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This blog has excerpts from my FREE appraiser email newsletter, sent out almost every week since June, 1994. I started with 6 subscribers on Compuserve. Now it is up to almost 14,000 subscribers!! To subscribe to the free email newsletters and get them them when they first come out,, go to www.appraisaltoday.com and sign up in the big Yellow Box!!

I have been publishing a paid Appraisal Today monthly newsletter since June, 1992 with in-depth articles on topics important to appraisers. Click below for more info!!

How many appraisals per week and how much time to complete an appraisal report?


 How many appraisals per week and how much time to complete an appraisal report?
Source: Steve Costello at www.fncinc.com. Published 8-4-15
This month I want to discuss three recent polls dealing with how much time it takes to complete appraisal reports and how many hours you end up working to get them all done. In the first poll, we asked “On average, how many “interior inspection” appraisals reported on a 1004 do you normally produce in a week?” This poll was very popular with 4945 responses. There was a clear winner with the response of “4-6 appraisals per week” pulling in 44 percent of the vote. The next most popular answer of “7-9 appraisals per week” took quite a drop and only pulled in 20 percent vote. The last two available answers were those at either end of the scale and they were almost tied. A few appraisers really crank out the orders because 16 percent responded that they do “10 or more” appraisals per week. On the opposite end were those representing 17 percent of the vote who only complete “1-3” appraisals per week. My guess is that many of the people in this group may be semi-retired but like to keep active in the profession while making some extra money. Of course, any individual’s volume is going to depend a great deal on their specific geographic area and general complexity of their assignments.
In the next poll we asked: “On average, how long does it take you to complete a 1004 interior inspection appraisal report including inspection time (excluding driving time)?”
This was another popular poll with 4836 responses. The winner here was “4-5 hours” with 39 percent of the vote. Not far behind was “6-7 hours” with a 29 percent share of the vote. From here the numbers dropped substantially with 13 percent of appraisers going with the response of “8-9 hours”. That is really getting to be painful when it’s taking that long to finish each assignment. The most extreme answers both received the lowest number of votes. “More than 9 hours” was the choice of 8 percent of the appraisers with the final 10 percent going for the answer of “2-3 hours”. My guess is that the appraisers in that final group really have their system down to a science and fully utilize all the available technology.
Finally, we asked “On average, how many hours per day do you spend working on appraisals and appraisal related business?” This poll was the most popular of the three with a total of 5451 responses. The winner was “9-10 hours” with 37 percent of the vote. The second most popular answer with 23 percent pushed the level up to “11-12 hours”. The old standard work day of “7-8 hours” came in a distant third gathering only 17 percent of the vote. Not far behind were the 15 percent who really “burn the midnight oil” working “13 or more hours” per day. Only 9 percent work “6 hours or less” each day with most of these appraisers reporting at least 5-6 hours worked per day. It’s clear, and not at all surprising, that most appraisers are working very long hours there days.
My comment: Appraisers are working long hours now because appraisal volume is way up. If you are willing to work for low AMC fees you can get as much work as you want. I would have liked to see how many hours per week. I suspect many appraisers are working 6-7 days a week. I did, during previous boom times. These polls do not include time spent on revisions. I have some data below on that. Plus, the amount of time returning update requests – answering phone calls and emails.
How much time is spent on revisions?
 From the November 2014 Appraisalport newsletter
On average, how much time do you spend making and delivering requested revisions on any given appraisal?@ We had a total of 4870 responses to this poll. Nearly half (48%) of those chose the response of A10-30 minutes.@ This would seem about right for most minor to moderate revisions. Many must be making pretty minor revisions because the second most popular response with 24 percent of the vote wasAUnder 10 minutes@. Another 18 percent are having to take a bit more time and went with the choice of A31-60 minutes.@ A smaller group of 7 percent is having to invest some real time to make the revisions and picked the response of AOver an hour.@ The final 3 percent selected the answer of AI don=t make revisions.@ I=m not sure if that means they are doing an amazing job on every report and never get a request or if they just refuse to do any revisions!
My comment: Lots of appraisers complain about excessive revision requests, but this poll indicates that appraisers aren’t spending much time on them. The time may have increased since 11/14.
How often have you received revision requests that have no contributory value to the report, or were already addressed in the report commentary?” Sept 7 poll – www.fncinc.com received 3,273 votes

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Why are appraiser phone numbers and email addresses so hard to find online?

I set up my web site at http://www.appraisaltoday.com in 1998. Every page has my name, postal address, phone number, and email address. If anyone wants to contact me to give me an appraisal assignment, or for any other reason, they can find me. I get a lot of work from my web site.

When working on an article for my newsletters, I often need to contact appraisers. Also, I give out a lot of referrals, as I am very busy and turn down a lot of appraisals. For more information on my appraisal newsletters, click the banner ad below.

My assistant spends a lot of time trying to contact appraisers for my newsletters. When she googles a name, such as Janet Johnson appraiser new mexico, sometimes nothing comes up. If they are on an old directory web site, the postal address is available. Asc.gov only has postal addresses. Some state regulators have phone numbers. Some appraisal association member data comes up, such as the Appraisal Institute.

Email addresses are hopeless. They are very seldom available anywhere.

Often the appraiser has no web site, even a simple one page with name, address, resume, and contact info. If there is a contact link, you must fill out a form to contact the person.

I guess they just want to work for AMCs that contact them. Not interested in any other clients, I guess.

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Communicating with other appraisers – why is it a problem?

Communicating with other appraisers – O’Rourke Pontificates on Dustin Harris, the Appraiser Coach’s Podcast

Dustin and I discussed the big issue that many appraisers don’t know other appraisers personally (face to face or over the phone). Dustin talked about the times he has tried to establish relationships with other local appraisers. One was very successful and the other did not work very well. But, both resulted in one personal relationship each. I have written about this topic before and discussed my personal experience plus the “big picture”.

Online communication is fine, but not very good for local issues. Plus, it is hard to establish relationships.

To listen to it, go to http://theappraisercoach.libsyn.com/ . All the podcasts are there. This one is #051, Communication; a key to running a successful appraisal business. Check out the other podcasts. I subscribe to the podcast on itunes and listen to it in my car.

I was inspired to do a 7-page article on the topic for the October issue of Appraisal Today, sent out Oct.1. I sent out a request for info on small, unaffiliated groups in last week’s newsletter. To subscribe to the paid Appraisal Today, click on the banner ad below.

Many thanks to the 13 appraisals groups I profiled! They replied to a questionnaire I sent and I contacted some over the phone. Lots of good tips for appraisers thinking about starting a group and those who currently have an active group. Very interesting!!

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NOT customary and NOT reasonable fees?//TRID??

NOT customary and NOT reasonable fees?
What is reasonable? Let me see… For example, the amount of work to produce the appraisal plus respond to request for more information, updates, etc. increases the time from 5 hours ($70 per hour) to 8 hours ($47.50 per hour),  a 33% decline. Of course that is gross, not considering your expenses. You are able to get the same fee – $350. But, the fee is not reasonable. Calculate this for your typical appraisal fees.
What is customary? Somehow AMCs seem to think that “one price fits all”. Before AMCs took over, appraiser fees varied widely around the country. The Midwest was typically the lowest, around $250. The West Coast (Washington and Oregon) and some East Coast states were higher, around $450. Alaska and Hawaii were much higher. We accepted “standard” fees from our clients as we took the easy appraisals and the hard appraisals, which balanced out. I didn’t ask for a fee increase when a property took more time. If was a high end home or a rural acreage property, the lenders paid higher fees. Or, we scheduled appraisals to reduce driving time. Clients understood that they could not give us all the hard appraisals and appraisals scattered over a wide geographic area.
Now, AMCs have standard fees, but they don’t consider the factors above. Many appraisers have responded by asking for fee increases or just turning down the assignment.
TRID vs. the current system of AMC ordering appraisals
TRID will make the method above (“one fee for all appraisals”) very difficult for AMCs. Lenders have to provide an appraisal fee within 3 days. AMCs won’t be able to spends days “shopping” for the lowest fee for a tough appraisal. AMCs won’t have time to negotiate with appraisers. Yes, there are options but they delay the loan.
Now, appraisers can quickly accept broadcast orders with the expectation of getting a fee increase. After Oct. 3, that will create problems for lenders and AMCs.
What will happen? How can AMCs tell their lenders what to charge for a specific appraisal (the full cost, including AMC fees) within a few days? Their systems assume all appraisals are the same. I doubt if they have anything set up to distinguish complex rural from a tract home. Can AMCs even quote different fees within a state? I see AMCs making less money because the appraisal fees they pay will increase. Now, they are waiting for appraisers to tell them that the fee has to be higher.
What does this mean for appraisers who work for AMCs? Higher “standard” fees to cut down on appraisers refusing fees? This cuts into AMC profits unless they can get higher fees from their lender clients. But, AMCs compete with other AMCs. Fees are a big factor when a lender selects an AMC.
I have no idea what will happen. I am glad I don’t own an AMC with lots of lender clients. Maybe they will never raise appraisal fees for difficult properties. But, who will do them?
Volume is high now and AMCs have difficulty finding appraisers to do the tough appraisals and FHA appraisals. When volume is low and appraisers need the money, the “one fee for all” is easier for AMCs to use.

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FHA – Crawl space and attics

Crawl space and attics
Random Internet postings….
Man killed in crawlspace of Oklahoma City home, may have been electrocuted
Posted on facebook, reportedly from FHA employees:
– If you can fit through the crawlspace door you must crawl the crawl space and inspect it all.
– Must inspect all the attic if there is access, even if there is no flooring.
My comment: If you’re fat, don’t have to inspect all of the crawlspace? Lots of stories about snakes, rats, dead animals, etc etc in crawl spaces. Appraisers crawling along ceiling joists and going thru the ceiling. Hmm… maybe FHA appraising is for the young, agile and small ;>

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Appraiser shortage – where will AMCs get appraisers?

 On the Path to Extinction? …Not So Fast
An economic tragedy is unfolding silently across American neighborhoods.
With fewer young careerists joining the residential valuations industry, real estate appraisers foresee a future where lenders and consumers alike face added costs and lengthened real estate delivery timelines due to a shortage of trained appraisers in the residential valuations space.
“The rate of decline in the appraiser population within the U.S. has been averaging between 4 percent and 5 percent,” explained Greg Stephens, Chief Appraiser and SVP of Compliance for Metro-West Appraisal Co. “That number is expected to increase due to the high percentage of practicing appraisers who are in their 60s and 70s and who will either be retiring, dying, or leaving the industry within the next decade.”
“If this trend continues I believe we will see dramatic increases in the cost and time needed for field appraisals. At the same time, I believe we will see increased adoption of other valuation products, including desktop appraisals and other non-appraiser valuation alternatives.”
Michael Floyd, Chief Appraiser and SVP of Compliance for Streetlinks Lender Solutions, blames a complete “lack of incentive” for the dwindling ranks of new appraisers. “With the amount of additional required oversight involved with accompanying an appraiser trainee to every inspection and the liability of being completely responsible for their conclusions, there is simply no discernable ROI to such a relationship,” Floyd added.
Note from article: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of the National Appraisal Congress, MReport, and theMReport.com.
http://themreport.com/news/secondary-market/09-07-2015/on-the-path-to-extinction-not-so-fast NOTE ON THIS LINK. As of today at 1pm pacific time, it had been hijacked by a spammer and shut down temporarily.
For info on NAC, go to http://nationalappraisalcongress.com Click on Advisor to read their Fall 2014 newsletter with more comments.
My comment: The National Appraisal Congress members are mostly larger AMCs, such as ServiceLink, Proteck, MetroWest, etc. Who will they get for cheap fees to do their appraisals, when they are having problems now? Hmm…. Not me!!

Appraisal Today newsletter

Amazon and AMCs

Amazon and AMCs
You may, or may not, have heard about Amazon’s attitude towards employees – expected to be available 24×7, including holidays, significant health and family problems, etc. I don’t know if this is a bad way to run a company, but they do pay well and it is not bureaucratic. Demanding a lot of employees is not unusual for a tech company also. I do know that many other companies expect their employees to be available on weekends and evenings for emails.
But, I keep hearing from fee appraisers working for AMCs that they are expected to be available 24×7, including holidays. Phones and emails are sent at all times of the day. A quick response is expected. Cell phones ring on weekends and all times of the day and night. Appraisers have difficulty shutting off their phones and/or refuse to buy another phone for personal calls so they can shut off their only cell phone.
But… AMCs don’t pay well and have increasing Scope Creep, as compared with other clients. Why do appraisers put up with this treatment? Low self-esteem (no one else will give them work) or fear of having no business (common with self employed people)?

Appraisal Today newsletter

The Power of Social Media and Appraisers

A few months ago, an AMC sent out an email to all their appraisers saying it was requiring that they include a copy of their work file with the appraisal.
Within a very short period of time after it was sent, I saw the email posted to a Facebook group. There were 356 comments posted. It soon “went viral” spreading all over the Internet. The AMC backed down.
Within the past week, another AMC sent a very rude email response to an appraiser who declined applying for a staff position at the AMC. I saw it posted on a Facebook group. It also went somewhat viral, although not as widely distributed as the workfile email.
Read more, including the original email, in the very interesting Jonathon Miller’s Housing Notes – August 21 edition.
Click here – it is near the bottom of the page.
What does this mean? In the pre-Internet days, often it would take weeks, or months, for appraisers to find out about FHA and Fannie changes, for example. Now it is available within a few minutes.
What’s the downside for appraisers? Even if you post to a group that requires approval, your postings can be obtained by others. Group members can send them to anyone. This is a definite problem if do court testimony. A while ago an attorney asked me how many appraisals I had done in the past 6 months as I had a broken ankle. How did she know about my ankle? She did not subscribe to the email-only discussion group. She asked another appraiser to check online for anything that might help her case. Other appraisers have reported similar situations.
Remember the Primary Rule, which I learned when I first browser opened the Internet to us all. At that time you assumed it could be published on the front page of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. Now, it is even worse – it can go all over the Internet. The only communication that I know of that is private is the inside of postal mail envelopes. Government agencies can track what is on the outside, but not the inside without a special court order.

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