Appraiser income and expenses

APPRAISER INCOME AND EXPENSE POLLS

Appraisalport poll, 11-15, www.appraisalport.com
Considering all aspects of completing an appraisal (research, driving, inspection, writeup, etc.) what response do you think best represents your hourly wage?
My comment: Of course, this is gross, before any expenses, auto, insurance, MLS, software, etc. etc. I wonder about those making less than $25 per hour.
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In the past year, have your operating expenses:
My comment: Expenses going up, nothing new. See above poll for hourly income. What is happening with your expenses?

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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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How many appraisals per week and how much time to complete an appraisal report?

 

 How many appraisals per week and how much time to complete an appraisal report?
Source: Steve Costello at www.fncinc.com. Published 8-4-15
This month I want to discuss three recent polls dealing with how much time it takes to complete appraisal reports and how many hours you end up working to get them all done. In the first poll, we asked “On average, how many “interior inspection” appraisals reported on a 1004 do you normally produce in a week?” This poll was very popular with 4945 responses. There was a clear winner with the response of “4-6 appraisals per week” pulling in 44 percent of the vote. The next most popular answer of “7-9 appraisals per week” took quite a drop and only pulled in 20 percent vote. The last two available answers were those at either end of the scale and they were almost tied. A few appraisers really crank out the orders because 16 percent responded that they do “10 or more” appraisals per week. On the opposite end were those representing 17 percent of the vote who only complete “1-3” appraisals per week. My guess is that many of the people in this group may be semi-retired but like to keep active in the profession while making some extra money. Of course, any individual’s volume is going to depend a great deal on their specific geographic area and general complexity of their assignments.
In the next poll we asked: “On average, how long does it take you to complete a 1004 interior inspection appraisal report including inspection time (excluding driving time)?”
This was another popular poll with 4836 responses. The winner here was “4-5 hours” with 39 percent of the vote. Not far behind was “6-7 hours” with a 29 percent share of the vote. From here the numbers dropped substantially with 13 percent of appraisers going with the response of “8-9 hours”. That is really getting to be painful when it’s taking that long to finish each assignment. The most extreme answers both received the lowest number of votes. “More than 9 hours” was the choice of 8 percent of the appraisers with the final 10 percent going for the answer of “2-3 hours”. My guess is that the appraisers in that final group really have their system down to a science and fully utilize all the available technology.
Finally, we asked “On average, how many hours per day do you spend working on appraisals and appraisal related business?” This poll was the most popular of the three with a total of 5451 responses. The winner was “9-10 hours” with 37 percent of the vote. The second most popular answer with 23 percent pushed the level up to “11-12 hours”. The old standard work day of “7-8 hours” came in a distant third gathering only 17 percent of the vote. Not far behind were the 15 percent who really “burn the midnight oil” working “13 or more hours” per day. Only 9 percent work “6 hours or less” each day with most of these appraisers reporting at least 5-6 hours worked per day. It’s clear, and not at all surprising, that most appraisers are working very long hours there days.
My comment: Appraisers are working long hours now because appraisal volume is way up. If you are willing to work for low AMC fees you can get as much work as you want. I would have liked to see how many hours per week. I suspect many appraisers are working 6-7 days a week. I did, during previous boom times. These polls do not include time spent on revisions. I have some data below on that. Plus, the amount of time returning update requests – answering phone calls and emails.
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How much time is spent on revisions?
 From the November 2014 Appraisalport newsletter
On average, how much time do you spend making and delivering requested revisions on any given appraisal?@ We had a total of 4870 responses to this poll. Nearly half (48%) of those chose the response of A10-30 minutes.@ This would seem about right for most minor to moderate revisions. Many must be making pretty minor revisions because the second most popular response with 24 percent of the vote wasAUnder 10 minutes@. Another 18 percent are having to take a bit more time and went with the choice of A31-60 minutes.@ A smaller group of 7 percent is having to invest some real time to make the revisions and picked the response of AOver an hour.@ The final 3 percent selected the answer of AI don=t make revisions.@ I=m not sure if that means they are doing an amazing job on every report and never get a request or if they just refuse to do any revisions!
My comment: Lots of appraisers complain about excessive revision requests, but this poll indicates that appraisers aren’t spending much time on them. The time may have increased since 11/14.
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How often have you received revision requests that have no contributory value to the report, or were already addressed in the report commentary?” Sept 7 poll – www.fncinc.com received 3,273 votes

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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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FHA – Crawl space and attics

Crawl space and attics
Random Internet postings….
Man killed in crawlspace of Oklahoma City home, may have been electrocuted
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Posted on facebook, reportedly from FHA employees:
– If you can fit through the crawlspace door you must crawl the crawl space and inspect it all.
– Must inspect all the attic if there is access, even if there is no flooring.
My comment: If you’re fat, don’t have to inspect all of the crawlspace? Lots of stories about snakes, rats, dead animals, etc etc in crawl spaces. Appraisers crawling along ceiling joists and going thru the ceiling. Hmm… maybe FHA appraising is for the young, agile and small ;>

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Amazon and AMCs

Amazon and AMCs
You may, or may not, have heard about Amazon’s attitude towards employees – expected to be available 24×7, including holidays, significant health and family problems, etc. I don’t know if this is a bad way to run a company, but they do pay well and it is not bureaucratic. Demanding a lot of employees is not unusual for a tech company also. I do know that many other companies expect their employees to be available on weekends and evenings for emails.
But, I keep hearing from fee appraisers working for AMCs that they are expected to be available 24×7, including holidays. Phones and emails are sent at all times of the day. A quick response is expected. Cell phones ring on weekends and all times of the day and night. Appraisers have difficulty shutting off their phones and/or refuse to buy another phone for personal calls so they can shut off their only cell phone.
But… AMCs don’t pay well and have increasing Scope Creep, as compared with other clients. Why do appraisers put up with this treatment? Low self-esteem (no one else will give them work) or fear of having no business (common with self employed people)?

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The Power of Social Media and Appraisers

A few months ago, an AMC sent out an email to all their appraisers saying it was requiring that they include a copy of their work file with the appraisal.
Within a very short period of time after it was sent, I saw the email posted to a Facebook group. There were 356 comments posted. It soon “went viral” spreading all over the Internet. The AMC backed down.
Within the past week, another AMC sent a very rude email response to an appraiser who declined applying for a staff position at the AMC. I saw it posted on a Facebook group. It also went somewhat viral, although not as widely distributed as the workfile email.
Read more, including the original email, in the very interesting Jonathon Miller’s Housing Notes – August 21 edition.
Click here – it is near the bottom of the page.
What does this mean? In the pre-Internet days, often it would take weeks, or months, for appraisers to find out about FHA and Fannie changes, for example. Now it is available within a few minutes.
What’s the downside for appraisers? Even if you post to a group that requires approval, your postings can be obtained by others. Group members can send them to anyone. This is a definite problem if do court testimony. A while ago an attorney asked me how many appraisals I had done in the past 6 months as I had a broken ankle. How did she know about my ankle? She did not subscribe to the email-only discussion group. She asked another appraiser to check online for anything that might help her case. Other appraisers have reported similar situations.
Remember the Primary Rule, which I learned when I first browser opened the Internet to us all. At that time you assumed it could be published on the front page of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. Now, it is even worse – it can go all over the Internet. The only communication that I know of that is private is the inside of postal mail envelopes. Government agencies can track what is on the outside, but not the inside without a special court order.

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Facing AMC License Denial, Coester Sues Virginia Board

 

Facing AMC License Denial, Coester Sues Virginia Board
by Isaac Peck, Editor, WorkingRE
Excerpt:
Facing denial of its license to operate an appraisal management company (AMC) in the state of Virginia, the AMC Coester VMS has filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board alleging that the Board is engaged in “a conspiracy to restrain and monopolize trade” and is operating in violation of federal antitrust laws.
The suit follows Virginia’s recently passed AMC licensing laws, which set an August 18 deadline for applicants to obtain AMC licensure or cease operations in the state. The Board has issued dozens of AMC licenses but selected Coester for closer examination. On July 15, Coester attended an informal fact-finding conference and addressed several of the Board’s concerns, including Coester’s history of consent orders and settlement agreements in five other states, for alleged violations of state laws: Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Minnesota. The allegations against Coester in these states include: unlicensed AMC activity, false advertising, failure to pay appraisers on time, failure to pay customary and reasonable fees, failure to respond to requests within the time period specified, failure to submit biannual certification, as well as USPAP violations committed by Brian Coester himself.
Read lots more, and get links to the docouments at:
For lots more info on Coester, just google Coester AMC or brian coester appraiser
My comment: Looks like various state appraisal boards are looking closer at AMCs. Coester recently got into a tiff with the Louisiana State Board, which was resolved. I am so glad California has never had an appraisal board!! (Gov.  Schwartzenegger wanted to cut costs back then.) Too many possible conflicts of interest… The issues seems to be mostly about fees. I am also not comfortable about appraisal state boards regulating appraisal fees. They should focus on what is important – USPAP.

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Are you or your firm planning on any hiring trainees within the next 5 years?

Are you or your firm planning on any hiring trainees within the next 5 years?

 

My comment: I wonder what the response would be if lenders allowed trainees to sign on their own… remember the mortgage broker days? I sure wish there was a survey on trainee commercial appraisers as I see lots of them where I am. I am hearing that it is back to the “old days” when fee appraisers only hired relatives (because most appraisers were staff appraisers at lenders).

 

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Revised FHA Handbook 4000.1 effective 9/14/15. Are you ready for the changes? Get the facts!!

 What you need to know and which FHA documents you need to read!! 
Available in my paid August Appraisal Today August newsletter!!

Many appraisers say they will quit doing FHA appraisals. 
This means less competition for you!!

There is lots of confusion and mis-information about the changes. Some say there is too much required and others say there have not been many changes. What about attic, crawl space, and appliance inspections?

The author, Doug Smith, SRA, interviewed an FHA executive to find out what is really happening.

There are different FHA documents you need to read, not just Handbook 4000.1. It is very confusing, but Doug tells you what information you need and where to get it. He includes:

  • Which guide to use for what, and links to the reference material, including FAQs, Webinars, and SF Housing Appraisal Report and Data Delivery Guide
  • How to keep updated on changes
  • Attic, crawl space, and appliance inspections
  • Energy efficient items contributory value
  • Highest and best use – when all 4 criteria are required
  • FHA – UAD and Fannie guidelines

And lots more information.

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