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Heartless AMCs

October 21st, 2013 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Reader Comments Regarding Our Last Newsletter

Mobile, Alabama appraiser Todd Klinske writes: “Glad to see you doing good after your bypass surgery. I had a similar situation as yours on September 1, 2011…I was told I needed a quadruple bypass.  On September 2nd I was split right open…On September 12th, I was back sitting at my desk in our appraisal office.

Been in the appraisal profession(I call it that because when I graduated from college it was called a profession. 2’ x 2’ square sign was all you could hang in front of your office), for over 52 years.  Have a B.S. with major in Real Estate and Real Estate Appraising. Unlike today where state licensing laws have made it an industry or conversely a way for some to punish their competition.  Sad.   

Thanks for sharing your life experiences with the ‘Profession’.  I enjoy reading the articles that you write”.

Grand Rapids, Michigan appraiser Todd Klinske writes:
“I am glad to hear that you are feeling better.  I just returned from a trip to Kyrgyzstan and also have a fresh mentality that we, as appraisers, need to stop working all night and weekends and start to create some balance in our lives”.

Connecticut appraiser Renee Healion writes:
“Best wishes sincerely for a swift recovery.  It is quite a shock to take time away from this work and see what we have (sacrificed) for it.
Like your Chase/Sagaponack article!  I doubt (Jamie) Dimon would rely on a $265 appraisal with his own purchase of a nearby property.”

Seaford, New York appraiser Tim Faso writes:
“Hi Bill: Sorry to hear about the heart attack and surgery, but glad you are feeling better. 
I used to work for a large AMC as a staff appraiser.  In May they decided to eliminate the Staff appraisers and put us on their preferred appraiser list.  I was able to charge $325 for a single family appraisal in Nassau County.  Two weeks later they came back and said that I would have to accept $275 per appraisal to remain on the preferred list and receive work.  I figured that I could live with that. I was getting about 30 appraisals a month.  Since 10/1, I noticed that I was receiving less work.  I know it has slowed down a bit, so I asked my former boss what was causing the decrease in the work I was receiving.  He told me that since there were less orders, the jobs were going to appraisers who were charging less”.  The response that Tim received indicated that there was one appraiser willing to perform a 1004 appraisal for $175.

Mount Vernon, Washington appraiser Dave Towne writes:
“Regarding your first-hand account about Chase – it sounds much like a process that (unnamed) AMC uses in sending broadcast orders to zillions of appraisers in an area.

But the real problem is ‘us’… not some big bank (as much as I don’t like C), although ‘they’ (meaning all lenders) certainly are culpable for part of the fee issue.  Far too many of ‘us’ accept low ball fees just so ramen can be purchased for dinner instead of filet mignon.  Appraisers are their own worst enemy in understanding how accepting low fees just keeps the fees at the bottom of the barrel.  The regulators don’t give a crap about this because appraisal work is being done at the low fees.

The only real way to solve this is for the several appraisal organizations to band together and do an advertising campaign to explain to consumers why low ball fees controlled by others is a detriment to our profession … but they won’t.

Secondly, appraisers have to be convinced to boycott any assignment that is below the real cost of doing business.  But that also entails teaching appraisers what that really means, because too many don’t have a clue about that either”.

Long Beach, New York appraiser Leigh Pollet writes:
“I too am a Long Island appraiser and have been for about 30 years (hard to believe that!). And I too was offered absolutely ridiculous fees by not only AMC’s but appraisal companies….A national appraisal firm (not an AMC) offered me… two jobs with them: one in Southampton the other Sag Harbor. They offered to pay me $145 for each… and then upped the fee to $180 or so. 

Both houses were refi’s and both had sold for well over $2m within the past several years. Now, I was just in the Hamptons for a direct client – and received a fee more than five times (yes, that’s correct) that amount for similar properties. 
So it’s not just the AMC’s but sleaze bag appraisal companies who try to take advantage of appraisers – and appraisers who let themselves be taken advantage of. And yes, I’ve had numerous AMC’s try the same ‘crap’. I will not work for any of them.

But really, the problem is appraisers who take $145 for an appraisal of a complicated multi-million dollar home that will take one-one & one-half days to write up correctly. Heck, the floor plan alone on one "major" estate I did took me several hours – and I am pretty fast with my plans. 

Or appraisers who take any fee offered just to work. I earned $150 per appraisal when I started in the business in the early ’80’s. So now we as appraisers are being offered less than what was paid nearly 30 years ago?

Sorry to rant – we are on the same page!”

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Recent Real Estate Reports

Yesterday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing home sales in September declined by 1.9% from August.  This figure, however,  represented an increase of 10.7% from September 2012 as well as a median sale price of $199,200 which represents an increase of 11.7% from one year ago.  A link to the news release, which includes regional breakdowns and breakdowns by type of sales (i.e. distressed, foreclosure) is found here:

Existing Home Sales Down in September But Prices Rise

On Friday, Zillow released their 3rd Quarter 2013 Real Estate Market Report which showed a “cooling” of the residential market.  Zillow’s Home Value Index was unchanged from August at $163,000 and the quarterly figure was up just 1.2% from the 2nd Quarter 2013; at the same time it was up 6.4% year over year.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal on October 15th, Nick Timaraos challenges the idea that “there’s a large “shadow” inventory of potential foreclosures threatening to sink the housing market” and states that “There’s just one problem: the data doesn’t show it.  Mr. Timaraos credits efforts to ease refinancing and modify mortgages along with the strong demand by investors for distressed housing with reducing the inventory of “underwater” loans and delinquent mortgages.  He cites data compiled by Barclays Capita which indicates that at the end of July, the number of foreclosed properties held by banks and other mortgage investors stood at 309,000, down 16% from a year prior.  This figures is the lowest level since 2007 and is more than half the peak level in 2008.  The article includes data by Barclay which reports than an additional 2.47 million loans were seriously delinquent, a figure which is down 21% from a year earlier and at the lowest level since the end of 2008.  One day later, Hope Now (a private alliance of mortgage servicers, investors, insurers and nonprofits) reported that 67,000 mortgages were modified in August.  This figure is 8% higher than during the previous month and brought the total number of loans modified since 2007 to 5.4 million. 

On October 15th, the FNC Residential Price Index reported a monthly increase in August of 0.6%, amidst signs of “subsiding growth momentum”.  They reported that foreclosure sales made up 12.4% of total sales in August, down from 12.7% in July and 4.5% less than a year earlier.  FNC also reported that “foreclosure price discounts” (a figure which compares a property’s estimated market value with the actual sale price) had reached a ten year low at 8.1% during the 2nd Quarter of 2013, a figure which is down from 12.5% last year and 25% at the peak in 2008/2009.

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To help appraisers evaluate which AMCs are right for them, we have compiled this directory of over 200 AMCs and National Appraisal Companies, listing complete, up-to-date contact information and other details for each listing.

If you’re looking to expand your appraisal practice, our Directory of Appraisal Management and National Appraisal Companies is a great place to start.

Download the directory today — at only $49.99, it will pay for itself with your first appraisal order.

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Rates & Dates

Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends reported mostly increasing mortgage rates (prior to the end of the government shutdown and default threat) in their most recent surveys. 

On October 17th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.28% from the previous week’s rate of 4.23%. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was at 3.37%

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac is quoted in the release as saying:
“Fixed mortgage rates edged up leading to the federal budget deadline this week. Recent confidence measures depict some of the effects of the government shutdown and uncertainty of the budget impasse. For instance, consumer sentiment in October fell for the second straight month to the lowest reading since January, according to the University of Michigan. Similarly, October’s homebuilder confidence fell to a four-month low. However, despite these downturns in confidence, mortgage applications rose for the second consecutive week as of October 11th, elevated by increases in applications for refinancing."

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released October 16th for the week ending October 11th, reported that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 4.46% from 4.42% during the previous week.   The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) rose to 4.51% from last week’s 4.45%.  Rates for FHA backed mortgages increased to 4.16% from 4.15% the previous week. 

In their press release of October 16th, the MBA reported an increase of 0.3% in mortgage applications with refinance applications rising to 66% of all applications from 64% the previous week.    

One day earlier, the MBA released their Builder Application Survey for September which reported that mortgage applications for new home purchases declined 1% from the previous month.  The breakdown by product type: conventional loans (68.4%), FHA loans (16.6%), RHS/USDA loans (1.1%) and VA loans (13.9%). The average loan size rose to $289,650 in September from $284,392 in August.  Texas, Florida and California were the top three states in new home application volume with respective increases from the prior month of 5.6%, 1.6% and 15.5%.

On October 18th, HSH Market Trends reported that 30-year mortgage rates increased to 4.45% from 4.42% the previous week.  Rates for FHA-backed mortgages declined by 5 basis points from the previous week to 4.02%.  In their news release, HSH projected that:

“Mortgage rates should will start the week on a downward note, based upon how this week came to a close. The tide of data will probably continue to show more of the "modest to moderate" the Beige Book found, but before the Fed inaction and certainly before the congressional interruption took center stage, we recall that the data had a slightly warmer-than-not tenor to it, collectively. Should that continue, it would tend to slow any fall in rates, but we still think there’s a good change of an 8-10 basis point decline in HSH’s FRMI by the close of business next Friday”.

Additional information from Freddie Mac can be found by going to: Primary Mortgage Market Survey PMMS – Freddie Mac

Additional information from the Mortgage Bankers Association can be found by going to their site at: Research and Forecasts – Mortgage Bankers Association

Additional information from HSH can be found by going to: HSH.Com

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Ask Angie

We would first like to congratulate our most recent winner: Grand Rapids, Michigan appraiser Todd Klinske of Klinske Appraisals.  Klinske Appraisals covers Kent County in the southwesterly portion of Michigan.  Todd was the first to answer correctly that Aldous Huxley was the author of the quote “The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different”; Napoleon Hill wrote “Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure”; and that the quote " Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory” is attributed to Albert Schweitzer.  Today’s Questions:

Today’s questions:

1. Who said: “I have always been afraid of banks."

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Timothy Geithner
c) Alan Greenspan
d) Elizabeth Warren
e) None of the above

2. Who said: "Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance."

a) Yoko Ono
b) Albert Camus
c) T.S. Elliot
d) Truman Capote
e) None of the above

3. Who said: "On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me."

a) Rodney Dangerfield
b) Dick Cheney
c) Cher
d) Sarah Palin
e) None of the above

The first person to respond with the correct answers wins a choice of one of the following:

One Free Regular Listing on

A Free Copy of the Directory of Appraisal Management Companies (Available to Members of and FREE!)

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Tell us what you think!

We invite your responses to any of the issues raised in this newsletter. Please e-mail us at: with your thoughts!

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We really hope you find our newsletter to be informative!  If you have any input on future topics for discussion, please email me your questions and I will do my best to address them in the next issue.  If you want to look back at past issues you can see our archive at


Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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