On 12/27/18, I was assigned an appraisal order from an Appraisal Management Company (AMC) I am not registered with. This order was for an FHA foreclosure assignment with “as is” value and repair estimate requirements. First, this is not an area I cover, second, the fee was about $75 below what is reasonable and customary for an FHA appraisal in this market, let alone one with required repair estimates on a foreclosed property. Third, I don’t do FHA work because I am vertically challenged (cannot reach the attic even on a ladder). The due date was 1/4/19, therefore one week after assignment, during the holidays where many are not working. I declined the assignment as it is out of my area of coverage and the fee was inadequate.
On 1/4/19 I was assigned the same appraisal order but they increased the fee by $25. It was still $50 under typical for the area, and I still don’t handle that area. The due date had been extended to 1/14/19.
Why do I write about this? I do because this is an example of an AMC that is not paying attention to the comments from the declination. If an appraiser declines due to coverage area, then it should not be reassigned. But also, if appraisers decline because the fee is inadequate, is upping it a paltry $25 going to cut it? In the time between the initial order and the subsequent, ten days passed. Had the AMC picked up the phone and started calling appraisers, they may have had much better success at finding someone who first of all covers the area, and second of all, would tell them how much it would take for them to take on the assignment.
I write this as well as I am trying to figure out how they are benefitting their client, the lender, with this method of locating an appraiser?
If we are to believe there is a shortage of appraisers in a market, consider this as well: I used to work for a small mortgage lender. We needed a field review completed in a rural market and had two AMCs that were trying to find appraisers to handle it. After two weeks of trying, both turned it back and said there were no appraisers available. Frustrated with their lack of progress, I got on the Appraisal Institute “Find an Appraiser” page, located four appraisers within 20-miles of the property, and had agreement from two of them that they could handle the assignment. We ordered and received the field review within a week. So how was I successful in finding an appraiser and obtaining the order? Simply by being respectful of the appraisers I contacted, and asking them what they would need to complete the assignment. Instead of blindly sending an email with an order to someone who doesn’t cover the area and dictating their fee, I called, listened, and was able to get the review in an area which was not as sparsely covered as stated by the AMCs. In my mind, what happened was simply they did not get bites on their offers, and used the excuse that there were insufficient appraisers to handle the work.
So, next time you hear that narrative of a shortage of appraisers in certain markets, think instead that the shortage is only that of those willing to work for substandard fees. A little bit of communication goes a long way, and respect in dealing with others goes even further.