To Pay or Not To Pay, That is the Question

Should appraisers pay to be on an AMC’s approved appraiser list?  Is this one way to get new clients?  If an AMC solicited you, would you check it out?  Now, I work for some AMCs that, frankly, you might not choose to work for.  That’s fine.  It’s a choice we all make.  Understand that most of the areas I work are rural, so AMCs are generally willing to pay more because of this.  Some AMC are very demanding.  Yet, when I meet those demands, I get a lot of well-paying jobs from them.  

Recently, a new AMC asked me to join its panel.  While I usually respond positively to these requests, with this particular AMC, I chose to reject their offer.  Why?  That AMC wanted me to pay it for the privilege of working with them.  Nope!  Yes, I am all about business opportunities. I am used to “lunch-and-learns” in which I pay for that lunch to get new clients.  That’s legitimate, as far as I am concerned.  So, how is this AMC’s request any different?  

I’m not paying this money in a marketing situation like I am with the lunch-and-learn (or some such event).  There is no marketing in paying the AMC to get its work.  That just rubs me the wrong way.  I also know for a fact there were fly-by-night AMC firms that got a few hundred dollars from a few thousand appraisers, then disappeared into the fog.  In other words, the solicitation was a scam by a sham company.  For these reasons, I threw the solicitation in the garbage.  I would counsel you to do the same.

So, should you pay to be on an AMC’s approved appraiser list?  That is a decision only you can make.  But I made my decision.  And my decision was NO!

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

14 Comments on “To Pay or Not To Pay, That is the Question”

  1. I will not pay to be on anyone’s “approved” victim list. I will not pay to upload an appraisal to anyone. I will not pay a “technology fee”. I already pay a software contract each year. This is equivalent to a type of extortion. If you pay me, then I will allow you to do your job” Says Guido with a baseball bat in his hands… This really should be not allowed to occur. In addition, I do not feel that I should have to pay an extra yearly fee to transmit reports in a specific format (.ENV is one of them). This format is used because it allows for my signature to be removed and my data and information to be stolen, manipulated or added to their technology. This too is wrong. Many appraisers do this and do not realize what they are allowing to happen to their reports & hard work.

  2. I choose my clients (and set my fees) not the other way around. Perhaps I should start implementing a fee to be added to my client list, require background checks, and add “upload” and “transaction” fees to my invoices! BTW, I do very little AMC work, never pay for background checks, charge back any transaction fees, add 50.00 if .ENV is required, and am out 5 weeks right now. You can only be bullied by AMCs if you allow yourself to be, fire the bad ones, there’s plenty of decent clients out there.

  3. Agreed. I will always resist that type of thing. In fact, I try not to work with AMC’s at all. Been there, done that. I remember way back when, being excited about the prospect of all he business Solidifi was going to send. I even became one of their “Extraordinary Appraisers”. Another joke of theirs. The fee wasn’t so bad at first, but one their tactics is to get you hooked, then continue to reduce workload and while saying, if you could just reduce your fee a little, we could send more volume. That, of course, never happens. At least not at any fee I am willing to accept. I suppose if you are a $350 appraisal fee guy/gal, have at it. If they order one now, it gets deleted…without response.

  4. I stopped all AMC work 10+ years ago. My income and life are better. Currently most of my work is with private clients, and over 90% comes from referrals. I started working with my main lender client in 1997. I’m having fun, enjoying what I do, and life is good.

  5. I meet many appraisers who are upset with the system and only look backwards. They live their appraiser lives only looking backwards and try to bring back the hat once was. I totally understand the frustration of having these AMC overlords that have strict deadlines, low fees, and upload fees. BUT, if you can learn to master their process you really can make a lot of money. We (my company) have great relationships with many AMC’s and receive a lot of work from them. On our end we have created a system that keeps them updated, meets their deadlines, and often times covers the upload fees. This in turn has increased our fees because our product is good and has allowed us to keep our turn times, even in this very busy market, under 6 business days. My advice is to look forward and try to embrace the change. We can become a happier group of people that are easier to work with which is contrary to the current view of appraisers.

    1. You keep doing that, JP. I’ll keep doing most of the same things you mentioned, but with our lowest paying client being at $475 for a conventional appraisal, and the average fee in our office of $525. And…NONE of the micromanagement or other hassles. I do, however, admire your ability to be smile while being “bent over”. Good on you, my friend!!

  6. You keep doing that, JP. I’ll keep doing most of the same things you mentioned, but with our lowest paying client being at $475 for a conventional appraisal, and the average fee in our office of $525. And…NONE of the micromanagement or other hassles. I do, however, admire your ability to smile while being “bent over”. Good on you, my friend!!

  7. JP, Avoiding getting beaten up by the class bully after school by giving him your lunch money isn’t a way of life that needs to be embraced, it’s a way of ensuring a life of being a subservient pawn that enables the bully in question. Have you ever noticed that there are some people that are never bullied? They are the ones that don’t put up with it. I hope that some day you are able to realize how profitable and relatively stress free the appraisal business can be by taking control of your own destiny and not working for third parties of no value in the process that have their hand in your pocket.

    1. The problem Jim is that the Dustin Harris’s of the world think that if they only work with the “good” (fake news) AMC’s (perhaps local to them), that they aren’t being bullied or are giving up much of their lunch money. In reality of course, Dustin maybe rewarded short term and on a local level, however the truth is a few cities or counties over, that same AMC is a bully to a thousand other appraisers. Eventually, supporting of the system (AMC), will come back to bite you and or contributes to the demise of the industry.

      For many, its profits before morals, while others seek the truth and act according even if at times it may not be in your best interest.

      Snake oil for sale.

      Seek the truth.

  8. To all, I look at things very differently. I do not look at an AMC as a bully but like minded business owners trying to build a good company. Build the relationship with them and it can be very profitable. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t put all our eggs in the AMC basket. They are about 50% of our volume but just think about how much volume and $$ you are missing out on. There are so many options to build a good business. One that you could eventually sell and have a better retirement. Again, I don’t fault any of you for thinking the way you do. At the end of the day we are all doing our best. Just different approaches. For my understanding and learning what are some of your favorite non lender work avenues?

    God bless you all!!

  9. Think it was late last year that I saw an amc send me something about paying to be put on their list …. after I got over the shock of the stoopidity on their part, I laughed for a couple of days.

    State does security checks now for license renewals and some idiot amc wanted me to do it again … and pay for it …. pass
    Do very little amc and get lots of notices on props as I work rural America …. keep seeing stuff from outfits with new and weird names ….

    got a laugh out of the upload fee from someone a year or two ago …. didn’t do that fee again

    And now I see some outfit wanting to charge a monthly fee to be the go-between for uploads and handling invoices

    Would almost … almost… like to meet some of the apprs putting up with this crap.

  10. Dustin, your support of the AMC model and the looting of fees, independence, etc. that follows (both to you & nationally), is like an urban area where voters keep electing the same officials with the same policies that continuously create the same problems. These officials keep the problems alive on purpose so they can continue to get elected on a platform to fix them. Your support of the AMC model (the problem), keeps you in business so you can sell your snake oils to a greater number of clientele.

    Grow a backbone and take a stand against the evil AMC machines.

    Seek the truth

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