We have all seen the the commercials for Nationwide Insurance and that they are on your side. As real estate appraisers do we know who is really on our side?
There are so many organizations that represent appraisers. Many claim to help appraisers, many do help appraisers, many are out there to fight for appraisers, many offer education and many just want us to join them in their own agenda journey made up of false narrative and false promises. I’m not here to force you to join anything. I support the state coalitions and I also support the organizations that are willing to help appraisers even if I’m not a member. But there is one organization that puts YOU, the appraiser, at the front of the line every time. That organization is the American Guild of Appraisers or the AGA.
First lets get this out of the way. The AGA as many think is a Union. Well that’s not true. The true Fact is that the AGA is a Guild with Union affiliations. These affiliations allow the AGA to offer benefits, tools and resources to help support the appraiser and as the Guild grows so do the benefits of those union affiliations. Many big organizations that represent appraisers have the funds to do things the AGA cannot at this point in time. However the AGA does one thing most other organizations don’t and that is work for their appraiser members on a one on one basis and help them with issues such as: blacklists, getting paid, & state board complaints. Yes. All of these. The AGA works hard for YOU, the Appraiser. They don’t stop there. They even work on national issues in support of or not in support of issues pertaining to the Real Estate Appraisal Profession with other organizations to make a change.
To clarify more I personally say the AGA is like car insurance. Kinda like your E&O insurance but better. You pay car insurance just in case something happens for the year. If nothing happens you are at a piece of mind knowing you had it. But what happens when you get into an accident? The insurance company is there to help cover you. Well the AGA is the same way. You pay a fee for the year and if you get in trouble with a complaint, a blacklist, not getting paid etc, you now have the AGA there to work hard for you to help resolve this. Don’t believe me? Here is one member that was kind enough to write a review on the AGA:
“Being a real estate appraiser can be challenging. We don’t advocate for our “clients” which could be a bank, a homeowner or a potential buyer. We advocate for public trust. Yeah, try explaining that to most people who engage you for your services. There are often times when an appraiser performs his or her job correctly that one party may be negatively affected by the outcome. Of course, this is no new story to any of us. Every appraiser has that little voice in the back of their head saying, “it’s not if, it’s when.” When will that certified letter show up for your state board? That’s right, somebody filed a formal complaint on you as an appraiser. Of course, this type of thing can happen for many reasons, some of which are warranted, some of which are not. Good news, you don’t have to be alone.
In mid-2018 I had one of these certified letters show up for the first time in my career. My immediate reaction was stomach sickness, literally. After the initial shock and review of the complaint, I took a breath and started tapping my resources on the best way to handle the situation. I reached out to a few of my peers for guidance and was reminded that I was an active American Guild of Appraisers member, the AGA. Once I contacted Jan Bellas, she very professionally ran me through the motions of what the AGA was going to do for me and how WE were going to handle the complaint. This initial phone conversation was probably the most reassuring thing I have EVER heard in my appraisal career.
Once I accepted the help from the AGA I was instructed to send the same information to her (Jan) that the state was requesting. Within a few days the head appraiser of the review committee, Mike Ford, responded with a VERY detailed peer review letter of my appraisal, work file, and complaint associated. I think the best part of working with Mike on my complaint was his brutally honest and matter-of-fact approach. Some of you may know Mike, and if you do, you know what I am talking about. I’m very confident if I were to have been I the wrong, he would have told me. However, he STILL would have been in my corner to help me through my predicament; even if it meant telling me things I didn’t want to hear. The good news for me was that I wasn’t in the wrong. After only 2 months of the pending complaint being opened, the state notified me that no action against me was going to take place. Those of you that have been through this know what kind of relief comes over one’s body when receiving this letter.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am not here to sell you on anything. This organization does that on its own. I am merely here to tell my story and how much the AGA made a difference for me. If you have ever been in this situation you may know how alone and stranded you feel. The AGA is not only fighting for the appraiser, they CARE about the appraiser and the appraisal industry. The process of working through my complaint with the AGA was invaluable, educational and REAL. If you are looking to be a part of an organization that has your back or, if you make honest human errors that will work to mitigate ‘damage’ I highly recommend talking to an AGA representative.
(from *.K., TX)
This is only one example of many that illustrates the impact of the AGA.
I also was turned into the state board for a complaint that was dismissed due to the help of the AGA and while I was panicking and worried, I felt very good knowing that the AGA and the Peer review committee were up for the task. They exceeded my expectations and I was even given some pointers on my work by Mike Ford to help me going forward.
I really hope this blog explains the AGA more and that you will consider looking into becoming a member not just for you but to also be a part of an organization that will continue to fight for the real estate appraiser profession. For the cost of 1 appraisal per year you can know that the AGA is really on your side and working hard for you.
Change is only made if YOU and others want to make it. The AGA wants to make that change. Do you?