Readers Respond

Readers Respond

Fighting Your Way off Blacklist
After reading your article, I am in the process of trying to make the same complaint to see if it gets me anywhere. They (very large bank) don’t give you a chance to rebut or even threaten you.  They simply send you a letter stating you have been placed on their ineligible list. In my case, they cited two appraisal reports.  One of the reports was on MY OWN house, which I built myself a few years back and have NEVER appraised.  The other was in a rural area made up of 40 acre parcels and they did not like my Comp selection.  I responded with the facts about my own house and asked to see a review of the rural property as yes, the comps were not great, but they were all I had available and I wondered what sales were found that were considered to be better than what I provided.  I was answered with a letter indicating that their decision was final and that the issue is over.  The most disturbing part of this is that because an appraisal was cited that I did not complete, one might assume that the reason this report was chosen was due to my name simply being placed into a computer which pulled up any reports that are not perfect reports. Further, this leaves the question whether my report was even reviewed or just selected because it had comps over one mile or adjustments that exceeded recommended lending guidelines.  Surely an intelligent person would catch the fact that the report was not even mine if they were conducting a review of my report, right? After all of this, I tried to look at things from their perspective, a business perspective.  I understand the reason for blacklisting. However, a blacklist should not be a career death sentence.  There should be something in place which gives the appraiser a chance to correct the problem if there is indeed an issue with their work. I spoke to the person from (the very large bank) who wrote my letters of denial. I asked if there was anything that I could do to be removed from this “do not use” list.  She informed me that there are no options- that once you are on the blacklist, you are on forever.  I informed her that this decision affects ALL work for an appraiser as indicated in your article since AMCs cannot take the chance that it may go to one of the big four and that these decisions should be weighed carefully as this has a huge effect on a person’s livelihood.  She did not seem to have any remorse and actually seemed irritated that she had answered the phone. I live in an area made up of many smaller towns, many being quite rural.  Most are of second home, resort towns, made up of all custom built houses on differing sized parcels/lots.  As you might imagine, appraisals completed in this area are often not great looking reports but we are limited to the data that is available.  I wish it were all cookie-cutter tract housing but this is simply not the case.  I do honest work to the best of my ability which I think is also true for the majority of appraisers.

Blacklisting should be reserved for cases of potential fraud, dishonesty or just plain incompetency but only after corrective action has been attempted and an individual’s work is still lacking.  – JS

When Nice Guys Finish Last
Thanks to this article I probably avoided becoming a victim. An AMC told me they did an internal review on a report I completed and felt I came in conservative on my value. They asked me to consider raising the value $5,000. I said no way Jose.” – Raul Leon

Editor’s Note: See story: When Nice Guys Finish Last (AMC Complaints Rise).  Story reprinted from Working RE’s Online News Edition.

AMC Rater
You would provide a good service to appraisers if you would actually rate the AMCs and provide alerts to their financial ability to pay us. I have to worry about that every month.  In my area there is no work unless you go through an AMC.  I am not getting good fees but fair fees– at least sufficient to keep me in business so far. – Dennis Geist, Geist Real Estate Appraisal

Editor’s Note: OREP/Working RE’s AMC Rater Blog is set up as an information exchange on AMCs. There were warning signs about AppraiserLoft, for instance, on the this blog and in other forums. Also, the 2012 AMC Guide separates the good from the bad AMCs, based on the experiences of the author Bryan Knowlton.

Appraisers, Bullies, AMCs and Banks
Are you hearing out there that many appraisers are giving up doing review work? I use to do quite a bit but I am giving it up entirely because of Dodd Frank.  With the new regulations it is too much of a risk for a $375 review to get fined $10,000 if you don’t turn someone in. I do not believe it is our responsibility to be policemen.  Our job is to give opinions.  And if the lender and client have a beef that is their responsibility. – Doug Quenzer, Wisconsin Certified Residential Appraiser

Suspension Merry-Go-Round
After 25 years of appraising, I can only say that if I were to pick a profession today, it would not be appraising.  I have 18 year old kids asking for things that are ridiculous.  It would make for a nice article to print stories one is asked to give the lender.  I was asked to explain the damage car parked near the property.  It was a result of hit and run the night before and belonged to the neighbor and it happened to be shown partially in one of my front pictures!  And the best part, I had to find out whose car it was!  Get a police report as an attachment!  Now you understand why I do not like appraising anymore!  25,000 homes…or something like that and the last two thousand has been awful. – George Alexa, Northern Virginia

How Well Do you Know Your Rights?
I appreciate what you are stating in your article but in real life it is not going to work. I have stood my ground with AMCs and refused or put up a fight on some of their requests only to be blacklisted. I have called after 90 days of no payment and requested payment, only to be blacklisted. I have requested fee increases for complex properties, only to be blacklisted. I have scheduled appointments within 24 hours, greeted the homeowners with glee, wore slippers in their house, showed up 10 minutes early, worked weekends and holidays only to be blacklisted for doing my job. This, after all of the tears I have shed over how poorly I have been treated and the position I have been forced into- to beg for work and just take the order because I need to put food on the table. To hate my job that I once loved but at the end of the day, I am the only one who can make a change. And just like all of the articles we read that say you can do it, just say no to the low fees and go after other appraisal work- well they are right. I once again love appraising. I found other appraisal work for non-mortgage clients. I have taken back the control of my business. I say no to low fees, I say no to AMCs that treat me badly. I say yes to my independence and to you I say take your business back and take control of your future. – Cindy Sizemore

Good News
Good news for appraisers! It is so busy during the first four months of 2012 you do not have to accept low fee work. I have successfully raised my price with the couple of AMCs that allow you to set your own and I have aligned myself with two new AMCs that pay higher. I take private party assignments. I called a local appraiser after seeing a copy of his recent appraisal, made for an AMC; $225 for seven comps. I could not believe my eyes. I called him right and told him I am in the middle of an FHA condo for $370- five comps. You appraisers who are complaining about low fee work and are setting the fee at $225, are you kidding me? I told this appraiser all he needs to do is call the AMC and raise his price. Leaving $100 on the table for every appraisal is stupidity. You’re not going to undercut anyone but yourself. I am happy to report that life is good, I will make over $100k this year and I ride my bicycle a minimum of three-four days a week to my assignments. I’m going green. Yes, the homeowners are somewhat puzzled by this but are happy to know that they at least have a LOCAL appraiser. By the way, we are fortunate enough to have enough requests to focus on the local work and turn down the more distant orders. I have denied more than five appraisals this week alone. Good luck out there and love what you do. It’s better than sitting in a cubicle making less $ and answering to a machine. I was stuck in that rut for many years.

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