Never had a Raise in 20 Years? BS

I  hear it from various appraisers all the time, “We have not had  a raise in 20 years! We are being paid the same amount per appraisal  now as we were when I first started in this business.”

The  funny thing is that it is said as if appraisers have no ability to  control their own prices. Ever hear of the free market?  Don’t get me  wrong, I understand their point.  I just do not think it tells the whole story.  Certainly, if you look at all the factors, it does not hold much  water.

I  first started in this business over 20 years ago.  Things were much  different than they are now. I am not quite old enough to have used a typewriter to construct my reports, but I did not come along much  later.  When I first began, computers were slow and crashed a lot (I  guess some things never change). The Internet was almost unheard of  (much less used for any research or appraisal work). Digital cameras  were a future luxury and so were cell phones!

I  began my appraisal career working in a lot of rural areas. When I say  ‘rural,’ I am talking about the kinds of towns where you can drive through  them at 35 mph, blink, and wonder why you never saw them.  For me, a  typical day was spent driving 90 minutes (one-way) to my appointment. I  would inspect with a measuring wheel (or sometimes a 100 foot tape), a  clipboard, and a film-camera (some of you don’t think that is funny  because you still are). After the inspection, I would visit all (there  were usually only one or two) the real estate offices in town. It was  there I would have to continually grovel for sold information like a  poor street urchin. If I could catch someone in the office, and they  happen to be in a good mood, I might get a little information from them.

Usually, the information was sketchy at best. “Oh, I don’t know, Son. I  think that one sold for around $200,000, but there was some haggling,  so I am not sure what the final price was. It sold last month sometime,  but I could not tell you the day. Square footage? Hell, I don’t know. It  was big though.”

Technically  you are right, we are getting ‘paid’ the same (or roughly the same)  fees we were when we first began.  However, I do not know about you, but  I certainly have had a raise. In fact, I have had several of them over  the years. In the beginning, I think it took me an average of 2 days (16  business hours) to complete a full appraisal. By the time I received  the order, set up the  appointment, drove to the subject, inspected, dug up comp information (several hours on just that one alone), took  pictures, dropped them off at the one-hour photo, typed the report,  copied a map from the phone book and splashed stickers from Forms and  Worms® on it, picked up the pictures from the one-hour photo, glued them on the report (no, I am not kidding), made two copies and overnighted  them to the client (at my expense), it was a full, two-days. Today, I  complete 3-8 full-appraisals per day without compromising  quality(before you start freaking out, please see my comments below). I was never good at math, but I would say that my fees have  increased about 600%. And all of this due to technology.

I  was reminded of how blessed we are in this industry just the other day.  I was at an appraisal inspection when one of my best friends from high  school rolled up.  He was not there for a social call.  When I say  “rolled up” I mean he was driving a large sewer truck.  He was there to  pump out the septic tank.  As I watched/smelled him do his job, I was  reminded why I went into the appraisal field.  Now, it is not a fair  comparison for sure.  The number of hours in education, training,  experience do not allow for an apples to apples snapshot, but I think  you get the point.  He probably made about $65 during the same time I  was making twice that.

Next  time you hear another appraiser (or yourself) complain about our low  pay, remember the whole truth.  We do ourselves a huge disfavor when we  (wittingly or not) choose to look at only one part of the equation.  All  things considered, we do fairly well as appraisers.

(reprinted from an earlier posting)

144 thoughts on “Never had a Raise in 20 Years? BS”

  1. Pingback: The Water-Cooler, the Internet and the Appraiser | The Appraiser Coach

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    1. Your article forgets to mention scope creep which adds way more time then technology has saved. Take picture of every room(no interior photos required in the past) take pictures of water running, address, view of every side of house, smoke detectors, etc… add aerial photos, add mls search to appraisal report, Add assessor card to appraisal. The useless 1004MC addendum. Adding 2 listings to every appraisal report regardless if relevant or not. Draw porches, decks, basements, driveways, interior walls, outbuildings etc on sketch, Do a home inspection regardless if FHA(sarcasm). Write a 10 page essay explaining why you did what you did. And my latest favorite-please explain why you did not use these comparables. Now we not only have to explain what we did, we are having to explain what we didn’t do and why we didn’t do it. Way more work now than there ever was. 6-10 hrs per appraisal minimum.

      1. Wow, Scott you nailed it! Besides the 1004MC form being useless. You lost me there.

        3-8 appraisals a day with a well trained staff is very possible. Any of you who think its not, hang up your tape measures and clip boards now.

        90% of appraisers are worthless imo. Stop whining and complaining, instead challenge yourself to stream line new challenges.

        If you just splashed this article with some haterade, odds are you probably still use a single monitor to enter reports. Inquire any appraiser who complains about how long it takes to do an appraisal and you will be in shock! I have asked 29 ranting appraisers, 28 of them use a single monitor set up.

        Forget about out sourcing for now, we have to take baby steps with the industry dinosaurs. I work on my mechanics daily. From posture, to desktop layout, and every mouse click in between has reason. I look at it like being a baseball pitcher. Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics.
        This alone has saved me 2+ hours per report.

        I find new leaks everyday. Bottom line… If you are not trying to improve yourself in a business sense, you are giving up.

        Throw the towel in now, being a “good” appraiser is not going to cut it.

        Jeeeeez! Stop hating and start embracing

        1. I In fact have 2 computers with 3 monitors each as well as a microsoft surface, a tablet and a disto. Give me a break. I have streamlined an utilize tech. to the best of my ability it still takes longer now then it did in 1995. when I started. All this tech just means they want more and more without paying for it. BTW everyone is forgetting the cost of all this tech. Software prices going through roof, mls systems and realtor boards charging more, etc. I would not start chastising people you know nothing about.

          1. BTW Kenrof. I still enjoy appraising very much and have learned to cope with the way things are and challenges. Things are totally different from the way they were is true, but to say that we as appraisers have gotten a raise is utter nonsense. I and every appraiser I know is making less and working harder then they ever have which is why there are so many articles about shortage of appraisers in coming years. As much as I enjoy appraising, I would not recommend it to anyone starting out, nor thinking of changing careers.

          2. I used to be just like you… working harder than smarter. I get it, it sucks!

            Break down those walls and the sky is the limit. Read in between the lines, instead of making excuses. Take a step back and try to look at your daily routine from a different perspective. That’s the advice I received that helped me get over the hump. It may be hard hard to swallow, I know it was for me.

            There’s a big misconception of using technology and mastering it. Put all the pieces together and the end result is a well oiled machine. I promise! Some of us are better with it than others, I understand. If this is you, hire a tech coach/someone to teach you. I bet most of our children can even teach us a thing or two.

            I think Dustin is trying to stress that appraisers really do have more control over their fees than we did 3-5 years ago. I personally learned the hard way… I was too cowardly to ask. BOTTOM LINE

            One day I woke up pissed off at myself and said *?*! it, I’m asking for a raise today. Ever since, its been smooth sailing.

            So yes, I personally have received a raise.

            BTW, lets be realistic here, appraisers were over paid 10+ years ago. The cycle has finally caught wind.

      2. In total agreement with Scott C. This article is BS. I have spent over the last 30 yeas appraising residential real estate. “Scope Creep” gave rise to “Scope Over-Zealousness”. Technical “improvements” have escalated into additional costs and time. General “everyday business costs have soared over the last 3 decades – insurance, gas, paper, etc. Ridiculous required additional commentary after a report has been submitted is now very commonplace. “Inspection” and reporting requirements are much more involved. There are also additional costs for continuing educations. Keeping educated and updated with any major changes in the industry usually involves costs for some sort of “seminar” advertised on this or other “Professional Appraisal” websites.

        I have raised my fees within the recent past, and have not had much problem successfully obtaining my rate and extended turn-time , with exception of that “wonderful” Mercury Network,. One of my best, longtime clients now use this product to “shop” our fees and instill shorter turn-times. Some lenders love to see appraisers in discourse and at eat others throats. I have refused to back down on my fees, and my turn-times are predicated by the difficulty of assignment and the date the borrower allows me access.

        I’m not whining at all. I am pissed off. You will be too when you work for a company for over 25 years, then they “throw you under the bus” for $25-$50.

      3. Scott, Dustin also seems to NOT factor in the use of technology by our clients and by the regulators. What used to be a simple E-mail with a PDF attachment, now involves defeating multiple layers of delivery requirements. What used to be trust, now involves every underwriter looking at overhead imagery to question our location designations. The consumer seems to want to debate by way of Zillow the reasons they have for their value. Every agent at a push of a button in the MLS can hand you a packet of there research. Every AMC staff member can pretend to be a local expert in your area because they now have access via online services. The government wants to warn and enforce policies by way of their flawed collateral underwriter. Turning squares into circles by rounding corners.

    2. While appraisers are leaving the business and almost every appraisal forum is filled with appraisers sharing their stories of how much harder they are working for less (per hour) pay, you have people like this who come out telling everybody how they are doing 3,4,5 appraisals a day while maintaining quality. BS!

  3. 3-8 appraisals a day with UAD, MC, workfile storage, verification comp photos ???? BS…6 hours minimum per appraisal !!!!! blocking you as spam

    1. Bob, your so right. If you have someone else appraise for you, and then sign your name to it is Fraud. It’s my opinion that he
      is committing Fraud. The selection of comps, driving of the comps, and doing the inspections are time consuming. All of these task are
      the responsibility of the original appraiser. Not Assistants. According to his writings, he has “assistants” doing his appraisal work. He will get caught or sued, an attorney will chew him a new butt!

      1. Jerry

        Your mischaracterization of my business model would indeed be fraud. I implore you to not accuse me of fraud unless you first understand of what you speak. That is a pretty bold claim without support. I have had three USPAP lawyers and multiple, credible USPAP instructors (including my state board) review my business model. Though I work outside the the typical box, I can assure you I am not committing fraud.

  4. Agreed!!! 3-8 per day is impossible. In my area 1 a day is a 45-50 hour work week. I have been appraising for 23 years and I could do 10 a week back then. I have managed to push most of my fees up to $400.00r & $450 and I still do a few for a good client that does not require actual comp photos, no cost app and at dot ever complain at basically the same fee. By the way, the cost of doing business has went up 4-5 more since 93 so by calculator we have back up severely And yes it is our own fault for not ever asking for a raise for the cost of living, or for the MC of for the UAD and it about time we finally did. With the cost of living and the additional work that had has been added we should be getting about $700-800 per appraisal.

  5. There is no way you are doing 3 much less 8 appraisals a day and visiting comps too! You are a liar! And you say you haven’t lost the quality of your appraisals? You are the reason appraisers get a bad name.

      1. The Appraiser Coach

        Good call, Mike. Not intended to me misleading, but it obviously was nonetheless (see comments below for clarification).

  6. I completely agree with all three comments. Everyone needs to start increasing fees. Where else do you go where the fees for anything from home repairs to supplies & groceries have not increased since the early to mid 1990’s? Gas prices, in 1995 were $1.15 per gallon. Not to mention the price of a vehicle, tires, etc… I am in an area where most appraisers are still at $325-$350 for an appraisal and they were charging that 15 years ago. Many are real estate agents and don’t really have a clue what is the actual cost to produce an appraisal. R Haynes is correct to say that we should be at $700-$800 per appraisal and even that would not compensate for some of the most stupid aspects of completing an appraisal. Days ago I had a blast order to my e-mail for an appraisal “OPPORTUNITY” for a full, FHA appraisal in the middle of absolutely nowhere with a fee of $250. Before I could articulate, in non profanity, why that was almost like a joke, some other appraiser jumped on the OPPORTUNITY to lose money and accepted the assignment. Nevertheless, I still turned the company in to the Att. General for violation of C & R fees. Many appraisers are our and their own worst enemies. Wake up, Plug In and Raise your Fees!

    1. Indiana, its easy to raise fees, but if your completion is stable or lowering there’s, then what’s the point.

  7. 3-8 a day? I’d love to review those appraisals. It takes 3-4 hours to type a report, AFTER inspection and comp photos. And hope to heaven that you didn’t miss a comp because a dopey broker mislabeled a sale, then you return to take another photo. Then, review your report, cross your fingers and say a novena that a revision happy AMC’er doesn’t send it back for a revision that you have never had in 30 yrs.

  8. This guy reminds me of that one fisherman that always catches 50 when everybody else catches nothing. He must have not realized that other appraisers were going to read this article. Doing 3-8 a day would be very difficult even if all you did was large tract subdivisions that were next to your office.

  9. What in the hell is this article? Three to 8 appraisals a day? Is this just fiction? And WE are supposed to feel good because we don’t have to pump crap out of the ground? I don’t know if this was just a filler article because there was nothing else newsworthy or what but this obviously does not reflect the plight of today’s average appraiser.

    The bottom line is our pay is not adequate. Maybe AMCs and lenders can continue this if there are those of us out there that think it is OK. Get out of the sewer tank (or take that job) and fight for what is right. Being complacent is what will really kill the profession.

  10. This is my first response ever to this web site. We know you are lying and you know you are lying about 3-8 appraisals a day. What did you hope to gain by this statement? You just lost all credibility you may have had with your peers.

  11. What used to take me 2 hours ten years ago now takes 6 hours and the fee is the same. You’re calling BS on that?

  12. Who is this jerk? He is a complete conman if you ask me. Where did he go to school? Trump University? Any jackass who would publicly claim that he completes 3-8 appraisals per day deserves to be investigated by his state’s licensing board. I’m blocking this charlatan from sending me anything further.

  13. Susan M Louisignau

    Agreed — the amount of time per appraisal is four fold anyway. It would like asking an architect to design a contemporary but then ask him/her to describe it again but tell why he created each angle…… then could he please go out and find houses that are similar….. did the design work? How well did it work? Could you talk to other architects to see if they were maybe thinking of designing a house like this some day. If they were you would ask if you could see their designs and could they explain why they did this or that……. you get the drift.
    “They” are trying to make this an exact science……. it just isn’t. …..never will be UNLESS finally AI, artificial intelligence, does the job.
    Are all locations on a state route the same? or are some adverse? beneficial? Sigh……. it never ends……..I do primarily rural and ski resort area… antique houses, houses with acreage……. there is no formula………… Putting in tons of time so if you price it out by hour ……fees haven’t changed. MC form is not valid in my area and I say that right on the form. There just isn’t enough data,

  14. Okay. Okay. Mercy!!!! I should have said “My office completes….” I figured by now most of my readers have a pretty good idea as to how my business model works, but I have been proven wrong today.

    1. Which admission, Dustin, invalidates the whole article. Your premise that it took you 2 days to complete an appraisal jumps straight to your “office” completing 3-8 a day! How many can YOU complete, personally, in a day? Let’s compare apples to apples – you know, like we’re supposed to do as appraisers. Not just a poor article, but a bad one. I expected better from you.

      1. The Appraiser Coach

        Mike, I appreciate the feedback, but I do not believe it invalidates my argument at all. I am making the point that we (I) have come a long way in the past 20 years. 20 years ago (heck, even 8-9 years ago), I was doing EVERYTHING on my own (from start to finish). Over the years, I have increased the amount of technology I use, employed a team of wonderful people to assist me, and developed a business model/system that works well. It all adds up to better efficiency (while increasing quality) and allows us (me) to do more on a higher level.

        1. Appraisers in an urban/suburban setting were grossly OVERPAID twenty years ago!

          $300 for about 2-3 hours of work.

          Add in the ghostly supervisory appraiser signing off, appraisers made more than most lawyers.

    2. I wrote my reply below before your response here had posted. Mercy granted. I too am looking to scale my business at this time in my career. I have an idea that is out of the box and just might work. It too incorporates support staff to complete the tasks that are not required to be completed by the signing appraiser. But it is more than that too. I might even change the industry. How’s that for a whopper claim?

    3. Dustin, by way of your office and staff, does this mean you have a team of licensed appraisers working individually on their own separate reports, and as a collection your company is completing 3 to 8 reports per day? Or are you the only appraiser signing each and every one of those 8 reports a day?

  15. “I was never good at math, but I would say that my fees have increased about 600%. ALL of this due to technology.” Hum, I grant you that most of your comments I agree with but like most realtors, half-truths and leaving out how you do 3-8 per day is a pump or lead-in for your system. I know a firm in Chicago who performs 1,000 reports per month. I visited them and was truly amazed. They have a machine and approximately 18 employees. Dustin is just leaving out what it takes to do 3-8 per day. 3-8 reports is possible and a lot more but it’s not being done by one person. I went into Dustin’s system a couple years back because I was a one man shop like most and our relationship didn’t work because you can’t delegate effectively to an employee 900 miles away. I take my hat off to Dustin but his methods aren’t for the average appraiser who’s more of an introvert than an extrovert. Everyone must read between the lines. I don’t know exactly how he operates because I wasn’t given that information or invited to see his operation when I joined their system. You have to pay for it. Nothing is for free and I was somewhat disappointed and hoped his systems would have worked for me. I too have been in the business since 1993 and have seen many changes but all the increase isn’t because of “technology”, be honest, business methods are equally important which are multidimensional.

    1. In the late 90’s Kevin I was completing 2 – 4 unit (1025) assignments at $700 a pop, and in no way have they gone up since then (on average). I would love to charging in the range of 600% more or $4,200 per assignment. Turing squares into circles by rounding corners.

  16. Forgetting to mention your staff’s contribution is kind of like failing to report seller financing or $25,000 in concessions for a comp. Wondering how many readers you lost due to this article. I know at least one.

  17. Holy cow folks!!! How can you sit at a desk and attempt to besmirch Dustin without knowing anything about what he is referring to? Every one of us has completed more than 3 reports in a day, especially when inspections and data has been gathered before that day. Like my firm, Dustin has a staff of people who also works in the process. Haven’t any of you read his articles before jumping on your stumps? I did a handful of 1004D completion certs the other day, after all the photos were gathered a day or two before. Does that make me a liar too?

    Incredible… Appraisers can be the most negative folks in the profession. And some of you really need to be the professional and apologize for jumping so quickly with the hateful labels toward a fellow pier. We need to rise above the nonsense we see in politics today, and remain professional.

    On a side note – 20 years ago, when I was EVP at a very large national bank, we were paying appraisers $225 – $250 for full reports. Our average fees today stay around the $400+ mark, and technology has been a great help. I’ve never complained about pay, because at my firm, we don’t just accept anything.

    1. If the report has been started the day before, then it is tough to claim the report got completed in a single day.

      1. Perhaps it is a misunderstanding of the verbiage, but when he says “completes” 3-8 in a day, I believe he means he is getting that many out the door in a day. You know – He finishes 3-8 in a day… It makes sense to me…

      2. The Appraiser Coach

        To be clear (now I sound like Obama), I do not remember the last time I received and delivered a report in the same day. Dale is right.

  18. Appraiser “Coach”!! You remind me of a bad ref in a fixed game…. I did start with a typewriter when I was 29 and I still work a rural area as you describe. I would rather go back to the typewriter and Forms and Worms mapping than to put up with the CRAP that is forced down on us everyday. The scope creep and mostly the moronic “reviewer” requests just suck the life out of me and my TIME and I’m sick of it. It takes me as long now to complete a report as 20 years ago when I had to drive to the courthouse to pull comps and data.
    The constant nagging for updates and incessant “revision requests” that have NOTHING to do with valuation, just fancy spell checkers of an oppressive form and being pushed around by kids sitting in a cubicle who are paid part of MY fee to bully me around. I’m working harder than ever making less $ than I did 15 years ago. I just replied to a fee survey and begged for a fee increase.. OR BETTER… – STOP WASTING MY TIME AND LET THE FEES BE – BUT STOP WASTING MY TIME!!! STOP IT !!!!

    1. Words of wisdom from Eric…

      That is the real problem in appraising today – The hours of replies to nonsense via emails, meaningless report revisions and reviewers who lack competence.

    2. The best post… The appraisal coach should give you this blog, because you obviously work from reality and have substance.

  19. I have been following the coaches blog here for a while and nothing he has ever said has made me think he is anything less than 100% genuine. That said, the 3-8 “completed” appraisals a day is quite a claim. I would struggle to complete 8 property inspections in a day; forget about actually completing 8 from start to finish. So coach, lets hear it. I have worked many professions and there is always that guy who boasts higher production than everyone else. And every time, the guy who claims to do more is always doing less than they should be, with extremely rare exception. Even if you are that rare exception, I still question the claim as it stands. So my questions to you are:

    #1 Do you accept, set up and schedule your orders or are these tasks not factored in to the claim?
    #2 Do you pick your own comps?
    #3 Do you drive your own comps?
    #4 How often does your market allow you to pick your comps prior to the subject inspection?
    #5 Do you define/develop your relevant market data?
    #6 Are your markets so stable and predictable that you can reuse old market data, including comps?
    #7 Do you write your own reconciliations?
    #8 Do you research and enter factual subject data (taxes, legal description. zoning, ect)
    #9 Do you enter your own comp data?
    #10 Do you do your own billing?

    I think there are many ways to run a business. An appraiser who had everything done for them that was possible to be done without them, might be able to do 3-8 in a day, in an environment where efficiency was dialed in 100%. However, it is a bit incredible to claim that they themselves “completed” the appraisals, when in fact they have a team of people working on the assignments with them. If we are starting and ending this thread about making money, then those people need to be factor in, even if they are interns getting paid $0.

    If you are truly getting 3-8 “completed” a day all by yourself, then your course is worth way more than whatever it is you charge. And may I add, you may be over-qualified as an appraiser!!! Kudos in any event. Even a business model that incorporates support staff, 3-8 a day for an appraiser is an incredible achievement. I would guess most of us are not as talented as all that, so this particular thread would pertain only to those capable of running their own firm.

    I am an army of one. I do 3-5 a week, start to finish. Order in to check in the bank. Special Ed and taxes not included. If I were to optimize my efficiency to 100%, I don’t think I would get to 10 in a 40-hour work week. I might be able to do 10 if I worked until 2 in the morning everyday, but those days for me are over.

    All said, I am intrigued. So lets hear the support for the claim coach, because its a whopper.

    1. The Appraiser Coach


      Thanks for your feedback and questions. I have appreciated your comments over the years and this one is no different. Tell you what, I would LOVE to answer all of your questions, but a blog post comments section is not the place. How ’bout this; you come on my podcast as a guest (we can even keep your name as “M” if you prefer) and I will answer ANY question you throw at me. That is probably a much better format for this discussion.

      1. Thank you. I appreciate what you have to say too, as well as the comments from the majority of folks who come on your blog to post. I would feel honored to be a guest on a podcast. That said, I wrote my reply prior to your “mercy” clarification; so I think I have my answers. You have my number, feel free to extend an invite anytime, for any subject. Now I have to stop writing on blogs and go get some work done!!!

      2. Wow…I never agree with everything you say, but I never agree with anything anybody ever says. I have to say I’m not proud to be an appraiser reading through some of the responses and hate here. Safe to say if you simply said you can do 3+appraisals a day and were more clear that you have help to do so that nobody here would have reason to be upset? Chill out people!

  20. Pingback: Never had a Raise in 20 Years? BS - Appraisal Buzz

    1. After 30 years on the job going from typewriters to tech, my mentor can do 9 a week max and he work day and night. I his prodigy, have just 20 years and am stuck at 3 per week. There are a few things i need to do to speed up…like hire a secretary, use a tablet instead of clipboard, or better yet use an I Phone to enter all the inspection details and photos. I took time off and came back a couple years ago to UAD and AMCs and find every report consumes so much time. Does anyone use an IPhone for entering the inspection and sketch and uploading into a report? If so what is a good program. I tried one early on and it did not do the job.

    2. Three appraisals a day is pushing the limits. Anyone doing eight should be shaking hands with the DOJ soon! I don’t care if you are using nine screens. Do you still look at houses? Not just the three comps once required, but listings too, and maybe additional comps the clients wants? And taking pictures of all interior rooms? Making appointments and fighting calls from AMC idiot staff. Whomever is doing eight a day sounds like the appraiser working for Landsafe, KB Home, Countrywide – you can read the indictment here at ( ) Yes there is creep, no matter what technology you use, and in the past years, $4/gallon gas, and middlemen AMC nags that probably make as much money as appraisers do today with no education, or liability have cut into your bottom line drastically. The education requirements are absurd, for the income, and this is a dying profession as we know it.

      1. The Appraiser Coach

        Abby: Thanks for chiming in, but it is obvious from your post that you do not understand my business model. Three appraisals a day IS pushing the limits (and probably way over the limit) if you are doing things the way you describe.

        Do you think I would be putting my ENTIRE business model online (with every jot and tittle of detail) if I was worried about the DOJ?

        As mentioned before, I have spoken to USPAP lawyers, USPAP instructors, and my own state board about my business model and there are NO concerns. There is a way to do it legally, morally, and ethically even if it does not fit the same model that most everyone else is advocating/doing.

        Again, let’s not get lost in the weeds here. Seems most are concentrated on the number of appraisals my firm does per day rather than the subject matter at hand… we CAN and SHOULD be doing more than we were doing 20 years ago. That equals a “raise” in my book.

        1. ‘Okay your business model allows your OFFICE (not you) to complete eight appraisals a day. That’s nothing new. There have always been shops that operate that way. Most of these have been pretty well legislated out of existence. No more ten trainees, no more running half way across the state unsupervised, and honestly, you disclose the extent of your staff’s involvement? Hey good luck to you if you think you’ve re-invented the wheel. But even if you think you are putting out a decent product free from liability, aren’t you forgetting the cost of that staff? Do they work from India ? (Not even kidding). I used to be a review appraiser at a bank. You can’t even review eight a day. Most appraisers don’t find it worth their time to hire staff these days. Fees are too low – work scope ridiculously onerous – work volume too unpredictable. Silly story. And don’t forget, you are being watched by people sick to death of working at AMC’s looking for an opportunity to be a whistle blower. Kyle Lagow was one.

    3. Kimberly Burns

      In response to your post “Never had a raise in 20 years”:

      In my opinion you should not think because you started out appraising in rural areas that all appraiser did. I have been appraising for almost 20 years and the fee for an appraisal back then was about the same if not slightly lower than it is today in 2016. I did have one of the first digital cameras, I did have a computer and I did have the internet. Writing an appraisal back then compared to writing an appraisal now is apples to oranges. I could write an appraisal in two hours with no problem. Now it takes anywhere from four to six hours just to write the appraisal. That does not include travel time, inspection time, comp research and driving comps. When I started appraising there were tons of comps, the market was never declining, we didn’t even think about including active sales and never would we include interior photos, aerial maps, MLS charts, assessor’s tax information etc. Nobody cared if the subject property sold over one year ago, no body cared why the subject property sold prior to the appraisal and nobody cared if the appraiser analyzed the sale contract.

      You claim you complete 3 – 8 appraisals per day. I don’t know how one person could possibly do that. If you are in the field for 3 – 8 inspections a day who is writing the 3 – 8 appraisals for the properties you inspected the day before?? I would love to see how you do that!

      I would definitely pay to watch a webinar hosed by you teaching all of us appraisers that can only inspect and write one appraisal a day how it is done. Please consider doing so

      1. Bill Johnson

        The big volume appraisers in my area Kimberly who are truly honest cheat the system to gain market share while putting the honest appraisers out of business. They have non-licensed office staff who do startups that are not qualified to do so while they pay out of work residential appraisers $50 per assignment to comp and write up the report. The signing appraiser may or may not do a review before signing the report as their own. In cases where someone will meet the signing appraiser they will perform the inspection, however every effort is made to not meet anyone so that they can skip the inspection. There’s also an attempt to be old school buddy buddy with the loan officers who can place the signing appraiser onto preferred panels. These panels will pay at or above customary rates as the loan officers expect values to come in. There’s a legal way to do things and I applaud those who do so, however the system still rewards those who can defeat it and get away with it.

    4. WOW! It amazes me how simple this is. Let’s say it takes 4-6 to complete an appraisal soup to nuts. This depends on how efficient, nimble minded, intelligent, and competent the appraiser is AND the complexity of that assignment. But 4-6 is average. Of those hours how many does an appraiser need to complete? Property inspection, analysis, comp selections and inspection? If you can effectively schedule your assignments I believe an appraiser can get down to and hour to hour and a half per an assignment. AND if you have several staff members that have been with you for decades who can assist in the majority of the time sucking sucking taks found in each assignment then 3-8 a day is reasonable. No lawsuits or state investigations would be needed. The incredulity displayed by some appraisers is a kin to the Pope’s response to Gallaleo. Get the dog of your lap, get off Facebook and othe blog sites, stop making trips to your fridge from your basement and hire and train people. Develop the next generation of appraisers. Dustin puts his balls out there because he cares. I worry more about the future of our business because of the piss poor attitudes displayed by my peers than growing scope of work and big brother FNMA mass reviewing our work.

      1. When big brother is watching with his technology and knows how many reports are being completed by a single appraiser in a single day, its only a matter of time before there’s a knock at the door.

        1. Dustin Harris

          And what exactly would the person on the other side of the door say? “By our calculations, we believe you are completing too many appraisals. You are just too efficient.”

    5. Practical Appraiser

      Well I have heard crazy stories. I honestly don’t think you could complete 3-8 full appraisals. Driving for inspections and comp inspections alone would seem to take up more than one. Then input in computer review engagement letters up to 20 pages long and submit. No even in a 24 hour work day. Now I don’t have a magical staff and have had respect for most things he has explained and talked about before. I think Dustin put this out of context and what his larger business is doing than what he was doing all by himself 20 years ago. Unless just desktops all day long I couldn’t remember what property had what after going in and out of 8 in a day. Overall I agree with most things Dustin says on most things. We do have the freedom with the job we don’t have to do something really if we don’t want to. Really you can decline low pay work. I am in a market even flowing with too many appraisers and still I get assignments that pay 400+ they maybe all rural and complex for many appraisers, but no one is forcing us to be an appraiser if you don’t like it then quit.

  21. Thanks to this article by Dustin, any AMCs or lenders that may follow his blog will now think we (appraisers) are being paid TOO much for a typical 1004 if we can complete 3 – 8 per day!
    Bye Dustin. I have been reading your BS blog for too long and have finally realized that you do not represent the typical appraiser.

  22. The Appraiser Coach

    By the way folks, I have my popcorn in my lap and I am very much enjoying the back and forth on this one. I have to make a plea however that we do not focus too much on a throw-away comment that was not really the focus of the overall article. Poorly written? Admittedly, yes. The larger point I am trying to make, however, is worth consideration I think. Sure there is scope creep, but I think most of us would be hard-pressed to not admit we can do more today in less time than we could 20 years ago (especially if you employ the law of delegation). By the way, this is a reprint of one of my first blog posts about 4-5 years ago. I changed very little in the repost. What I should have added was that my fees have INCREASED quite a bit over the past 2-3 years. I hope yours have as well.

    1. Dustin, you seem to be THAT underwriter who is not reading the report, or in this case, the comments here or other comments from other sites. Most everyone is disagreeing with you, it takes more time today not less to complete what is being asked of us. When simple USPAP compliant reports were okay then, but the amount of work now has doubled, your on the loosing end of this battle. Turning squares into circles by rounding corners I say.

    2. Dustin is right on point about the increase in productivity in the residential business. The use of mobile technology has been a game changer. I’ve been in the biz over 36 years, doing commercial, eminent domain and now residential. There are two things you have to do today to maximize you financial return as Dustin has indicated. They are “employ the law of delegation” and use every piece appraisal related technology that you can get. If you think you are a $100/hr guy or gal, why are you doing things that can be done by a $10 to $15/hr person? Why are you still paying for paper and file storage when electronic file storage is virtually free? Enough of my rant on the expense side.

      On the income side, lets talk about why fees are low in some markets. Having worked for Rels Valuation for about a year and half as staff appraiser during recent housing depression in Florida, I have a very good understanding of how the big guys operate at the appraiser level. Their fee structure is ALL about supply and demand with there staff guys and the contract folks. As long as there are people willing to provide appraisal services at $255 a pop, they will keep hiring those folks. When those guys get to busy and can’t meet the Rels deadlines, the $350 guys get the assignment. When they are too busy, guys like me get hired. Also, as long as they can find staff guys to work 60 hours a week, they will keep their pay structure right where it is. When I worked with them, they had about 80 appraisers in Florida.

      As far as scope creep goes, it is your time and their money in completing the assignment. Those of us who have done eminent domain work in Florida understand what is going on now with this residential business. We’ve had the seemingly endless review process to deal with forever particularly at the State level. The result was that the fees just kept getting higher and higher because the time to complete the assignments just kept getting longer and longer. Of the AMC’s I deal with, the “creep” has been strongest with Rels. As a result, I have had to increase my fees in order to cover my time expense. Sure, i get fewer assignments from them. However, I still get assignments at a fee equal to the retail cost to the borrower and that is meeting the time expense requirement. Guys and gals we’re not their employees. We are business owners. Many of you need to snap out of the victim mentality. Take a look at how your are operation competes with others in your market. Perhaps some of you need to move on to greener pastures.

      1. Dave, many areas of the country have a significant supply of appraisers (1,000 in my primary county 5,000 within a few hundred miles) and 90% of the business is first tier $255 only. To those appraisers who by default (supply & demand) are the only game in town (third tier $450), they have no understanding of my local market and always say to apply what works for them, (raise fees). These first tier only areas ($255) also seem to be some of the most expensive areas to live in while the third tier only areas ($450), are often rural and the least expensive to live in.

  23. June 1 2016, I’ll have completed 33 years in this business, I don’t know if I’ll complete 34. But I do like the challenge of solving a puzzle, and I am still have 12-13 years before Soc Sec at 67.

    Really Coach, why do you think there has been an approx. 20-25% reduction in appraisers over the past 5 years: I don’t believe it can be attributed to attrition, do you? It is economics.

    Plus, your “free market” comment, is only partly true. Frank-Dodd made it plain how R&C was supposed to work. The ink was not dry before the AMCs affiliated with the major lenders (who’s lobbying power have Washington WRAPPED), OR the AMC that was one of the primary entities that caused Cummo and Fannie to initiate HVCC, but just changed their name to help protect the guilty (LOL) lobbied and watered down policy, but even though this thought is definitely LINKED to the discussion about fees, it should be left to another discussion.

    SO, here is a basic, but true, analogy-

    Cost of an X-ray vs. the cost of a CTScan or MRI.

    So, until 2009, our product was like an “x-ray”. Now, we are compelled to do a CTScan level appraisal for all mortgage lending (Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, etc.), then add to that any additional supplemental client requirements; making todays appraisal comparable to a total body MRI. But, doctors would not stand or be in business long, if “regulators” demanded MRI’s as the standard, and then said you should have been doing this all along because “we don’t think this should be a problem with you doing that..” Oh, we really mean you do the work but you should not be compensated for the added time required to complete these new requirements. Would competent doctors stay in business or would they leave at the earliest moment in time?

    Obviously, the Coach has a problem with comparison (LOL). My 92 year old Dad just had 2 chest x-rays. The bill was nearly $400, or $200 /x-ray film. His last CTScan was +-3 years ago and came in at +-$4500, or 10 times as much. SO, “reconcile” that one.

    To those of us still in the profession, who taut free market, if you want say an $xxx per report raise: You have to BID that amount and don’t wavier from that amount. Guys, why were labor unions started? First it was to do away with child labor, Second, was job safety, and third was to say the wage balance was tipped unreasonably to the management, So, share let some of the profits or “trickle down.” SO, free “trickle down” (also in reality a “figment of imagination”) just by asking for it did not work to well for the factory workers, it took “Strikes” to accomplish gains for even the smallest of concessions. Why did President Carter “Grain Embargo” not work against Russia when they invaded Afghanistan in 1979 or 1980? Simply put, Russia turned to another market- South American. Not only did the failed embargo not fully succeed, but it also hurt American Farmers, a non-intended consequence.

    We are an independent bunch, and we as the “APPRAISER” in the appraisal industry will most likely will not “BID HIGHER,” and just take the scrapes like an old CUR DOG, Fees will remain essentially the same as they are now. I am BIDDING HIGHER, but until more APPRAISERS “BID HIGHER” we won’t achieve higher fees!!

    Another analogy- I think it would be safe to say the American people want Congressional and Senatorial “Term Limits,”- Here is the question : DO we, the “American People,” NOT have term limits at our voting fingertips? I know, unless the voting machines have been fixed, we do have term limits at our finger tips. All we have to do is just VOTE for the incumbents opponent, and if enough of us do that, the incumbent could stay in more than one or two terms. IT IS THAT SIMPLE . Are we so NAIVE, to think congress will do the right thing? Ask yourself this question: If you had a cushy job, would you vote yourself out?

    SO, stop being naïve, if you want a raise: SIMPLY START BIDDING HIGHER, and don’t accept an assignment that is lower!!!

    1. Fun post. You might write longer replies than I do! I am not the guy who thinks all industries need unions. Nor am I the guy who thinks all unions are evil. I do think that the appraisal industry needs a union. Our independent nature keeps many of us from being interested in forming a union, which in my opinion is the simple crux of the problem. Those who continue to simply say “stop accepting low fees” are not, in my opinion, in line with reality. What is the reality? We all gotta eat. Everyday. There is a time factor between our stomach and the time it will take for enough appraisers to demand higher fees. There is always that guy who is hungry enough. I have been that guy many times. I have the luxury today to hold out a bit longer than I used to, but not long enough.

      Another solution, though a pipe dream, would be to add another regulation to our over-regulated industry – fixed fees. Excluding markets with extremely high or extremely low costs of living, I would suggest a blanket price of $500 for all appraisals. Easy, complex, whatever. If its under 5000 AGLA sf its $500 bucks. The easy ones would pay for the tougher ones. Of course, never gonna happen. Though, I am working my business model to do just that. I have more in mind on how to “force” that fee through, but I will need to keep that to myself for the moment.

      1. With the extra BS and demands of our time- there are no such thing as “easy ones” any longer. I could handle the “standard” fees but there HAS to be allowances for complex and they HAVE TO GET OFF OUR BACKS!! I spent days working a a reviewer on rural ranch because it had 2 bedrooms with 1100sf and they HAD to have a 2 bedroom comp which I had to go 15 miles to get… on a $60K sale!! I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!!! 😉 Peace

  24. It is not a free market when 80-90% of the work is assigned on the 100% criteria of “what is your fee??” I have NEVER been asked for anything other from an AMC than “what is your fee??” Until some reviewer gets it and then they ask me 20 questions that are already in the report if you can read and threaten to NOT pay me if I don’t comply. It’s downright extortion. THEY are using our INDEPENDENCE against us… and THEY are very good at it. We will never be a viable profession again without help at the Federal level.

  25. I work in one of those areas like you said you started out in. I wonder if you actually research deed records to determine factors such as easements and other matters of record which might affect the properties. Who spends an entire day driving 90 miles up and down dirt country lanes and over half mile driveways to take current photos of sold homes bought by people whose motivation was not to have strangers driving up to their house unannounced to take a picture? All procedural nonsense aside, who provides the intuitive thought process that necessarily goes into every assignment? I simply wonder if what you’re describing is an Appraisal Mill, the process of which has been boiled down to automated form filling delegated to an army of elves. Most of us don’t have an army of elves. We’re just out here crawling through a miasma of absurd and time consuming assignment conditions trying to hold on to a dwindling client base, few of which are actually reasonable and tolerable. I’m not even being particularly critical of the way you do business. It’s what the robotic institutional minions have brought us to in their ceaseless data mining quest to pay less for an appraisal than they receive by selling the results to someone else. I’ve come to realize that the hand quilted product I provide (and the job demands) is no longer of value when mass produced blankets, cranked out at a rate of 3 to 8 per day, are all the market requires. The only question remaining is, “Them elves had background checks?”

  26. Bill MacMurchy

    Dustin, your commentary sickens me. Do you work for the Nation’s AMCs? You must be getting a kick-back for publishing such BS remarks on your website regarding the fairness of appraisal fees. Professionally speaking, “screw you and the horse you rode in on!” Seriously now; most appraisers work alone and have been for the last 7+ years, and still are, abused by the current state of affairs in the residential appraisal industry. Big-Banks are using AMC’s to create a situation to fool Congress into thinking there is “an appraiser shortage” nation-wide. You are only aiding and abetting their agenda. Give me a break! You are a Capitalist, a very good one, and have your own “business machine” to assist you with the nonsense coming from the AMC’s and wholesale lenders these days. You can produce profits, but us “Lone Wolfs,” can’t. Maybe you should try to hire us and pay us slightly above minimum wage. Good luck with that one! The individual appraiser shop is decimated and soon will be extinct. The Big Corporations will consume the chaff of what is left and pay incompetent appraisers peanuts to compete with Zillow and Realtors’ opinion of values. What a Sad Day that will be for America and the Public Trust. Thanks Mean People! Dustin, Tell us the Truth next time and we, as cottage industry appraisers, may start having a little more respect for you ala “Phil Crawford at Voice of Appraisal.” Please pass these sentiments on to your current Boss. S/he is an abomination on mankind’s pursuit of happiness. Your Boss, as a group, are mean-spirited, inhumane, greedy, and definitely professional and talent at what they do, human Sinners! I say this as an Atheist and now a former and honest Real Property, not Estate, Appraiser. Thanks for listening. WAKE UP APPRAISERS!!! The Truth is out there so go out and find IT and makes some value for US All. No offense Dustin, but you are behaving like a shrill for the Big-Banks. Please change you ways and come back to US as a decent and respectful man.

    1. And I thought I was angry!! Thanks for letting go Bill, I’m sure you feel better and your post represents a large majority of the frustration out here in the field. We have been pushed too far and the public is being fleeced by these “companies”. I am state-certified and licensed professional, as is a CPA, Doctor, Plumber, Electrician…. WHY do I need to be “managed” and they are not?? Why are borrowers paying $5-800.00 for an appraisal that a local “professional” would gladly do for $4-500??? Why are most appraisers getting only $2-300.00 of that $5-800.00?? They are making $Millions and maybe $B at our expense and providing their client with an inferior and less credible product.

  27. We appraisers really are a bunch of sensitive and grumpy dudes. Everything this guy has ever written has made it clear that he has a large staff of people in his office helping him to produce the volume that he does. This article is only mis-leading if you have never read his stuff before. I know plenty of appraisers that complete 2-3 appraisals a day as a “lone wolf”, so why is it so hard to believe that he could turn more than three in a day with the help of 2-3 full time assistants? Most of the negative response here comes from one man shows, but this guy’s entire mission has been to promote the idea that you can have a more successful career and stress free life if you will try and spread your wings and hire some help. What I will say is that while we may be getting paid slightly more per hour due to technology advances, this doesn’t mean that appraisal fees should not be or should not have increased along with inflation over the past 20 years. The advances in technology in other industries are not an excuse to hold fees down. The fact that any sort of industry has better technology today (as opposed to 20 years ago), allowing them to be more productive and do a higher volume of work, is never an excuse for the consumer to expect costs not to increase along with inflation.

    We do however have a choice who we can work for and what fees we can charge. Until a larger percentage of appraisers start charging what they’re worth then the fees will remain the same.

  28. I rarely take the time to post on these forums, however, I feel Dustin deserves some support for many of the points he makes. Like many of you, I am tired of scope creep, stupid underwriter conditions, realtors and dealing with AMC’s. I would love to be doing something different but no one is going to pay me what I am making now. We chose to embrace technology in our office. We have 2 appraisers and 2 full time staff members and use all the technology at our disposal. My hourly rate has increased. Reports are done correctly and pass through underwriting and the occasional review with little if any correction needed. I appreciate that Dustin has made an effort to provide a positive blog and I have learned a number of things. Completing 3-8 appraisals in a day at the office is not unrealistic with good staff and technology.

  29. Well, you big city boys have a lot of advantages us small timers just can’t support. Yet, the AMC’s expect us to do rural and complicated just like you cookie cutters can get away with. I used to have 2 staff and 4 appraisers with my firm, now… I don’t. It’s just me and I haven’t found anyone that would even WANT to do this work, much less anyone I would work with and train…. not that I could afford to anyway. How do I market myself to more clients in this world?? By cutting my fee.. that is the ONLY way to add market share with AMC’s who will send a kid from 2 counties away if he’s $5 cheaper than my quote. Ridiculous.

  30. With BS statements like this from Dustin, “I complete 3-8 assignment per day” no one should wonder why I have challenged him in the past. As it relates to not receiving a raise in 20 years, not only would I say that is bull crap too, but in fact many in the industry make LESS TODAY THAN 20 YEARS AGO! Dustin, you do not speak for us (WE) so if you (I) have received a raise, do not apply that to the entire industry. Stop with this nonsense that Idaho Falls is the epicenter of the appraisal universe. The comparison should not be local clients for you Dustin but should include all including the big players in the US. If you take the top 5 largest banks of today by appraisal volume and compare prices then (20 years ago / No AMC) to what the split fee of today is, the gross fees alone will be lower! The leader who many here have followed has lost all of the credibility you people were giving him. I for one have challenged him since day one and have been proven right.

  31. 50yo Male Never made $100K in 1 year yet

    I have been in the field @ 10 years as a 1 person office. Just recently I have began to get my avg residential fee to $450+/-. I work hard and avoid low fee distant assignments. As a fee appraiser I do travel alot and see a mix of rural, urban, & suburban work. The higher fees are for the rural & complex jobs. I will attempt to make it to 6 figures this year. In comparison, at the age of 50 a standard base salary for a fortune 500 mid level exec is $150K+/- with a full benefit package.

    As for the issue of a raise, the main thing I would like that an independent contractor does not get is a benefits package with retirement, insurance, etc. While some of the so called ‘staff appraiser’ positions with firms that are in essence AMCs do offer some of this, their $150-$200 fees are a joke. It takes a minimum of $5000 annually just to have a small home office. All the mergers & acquisitions in the industry make it hard to build loyalty with a particular client or AMC. The Huge lenders such as Wells Fargo & B of A, Chase pay their top mgmt many millions. Apparently their “raise” is a priority over paying vendors a real “living wage” With a 3% annual inflation rate from 2000, with all other things being equal, a minimum $200 fee would be greater than $350 today. Yet there are still broadcast orders still being offer @ $200 today. Thus, there is effectively no raise for third party vendors to the lenders and their agents.

    1. While the cost to the borrower has likely doubled due to an unneeded middleman… for a less credible product.

    2. Agree with you 100% 50yo male. I make the same per year on average I did my whole 20 year career as an appraiser. Extra lender requirements and AMC’s remove any “raise” we may have received over the years. I have friends and relatives that work in the auto industry or other corporations that make 3X as much without the expenses that are required by a private business owner and they get to go home at night and on the weekend, while I am working at my home office. There are sometimes negatives to their careers like travel and the grass always seems greener I’m sure there are things they don’t like about their jobs.. Some one else in this post suggested that we shouldn’t be making a lawyers salary and I believe that to be utter nonsense. We are very specialized skilled service providers that require years of training and abilities that are not required for similar paying jobs.

  32. Lets hope this opinion piece (piece of xxx) does not run on the Appraisal Buzz site as is typical of all Dustin’s blogs as Joan Trice may use this as fuel for the next 2 years to push her agenda. Dustin, keep competing against those 30 appraisers in your county and the 500 in your state, as its a different story in the real world.

  33. Here’s another question. Assuming research is done by the assigned appraiser (Dustin only) before taking the work, (trip fees, complexity, confirm competency, etc.) and assuming like most to get 8 assignments you may need to review twice as many (16), how would it also be possible to complete up to 8 in one day? Not only is it my opinion that corners are being cut, put that squares are being turned into circles. Hell, I would even ask my good friend who gives value to above ground pools (Michael) if he shares a similar opinion to me?

  34. There is very little “free market” about the appraisal industry. How many appraisals would get ordered if the government did not mandate them? How many clients would we have without the government regulations? Our whole industry exists by government fiat. Couple that with the appraisers who don’t diversify their clients & the ease in which a few large lenders/AMCs can corner market share & you can give up the dream that this industry is anything close to the free market. We would, however, like our fees to at least reflect our dream that we live in a free market & not one completely controlled & manipulated by Wall Street & K Street; at the very least they should reflect the professionalism & SOW that our clients demand.

  35. Dustin, if you are completing 3 to 8 assignments per day (Say 8 at $400 = $3,200) then no wonder you felt so strongly when discussing my supported points regarding cost of living concerns. When many have said they are lucky to complete 1 to 1.25 per day at market rate in THEIR area, you have no current understanding of the typical appraiser. If two in ten of your reports require follow up 1004Ds then are personally going back to certify those 20 to 30 assignments a month are completed? If two in ten require extensive rebuttal responses are personally addressing all 20 to 30? Unbelievable.

    1. Since when did the original appraiser have to complete a 1004D Inspection?

      If 20% of my reports came back with revision requests, I would be unemployed and wouldn’t respect myself as a professional.

      The industry has changed. Get on board or JUMP SHIP.

      Scott made a great point earlier about commenting on the competing sales/listings that were not used within the report. This one really rubbed me the wrong way, which is not easy to do. Keep in mind, we are service providers. When one of your clients makes an additional request to include commentary on competing sales/listings not used, look at this as an OPPORTUNITY. This is by far the best time to ASK FOR A RAISE. Take advantage of it!

      If you are working for a reasonable client, they will understand and compensate you for the additional work. If not, you or they may not be worth it. Take a step back, look in the mirror, and figure it out.

      Tune out all of the negative JOHNSONs, sooner than later, they will bite the dust. Seems like they enjoy sounding off more than problem solving. DO NOT throw them a life preserver and DO NOT let them pull you under with them. Let them drown!


      1. Assuming the original appraiser said yes to the new assignment (1004D), I would reread the 1004D requirements Kenrof. What is the signing appraiser certifying THEY did? “I CERTIFY THAT I HAVE PERFORMED A VISUAL INSPECTION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY TO DETERMINE IF THE CONDITIONS OR REQUIREMENTS STATED IN THE ORIGINAL APPRAISAL HAVE BEEN SATISFIED. If based on my example Dustin has 20 to 30 1004d’S per month based on his volume, IS HE PERSONALLY VISUAL INSPECTING THE REPAIRS / ALTERATIONS? Turning squares into circles Kenrof by rounding those corners.

      2. Kenrof, you are missing my point. The increase in technology does not just apply to us the appraiser, but everyone else. Call it a revision request, reconsideration request, collateral underwriter concern, or what ever you want, but information is at the fingertips for many, and often that gets filtered back to the appraiser. They don’t care if the report does not need changing, however the technology of the day (agent runs a 20 page report with 20 comps) forces more time back onto the appraiser.

  36. You forget the expense of hiring an office worker because it is almost impossible to complete all the requirements, research, update notifications, revisions, profile updates, etc. $20,000 – $30,000 just so the office work gets done : (

    1. Jeanne, if you operate your business in the cities of Seattle or Los Angeles or for that matter soon to the entire state of CA ($15), with stagnate appraisal fees, how have OUR salaries gone up when minimum wages have gone from $5 to $15? I tell you, it sure seems Dustin is making circles out of squares.

  37. I think any raise that has been realized through technology efficiency has been eaten up and then some from scope creep over the years.

    1. Many a thousands of appraisers M have not received a raise in over the past 15 years (FACT), so to say that any raise has been eaten up is false. To look at the big picture, one should look at the average fees paid 15 years ago to the average fee being paid now. In my area 15 years ago we could charge $450 for an FHA appraisal, or $700 for a 1025, but again, based on what is typical and customary today (big picture with AMC splits) the AVERAGE fee is much less. Dustin, falsely applies his local area situation to the rest of the county and assumes everything has changed like his area. This practice is like applying a 10% positive time adjustment to every property (including the subject) because over the past year prices have increased over the entire zip code. Forget the fact the borrower may have overpaid 12 months earlier or may already have the biggest and best property in the city based on there property characteristics. Turning squares into circles.

  38. Most appraisers are one person shops,some have part time assistants. My time is spent on appraising. The first time I see a file is the day of inspection. I personally do not schedule, pull maps, open a file in total,process orders, talk to clients, answer phones, input comps, input factual data, bill reports, collect receivables, (I do keep track of invoices and everything is current) confirm comps(comps are confirmed, I do not personally confirm them). There is a lot more I do not do. How much time per report does this save me? What do I do? I appraise. Comps are my decision. I personally do cost approach, sales comparison approach and income approach as each are needed. I weight comps. I adjust comps. I reconcile all approaches and final value. Anything analytical I do. And yes fees are much higher than 25 years ago. And yes appraising is still fun, Thank you, Jesus.

  39. This article is extremely misleading and thus falls under the theme of BS like the article is titled. I understand the appraiser now has staff and can do an appraisal much faster than previously but when he is initially comparing his time of 2 days he is talking about just himself doing the appraisal. So, to say he can do 3-8 in a day may be possible (but I doubt it) with a large staff, he is totally not comparing apples to apples anymore when you go from one person taking 2 days to a staff helping on the appraisal. Also, no matter how you cut it, a 90 minute drive each way is still a 90 minute drive, technology or not so there is no way one person could do the appraisal he described that took two days in an hour or two as he implies now. Some things in the appraisal process are considerably faster now but the added work to each appraisal has more than made up the difference where at the end of the day, most of us are making what we did 15 years ago.

    1. The Appraiser Coach

      Misleading? Possibly, but not on purpose. The point I am trying to make is exactly as you point out…. I used to do it all on my own with antiquated tech and now I can do much more with a staff (yes, I failed to mention staff – my apologies), better tech, and a proven business model. It is what I have been about from the beginning of my coaching career. I have helped hundreds of appraisers to take the “apples” they are currently working with and turn them into much more profitable “oranges.” Let me ask you a sincere question, Jeff? Can you do more now (with increased tech) and better ways of doing things that you did 20 years ago (when you had to go to the one-hour photo)? If so, do not get hung up – like most commentators have here – on the throw away line about how many appraisals my office can do per day. That was not the point of the article. The point was a focus on the comment I often hear from my peers that they have not seen a raise (in fees) in the past 20 years. I would think that MOST appraisers are doing things more efficiently now than two decades ago… and that, my friend, is a raise.

      1. To answer your question, yes, I can do a good bit more with technology than I was able to do 15-20 years ago; however, with the amount of requirements that have been added to the appraisal process, I am still only able to get out about the same amount of work that I always have. I have looked at adding staff and/or trainees but with the laws the way they currently are, I can’t figure out how the benefit will out way the cost. Every time I look at it, the numbers come out at about break even (cost vs. benefit) and I think why take on the hassle and liability when in the end I will still be at the same place.

        1. I get it man. I hear you. I know this is what most appraisers are struggling with. I struggle with the same things. I’m just trying to spread the word that there is a way to make it work. I also am hoping to spread a little sunshine into the appraisal profession. Seems like we spend a lot of time looking at the negative, and I think there’s a whole lot of positive out there as well. Cheers!

          1. On the side of spreading sunshine. I am starting to be able to charge more for an appraisal (although slight every little bit helps) and am starting to see business picking up as the criteria to become an appraiser has gotten tougher making this a profession like it should be and not just a job. With this being said, I am starting to have hope for the appraisal business and if it continues to look brighter, I have two sons graduating from college in the next few years that I may try to get into the industry.

  40. Its funny how I read some comments about how little the actual signing appraiser is doing, but in reviewing thousands of reports, I have only on a few occasions seen the documentation in the report of such work by these other parties. Turning squares into circles.

    1. The Appraiser Coach

      “Turning squares into circles.”

      I get you are trying to create something here Bill, but I can assure you my model is legit. USPAP requires disclosure for ANY significant assistance. Well, we do exactly that.

      Square pegs go in square holes. Round pegs go in round holes, and boxes are meant to be ‘thunk’ out of.

      1. Dustin, many including myself have a 180 degree different opinion as it relates too many of your points, podcast, and blogs. In fact, many appraisers have had the exact opposite path throughout their professional career compared to you.
        You have come from a one man shop doing it all, too now having a team assisting you with the process, while most appraisers have come from shared offices or mom & pop / family appraisal shops, to now being on their own. If you have gained efficiency from this process, then you surly understand that with the reversal for most, that we’ve lost efficiency.
        Your insistence that technology today is somehow so much better than years past is also a misstatement for many. Dating back almost 20 years ago we were using personal digital assistant (PDA’s) in the field to directly collect data, draw sketches and to take digital photos. GPS has also been around since the early 2,000’s. Your assumption for your argument seems to assume that no technology was available or used in years past and all available technology is being used today. This may help your argument (no raise) but for many, this is simply not true.
        If you also look at customary gross fees today via surveys that do not include know AMC’s (20% of the market) and come up with a rate of $400, what is the combined average gross fee when you calculate the 80% of the work that gets filtered via AMC’s? If the AMC’s are paying in the $200 to $350 range (via split fees), then in my opinion the combined average fee might in the ballpark of $300. Simply based on gross fees in my area in 1996 ($400 1004 / $700 1025) versus what is average today ($300 / $500), I have ample support to not only show there has been no raise, but to show you a decline in gross fees.
        The above information does not even take into account the expense side of things where often the expenses have doubled or tripled. Don’t even get me started in comparing the entry into the field today (college/loss of income due to time 6.5 years $200,000 to $300,000) versus the easy and low bar settings from 20 years ago.
        Dustin, you are again taking YOUR path into this profession and falsely applying it to all that hold an appraisers license. Turning squares into circles.

        1. Yet your argument falls apart somewhat when you take the fact that I have trained dozens and dozens of appraisal business owners in every market imaginable on my system and it works. Sure, every market is unique and needs some customization, but the principles of success are sound.

          Much of what holds most appraisers back is just attitude. We are our own worst enemies.

          1. A few dozen examples Dustin does not in turn represent the entire industry. Your continued path of ignoring the big picture may line your pockets, but YOU have become the leader in destroying the industry. You and your dozens of disciples are giving the impression to many industry leaders that the appraisal profession is healthy than ever, while ignoring the facts. Thousands have left the profession, my state is losing an appraiser a day, and the state of IL has 55 trainees when years ago the number was over a 1,000. Turning squares into circles.

  41. The Appraiser Coach


    With all due respect, I spend a great deal of my time (as well as print and podcast space) to the problems in the industry. I am quite aware of what is going on and one of my missions in life is to work to change it. In the meanwhile, I try to do less complaining about what is and more helping appraisers stay in the profession of their choice. I take offense at your insinuation that I am simply “lining my pockets” at the expense of others. I have helped dozens of appraisers who were struggling to make ends meet (and some were ready to hang up their hat) to be profitable again and love their life (even in today’s challenging landscape).

  42. I do not doubt your success or the success of your disciples, however if as an appraiser we are to determine the most probable sales price of a property, then why not apply this same logic to our industry. I understand your footprint is bigger than Idaho Falls Id, however you have applied your local success, replicated a few dozen times and are attempting to tell the world that your results are typical. You speak in terms of we, when you should speak in terms of I (or a few dozen). Is it your wish Dustin to have appraisers stop complaining? Should local, state or national coalitions stop taking complaints and dues? Should they take your word for it and assume we are all completing 3-8 appraisals a day at rates 600% higher than in years past? Is it truly in the best interest of that graduating college student to only hear your side of the story (1%) and to ignore what is most probable for their future? If you say you are helping appraisers stay in the profession, then I truly hope my reality check statements have prevented thousands from going down the path to begin with. I’m evaluating this career based on the data directly in front of me and for most (model matches on the same street), however you seem to be running searches from miles away and shopping for those sales that fit your agenda.

  43. The Appraiser Coach

    Let me ask you a question Bill. I am serious about this question and am not trying to put you on the spot. Why are you still in appraising?

    1. Dustin, I’m not going to answer that question on a personal level, however on a professional level, I believe we are needed more than ever. I will assume we both love what we do, however with your soapbox and opinions, I think your tone may do more harm than good. If you also post this blog on Appraisal Buzz and in turn get exposure to Joan and her collection of industry experts, I think they are less likely to change in their ways if they assume you speak for us (we). Do these industry executives apply your opinion to the entire industry when they tackle the issues? If the prior article there was concerning a shortage of appraisers (?), are their conclusions altered by way of what they hear from you? If they assume all are completing 3-8 appraisals per day at rates 600% higher than years past, then are their conclusions flawed (lower entry standards)? If your message represented what I have expressed may be typical for the average appraiser, would their number one fix be pay related? This industry has been taking one step forward and two steps back for years, unfortunately I’m the one step, while others are using the 2nd step to put pressure on our necks.

  44. The Appraiser Coach

    It just seems to me that with such a bleak outlook, you ought to consider getting out. I do not know if I could get up every morning and do what you do with such a dismal look on things. I have a hard time believing I am doing more harm than good when I get so much positive feedback from other appraisers I have helped. It may not look like it on pages such as this (where 90% of the comments are negative), but I feel pretty good about the change I am making in individual lives. What I have to share is not for everyone, that is for sure. Your certainly need to have a little hope. Though I am having an effect in individual lives, I think you give me FAR TOO MUCH credit on the influence I might have with the industry moguls. At the end of the day, these decisions are being made on a business level. What some punk from Idaho Falls has to say is of not much consequence.

  45. The bleak outlook you speak of is reality for thousands of appraisers. To say one should consider “getting out” is to confirm what tens of thousands of former appraisers have already done. My issue Dustin is not getting up in the morning, but getting to bed by not reaching all those I can. While staying with guidelines, there is not an owner, borrower, agent, loan officer, AMC, city, county, state, of federal agency that is not made aware of the truth. My work continues.

        1. I’m more of a Triple Awesome Grape flavor if your asking, which you’re not. However, if you do look it up, you will find it listed as an “other Kool-Aid flavor”, meaning I may not be the most popular, but this doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy me if you give it a try.

  46. The more things change in this business, the more they stay the same. Many years ago, I got into a discussion on Appraiser’s Forum about fees and how many could be done in a day. A guy from Phoenix noted that he could crank out 3-5 per day. Me and several other guys called BS; there’s no way you can do quality work at that rate.

    Well, that guy didn’t take it laying down. He came back and showed us all how it was done. First of all, his entire business focused on several huge suburban developments. Every Saturday, he’s update his market analysis. His staff would accept orders only in the subdivisions in which he worked. The staff would enter skeleton information in the 1004. His neighborhoods were well and clearly defined and described, and were accordingly included in the skeleton report.

    His staff would also pull potential comps—Oh, wait! That’s an appraisal function! Fraud! Cheat! Skippy!!!
    Nope. All those subdivisions were full of model-match houses: This guy knew where the model-match changes took place within the huge subdivisions. By the time he got finished looking over the orders, he’d have 3-5 appraisals within a few blocks of each other, and model-matched. In a few cases, he could use the same three sales as comps on three different appraisals.

    So he leaves the office with his inspection forms, camera, and the on-file sketch of the models he would inspect. The half-dozen or so comps (he always carried spares, just in case) were similarly documented. He’d leave the office and spend maybe 10 minutes at each subject, and take another 30 or so minutes to drive the comps and check them against the on-file data.

    When he got back to the office, he’d start working up the reports. There was no MC addendum back then, but every work file got a market analysis included from the office file (staff work.)

    Using that work-flow, he was able to complete 3-5 reports per work day. The reports were of as good a quality as could be required for a then-contemporary residential report.

    Now, here in rural Tennessee, I don’t care how much technology, how many monitors, or how much office help I hire: it takes about two work days to complete a credible residential report. There are no building permits or certificates of occupancy, and the MLS data is worthless. But I refuse all mortgage origination work. If the mortgage-lending industry wants to be crooked, I won’t aid them in the effort. The easy ones I do are Yellow-book compliant and take a minimum of two to three weeks to complete. I don’t send out invoices of less than four figures any more.

    So I’ll take Dustin at his word. You naysayers are likely wrong, but you’ll never admit it. I think you’re lucky Dustin’s busy teaching and writing as well as appraising. You’re also lucky to be so poor: No assets to seize in satisfaction of the judgment he could get against you for accusing him of fraud. Until you’ve seen his work flow in action, and observed his office at work, prudence demands that judgment be reserved. I’ve never seen his work flow, but I’m not going to say it is impossible. I don’t know his market, his area, his technology, or his procedures. So I reserve judgment. I suggest y’all do the same.

  47. Bert Sugarman

    Ok, so the “office” does 3-8 a day. The question is, are you the ONLY certified appraiser in that office ? What are the responsibilities of the non-appraisers in completing the reports ?. If you are the only appraiser, do you personally inspect each property ? I have a traditional fee shop, we completed 7.7 appraisals a day in April of 2016; so I know the traditional way works….all my appraisers handle their assignement from beginning to end; they work hard with long hours. I’ve been approached numerous times by “guys” telling me I could do better by having person A reaserch, person B inspect, person C pick comps, person D type report and person E make adjustments or a variation on that model. I have a funny feeling that is what your pushing….I’d like to know who is signing what and where on the report. Those who can appraise….appraise. Those who cant….well, you all know the rest. Good day

  48. Technological advances can help your bottom line. I’m a witness to that as I saw it happen in my own appraisal firm. After years of using an outdated program with poorly-presented reports (scotch taped photos on the reports), we went digital. We saved lots of money, gained new clients, and we are as efficient as ever. So, efficiency goes a LONG way.

    As it relates to fees being too low, they are, but appraisers are to blame for this. Who sets your price? Government? I don’t think so. Go look in the mirror. If all appraisers increased their fees to a level they feel is commensurate with the quality and time put into the work then all fees would increase. However, as long as there are folks out there proposing to do an appraisal for $375 when it should be $500 then we won’t see that increase.

    Many times a fee increase is due to a lack of confidence in the product. I’ve reviewed residential appraisal reports that have been completed for low fees and I can tell you that the appraisals weren’t USPAP compliant and the clients probably paid too much for them even at the low fee to which they agreed. There were numbers thrown in the sales comparison grid just to make the adjusted sale prices have a tight range. The summary in these reports for the adjustments? “The adjustments were made based upon market reactions to the elements of comparison where the comparables were different from the subject.” That’s it. That line infuriates me because it spits in the face of the intelligence of the intended user. Of course that is why they were adjusted. We get that, but HOW did you get those adjustments. Where did you get $35 per square foot for GLA dissimilarities? Why is the difference in basement area adjusted down $4,000? Why is the garage dissimilarities $5,000? Where is the highest and best use summary (sorry, but a checkbox is NOT a summary). These are the things the appraiser is REQUIRED to summarize in an appraisal report per USPAP Standards Rule 2-2(a)(viii). So, yes, with these jokers putting out these piss-poor products, residential fees will remain at embarrassingly low levels.

    If these people can’t meet the level required by USPAP then they need to get out of the profession and leave it to those of us who follow the rule of law. Fees will increase, which will draw new people into it that want to maintain that level of quality. It’s a win-win for those of us who really care.

  49. Alguém vai ser processado pela sociedade protectora dos animais…ai..vai.vai..Esta da gasolina em "cu de cão"não lembrava nem ao diabo..seus sádicos do caraças apanhados do clima..C.Martins

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  56. How many Dustin Harris Kool-Aid drinking disciples are still hear 7 years later who think most appraisers have all had a raise in the past 20 years. How much lower are your AMC fees today (2023), compared to 2021 or 2022? Oh that right, Dustin said his fees are 600% higher, and that HE completes 4 to 9 appraisals a day.

    Sorry to say, but I told you so.

    Seek the truth.

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