Appraiser Rater: AMC Ratings by Appraisers

As suggested by readers, this space is designated for appraisers to comment on their experiences with AMCs that they have worked with. Whether it’s a major or private AMC, a good experience or bad, please share with your fellow appraisers. Include fee expectations, turn time expectations, unusual requests, flow of business, reporting requirements, ease of technology platform, payment and pressure issues or any other criteria. This is intended as a free exchange of information to help appraisers make informative decisions about the AMCs they work with. Please keep all comments constructive, factual and fair.

Please note that Working RE and OREP do not substantiate or verify any of the comments posted here.

602 Responses to Appraiser Rater: AMC Ratings by Appraisers

  1. Jim Smith says:

    What is the question to this answer? The unholy alliance that exists between those mortgage brokers/loan originators, etc. et al and the appraiser selected (the one most likely to hit the number) must be broken. This can only be done by mandating minimum requirements and then having all qualified applicants placed on an absolute rotating blind panel.
    I would love to other(s)’ input!

  2. STEVE SOUZA says:

    I have been approached and work for 3 fairly good AMC’S that pay “reasonable fees” even though they are less than my normal fees I’ve been charging for the past 4 years. I had a Borrower call me about a week ago and wanted to know what his lender was paying me because they were charging him $750.00 for an appraisal and he felt he was getting ripped off for that fee by me. None the less, per privacy I told him I could not discuss that issue with him. He said he knew where I lived and I asked him if he was threatening me. He said take it for what is worth. I filed a police report. Bottom line, the Borrower is thinking we are the one’s getting these fees. Crap, my fee was in the $200′s range. No wonder we are hated huh? Lenders and AMC’S are sticking it to us good and we need to stand up “together” and stop this. I for one will be out of business in 2 years if this continues and can’t say I’ll miss it. Tired of working for minimum wage.

    • Sharon Edwards says:

      I would love to know who that AMC is. You should report them to the state.

    • anon says:

      Look up the term enabling, then look up the term complicit. You fit both definitions. I keep my fee highlighted on a printed paper, and I never deal with conflict of interest issues like that. On one hand this appraiser downs the amc for doing what it does. On the other hand, they could not do what they do, without puppy appraisers whom play along.

  3. Southern Calif Appraisers says:

    We have 4 Certified General Appraisers in our office that will not work for AMC’s. Our experience with Landsafe and several other AMC’s have been drastic fee cuts, inaccurate payment of fees, accounting nightmares, unreasonable turn times, and constant harassment for the report/status/corrections they want but not required. I agree that appraisers should unite and be a voice to stand for the profession that took years of expense and education to acquire. We are in challenging times but I don’t see the solution as cutting appraisers fees as the solution. It will only prostitute the appraisal process and give the profession a bad name. I believe a real solution can start where the AMC’s charge the lenders who use their services a processing fee. They can figure out the process from the thousands they stand to make with the loan. Makes more sense to us in this senseless world right now.

  4. herm says:

    After 24 years in the business, through the good times and the lean, I’ve had it. My last clients have all gone to using AMC’s. Even the banks and the Credit Unions. My good friend recently took a job that paid $197 for a complex appraisal. Normal fees out this way are $450, plus she couldn’t get a person to speak to who had a reasonable command of the english language at the AMC, …..

    Like it’s been said before, when all else fails, blame the appraiser. That’s happened before and behold, once again. We, as the most regulated profession in the country, in turn have little to no power. Letters to politicians and commissions have gone unheard.

    A pat on the head, and be off. That is what it feels like.

    I really liked working with mortgage brokers and companies. If one pressured me in any way, I simply moved on. At one of these forums it was said that 90% of appraisers had been pressured. That doesn’t mean that 90% of us gave in to that pressure. Only that we had a choice to compromise our ethics, or simply walk away and find a company with integrity. That’s what I have done over and over. My current clients have never asked me to stretch or “create” a value, nor look the other way on an issue. That is why I think the old way worked. We truly were “independent” fee appraisers, and until we are that again, I think the lending institutions are in for an even bigger fall.

    Inflated appraisals did not create the problem. Greed of the big institutions did. If the programs did not exist, the stated income loan, aka, lie-ers loans, adjustable rate loans (not all were bad), 100%, 105% and even 125% financing, high LTV,to name a few, were the mark of the fall. Come on. We knew this made no sense, but no one was listening, just as no one is listening now.

    But, as I digress…..I understand there is a Canadian AMC that has started doing work in the US. (Not my area yet) That pays full fees, and is said to be a good company. It is called SOLIDIFI. I think that is what it is called. My friend works for Eappraisit, and after 20 years in the business, she is getting out. That is what is happening. Many of the people with the most experience are getting out. I am on the precipice, and figure the next month or so will decide. Best Wishes. Herm from the Pacific Northwest.

  5. JP Allen says:

    In response to Jeff Taylor; maybe in New Mexico a $200 fee is fair. (nice site & I’m sure you do fine work) However, in Illinois it doesn’t pay for the gas. RELS, EAppraise-IT & LSI have rarely been fair & only when work volumes demand it. Does a hierarchy of granting first service to firms with 25 or more appraisers sound fair? I choose not to be a baby sitter & am therefore, penalized by the large AMC’s for remaining a small & focused firm.

  6. Jeff Oliver says:

    I am part of a cooperative of appraisers in Los Angeles running our own AMC. Trying to compete with the national companies is next to impossible, but we are winning with the companies looking for local, good quality, well trained appraisers…that being said some people have a very negative view towards AMC’s and yet don’t seem to have any answers or solutions. I agree with Pam Teel regarding fees. The answer is for everyone to charge what they feel fit and are willing to do work for and let the market sort it out. Our AMC only takes a small fee to pay for our marketing and administration overhead. Nothing like LSI or the other that take 200-250 bucks!!! That is theft, fraud, etc…

  7. Jeff Taylor says:

    I do work for lots of AMC’s and have for probably 10 years. The bottom line is that some are good, some are bad, but they are a part of our industry and you better get used to it. I agree that you shouldn’t do work for the ones that pressure for low fees and impossible turn times, but some are just trying to do their jobs like we are. To be honest, Landsafe, RELS and LSI have always been fair to me, paid me adequately and been reasonable on their turn times. I know these are some of the least popular ones, but my experience has been overall positive. I think the biggest travesty is that the government, in their infinite wisdom, is pushing the HVCC as a solution to the mortgage crisis and in reality they are just adding additional fees to the end user (the borrower). I always thought it was a violation of USPAP and other laws to be an unethical appraiser – I didn’t realize we needed more laws. Why can’t we just enforce the laws on the books already instead of confusing and complicating the loan process even more?

  8. Bruce Lennick says:

    This is to Bill Jackson, if you want to look and sound professional, try to at least use good grammar and spelling in your statements

  9. Jesse Michaels says:

    Speaking of fees. I received an appraisal request from an AMC, contacted the borrower and she said she had not committed to getting the loan yet. A few days later she called me back and wanted to know why her credit card had an appraisal charge on it in the amount of $385.00, the amount the AMC was willing to pay me for the appraisal was $200.00.

  10. Jesse Michaels says:

    In the Working RE Winter 2009 issue you featured an article written by the owner of an AMC; HVCC/AMCs-Change Equals Opportunity by Paul E. Chandler Founder and CEO of Property Sciences. I am extremely disappointed you printed an article by an individual whose business takes income from appraisers. Having him extol the virtues of AMCs is tantamount to asking Adolph Hitler to explain the benefits of concentration camps to Jews. As I see it, the only entities that benefit from AMCs are AMCs.

  11. Chuck Miller says:

    Unionized Appraisers;

    I am not the ultimate authority on this stuff nor do I claim to be anything more than a concerned appraiser who is watching the business go haywire. Do I think the the profession should be unionized? maybe, it does have its good and bad points. I just perused the 2008 USPAP for anything on pricing/ fees. It is a big document and it is dry as a bone and maybe I missed it. What I got out of it is there is no particular stance of USPAP other than disclosure of fees, discounts, coupons, tit for tat agreements or as they put it “any event” and is to be disclosed in the transmittal letter or addenda. It does not say that there can be no discussion of fees. It has always been my understanding that somewhere in those documents there is a clause that prohibits appraisers as a group from setting a standard fee. Which is why I did a quick read through (Ethics Management section) of it before I commented. Unions, I have been a member of various unions for 38 years, in that time I have participated in strikes, walkouts, actions, been a shop steward. A union is only as good as the employees representing it to the employer. In other words you can have the best union ever but if those that have been elected by the local work force to be stewards and reps are lame brained, guess what? you will lose. The reverse is also true, strong reps equals strong union. But nothing is ever gained without some type of sacrifice. So be prepared to cease working when somebody has a conflict and the union pulls a stop work tactic to force negotiation. And be prepared to accept a contract negotiated on your behalf whose parameters are for the majority or aim only to gain one or two items in particular at the expense of everything else. (that’s called negotiation) Be prepared to pay dues. My guess is a either a flat fee per appraisal or per month. But it should be noted while all this talk about consolidation and solidarity are good we are dealing ultimately with the Federal Government and as such the feds enjoy one congressional stipulation nobody else does. A no strike, no work slowdown / stoppage clause. Does anybody remember Reagan envoking it during the Air traffic controllers strike? So what then any federal union can do is litigate, protest and throw harsh words. Don’t get me wrong Unions have and continue to do good things and I personally feel that they are a necessity. I should now say that I am a 29 year veteran of Federal employment and have worked for several agencies which does qualify me for at least having some idea what relationship uncle and unions have with each other. The one really good thing that would come from unionization of this profession would be regulated fees which would keep price undercutting and back door deals out of the picture or at least to an acceptable minimum. Secondly they (Unions) would provide a medium by which to resolve issues equitably, Third, Access to legal counsel, representation usually part of the dues process for a limited or prolonged engagement. Fourth, if the body of the union was large enough we could conceivably manage health / dental care. If the union had 20,000 members nationwide it could negotiate affordable health care with the many providers. Fifth, Pensions, IRA’s yup negotiable. What would and should happen is in my opinion we (appraisers) get our fee regardless pass or fail, it keeps us disinterested parties. our fee is managed by an agency federal or private that remits to us or negotiated fee, 350, 450 sfr plus for 2 to 4 and so on , what they collect would be more and of that would be our negotiated benefits. Commercial work is another story, very complex and fee structure varies too much due to scope and work, timing etc. But for residential work AMC’s so on I think if it were unionized it would be good. It could work, might be a little shaky at first and I’m sure there would be resistance to change. I for one like to count my money at the time of service also, but if it meant I had health, pension, etc. I could change that too. Do I have a favorite union in whom I could place my trust? true some are better than others, there are hundreds of things to cinsider when unionizing, best to have counsel on this so all that perticipate are served and when a provider does not work out then provisions other than membership need to be in place to give the bad union the boot. Just food for thought, but for me ,I’m in

  12. Rita Bradley says:

    I don’t think you’ll get too many honest comments here as we’ve already see Pam Crowley get sued for speaking out against E-Appraise-IT (one of the biggest players) for opening signed, PDF’d appraisal reports! $175 a pop appraisers can’t afford to get sued.

  13. Hi, I am from – please feel free to e-mail me directly with any complaints you have regarding our organization. We know that the only way we can get better is actually hearing it directly from those that work with us. At the end of the day, we want to be one of the favorable AMCs.

    • Bill says:

      I do work for Dart and they are one of my preferred AMC’s. Very reasonable to work with and I especially like the Direct Deposit feature when getting paid. Good job guys!

  14. Elana Riedel says:

    I have been appraising for over 25 years. I used to do work for all of the major AMCs several years ago when they were more of a “distribution center” and paid fees similar to non-AMC work. But over the past 10 years, as they have cut their fees, I have gradually let them go. Ocassionally, I will still do the more complicated assignments that they don’t trust the “low fee” appraisers to complete, and they will pay full fee for those. As of last year, I was only doing work for Ocwen (foreclosures) and Appraisal Bank (reviews). Ocwen is nice since they pay quickly by direct deposit. But this year, Ocwen cut their fees and I no longer accept work from them. However, there are obviously enough appraisers willing to do their foreclosure appraisals (including listing comps, repair addendum, and MC addendum) for $275 that they have not felt pressured to raise their prices. This is true for all the AMCs. They are in a business where their primary objective is to make as much money for them as the market (i.e. appraisers) will allow them to make. As long as appraisers are willing to take the fees, they will thrive. If they no longer have the ability to sell their services to the lender (i.e. they no longer have appraisers willing to work for those fees), then they will either have to go out of business or take a smaller percentage of the pie and give a larger piece to the appraiser. It is up to every individual appraiser to decide what they are willing to accept for their product.

  15. I think Colleens point is that this bog is not to complain, there are other blogs for that. This blog is supposed to be too list the good, bad, and the ugly (by name) as far as what AMC’s are worth working for. It is a pain in the derriere to have to sign up for all these companies and then find out your not getting any work or they are too cheap. Again we can help each other out…I don’t have any info yet, cuz I just signed up for a few of them and haven’t gotten any work yet. So I was hoping to get some info here. Oh well.
    Besides, dont you think it would affect the AMC’s to see there bad rating here?

  16. Bill Jackson says:

    I HAVE WRITTEN no less THAN FIVE (5.) RESPONSES ON THIS BLOG. And i JUST read this comment from-

    Colleen Patterson // which was posted at- Apr 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm
    She said-

    “I wish there were top, long term established appraisers contributing their experience and opinions to this survey. As it is, with respect, we are not getting the input we need”

    I agree that we do need more comments, BUT I must say Collen you must NOT have read any of my comments. I have been in business since 1972, hold a senior designation from the Appraisal Institute, so I think perhaps I may qualify as a “long term established firm”

  17. Bill Jackson says:

    The AMC’s seem to have had it so good in the past four (4) years, I feel they have been lulled into a fantasy world, wherein the have begun to consider place themselves as someone who can do no wrong, and their way is the only way..
    When I first began to accept AMC work my typical fee was around $275.00. One major AMC was offering $$195.00, which low, was not all that bad, considering that they were somewhat realistic in their expectations. There were times when they would ask us to pick up a Cashiers Check or Money order payable to them for around $470.00, so they were making $275.00 for their part. I was not all that pleased with that BUT at least I was getting a volume of work AND not a lot of “hassle”
    Beginning in about 2004 they began to ask for MORE and MORE. They wanted:
    • Interior photos of EACH room
    • Two instead of one street scene
    • A photo of the left and right side of the home
    • A photo of what the subject faced across the street.

    About that time we were told that our fees were higher than others in my area, and suggested that a fee of $175.00 would result in more work.
    Then along came the MCS form, and after a long time asking, they did agree to pay $195.00, because of the MCS form.
    Bear in mind that the current fee of $195.00 does NOT favorably compares to the same fee in 1998, because cost for about every area of the appraisal business had gone up. A dramatic cost increase was gasoline cost, which had gone from around $1.20 per gallon in early 2002 to over $3.65 per gallon in THE SUMMER OF 2008 that is more than ALMOST triple, and is over $2.45 per gallon more.
    If an appraiser drove just 25,000 miles per year in a car that got 25 MPG he/she would consume 1,000 gallons per year. At an INCREASE OF $2.45 PER GALLON, THAT WOULD RESULT IN AN INCREASED COST OF $2,450. I would say THESE numbers are conservative and many appraisers drive much more than 25,000 miles, and many have cars that may only get 18 to 20 miles per gallon. In that case the EXTRA cost of gas would be over $5,400 more.
    Just at the time when expenses were increasing, the AMC’ not only demanded more, but lowered fees. There was absolutely NO compassion for the appraiser. And all the below were added:
    • Interior photos of EACH room
    • Two instead of one street scene
    • A photo of the left and right side of the home
    • A photo of what the subject faced across the street.
    • Then along came the MCS form.
    • And the demands for corrections increased. Bear in mind that many times the “corrections” were NOT flaws in the appraisal but many times were a failure of the reviewer to thoroughly read the report.
    • Many reviewers began to become very picky and I think must have misinterpreted proper appraisal techniques. (One example is that one reviewer requested another comparable that would “bracket” the room count.) I had NEVER heard of that before. While “bracketing” is nice, there really is NO consensus among appraisers and /or Realtors on how to count rooms.

    As time went on the AMC’s became more and more demanding about things such as:
    • Turn around times; they demanded reports being tuned in within 24 hours of inspection, without any credit for weekends.
    • About the appraiser making contact with the name given on the order. They demanded a call to the contact person within 24 hours.
    • The irony of the contact is that in a majority of the orders, the AMC did not have the correct phone number or
    • A call to the contact either would not result in a return call, OR the contact number had NO WAY of leaving a message OR was a wrong number.
    On many orders we got we could hardly do our appraisal work for having to respond to calls from the client asking:
    • Did you get the order?
    • Have you called to customer?

    Then within a short time another call would come in:
    • When is the appointment set?
    The day of the appointment would generate ANOTHER call asking,
    • Did you see the property? then
    • When can we expect the report?

    All of these things combined would make it very difficult to get ANY WORK DONE.

  18. Day Late Dollar Short says:

    My firm takes orders from no less than a dozen AMC’s and has for the past 5 years. There are good ones and bad. They all pay “less than market” fees. I would say the best overall taking into consideration fee, TAT, and underwriting hassles are LandSafe, Kirchmeyer and TSI. They all pay fair amounts, increased their fees for the 1004mc and give ample time to complete assignments without hassle (as long as they are updated).

    There are more bad AMC’s than good however I will not name the worst other than to say they are the ones that were involved with the mess that started the HVCC in the first place.

    As far as boycotting AMC’s in hopes that fees will go up I do not believe there will ever be a unified front large enough to make this happen. There will always be someone that will do it for less.

    Take what you can and turn the rest back to the sharks.

  19. Bill Jackson says:

    I think that many AMC’s had best WAKE UP. In the past two weeks, with the MCS required, many have bit raised their fees at all. I am beginning to see some AMC’s who WILL pay more than others, so what I am now doing is to begin to “pick and Choose”. Those assignments that are close to my office I accept. Others that are far away or appear to be difficult I turn down. Hence I think the AMC’s are going to have difficulty having enough appraisers to meet some of their unreasonable demands.
    Having a PROFESSIONAL designation from a TOP organization, I always try to do a thorough job, regardless of fee. Therefore now I am turning distant or difficult appraisal work down. The “HALF TRAINED” bozos take that work.
    I feel like the scrutiny I approach each assignment with results in less risk for the lender. What happens I fear is that those “half trained appraisers know so little about the affects on value that they do not realize just HOW little they do NOT know. I suspect (and indeed in doing field reviews, that they DO miss a lot of things. This is a major factor in the mortgage loan crisis.

  20. Pam Teel says:

    I would welcome input on AMC’s that you have had success with. We currently do business with LSI Relocation and Landsafe.

  21. Pam Teel says:

    Hello from South Texas. Our firm has been in the business since 1986 and have seen these threats come and go and come again. When you have a reliable AMC that is willing to be a fair and reasonable fee, the relationship can work very well, from my perspective. But, I agree. I have the right to charge what I see fit to charge, not what anyone else (including a national AMC) says I should charge. I have and will continue to turn down work based upon low fees.

  22. Sharon says:

    I’ve seen on the appraiserforum that they are trying to get everyone working for AMC’s to turn all the work down for a two week period once this all starts. I think it sounds like a great idea, especially since I typically turn them down anyways…I would love to see appraisers stand up for themselves for once.

    I will tell you I “requested” to raise my fees with RELS (I’ve probably done 5 reports for them in the past 2 years). They “denied” my request. I called them and told them that I could charge anything I wanted to charge and that I was going to turn them in for price fixing. I told them they didn’t have to pay my fee, but I could change it whenever I wanted to. Guess what, they called back and said they would be glad to change my fee…raised it to what I asked for…haven’t heard from them since then…HA HA I am really going to be relying on my bank work come May 1st.

    If EVERYONE would refuse to do appraisals for these tiny fees then EVERYONE would benefit in the long run.

  23. Appraiser says:

    Illinois just passed a lwa appraiser must put fee in report not just an invoice, the AMC are made calling sending Emails demanding appraisers take out thier fee, why? what do they have to hide? I know that one tells the homeowner the fee they charge and the appraisers fee is all one.

    I love the new law , I have nothing to hide.

  24. Colleen Patterson says:

    I wish there were top, long term established appraisers contributing their experience and opinions to this survey. As it is, with respect, we are not getting the input we need.

  25. Bill Jackson says:

    I think that many AMC’s had best WAKE UP. In the past two weeks, with the MCS required, many have bit raised their fees at all. I am beginning to see some AMC’s who WILL pay more than others, so what i am now doing is to begin to “pick and Choose”. those assignments that are close to my ofice i accept. ithers that are far away or appear to be difficult i turn down. hence i think the AMC’s are going to have dificulty having enough appraisers to meet some of their unreasonable demands.

    Having a PROFESSIONL designation from a TOP organisation, i always try to do a thorough job, regardless of fee. therefore now i am turning distant or difficult appraisal work down. the “HALF TRAINED” bozos take that work.
    i feel like the scrutiny i approach each asignment with results in less risk for the lender. What happens i fear is that those “half trained appraisers know so little about the affects on value that they do not realize just HOW little they do NOT know. i suspect (and indeed in doing field reviews, that they DO miss a lot of things. This is a major factor in the mortgage loan crisis.

  26. Average Joe says:

    I have been working with one AMC, and this is what I’ve experienced. An increasingly automated ordering process where orders are broadcast to all appraiser’s covering the area of the subject. Some preferred appraiser’s receive the order first and have the first chance to accept. This is usually one or two appraisers. This can be 15-30 minutes before it is broadcast to the rest of the average Joes; which can be 15 to 20 appraisers where I work. Good luck if you are not a preferred appraiser because you have about 30 seconds to click on the link before it is snatched up. Kind of like playing a slot machine. Most of the time you receive a message that the assignment has already been accepted by someone else. So, if that is happening already, good luck once everyone has to deal with them. Keep in mind this is for an average fee of $200 for a URAR with a 1004mc. If you make more than a few mistakes, or turn in a report late, forget about becoming a preferred appraiser. You have to be cheap, fast, and good to compete. It looks like Jennifer is trying to find some appraiser’s to work for her AMC for $145.00. Sad thing is that she will probably find someone.

    Bueno Suerte.

  27. Just Maybe says:


  28. Just Maybe says:

    Who is Jennifer James ?

  29. Jim Gibson says:

    If you are excepting low fees with quick turnaround times you only have yourself to blame, I have actually been called by an AMC and asked to do appraisal for $170.00 which I refused. This is a profession, have some respect for yourself and your colleagues. It took time and effort to become an appraiser don’t sell out, if you do it will only get worse.

    Jim Gibson

  30. Irate Appraiser says:

    I have worked for several AMC’s and for the most part they are OK, low paying but OK. I have worked in the past for a company which is headquartered in Toledo, OH. This company offers its clients a very low fee and pays it appraisers next to nothing (ie: 1004 = $100; 2055=$72.00; 2000 review $90.00, etc) and all of this is with a 24 hour turn around time!! It also charges the appraisers a 15% penalty if the report is late or if it needs corrections – no matter how small! Needless to say I do not work for them anymore!! Has anybody else had similar experiences?

  31. I’ve worked with many AMC’s and never seen the extremely low fees some are stating, ie $145…who are these???

  32. Bill Jackson says:

    end for now

  33. Bill Jackson says:

    I hope that the “tide is finally beginning to turn” for appraisers and dealing with AMC’s. I began doing work for them about 11 years ago, and while there WERE some downsides, thre also were some upsides. i.e 1. volume, 2),a certain degree of comfort in getting paid, 3, somehat automated, 4. fees although LOW were sinewhat reasonable, 5.).call backs were few, and for the most part legitimate questions.
    That has all now changed, i will have to address moore comments in another Blog,response
    Now that has ALL changed.

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