AMCs – questions about value and revision requests – Poll

Appraiser Poll results
www.Appraisalport.com

How often, if ever, do your lender/AMC clients question your opinion of value? 8/4/14
Almost every report 108 votes 2%
1 out of 10 reports 327 votes 6%
1 out of 20 reports 247 votes 5%
1 out of 30 reports 333 votes 6%
Almost never 3,535 votes 68%
My opinion of value has never been questioned 635 votes 12%

Total Votes: 5,185

———————–

Compared to a year ago, my lender/AMC revision requests have:
7/28/14

Increased significantly 1,053 votes 21%
Increased somewhat 971 votes 19%
Stayed about the same 1,981 votes 39%
Decreased somewhat 661 votes 13%
Decreased significantly 353 votes 7%

Total Votes: 5,019

——————-

On average, how much time do you spend making and delivering requested revisions on any given appraisal? 8/14/14

Under 10 minutes 1,163 votes 24%
10 – 30 minutes 2,323 votes 48%
31 – 60 minutes 875 votes 18%
Over an hour 366 votes 8%
I don’t make revisions 141 votes 3%

Total Votes: 4,868

——————————————

My comment: Good to see that there are not many valuation hassles but, of course, there should be none since that is what AMCs are supposed to do – no valuation pressures!! Interesting revision results, since many appraisers complain they spend lots of time responding to them – 72% are 30 minutes or less. My favorite is No revisions, but only 3%.

Appraisal Today newsletter

Appraiser-AMC symbiosis?? Not!!!

An Evolving Symbiotic Relationship Between AMCs and Appraisers  ????
Monday, August 11, 2014, posted on Appraisal Buzz
Scott Pickell – vice president and chief appraiser at LRES

A few quotes:

“As a former appraiser with nearly 30 years of experience and now an executive working at an AMC, I have observed a true evolution in the way appraisers and AMCs work together. The relationship between AMCs and appraisers started off unsteadily but has improved over the years. It has now reached a point of mutual respect.“

“When working as an appraiser, I recall some AMCs treated me as though I was a rookie in the industry despite my 20 years in the field at the time. There was no reason for that. When AMCs treat appraisers with the respect they deserve, appraisers will return that respect and produce better work.“

My comments: Maybe Pickell’s AMC respects appraisers but the way appraisers are treated by most AMCs does not indicate any respect.

Appraising in the U.S. started during the Great Depression when lenders needed appraisals for foreclosures. Until the 1990s, when mortgage brokers took over, lenders somehow managed their appraisals without armies of telephone calls for updates, 10+ page engagement letters, sending broadcast emails trying to get the lowest fees, etc. etc.

Somehow, since HVCC, appraisers are managed as if they were children, who have to be prodded incessantly and corrected to do their appraisals “right” to ever increasing requirements.

Appraisers are seen as barely competent and unreliable, who have to be heavily managed. But, all of this costs a lot of money, as compared with the old lender management of appraisers. Of course, mortgage broker management cost very little, if anything. Who pays for it today? Appraisers and borrowers.

The same “barely competent” appraisers are increasing required to provide lots of time consuming information and analyses which often do not contribute to the accuracy or reliability of their opinions of value.

Residential appraisers are often required to “support” all their adjustments. That’s fine if you are doing a conforming tract home. If not, it all goes downhill fast. What’s my answer? Turn down as much as possible anything not a conforming tract home. Or, change your geographic area to one that has a lot of tract homes. Working for AMCs with less hassle can help, but scope creep seems to be affecting all lenders.

Few residential appraisers are willing to do non-lender work. Learn how to do it, including marketing. I have special reports that can tell you about how it differs from non-lender work, and how to get work. This will reduce some of your lender dependency. See my ad above.

FYI, I have a Certified General license. I do a lot of 5+ unit apartment properties. They are easier than 2-4 units and I get much, much higher fees. There are few appraisers who do them in my area. Cert residential are not licensed for it and local commercial appraisers don’t like to do them as they prefer commercial and industrial properties.

Very interesting comment posted on an appraiser chat group by Charles Baker, SRA: (editor addition: A more appropriate comment by Pickell would be) “It’s my job to maximize profits for the company. If you wish to participate as a contractor that’s your choice. But make no mistake, our job is to service the client, reduce costs, boost our bottom line and reward our principals and shareholders. You may wish to participate in those profits by contacting our investor relations department, but don’t expect to get rich as an appraiser. Thank you very much.” I really like this comment as it says what a corporate manager would view the situation.

Link to the full article. http://appraisalbuzz.com/buzz/features/an-evolving-symbiotic-relationship-between-amcs-and-appraisers#sthash.QH5TBFby.dpuf

Appraisal Today newsletter

Video – AMCs – fees, blacklists, etc.

The topics include:
– Major restructuring of residential lender fees since HVCC
– AMC fees and how to make more money
– Consolidation and what it means for appraisers
– What is an AMC
– AMCs since 1969, when LSI started
Note: the fee discussions start at about 14 minutes

I have been writing about AMCs since 1992 in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. My speaking style is much more informal than my writing style ;>

Phil Crawford, the host, is a certified general appraiser who has been appraising (residential and commercial) for over 15 years. He is a third generation appraiser. He has been doing interviews on a local Cincinnati real estate radio show for a few years. We are a good match!!

To see other radio shows, go to www.voiceofappraisal.com

———————————————————————–

My first interview was in April, on Fannie Mae’s exclusionary list. To listen to this interview, and listen to the other shows, go to www.voiceofappraisal.com and scroll down the page to the video “E3: The Fannie Mae List!!”

Topics included:
– Why Fannie is using UAD data
– Fannie and Big Data
– How appraisers get on the black list
– Which appraisers are getting on the black list
– The future of Fannie’s Big Data

StreetLinks AMC's new AppraiserPlus Program-paid on inspection, no micromanagement?

My comment: Hmmm… we will see what happens. Maybe too many appraisers took Streetlinks off their approved AMC list?

Full Streetlinks press release:

May 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — StreetLinks Lender Solutions(R) announced today the August 2013 launch of its AppraiserPlus(SM) program. AppraiserPlus(SM) significantly enhances the professional partnership between StreetLinks and appraisers by removing the traditional hurdles of micromanagement and post-completion appraiser payment cycles. StreetLinks’ lender partners will continue to benefit from exemplary quality and service levels, with the assurance that they will never be responsible for an AMC’s failure to pay the appraiser.

“I have said many times that we want to make a positive impact on our industry and to continuously make it better than it was when we entered. AppraiserPlus(SM) is consistent with that goal by providing measurable benefits to appraisers and lenders through real partnerships — not traditional vendor micromanagement,” said StreetLinks President, Tom Hurst. “This program allows appraisers to focus on running their businesses and brings back the days of “COD” style payment. This announcement is a year in the making and as an original founder of StreetLinks, this is the most exciting announcement of my career.”

For years, traditional AMCs have put all appraisers into a single bucket and micromanaged every aspect of the process, resulting in real or perceived nuisance calls, texts and emails that interfere with the appraiser’s productivity. While StreetLinks has never set appraisers’ fees and has remained loyal to exceptional appraisers, the company also approached each order with a standardized follow-up process. AppraiserPlus(SM) changes that trend by restoring the days when appraisers were trusted to run their businesses and provide great service and quality reports, in addition to receiving the majority of their payments at the inspection versus weeks or months later.

AppraiserPlus(SM) will limit or remove calls, text messages and emails to participating appraisers during the appraisal fulfillment process, thus allowing appraisers to spend their time inspecting properties, compiling data and writing appraisal reports. Appraisers will have the opportunity to remove nearly all follow-up questions, revisions and stipulations by completing a StreetLinks QX review prior to report delivery. Additionally, AppraiserPlus(SM) will generate ACH payments to appraisers the same day the property is inspected.

Appraisers accepted into the program agree to consistent and fair service metrics and quality control requirements. Hurst noted that this will also ensure lenders that the best, most qualified appraiser will be handling each report.

“We have spent years developing great partnerships with our clients and continue to see unprecedented growth and capture market share. This program will strengthen our partnerships with appraisers while driving additional value for our clients,” Hurst added. “With multiple AMCs recently closing their doors, some lenders have been put in a tough spot — including being left to pay millions in situations where the AMC collected the funds, but failed to pay the appraiser. AppraiserPlus(SM) mitigates such risk, making it a win for both appraisers and lenders.”

About StreetLinks

StreetLinks Lender Solutions provides innovative and comprehensive suite of valuation services and lending technology solutions to banks, lenders and other mortgage industry firms. StreetLinks’ commitment to quality and service, embodied by our partnership approach to clients and appraisers, continues to set us apart as the nation’s premier lending solutions partner. Our products and services are used by thousands of mortgage bankers and appraisers nationwide to simplify and improve everyday business operations. For more information, visit www.streetlinks.com/landing/AppraiserPlus.

Contact Information:

Tom Hurst

tom.hurst@streetlinks.com

317-215-8182

Link to streetlinks web site:
https://www.streetlinks.com/landing/AppraiserPlus

Appraisal Today newsletter

New AMC – 8 hour turn time!!

An AMC to Keep Pace With?
Q&A with Richard Johnson of Pacer AMC
April 1, 2013
Appraisal Buzz

BUZZ: How will you differentiate your company from the other 500 AMCs?

RICHARD: We have created a unique appraiser scorecard. We have an algorithm that measures the appraiser’s self esteem. We find appraisers who set a low fee, never complain when we are a slow pay, and love challenging assignments. We have no dress code. Appraisers just hate that.

We have spent a lot of time picking the best appraisers for our assignments. We call it dialing for dollars. We reward our processers based upon setting new lows.

Because we are the low cost provider we attract the very largest lenders in the US.. These large lenders too have an algorithm that includes input as to the cost of regulation. They have figured out the risk of penalties and fines is somewhere between slim and none. They have lobbyists to ensure that. We have hitched our star to their wagon.

BUZZ: What is this we have heard of your 8 hour Turn Times?

RICHARD: One of the ways we feel we can stay ahead of our competition is we have instituted an 8 hour turn time. We feel it shouldn’t be too hard to get all our appraisals done the same day they are assigned.

Of course we are not unreasonable though if a property is over 250 miles away we allow an extra 2 hours to submit your report.

BUZZ: With all the transparency, disclosures and Customary & Reasonable laws how do you get away with being the low cost provider?

RICHARD: It is really simple. We know our clients love AMCs because they get our services for free. It is the greatest business on the planet. The appraiser pays for the services for the lender. What a racket. We find appraisers who are willing to drive anywhere and do anything for an ungodly low fee.

We don’t worry about compliance because the appraiser signs an affidavit that certifies we have paid them a customary and reasonable fee. Have you seen the CFPB enforce any appraisal rules ? No of course not. Zero risk for lenders and AMCs.

My comment: be sure to click on the link and read the rest of the articled before you let your blood pressure go way up ;> It was published on April Fools Day!!

http://appraisalbuzz.com/an-amc-to-keep-pace-with

Appraisal Today newsletter

AMC Declares Bankruptcy: What Appraisers Need To Know About Bankruptcy

By Ramir Rodriguez

You received a letter in the mail informing you that your client has filed for .  It is this moment you realize that this bad news just became your problem.

Many of us are familiar with the recent bankruptcy filings of and its  bankruptcysubsidiary .  Peter Christensen, attorney and general counsel to LIA Administrators & Insurance Services, shared in his blog that the total unpaid fees to , agents, and brokers as listed in bankruptcy documents is $11,048,411.97!  This is a remarkable amount.  Evaluation Solutions’ bankruptcy documents accounted for $9,349,612.97 of the total amount and a separate filing of its subsidiary was for $1,698,799.

I Received A Notice… Now What?

If you received a notice regarding Evaluation Solutions/ES ’ (I will refer to them as ES) bankruptcy you may be wondering what the next step is to try and recover money owed to you.  Yes, a client’s bankruptcy can be costly for you, but most importantly, not adhering to the rules of the bankruptcy process can cost you significantly more.

Knowing the types of bankruptcy, how to play by the rules, and what you can (or can’t do) will help you understand the scope of your problem and ensure you don’t get in trouble.

Types of Bankruptcy

There are lots of information you can gather from the bankruptcy notice from ES to help you understand the nature of this problem.  But first you must recognize the type of bankruptcy ES is filing.

Chapter 7 – This type of bankruptcy is the liquidation of remaining assets to distribute among its creditors.

Chapter 11 – This a financial reorganization of a business, which allows your client to function while they follow court ordered debt repayment plans.

Chapter 13 – Similar to Chapter 11, but rather than a business filing bankruptcy it is the individual reorganizing and following a debt repayment plan.

Ideally, it’s more favorable on your end if your client files for either Chapter 11 or 13.  These types of bankruptcy give your client a breather until they figure out how to repay.

If your client however files for Chapter 7, which is what ES filed, not only will your chances of getting paid be reduced, but also you may be waiting a long time (even years) for this type of case to be completed.

Take A Number

At this point you are probably frustrated and would like to call someone to attempt to collect your money.  Stop right there!  Your actions can get you in deep waters.  If you attempt to make phone calls to ES’s accounting department, send nasty letters, or try to file a lien (which some appraisers have done in other instances and is not recommended), you will face penalties.

Assuming you do get some money owed to you, you will have to wait in line.  This is the second item you must understand.  Here’s the payment order:

  1. Lawyers, administrative expenses, and other professional services that are involved pulling hairwith the work of filing the bankruptcy.
  2. Secured claims, including mortgage holders.
  3. Priority claims, including wages and taxes.
  4. Unsecured claims, which is where you as an may be categorized.
  5. Equity claims, including stockholders.

So curb your frustration because all you can do at this point is wait.

What Can You Do While You Wait

Sure you have to wait for ES’s bankruptcy process to take its course, but there are some things you can do in the interim.  Since this case can drag for a long period of time, you can do the following:

  1. Consult with your CPA about taking a deduction on your taxes for the bad debt.  If you manage to receive some money owed to you after the bankruptcy case is settled you can claim it as income at that time.  See your accountant for more details.
  2. It does not apply in this case, but if you have a future instance where your client files for Chapter 11 or 13 and wants to continue a working relationship, it may be to your advantage.  Of course your immediate reaction is to quickly say “no way!”, but understand that Chapter 11 and 13 require debtors to stay current on all accounts moving forward.  This means you can add a fee to your to recover what was lost, stricter payment time frames, and maybe exclusivity as other appraisers may not take another chance.  Keep in mind that the best way to reduce or eliminate risks is to get paid up front.

 Improve And Move On

Now that you’re somewhat familiar with the types of bankruptcy, payment pecking order, and what you may be able to do as the bankruptcy takes its course, it is important prepare for the future.  This means assessing your and how to prevent this problem from happening again.

First, create a process on how to screen new clients by knowing their payment history.  There are many tools and resources you can use online that are free or for a small fee.  Second, improve your accounts receivable aging management procedures.  Just because they are still “current” doesn’t mean it does not require all of your attention.  Current receivables can quickly turn into problems if you don’t pay attention.  Last but not least, be persistent and tough but professional with your collections.

If you have an AMC bill in your state, read it and educate yourself on how it can help your appraisal business.  There are sections in most AMC bills that require AMCs to pay by a certain time frame.  For example, Texas AMC bill requires AMCs to pay appraisers within 60 days.

Also consider resources available to you such as your receivables where the risk of non-payment is transferred to the company.  In this case, you can get paid quickly without the responsibility of collecting and liability of non-payments.

No small business is immune to the unexpected, but you can certainly minimize you risks as work towards a successful 2013.

Guest blogger:  Ramir Rodriguez  represents Treasure  Valley Factors
in Fruitland, Idaho. He has  helped real estate  appraisers
understand how factoring can can help their business since 2009.
For more questions about factoring ,
please  email him at rrodriguez@treasurevalleyfactors.com
or visit his blog Factoring Helps or
website www.treasurevalleyfactors.com.
Twitter: @RamirRodriguez
"Like" Treasure Valley Factors on Facebook!

ES AMC out of business

ES Appraisal Services/Evalonline.com/Evaluation Solutions AMC in bankruptcy and is outclosed fighting over dollars of business

Another AMC closes its doors. I have been predicting AMCs going out of business for a long time. Why? The cost of starting a national AMC is in the millions. To handle cash flow problems, such as losing a main client (ES and JVI are examples) millions more are needed in cash reserves. There are over 400 AMCs now since HVCC in 5/09. I don’t know how many have lots of cash reserves. I suspect that many don’t. It is very similar to an appraisal business being dependent on one client and then losing the client. Nothing new.

ES is in bankruptcy. Employees and back payroll taxes must paid first. Vendors/suppliers typically don’t get much.

What is surprising to me is how many appraisers keep accepting orders, even though there are many Internet postings about them, often for many months.

A few months ago, in the September 2012 issue of my paid newsletter, I wrote about how to collect from AMCs. It is not that hard. It is not that hard. I will be setting up a special AMC Watch List for my paid subscribers. To subscribe to the newsletter, click the banner below.

I have always known which AMCs were in trouble long before they went out of business. Real estate agents have been complaining for 2007 about BPO payment problems. Appraisers started speaking up in early January, 2012.

In the January, 2013 issue I have a profile of a mid-size AMC including how I evaluated their financial strength and ability to handle a downturn.

Sorry, I can’t give it all away as I spend a lot of time on the research and writing ;>

Appraisal Today newsletter

Why are there so many increasing lender/AMC requirements?

Today, lenders are very worried about investors requiring loan buy-backs. I keep hearing aboutpiles of paper minor appraisal errors, such as typos, resulting in buy backs. Of course, many of the loan documents, including appraisals, have been lost.

Is this realistic? I don’t know, but lenders are worried so they tell their agents, AMCs, to increase appraisal requirements. There were much more significant changes in 1989, such as appraiser licensing, that will not be reversed.

AMCs work for lenders, and do what they say. But, if one of an AMCs lender’s require something, that AMC may require that it be done for all of their lenders because it is too much of a “hassle” to send out separate engagement letters for each lender’s appraisals.

This is a short excerpt from an article in the January, 2013 issue of the paid Appraisal Today newsletter, which focuses on AMCs, including background checks and a profile of an AMC that pays well and that appraisers like to work for.

Appraisal Today newsletter

Background checks

man with question mark

fbi badge

Another AMC/client issue is requiring background checks. Some AMCs are asking for them and some are not. If one of an AMCs clients’ asks for a background check, it is easier just to get one from the AMC’s appraisers so that it is in the AMCs files if they need it.

I’m working on an article for my paid Appraisal Today newsletter about this issue, including what the AQB advises and where to go to get one you can use for multiple AMCs. There are some good reasons why clients (and state regulators)

want them. I got a background check when my license 20 years ago and have never gotten another one. And some bad reasons – privacy invasion, cost, hassle, etc.
I’m working on a series of articles on AMCs for my paid Appraisal Today newsletter, including trying to find out about these background checks.

Appraisal Today newsletter