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Newbie Appraiser Woes

October 7th, 2014 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Entering the Appraisal Profession at a Time Many are Leaving

We have written a great deal about the many older appraisers who are either leaving the appraisal field or scaling back their appraisal practices. At the same time, there are some entering the profession (surprise, surprise!) and facing a different set of challenges.

Sarasen (Sara) Jones of Oak Park, Illinois wrote to us recently about her career switch from commercial finance to real estate appraisal: “Since January 2014 I’ve been excited about a career in Real Estate Appraisal.  I knew getting started was going to take a lot of determination and hard work on my part.  First, I had to complete and pass the 75-hour coursework requirement, then study countless hours for the trainee state exam.

However, I was not prepared for the lack of work out there to get started.  Newbies are faced with quite a few challenges: such as the lack of mentors willing to take on a trainee, the time frame  it takes to log the required hours, which reports trainees are allowed to sign and log to meet state requirements, and the ability to make a living as a trainee just to name a few.

A few things I’ve learned so far are persistence, hard work, and patience is key to getting started.

I thought comprehending so much information and sitting for the state exam was tough but it’s only the beginning hurdle.  The major hurdle is finding an appraiser who is willing to take on a trainee, in this give/take world what exactly is the benefit to the mentor versus the trainee and who wins here.  Not a lot of people are willing to train a newbie especially with so much at risk.  It seems new regulations are constantly created however opportunities continue to be on a downward spiral.  If one is lucky enough to get a trainee job, it appears 3-5 years of dedicated work is needed before once can move to the next level of becoming a certified appraiser.  

I constantly hear that a big percentage of seasoned appraisers are at or approaching retirement so where does that leave the profession and the ambition of newbies with so many hurdles to cross?

What does the future hold for newbies?  What does one need to know for the long term?  Where do newbies go for guidance or mentors?  Steep regulations may enhance public trust yet it seems to stiffen the future of newcomers.”

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A Reader Writes About Pressure on Appraisers and Violations of Appraiser Independence

Sam Marini of Samuel Marini Appraisals in Devon, Pennsylvania writes:

“It’s been some months since we spoke about other matters, such as achieving appraiser independence.  Although I am happy to hear that you continue to thrive, and agree with your assessment of the many bad health choices that plague appraisers…I must admit that I am writing to you because you are a journalistic master of ‘burying the lead’!

In this article, you have given us (in paragraphs six and seven) one hell of a laundry list of USPAP violations during interactions with ‘Homeowners, commercial property owners, real estate agents, attorneys, AMCs, banks’ and others.  You write that ‘Residential appraisers are afraid of (not) meeting AMC deadlines’, ‘losing their top appraiser ratings’, ‘of being shut off’ if they continue to miss an artificially created deadline. (I myself have been delisted, shut off, got back on, sent warnings of permanent delisting for continuing to not meet AMC deadlines, and finally removed from the AMC’s list of appraisers.)

But the residential appraiser eye-popper on your list was that general appraisers, doing commercial appraising ‘are afraid of that $100 per day late fee and the call from the loan officer’ (the implication being that a commission-only loan officer has the power to trigger a fine and the delisting of a general appraiser for not meeting an artificially-created lender deadline for completing an appraisal report).  What is the difference between this method of lowering an appraiser’s fee for not meeting an artificial report completion deadline, and an appraiser taking on an appraisal assignment with a fee schedule that is contingent upon achieving a predetermined value outcome? I think, none.

In the turn-around-time circumstance, the appraiser knows that meeting a client’s deadline (over the need for report accuracy) has a direct monetary value to the appraiser, no matter what may have occurred in the appraisal process to require, under USPAP, a delay in the report’s completion by a predetermined date.  Meeting that date rather than, for instance, waiting another day for a Realtor to provide clarification of a data conflict between the tax record information and MLS comparable sale webpage information, will produce a higher fee than taking the extra day to turn in a more accurate report. (While we are on this topic, what is the difference in residential appraising between accepting an assignment with a higher fee contingent upon a predetermined value outcome, and the acceptance of a good old-fashioned ‘rush appraisal’ that comes with a contingent ‘rush fee’ over and above the AMC’s usual fee? Not much, I think.)

Bill, I have printed your article and plan to take it to my recertification USPAP class next month for discussion and hopefully, some answers on what the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission is doing (if anything) about such blatant violations of appraiser independence due to lender (and AMC representative) undue influence over the appraisal process”. 

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Some Random Tweets to Make You Smile

1) Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.

2) There are two kinds of pedestrians—the quick and the dead.

3) Never underestimate my ability to do nothing.

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Appraiser Help’s 2014 Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies is Now Available!

To help appraisers evaluate how AMCs will work for their appraisal practices, we have compiled this expanded directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies, listing complete, contact information and other details for each listing.

If you’re looking to maintain or expand your mortgage appraisal practice, our Directory of Appraisal Management and National Appraisal Companies is a great place to start. Order it today for $69.99 and download it immediately!

Please visit our website now to make your purchase securely or contact us at (877) 434-2825 for more information on this comprehensive directory!

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Rates & Dates

Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends all reported declining mortgage interest rates in their most recent surveys. 

In their survey on October 2nd, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.19% from 4.20% the previous week. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was 4.22%.

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac, noted in the release that: "Mortgage rates were flat to slightly down across the board as GDP was revised up from 4.2 percent to 4.6 percent for the second quarter and the S&P/Case-Shiller National House Price Index was up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent for July and up 5.6 percent from the prior July. Pending home sales data were less optimistic, though, down 1 percent in August."

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported on October 1st (for the week ending September 26th) that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) dropped to 4.33% from 4.39%.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) moved downward to 4.28% from 4.30% while rates for FHA backed mortgages also fell, from 4.08% to 4.07%. 

Mortgage applications decreased by 0.2% from the previous week with the share of refinance applications as a percentage of all applications remaining at the same level as last week, 56%.

On October 3rd, HSH Market Trends reported that 30-year mortgage rates dropped to 4.23% from 4.27% the previous week.  Rates for FHA-backed mortgages also declined, from 3.98% to 3.92%.

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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Appraiser Help has Released its 2014 Directory of AMC’s and National Appraisal Companies. Click the link above to learn more and to download your copy today!

Ask Angie

We would first like to congratulate our most recent winner: South Carolina appraiser Mark McGinley of The Appraisal Company.  The Appraisal Company provides appraisal services in the north-central South Carolina counties of Chester, Lancaster and York.  Mark was the first to answer correctly that Joan Rivers was the author of all three Angie’s questions in the last newsletter: “I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again”; “I knew I was an unwanted baby when I saw that my bath toys were a toaster and a radio”; and “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present”.

Today’s Questions:

1. Who said: “Saying nothing…sometimes says the most.”

a) Emily Dickinson
b) Elizabeth Barrett Browning
c)  Sylivia Plath
d) Edna St. Vincent Millay
e) None of the above

2. Who said: "I dwell in possibility.”

a) Elizabeth Barrett Browning
b) Emily Dickinson
c) Sylivia Plath
d) Edna St. Vincent Millay
e) None of the above

3. Who said: “Forever is composed of nows.”

a) Elizabeth Barrett Browning
b) Sylivia Plath
c) Emily Dickinson
d) Edna St. Vincent Millay
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 2014 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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