Appraisal News and Business Tips

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Part time appraisers – how many and why?

Statistics from data on appraiser licenses from www.asc.gov, and other sources, do not identify how many are doing appraisals part time or not at all.

Why does it seem like there is an appraiser shortage in some areas? Of course, it is probably a shortage of appraisers willing to work for low fees. But, this also spills over into non-AMC work as few appraisers are available as they are cranking out AMC appraisals and won’t accept non-AMC work.

I keep speaking with more and more appraisers who are no longer working long hours. There is almost unlimited demand from AMCs, but most of them do not work for AMCs. Or, work for a few AMCs that pay well and give them occasional work. Or, refuse to work for lower fees, so don’t get much AMC work.

Why do appraisers work part time?

– The median appraiser age is getting higher. Older appraisers (and non-appraisers) are no longer willing to work 60-80 hours per week. They often don’t need as much money as before. Children graduated from college, collecting social security, home mortgage paid off or have a low rate on mortgage, spouse retired, etc. I suspect that this is the primary reason.

– Fee appraisers are self employed. Many baby boomers that are employed want to work part time but their employers won’t allow it. One of my brothers started working in the printing business when he was 18. For the past 30 years he has been doing on-site printer repairs for national companies. He is 67 and would love to cut back to part time as he does not want to do a lot of driving, which his job requires. When he retires this year, there is no one to replace him. There are no new people coming into printer repairs, which requires expertise in computer software and printer hardware, and many years of experience. His employer says “no” to part time work.

– Self-employed appraisers, as we get older, can gradually cut back on how much time we spend on appraising. That is one of the best features of having an appraisal business. Also, if we start another business or get another job, we can often continue part time appraising.

– Not working but keeping license as a backup. Hard to get license back. Sometimes do an occasional appraisal. I always recommend keeping your appraisal license as long as you can. You never know when you will need extra income.

– Don’t work for AMCs and don’t get a lot of work from non-AMC clients.

I just look in the mirror. I limit the amount of work I accept. I don’t do any lender work and turn down non-lender work every week. I am 72, downsized my home, no children to support, collect Social Security of $3,000 per month since I turned 70. I worked very long hours appraising for 25 years, but 5 years ago I started cutting back on the hours I spend appraising. (I typically worked about 60 hours per week.) I get also income from my paid newsletter and ads for this free email newsletter. Most important, I need more time for my experimental music and videos, another big motivator ;>

I do appraisals and work on my appraisal business about 15 hours per week. My sfr fees are at, or slightly above, non-AMC C&R fees. I have little driving time as have been working only in my small city for the past two years – 10 minutes to go from one end to the other. I have an assistant that proofreads, invoices, etc. My typical time to writeup an sfr is about 2 hours. Total time is about 4 hours plus 1 hour for my assistant. There are few tract homes here.

What does this mean for you?

If you stay in the appraisal profession, even part time, you will have lots of work in the future. Baby Boomers are leaving the workplace, or cutting way back, in large numbers for all types of work.

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? POST YOUR COMMENTS AT WWW.APPRAISALTODAYBLOG.COM !!

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NOT customary and NOT reasonable fees?//TRID??

NOT customary and NOT reasonable fees?
What is reasonable? Let me see… For example, the amount of work to produce the appraisal plus respond to request for more information, updates, etc. increases the time from 5 hours ($70 per hour) to 8 hours ($47.50 per hour),  a 33% decline. Of course that is gross, not considering your expenses. You are able to get the same fee – $350. But, the fee is not reasonable. Calculate this for your typical appraisal fees.
What is customary? Somehow AMCs seem to think that “one price fits all”. Before AMCs took over, appraiser fees varied widely around the country. The Midwest was typically the lowest, around $250. The West Coast (Washington and Oregon) and some East Coast states were higher, around $450. Alaska and Hawaii were much higher. We accepted “standard” fees from our clients as we took the easy appraisals and the hard appraisals, which balanced out. I didn’t ask for a fee increase when a property took more time. If was a high end home or a rural acreage property, the lenders paid higher fees. Or, we scheduled appraisals to reduce driving time. Clients understood that they could not give us all the hard appraisals and appraisals scattered over a wide geographic area.
Now, AMCs have standard fees, but they don’t consider the factors above. Many appraisers have responded by asking for fee increases or just turning down the assignment.
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TRID vs. the current system of AMC ordering appraisals
TRID will make the method above (“one fee for all appraisals”) very difficult for AMCs. Lenders have to provide an appraisal fee within 3 days. AMCs won’t be able to spends days “shopping” for the lowest fee for a tough appraisal. AMCs won’t have time to negotiate with appraisers. Yes, there are options but they delay the loan.
Now, appraisers can quickly accept broadcast orders with the expectation of getting a fee increase. After Oct. 3, that will create problems for lenders and AMCs.
What will happen? How can AMCs tell their lenders what to charge for a specific appraisal (the full cost, including AMC fees) within a few days? Their systems assume all appraisals are the same. I doubt if they have anything set up to distinguish complex rural from a tract home. Can AMCs even quote different fees within a state? I see AMCs making less money because the appraisal fees they pay will increase. Now, they are waiting for appraisers to tell them that the fee has to be higher.
What does this mean for appraisers who work for AMCs? Higher “standard” fees to cut down on appraisers refusing fees? This cuts into AMC profits unless they can get higher fees from their lender clients. But, AMCs compete with other AMCs. Fees are a big factor when a lender selects an AMC.
I have no idea what will happen. I am glad I don’t own an AMC with lots of lender clients. Maybe they will never raise appraisal fees for difficult properties. But, who will do them?
Volume is high now and AMCs have difficulty finding appraisers to do the tough appraisals and FHA appraisals. When volume is low and appraisers need the money, the “one fee for all” is easier for AMCs to use.

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