Blacklisted for Refusing Low Fees
Source: WorkingRE

Dawson (quoted under an alias because she fears retaliation), tells a story that many appraisers can relate to. She says she was blacklisted for requesting what should be protected under law-her right to customary and reasonable fees. Dawson is different because instead of being secretly blacklisted and left to wonder why she stopped receiving orders after requesting a fee increase on an assignment, she was formally removed from an AMC’s panel after insisting that the AMC’s fee was not customary and reasonable…

Recently, however, her client began using an AMC to manage the appraisal process. After an 18-year relationship with a quality client, Dawson found herself dealing with an AMC that wanted to pay her considerably less than her standard fee. Dawson says the AMC wanted to pay her $290 for an appraisal. “For five years my standard fee with my client was $375. They decide to go through an AMC and now I’m expected to accept a fee of $290 for the same work,” says Dawson.

She discussed her concerns multiple times via telephone with the AMC. “I told them that I would not accept a fee of $290 for the same appraisal that my client had previously paid me $375 for. Their fees are unprofessional and not in the spirit of Dodd-Frank. One girl just laughed at me on the phone because I wouldn’t take $290. She told me they didn’t need me because there are plenty of other appraisers who will do it,” says Dawson.

Dawson was removed from the fee panel for “Unprofessional Conduct – Derogatory responses to communication from Nationwide Appraisal Network,” according to a document supplied to Working RE . Dawson says it was her pushback on fees that led to her removal, which followed her sending the AMC an email pointing out that the C&R fee established between her and her client was $375, and that the fee offered by the AMC was neither customary nor reasonable. The return letter from the AMC concludes: “Due to the issues we have experienced with your conduct… you are hereby notified that you are being removed from our approved appraiser list.”

My comment: Appraisers are getting letters or emails that they are being removed from AMC lists because they are turning down low fees. I am also hearing about desperate AMCs who can’t find anyone to work for their low fees. This often happens in rural areas with few appraisers. Low fees can be ok in nearby conforming tracts but go rapidly go downhill from there. I have no idea who will be doing appraisals as more and more appraisers are turning down the low fees.

I am also hearing some AMCs are raising fees. Maybe they have figured out that one fee for an entire state often does not work well!!


$200 Appraisals – Poor Business Decisions for the Appraiser AND Lender
By Joanna Condé
Source Arizona Association of Real Estate Appraisers

As many of us fight for customary and reasonable fees of $350 or more, some of our appraisal brothers and sisters are still taking the $200 appraisal and not only hurting the cause for the rest of us, but doing something that will eventually, if it hasn’t already, hurt themselves.

… there are many AMCs that pay customary and reasonable fees of $350 and more, that give five business days to do the report, and that will pay more if the properties are complex, in an area that requires more work and research, and will allow more time if there are reasons…

So why would anyone accept a fee below $300, let alone in the $200 range. I can only attribute it to not thinking it through.
Below are the reality checks as I see it.

Reality Check – $: The net from doing one $350 appraisal is about the same or even more than doing two $200 appraisals…

Reality Check – Time: There is twice as much time spent on two appraisals as there is on one. So, the appraiser taking the $200 appraisal spends twice as much time for the same money unless corners are cut. If an appraiser tells me he doesn’t do the same amount of work for the $200 appraisal as he would for the $350, then there is no other choice but to believe he is: a) cutting corners, or b) not doing a full report and providing the information necessary for a credible report, i.e. USPAP compliant. Not smart. The issue becomes not “if” you get reported, but “when” you get reported.

Reality Check – Liability: It seems apparent to me that the same lenders that have the highest foreclosure rates are also the lenders that work through AMCs that pay low appraisal fees and ask for short turn around times…

To Lenders: For those lenders that do not inquire of the AMCs they use what they pay their appraisers, and the time they give them to complete the report, shame on them. They are putting their own company at risk as well the borrower. Why?
The best appraisers won’t work for cut-rate fees. They know the quality of their work and they charge for it. Those appraisers who work for low fees usually produce low quality. “You get what you pay for.”

Low quality appraisals put the lender at a higher risk of making a bad loan.Isn’t it time ALL appraisers and lenders realized that!

Cheap is Expensive!

My comment: well written. Not just a lot of whining and complaining. Explains why it is important to the lender.


Read the full commentary at:


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  1. I have recently been “firing” the AMCs I have worked been working for a long time in favor of other AMCs who are paying higher fees. Some of my long term clients have agreed to increase the fee per report and the ones who would not increase each fee, I refused to continuing working for them. They continue to contact me periodically. I no longer work for peanuts and my quality of life has improved. Less work, more money, more personal time. I am worried about getting younger people to come into the profession. I don’t have the time or money to pay an intern who initially contributes nothing to my business and still has to get paid for it. So how do we bring new people in? They should be paying me for the priceless and invaluable knowledge and training –just saying.

  2. I can assure you that they won’t be paying you “$290 for the same work”. If you accept the assignment from the AMC you will be doing at least 50% more work than you were before. Examples: At least 2 phone calls and 2 emails daily to check on the status of the assignment. Warnings that your pay will be docked if you are late. Two to three emails from their office asking you to elaborate on 20 points that you have already elaborated on within your report, and the inevitable requests to include more comparable sales. Not enough? Now trying collecting from the askole AMC!

  3. The irony is that at the same time we discuss this, lenders, AMCs, and Mortgage companies are complaining there’s not enough appraisers, appraisers are getting very old, and no new appraisers are coming into the Industry. That’s because others know the investment they have to make to become an appraiser, and the “return” is not sufficient. Either let the fees “float”, or pay well, and you’ll see more appraisers.

  4. Just keep turning them down. Eventually, the AMCs will go out of business, not the Appraisers. Can they get away with doing this to Surveyors, Building inspectors, Title companies and Attorneys ? NO. Because those folks stand their ground, and they know the investment they have in their skills.

    • The smaller AMCs will go out of business. The more well funded ones (making hundreds of millions from appraisal fees annually) will continue to rake in the jack. No friend, the appraisers will be the ones who continue to wash out of this business model. Most younger appraisers have a rather naïve view of what happens next. They rub their hands together each week dreaming of the eventual appraiser shortage and big fees. Unfortunately for them banks have solved that problem long long ago and rub their hands together each day as well. The Solution: Automated Valuation (aka AVMs) chocked full of every data point that you can imagine (thanks to information provided by appraisers & UAD). If you can’t understand (or believe) what is coming down the road perhaps you need to read a few stories about how computers have taken over Wall Street. Around 85% of stocks traded each day are traded strictly by mega computers; first cousins of the same computers that will be sending appraisers into bankruptcy. Those of you who haven’t figured this out yet have been blessed with a low IQ and a guaranteed trip to the local homeless shelter

  5. Really? We’re still arguing that people have got to take the $200 jobs or starve? Have you actually run the numbers? Assuming that you put at least 8 hours in to an appraisal, that’s $25/hr BEFORE expenses. Subtract gas, wear and tear on the vehicle, MLS, E&O, software, business phone, etc, and I’m willing to bet that you’re taking in much less than $25/hr. Minimum wage isn’t that far away. Sheesh. Quit appraising and work at Starbucks. You’re hourly is lower, but you can get benefits for the fam AND free coffee.

    • Be kind, many appraisers have invested a lot of time and money to enter the appraisal profession and deserve a decent income. Don’t be surprised when the market picks up again; there will be too few appraisers and you can name your own fee.

      • I believe that you are a new guy living in a dream world. Do you have any clue how many appraisers work directly for AMCs as staff appraisers? Do you have a clue how high appraisal fees should be in reality? If there is a temporary shortage of appraisers (highly doubtful considering the fact that interest rates will rise for years) they may be kind enough to raise appraisal fees to $300 short term. I was getting $400 five years ago before the work load per assignment doubled and the liability increased ten fold. I wouldn’t touch an appraisal today for less than $800 which explains why I ran for the nearest exit the day HVCC within 2 months of HVCC kicking in.

        Appraising is a sub minimum wage job with no benefits, unimaginable liability, and no future whatsoever. Those who continue to engage in the “profession” burn with the lowest wattage.

  6. I definitely agree with the 4 gentlemen above, I’ve been appraising 40+ years, and to be offered fees that I charged 25+ years ago is disgusting. All of out costs have greatly increased between licensing, continuing education, insurance, MLS fees, etc,etc,etc. I don ‘t know if I’ve been blacklisted, but I sure as hell have turned down a lot of appraisals in the last six months.

    • Not only to I turn down below market fees; I remind the client what C & R fees are for my service area. And, by the way, I also have eliminated the clients that have an expanded Scope of Work such as requiring 4th and 5th comparables or use overseas appraisal reviewers who know next to nothing about appraising real estate.

  7. C & R is a bit of a conundrum. We all want it but I keep coming back to the appraiser with one income in the family. Either he/she works or doesn’t get paid, like all of us. If the ONLY orders they are getting are for $200-$250, they have to make the choice to starve or work for a low wage. It’s a real problem. If they have a family, their problem gets even worse. It would seem that with the numbers of appraisers leaving the industry, that maybe – just maybe, rates will rise due to the supply and demand. That has yet to be determined too. We can all pay lip service to why we shouldn’t take the $250 jobs but I think something else is also going to have to change. I wish I was all knowing and had the answer, but I don’t. Just telling someone to NOT take the low ball offers hasn’t worked and probably won’t for a while.

    • My suggestion for those accepting below market fees is the aggressively seek new client accounts for one hour a day and as you build a client base of higher paying clients eliminate the lowest paying clients until you have enough full fee clients to provide a reasonable income. It makes a world of difference between doing 8-10 appraisals a week for $200-250 and doing 5 a week for $400-450 or more which is considered C & R in my service area. Now I can enjoy my evenings and weekends.

  8. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for in life. Quality reports take time so, if a lender can live with a low quality appraisal they will offer a low fee and if they want a high quality report with very little or no follow-up required, they will pay the C & R fee. AMC’s do not appear to give a hoot about the quality of appraisals, only the fees they can siphon of the appraisal fee which SHOULD be reported on the HUD-1 as a separate fee from the appraisal fee. The AMC’s I work with (for C & R fees or above) bill me per order so, my fee is effectively less than what the lender pays me. Personally, I think this stinks and is misleading to the public. The appraisal fee should go to the appraiser, the lender should pay the AMC directly for placing an order in the AMC portal, and the fee should be reported on the HUD-1 separately for transparency. My fees are above C & R because I have to tack on the AMC fee charged to me so I can break even.

  9. Can we stand together? Please these fees are more than insulting.
    After 30 plus years in practice I see it over and over, some one will do it for the low ball fee. Stand tall, stand against low ball fees, or face it they will do away with us.

    • Better yet, leave the business. Believe it or not there are several thousand other business opportunities out there for appraisers that are smart enough to leave. Business opportunities that actually pay you well I might add. WHY anyone would voluntarily remain in this “profession” defies logic.

  10. Who wants low fees? They can blacklist me all day long; I tell them to remove me myself and do not contact me anymore. Not trying to sound trite but really??

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