who you hire and train them properly, so they will learn to respect the profession and not run around like the slave gofers they train the staff appraiser to be! After all, it is your E &O, license, integrity, and profession. What I have found to be very interesting is that some of the companies who are traditional inspection companies are looking to get into the desktop game, and offering to pay the appraiser “hourly” for however long it takes them to complete the assignment. Why?, because that’s the way they’ve always done it with their people. Paying an hourly rate for varying jobs and other obstacles is only fair. I am watching to see how long REVAA, banks, AMC  and others will take to convince these just companies that they don’t have to do that!

  49. Robert P Lutz on Facebook Robert P Lutz on Facebook says:

    Well the only ‘good’ news here in CA is that appraisers here have been dropping out of the profession like flies. Whereas in 2008 we had 40,000+ today we have 10,000+ and that number is accelerating, maybe the only upside…at least for now…for those of us that remain?

  50. Avatar TruthBTold says:

    Follow up – my niece does notary work for Amrock. She just forwarded me recruiting literature they sent her about becoming an appraiser for them. They paint a real pretty picture, talk about all kinds of perks, including full training, but never mention pay. This speaks to my earlier post. They’re all about creating a new appraiser based on their definition of an appraiser, ones that they can control and abuse and are willing to risk their Insurance and license for the big boss! USPAP is an afterthought.

  51. Avatar TruthBTold says:

    Dear Signing Agent Partner,

    We’re launching an exciting new product: Property Data Collection! Want in on this at ground zero? If so, please read on! Join us on this new journey as we adapt to the changing industry.

    Big data is playing a greater role in valuation products and risk assessment, now more than ever. With data at our fingertips, our clients are able to assess the credibility and risk of many properties without having a full appraisal. As an industry leader in technology and customer service, we are proud to offer new products and services aimed at serving our clients’ needs.

    Property Data Collection was created specifically for signing agents. You won’t need prior appraisal experience – once you take the training, you’re eligible to add this new service to your profile.

    How Property Data Collection Works

    The first step of the process is Data Collection. This step is to capture the subject property characteristics, amenities, the site and any external influences. That information is then sent to the requestor and the Data Collection is completed.

    The Property Data Collection process will be accomplished using an Amrock-created app that ensures all relevant information and photos are collected while you’re at the subject property. The process will take only 35-40 minutes to complete, and you’ll have a product ready to deliver to the client before you leave! You may need to measure the property if a sketch through public records is not available. We will provide training on how to measure a property, as well as ways to obtain public record data.

    “Why is the lender only requesting a data collection?” you might ask. The lender is looking at key indicators such as credit score, existing data on the property and the information provided from the data collection to initially evaluate a potential low-risk loan.

    Take the Next Step

    Ready to change the game? We’ll be contacting you soon to see if you’re interested, and to answer any questions you may have. Please take a minute to fill out a quick survey. 

  52. Avatar Raymond says:

    Maybe more importantly, does anyone have any reliable data on, “How many CA appraisers actually do appraisals for AMC”? Personally, I’m still on several AMC lists and actually still receive those $300 request that I ignore.


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The Way Things Used To Be

by Dustin Harris time to read: 4 min