Can an AMC Tell Appraisers How to Dress?

I recently saw a Facebook post where an appraiser was quite upset and offended that an AMC asked him to dress professionally for an appraisal walkthrough. Now, this was a request that was made up front as one of the conditions for accepting the order. Reading the post, it sounded like this appraiser was upset for two reasons. One, he was offended that the AMC was implying that he does not take his job seriously enough or dress professionally enough. Two, he felt like the AMC did not have a right to tell him how to do his job (i.e. how to dress). 

First let me say that I personally do not think it was the AMC’s intention to imply that this appraiser is not professional in any way. I simply think that they were taking extra precautions to make sure the borrower was extremely impressed by the service they, and the appraiser who they hired, provided. Now, on to the real question. Can an AMC tell an appraiser how to dress? And the answer is yes.

I have several employees. Now I do not do this, but if I hire an employee, I can have them wear a uniform or stick to a dress code. They may choose to ignore that dress code, but they may also lose their job. In other words, an employee is not really empowered to say no to a boss’s request without risking their job. 

Now, you may be thinking, “Well Dustin, appraisers are not typically employees. They are independent contractors and business owners. Sure you can tell W4 Employees what to wear, but you cannot tell us what to wear.” You are right. It is a slightly different situation. 

The client is the one hiring you. They are giving you a paycheck. They are paying your bills. They have a right to ask you to do certain things when you complete work for them. But guess what; you also have a right to say no, and if you say no, you are not going to lose your job as an appraiser. You may lose an order, or a client, but you ultimately are not going to lose your job. That is the difference. You have a choice. 

I do a lot of work in the Jackson Hole area, and I often appraise estates that belong to high profile individuals. I have had AMCs call me and ask me to do things a little differently while appraising these properties. Some common requests are dressing up and wearing a tie, keeping the owners confidentiality, and being careful when taking pictures to not reveal who lives there. Yes these things require more effort, but I also get paid a lot more for these types of assignments. It is personally worth it to me to go the extra mile and respect the client’s above and beyond wishes. However, if I felt the client was asking for outrageous things, or if I felt it was not worth my time, I could always say no. 

Folks, you have a choice. If you feel a client is asking too much of you, then simply say no. It does not make any sense to complain about it or assume a victim attitude. No one is forcing you to do these things. If you do not want to do them, move on to a different assignment or a different client. 

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 

19 Comments on “Can an AMC Tell Appraisers How to Dress?”

  1. To “dress professionally” goes with the job type for the situation. If I am appraising a farm or hunting land with acreage do you think I’m going to NEED to wear a tie and sport coat? How about a blaze orange sport coat during rifle deer hunting season? Wouldn’t that look professional? Safe yes, but professional? How about a foreclosure home that has not been debrised? Let’s throw in the weather. Do you think that it may alter what we wear also? What happened to common sense? They tell us not to wear weapons. Obviously, they think no one does appraisals in crime-riddled areas. Superman I am not but don’t think for a minute that I’m not going to “dress” as the situation calls for…..in my not-so-humble opinion after having survived 43 years of trench warfare and not-so-typical locations.

  2. The answer is NO!! I and most appraisers are not employees and we are not independent contractors either. I own and operate my own appraisal firm and brokerage company. The Lender/Client does not dictate anything I or this corporation does with the exception to what is agreed to in the engagement letter for each job and only those items that pertain to the appraisal assignment. It would be no different than a home owner trying to tell an electrician what to wear. They don’t and it’s rather stupid if you ask me. But the owner can tell his employees or contractors how to dress. An amc is only an agent of the Client and neither have any authority over the appraiser or a corporation. If the amc doesn’t like it they can not send work to that appraiser. AMC’s are always trying to find a way to control the appraiser and how we do our jobs. I have a couple of amc’s that send an appraisal with a 7 day due date. Their engagement letter states that I have to call the borrower in 24 hours to schedule the inspection. I have to inspected the Subject within 48 hours and the appraisal is due 48 hours after the inspection, and if for any reason I have to reinspect the Subject I am only getting paid $50.00 for a “trip fee”. This is all sent in an engagement letter after I accepted the job and I did not sign. LOL I do none of this. They can state that I have to come over to their house and wash the dishes every night, if they want, but none of it has to do with the appraisal and I need not follow any of it. And I tell them sure I’ll take $50.00 for the trip fee but I also need to reinspect the property so if you want that it’s another $50.00 or $100.00. Don’t take sh.. from these Bozos!! If you do then you will be nothing more than a little B…ch run by ignorant unqualified punks that know nothing about our business.

  3. I fired all of the AMC’s & don’t deal with it anymore. That is one of the points of contention I had among others with AMCs. Some of which were so eloquently described in prior comments. The Engagement letter is a bi-lateral agreement for services. By signing you agree to abide by their rules is my take. I do more so agree to wear what the situation dictates. Going out today in the rain and no one is going to tell me a rain suit is not appropriate. I do VA’s, non-lender, specific local lenders work, & some consulting. Happy & making just as much without the BS.

  4. Pushy AMC’s, imagine that. I remind them, often, that we are their product. Without us they have nothing.

  5. In appraising 7 days a week for over 20 years I have rarely had a client with specific dress code and almost every client I have has a blanket statement of dress professionally. The funny thing is I do not personally believe borrowers judge by the way you are dressed. I think they make a split second decision based on the vehicle you drive. I pull up in a 2019 tesla or 2019 range rover and I have never had a borrower think I was unprofessional even though I dress a more casual side than business. The first 10 minutes of the typical appraisal is most always awnsering questions about the tesla. During the warmer months we wear company logoed polos, but as it get cooler I just wear sweat suits from our local state college which most everyone in my area loves. Even though I always dress more on the casual side than the professional most everybody thinks I am very professional based on my knowledge of the subject matter because I know what I am doing and because of the car I drive. In over 20 years of appraising I have only had 1 negative comment on my appearance and it was over 15 years ago for wearing sandals to a inspection. As Dustin said I occasionally get private banking requests which pay alot more and have special requirements (professional business atire) and I always accomadate those client requests.

  6. I think we are missing the larger point here. Why does the AMC feel like they need that requirement? I am both a provider and a consumer of appraisals in my real estate career. I purchase appraisals for properties I buy, sell and refinance. I never ceases to amaze me what some appraisers think is appropriate dress. The job of an appraiser is ultimately to convince someone that their opinion of value is correct and provide confidence that their value opinion can be relied upon. I would humbly say the task of convincing someone begins with your appearance and your behavior. Should you always dress the part?…absolutely. I have found over a 25 year practice that you instill confidence in property owners (and ultimately clients) if you are professionally dressed and can speak intelligently about your topic. If you show up to a job in shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt and behave like a moron, the property owner is less likely to take you seriously and more likely to complain about your product. So not only is your appraisal less credible you also increase the potential for service after the sale thereby reducing your profit margin. Personally I think it is sad that an AMC feels like they need to make that request.

    IDONTKNOW, you seriously need to check the attitude at the door. You do realize these posts may get put on social media, right? The bottom line is that someone is requesting you to complete a task for a fee. If you don’t agree with the scope of work and/or fee they are offering you can either make a counter offer or reject the assignment. AMC’s are only trying to fill the requests of their clients just like you are…its not personal and they are not trying to run your business. As appraisers, we should be independent when it comes to the task of valuation but when it comes to running your appraisal business, the goal needs to be making customers happy to the extent possible.

  7. Funny how everyone seems to think their opinion is so special..appraisers…Jerry? I love how you bark your orders and demands about what I should do and how I should think and feel and conduct myself. Clearly you think highly of yourself! No one more than yourself, I’m sure? I’ll lose my “attitude” when I get my Clients back from the parasites skimming money off my jobs, thank the Governor of New York!!
    “The appraiser’s job is to convince someone”? I don’t know about that but I think I know what you are saying. I am not trying to impress anyone here. I think of it as more of a fun place to say WHAT I REALLY THINK and I think most “REAL” appraisers would agree with me on the amc issues. If not that’s fine too.
    I think you are missing the larger point. AMC’s feel the need to tell appraisers how to dress because they think or want us to work for them like employees but not be responsible for taxes on us or have any liability related to us. AMC’s are always trying to find a way to control the whole job and take as much money from us as they can. So, I think you are missing the larger point here. I am suspect that you are not really an active appraiser? You don’t sound like one? You sound like a kid that works for an amc? You sound clueless! And for the record the clothes I wear to a job collectively cost at least $500.00 for a standard no crawling through the mud appraisal. My car new today is around $100,000 and it sure isn’t a piece you know what like a tesla…a sucker mobile. Not to get political here but I think I know who you voted for too..lol Resistance is futile…you will be assimilated..your life as it has been is over.. do not resist us…lol

  8. “if you are professionally dressed and can speak intelligently about your topic”. Half a crock is still a crock. Let’s say you are wearing a tie and coat and it’s raining and muddy and there are outbuildings you have to measure and photograph them and your house. How intelligent will they think you are dressed “professionally”? Having the appearance of “professional dressing” in this case would have the homeowners really wondering what screw is missing or very loose.
    “if you are professionally dressed and can speak intelligently about your topic”. Do you walk to work or carry your lunch? Two totally different concepts that need not be combined to create an image for a homeowner. It’s “put up or shut up” for the assignment and “like it or lump it” if you can’t prove otherwise.

  9. You must have a lot time to waste in something so insignificant an stupid as this. That tall me a lot of you.

  10. This is a hot topic. To me it is easy. I demand high prices, but when I go to inspect a property I dress like a professional who is paid well and I request that my employees do the same. I have heard so many times from customers who are upset about a past appraisal, include what the appraiser was wearing in the description of the appraiser’s lack of competence. I know competent appraisers who dress like they’re going to a tailgate party, but I believe that if you look, act, and dress professional, I believe that your appraisal is more likely to be trusted, rather than scrutinized. This is not always true, but I will take any advantage I can get.

  11. Stopped working for AMCs years ago when they decided to cut too much into my slice of pie. I dress for the season/occasion. Been known to wear shorts, hawaiian shirt and topsiders in the summer and switch to blue jeans, flannel shirt and a wool sportscoat in the winter. If I’m slogging through the cedar breaks it’s blue jeans, long sleeved shirt and boots with flea/tick collars on them. We are still in the service sector and most of us independent, so take the assignments you can live with and fulfill the client’s requirements. Enough.

  12. I walked into Dillard’s several years ago. I had a $375.00 watch I bought 2 years earlier that broke, that I brought with me. That day I was wearing my shorts, shirt, sandals and a ball cap. She asked for my receipt and I said I don’t have it. She said sorry there is nothing I can do for you. I came back a week later wearing nice pants, shirt, shoes and a tie. Same scenario, she said step over here and pick out a watch up to $375.00 and she just gave it to me. I think that is a perfect example when one asks how to dress? When I first got my appraisal license and I dressed up like I just mentioned, I walked into a store and for the first time in my life the cashier referred to me as Sir! I thought wow!! what a difference. Before everyone freaks out and starts telling me they don’t need to wear a tie and all that. I’m not saying you do or that I do all the time. I know there are different situations that call for different attire and some people just prefer to do it their way. That’s fine! I just know that when I want to impress…I dress up and people act a hole lot different to me!!

  13. THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK & YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE OR TURN DOWN THE JOB. WHEN I STARTED IN 1976 WE WORE A COAT AND TIE TO EVERY APPRAISAL, NO EXCEPTIONS FOR WEATHER OR ANYTHING ELSE. AS THE YEARS HAVE GONE ON THINGS HAVE CHANGED. I WOULD TURN IT DOWN UNLESS THE FEE WAS SO HIGH I COULD NOT REFUSE

  14. We all know the saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. This applies to all of us, it does not matter what profession your in. When I worked as a full time lender appraiser, I wore a tie. When you complete an inspection, people expect you to be clean, well dressed,
    you do not have to wear a tie, but nice clothes. You also dress to the situation. Most appraiser’s do. I still can’t believe we are getting paid
    to do what we do. I love my job. Why would you not want to be a professional? Dustin, Anonymous, Jerry, Well said…

  15. I don’t recall any AMC’s demanding how I should dress, However I think its a good idea to dress respectable if you want to be respected!
    What ever is excepted in your area as being dressed professional is what I do! If I were located in the city business district where everyone wears a white shirt and tie , then I would NOT want to show up for an appraisal in shorts and sandals!

  16. Boy talking about a firestorm of opinions. It’s your business and you can do with it how you want. The AMC is your client. While they are the ones that sent you the order, they are your client. Keep them or not. It is up to you to decide this key factor. If you don’t want them someone else does and will be glad to take their work. For those that fired their AMC’s good for you. One less problem to worry about. One less client to worry about. I like talking to appraisers and finding out that they don’t realize that they are business owners. You run your business how you want to.

  17. Good humor here, next maybe we can talk about if taking comp photos is necessary. The golden rule applies here. Whoever has the gold, makes the rules. Its a business decision. Abide and get paid, or dont and eat Top Ramen.

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  19. I dress in professional/ casual. Never shorts, never sloppy, never the recent trend of torn jeans; just neat, clean and put together. I had a trainee show up in halter top, skin tight jeans and a pound of makeup. She looked like she was going clubbing. When I said it was inappropriate and unprofessional, she was angry and offended. I told her her appearance reflected on my company and me. If she wanted to be taken seriously and professionally she needed to tone down her attire or find another mentor. She quit and I have noticed she is not licensed in this state.

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