Appraising for AMCs Can Be Like Delivering Pizza
Posted by Jonathan Miller - Thursday, December 27, 2012, 10:00 AM
I recently appraised a property that was well into the 8-digit value variety – not to sound cavalier but when you are in a market like Manhattan, it’s not uncommon.
What made this assignment different was that I was contacted to appraise this property because an appraisal management company (AMC) was not comfortable using their regular panel of appraisers that do nearly all of their volume (for half the market rate and 48 hours). Although I was leery to accept the request as an exception, I had history with an exec there, they were paying our quoted fee and accepting our turn time requirements so why not?
Here’s how it went:
Day 0 - I am interviewed by the AMC representative to see whether we are experienced in this property type. The AMC rep stresses they want to be “in the loop” at all times.
This is how nearly all interaction between AMC and appraisers go. The appraiser is bombarded with meaningless status requests as the AMC industry attempts to commoditize a professional occupation. I assume the AMC rep in my case had a checklist – akin to those dated checklists with initials you see on the back of doors in highway rest stop bathrooms assuring you the bathroom was cleaned each day of the week.
The result has been the crushing of appraisal quality because trained, experienced professionals are opting out of this madness because time = money. Cut the fees 50% and then waste another 30% of an appraiser’s time with this meaningless activity and you don’t end up with a more reliable valuation opinion.
In all sincerity, I take my hat off to those professional appraisers who need to work with AMCs out of necessity that are able to put up with being treated like a teenager on their first job.
It reminds me of the canned customer service interaction we are all forced to do when we interact with a company on the phone. The call ALWAYS ends with the canned “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Yet the relationship was already established and fine up until that point and the authentic nature of the conversation is suddenly over. I pause for a second and say “Yeah, I could go for a large pizza right now.”
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