2017 Fee Survey: Analyzing the Data



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2017 Fee Survey: Analyzing the Data

By Isaac Peck and David Brauner, Working RE Magaizne

For the last few years the appraisal industry has been abuzz with talk of rising appraisal fees and longer turn times. AMCs complain of a shortage of appraisers and “price gouging” in certain markets (Colorado and Oregon, for instance); appraisers report modest success at raising their fees after years of frustration (See Fees Rising).

With over 7,000 appraisers responding so far, the results of the 2017 Working RE/OREP Appraiser Fee Survey is a current source for fee and turn time data by market and nationwide. (To view the survey results for your market, click here.  The number in the right-hand side in parentheses is the total number of appraisers in that specific MSA who responded at the time of this writing.)  The survey remains open if you have not participated yet. The data is provided free to appraisers and all industry stakeholders.

The new fee data offers an interesting comparison with the results of the first Customary and Reasonable Fee Survey, which was conducted in 2010 in the wake of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) and the ascendance of AMCs. The first survey results measure non-AMC appraisal fees only—where appraisers and clients negotiated fees directly without a middleman. The new survey makes no distinction. So today, more than seven years later, the comparison of fees and turn times between then and now— before AMCs and after—offers Working RE readers a unique perspective.

Surveys Said
Both surveys include 365 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), as defined by the U. S. Census Bureau, with rural areas included by state. Each survey includes eight different appraisal products, including reviews and FHA appraisals. Both surveys address turn times. While the earlier survey includes only non-AMC appraisal reports, the current survey draws no distinction between AMC and non-AMC appraisals, as noted.

Increasing Fees and Turn Times
The new survey results show higher fees in many markets compared to 2010 but for most, only marginally. Turn times have grown in many markets as well. As you compare the fees in your area, note that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which is tied to inflation and on which social security benefits are paid, has increased 8.8 percent in the same time period. The Consumer Price Index has gone up 11.3 percent.

Comparing Then and Now
The tables posted here compare data from the two surveys in a few select markets. Complete data from all 350 MSAs nationwide are available here. As you will note, fees in certain areas have stagnated, a few have actually declined, but overall, a modest increase can be observed in many markets. Some markets have improved dramatically.

(Click here to see the Tables comparing Fees and Turn Times.)

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The fee/range reported for each MSA reflects the result with the greatest percentage of responses.

Modest Good News
That appraisal fees appear to be rising modestly in many markets is good news for appraisers. But as you can see, appraisers in certain locations are faring much better than in others. It should also be noted there are probably 20 percent fewer active and licensed appraisers working today than there were then.

Both surveys include fees and turntime data on a number of appraisal products, including the 1004 REO, 1004 FHA, 2055, 1025, and more.

After seeing fees decline substantially with the imposition of AMCs, the fact that many appraisers have regained some or all of what was lost (and then some) offers hope of better times to come.

The data should be a strong nudge to those appraisers in competitive markets who have not yet raised their fees and/or enhanced their product. If you are not confident enough in your skills to raise your rates to market, there are many resources available to you, including quality online CE offered through OREPEducation.org.  Economical bundle pricing is available on a variety of coursework. OREP insureds save.

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Thanks to the many thousands of appraisers who helped make the survey possible. If you are an appraiser and have not yet taken the survey, please weigh in today! And when it’s time for E&O, shop OREP for great appraiser insurance rates, broad coverage and fast, efficient service. Thanks for reading!


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About the Authors
David Brauner is Publisher of Working RE magazine and Senior Broker at OREP, a leading provider of E&O Insurance for appraisers, inspectors and other real estate professionals in 50 states (OREP.org). He has provided E&O insurance to appraisers for over 20 years. He can be contacted at dbrauner@orep.org or (888) 347-5273. Calif. Insurance Lic. #0C89873. Visit OREP.org today for comprehensive coverage at competitive rates.

Isaac Peck is the Editor of Working RE magazine and the Director of Marketing at OREP, a leading provider of E&O insurance for home inspectors, appraisers, and other real estate professionals in all 50 states and D.C. He received his master’s degree in accounting at San Diego State University. He can be contacted at isaac@orep.org or (888) 347-5273.


Send your story submission/idea to the Editor: isaac@orep.org

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Comments (4)

  1. Love the “reported price gouging” in Colorado and Oregon. Supply and demand and right now, the AMC’s are wanting a 2 day turn time and complaining that they are not getting it. Well, if an AMC wants something quicker, they have to pay. It’s not price gouging, it’s simple economics and the AMC’s that drove our fees to a point of bankrupting thousands of appraisers are getting a taste of their own medicine. Good for appraisers!

    - Reply
    • by Jeremy Hall Appraisals - Colorado

      How much is an acceptable amount for in house staff costs? Direct or amc, consumer charges are consistently higher than the appraisers paid amount.

      - Reply
  2. During the time when there were so many refinances all at once, we were really swamped in the office. I hired clerical help for most of the research. Most of my time was then spent on inspection and reviewing the research. It was amazing how much time I was able to spend on the main part of the appraisal. The cost of the clerical help was minimum compared to the total fee.
    Training someone to be an appraiser was much more time consuming and expensive. They would most likely leave when they had their certification and start their own office. They would also be able to contact my clients for business, since they had established a relationship with them while working in my office. This would be when they would really be helpful and rewarding to me, finally.
    You could train someone to be an appraiser and never let them get enough experience to get the designation. Therefore, you would get some return on your investment.

    Gloria Jean Williams

    - Reply

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