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[Sounding Bored] Old AMCO Down The Drain, Appraisers Can’t Feel Flush Yet

Sounding Bored is my semi-regular column on the state of the appraisal profession. This week, I feel lucky to be flush.

Over the past 6 months, we have been pretty open about our long running issue with AMCO for their unreasonable delays in paying our bills. After a lot of ranting, and a flurry of emails and involvement by one of our clients, we were finally paid for all but one (as of today’s mail) of our appraisals (our A/R was as high as $30K at one point.) In the interim we have declined all new assignments from AMCO, even when they offered to pay us in advance. I guess we were just uncomfortable with them as a client.

Here’s our saga. [1]

Last week, there was finally some insight into their financial problems and some discussion as to payment of overdue appraisal fees for members of their panel. As evidenced by feedback from Soapbox readers, the amount of arrears for some was pretty significant, which is unfortunate. We were lucky I guess.

Valuation Review posted a pretty thorough discussion of the AMCO announcement [2] made last week that the Cleveland-based firm is going to be sold to a new investor on May 1st and all outstanding appraisal invoices will be paid at that time.

I am scratching my head at this whole thing. I find it really amazing, (and a miracle) for those still waiting to get paid, that AMCO [3] would be able to locate someone to salvage them and then still make it a priority to pay what is owed. If they didn’t do that, their value as an organization would probably approach zero.

I’ve got to think that other appraisal management firms could follow AMCO down this slippery slope with the drop in purchase volume and issues with subprime lending, will probably make banks think twice before going this route as credit continues to tighten.

If AMCO can make good on their stated intentions, they are worth another look. However, until they make good on their debts to the appraisal community, I won’t be accepting work (not that they would offer us any).

As appraisers, I think our industry is very weak at account collections. We feel we have to beg to be paid what we are owed and we are worried about pissing off the clients that still owe us money.

Its a trap. Someone once told me:

Work like you don’t need the money.

I think it needs to be modified to:

Work for clients who respect you so you don’t need to worry about getting the money you earned.