So you want more Tech? It should go both ways

We have all heard the stories of delayed appraisals and the shortage of appraisers. With these stories came the most amazing arguments from lenders and AMCs:      “We need appraisal waivers and we need better technology. We need to embrace technology and use it in any way we can.”

While there is no shortage of appraisers and there is no need to waive appraisals, lenders and their AMCs have created one of the biggest ghost stories in the history of the appraisal profession. What’s even better, while they’ve created this story—and claim the need for faster and better use of technology—they’ve failed to apply technology in their own right.

Again, according to the AMCs and lenders they need faster and cheaper products. These companies spout off about the need to have technology be more involved in the appraisal process. The concern is not about the quality of an appraisal, rather how fast they can get an appraisal to their client. An AMC’s client is the lender. If they don’t meet the demands of the lender, they lose that client and the money that comes with it. Hence most, if not all, AMCs try to find the appraiser who will work FASTEST and CHEAPEST (hence, the “best” appraiser for the job).

It’s all about them and their bottom line. They spout off saying we need more TECHNOLOGY to make things better and faster. They will reference Zillow which we all know is so accurate (sarcasm), reference tax records, and now want NON-licensed people inspecting properties to speed up the appraisal process. Yes, these non-licensed “inspectors” are coming to your home, pretending to be an appraiser, gathering data to send to an actual appraiser in order to make things faster and cheaper.

Let’s have more TECHNOLOGY, they say. Things will be better and faster, they say. Technology is the wave of the future, they say. Is that it? Yes, let’s listen to the lenders and AMCs who have only themselves in mind; lenders only looking to close loans and AMCs who are looking to please their clients any which way they can.

Technology is the one thing these AMCS and lenders have hung their hat on. They continue to push for more data, more computers, and less expertise. They want things done fast, however they will not pay someone to do it properly. Instead, they’ll push to find someone cheaper, less experienced, and willing to do anything to stay in the AMC’s good graces to continue to get work.

Technology is what they want. They want new ways to do things, more computer driven models/AVMS to spit out faster decisions without any regard for the quality or accuracy of the data presented. Technology….

Appraisers constantly hear about technology from AMCs or lenders and how it will benefit the appraiser and the consumer, but we NEVER hear about how technology could be used by AMCs to help in another area: how appraisers can be paid on time, faster, and more efficiently.

AMCs typically pay appraisers by check 30-90 days from the day they completed the report. I know. Pretty insane. There are some that pay faster however they are few and far between. So these same companies that want faster and cheaper in the lending process, take weeks if not months to pay the appraiser for their services. These same companies pushing technology can’t seem to use it themselves. Is this because they skim a portion of the fee off the top of the appraisers fee? Might they have an account earning the AMC money while the appraiser’s money acquires interest? Valid questions.

I don’t know the precise answer here, but I do know that a private party who calls me to do an appraisal PAYS me at the time of the inspection. Sometimes even before hand. And yet these companies can’t pay the appraiser ASAP at delivery of the report? Are they too waiting to get paid by the lender? Many AMCs collect fees directly from the borrower without the lender being involved, while many as well get their money via the lender. Yet they need to stall 30-90 days to have the appraiser’s check signed and mailed? Am I missing something here? AMCs want advances in technology yet still pay by paper checks?,

The same companies that want faster and better still rely on ancient methods of payments while they cite technology as the way to go forward. So by their standards they want fast and more but cannot even pay an appraiser in less than 30 days?

AMCs are proving more and more each day why there is a backlash amongst appraisers for them to be involved in the appraisal process. They want technology advancement but can’t seem to figure out how to pay an appraiser in under 30 days? Making a bad situation worse, AMCs like Appraisal Loft, Coester VMS and some others, have gone out of business owing millions to appraisers who never see the money they’ve earned and who are left to suffer the consequences of greed and poor business practices. 

AMCs contract with lenders to deliver an appraisal. Some lenders collect payment and send it to the AMC to pay the appraiser. Some contracts allow the AMC to collect, payment from the borrower without the lender being involved, so it should be easier for the AMC to pay the appraiser quickly. Instead, we are all left waiting until that check is written and sent. This in turn has created the ghost story that there is an appraiser shortage. See there is no shortage of appraisers, only a shortage of appraisers who are willing to put up with the cheap fees offered by AMCs, the lack of timely payments by AMCs, and the ongoing lies and deception the AMCs provide. (NOTE: Not all AMCs operate this way however most do. We are speaking of the exploitive majority of AMCs.)

Back to Technology… what a great word. You want to talk technology, lenders and AMCs? Lets talk. VENMO, PAYPAL BUSINESS, ACH/DIRECT DEPOSIT, ZELLE, SQAURE, QUICKBOOKS, STRIPE and others. This is technology that allows you to PAY your appraisers at the moment you receive the report. Your lenders pay you for your work before you even make an appraisal assignment. The moment the job is done, an appraiser could be paid from funds you’ve already collected.

It’s tiresome to hear that you haven’t received payment yet from the lender or consumer. That’s NOT our issue. Don’t feed us the “we only cut checks every 2 weeks to 30+ days” story. You scream everyday you need a rush job done, or need someone to complete a report and can’t find anyone, however you never follow through with your part and pay us the way we should be paid. We are independent contractors. Not employees.

Technology. It’s a powerful word that you Lenders & AMCs throw around like it only matters to you. How about this….When you accept technology and decide to pay appraisers FAST and pay them customary and reasonable fees, maybe, just maybe, you too will have a valid point. Until then, stop it. I challenge all AMCs to USE the technology of which you speak, and if you use it correctly to pay Appraisers, I’m sure your ghost story of a shortage of appraisers will disappear.

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