Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 12:01 AM
actual AMC (car) factory
AMC Factory For a year and a half, our firm tangled with the bureaucracy of Landsafe, the poster child for the appraisal management company (AMC) industry. While not all AMC’s are bad, their relationship to the mortgage process is fundamentally flawed. The estimation of market value of mortgage collateral to enable lenders to make informed decisions has been commoditized to the point where most mortgage appraisals are generally not worth the paper they are written on. This series is from an appraiser’s perspective, about a profession left to die by the side of the road.
Errant Email Prompts Appraisers to Say What They Really Think
For two months Landsafe begged appraisers (why some of my appraisers are on the list will be explored in a future post in this series – it’s a doozy): The revamped a multi-page legal agreement without disclosing what prompted the change. Well, The Appraisal Institute warned us about signing the agreement but basically they are shifting the risk to appraisers when they shouldn’t be (more on this in coming posts).
Here’s the intro of the Landsafe request. I should be clear that they never set a deadline for signing until later on, called us and emailed us repeated to sign it.
You received an announcement from LandSafe Appraisal Services concerning the Appraisal Services Agreement. This must be submitted electronically to LandSafe in order to remain active in our system.
To date, we have not received a completed ASA agreement from you. If we do not receive one from you then this could lead to an interruption in the work you receive from LandSafe.
Of course, we weren’t receiving regular work from them so it fell on deaf ears.
In an email error, they sent this request to hundreds of appraisers but forgot to BCC.
Here’s a sampling from the appraisers who clicked “reply all”.
Kelly Currie is respectfully declining to sign this agreement, as the fees are not reasonable and customary and the liability is too great.
Dodd & Associates, Inc.
We are also seriously concerned by the very low fee schedule offered by Landsafe. I seem to recall recent legislation being passed calling for customary and reasonable appraisal fees.
Commonwealth Appraisal Services
I will say for the record, in our area, rural Michigan, most of Landsafe fees are customary and very similar to, if not higher than the general going rate. Now, not on all products, and I choose not to take the jobs that dont pay what they should. But for an “amc”, Landsafe pays better than most, if not all in my area.
Also, I did not see any fee schedule or fee agreement as part of the “ASA”.
Nathan D Hager
Lapeer Appraisal, Inc.
I am sitting in my once busy office reading these emails and seeing that I am not alone, I see that the AMC world given to us by the current Governor of NY has turned an honorable and lucrative trade into a valuation for hire squaller. The newer appraisers may not appreciate what I have to say in regards to knowing your areas and being the true eyes and ears for your client but you can bet the appraisers worth their salt know exactly what I mean. There has been a mass exodus of appraisers over the last 2-3 years not for the lack of work, as there are plenty of appraisals being performed by appraisers willing to break down and accept lower than market fees, (I’ve always been one for competition but not at the expense of the industry, let it be in turn times and quality but NOT at the expense of our fees). It has always been said that the appraisers can be forced into doing whatever the bigger parties in the real estate world want because we are NOT organized, to many of us are willing to under cut each other just to get the appraisal order.
So I ask you all for suggestions in this matter from all of you the young, the old, the new to the game and those old hands who have seen it all, even those who have left the our industry. What can be done for the hard working appraisal community to band them together and fight for fair market fees determined by us the independent appraisers and not the AMC companies?
Vendors in other industries aren’t told what they will be paid by the customer!!! The customer pays what the vendor asks as long as it is fair market, we my peers have these new customers (AMC) that HAVE been allowed to create a fair market that is fair to them and NOT to US!!!!
Doesn’t anyone see this?
Doesn’t anyone Care?
I hope this email touches a nerve in all of you and that the suggestions start rolling in I am a firm believer in hard work pays off but the AMC has been given the right to take our payoff!!!
I think it’s our turn to give it back to them, I hope we hear from each other and that this can be the start of something beneficial to us all!!!
I too am a tier one Landsafe appraiser. I have been a Countrywide, then Landsafe/CW, then Landsafe/BOA appraiser for 14 years. Over that time my pay has been reduced, but early on was acceptable due to relationships that I had with actual people involved in the lending process and due to the large volume of work I received and prompt payment. However, over the past years, that work load has been reduced to the left overs from the staff appraisers (like foxes guarding the hen house, which caused problems from way back) and that is if I happen to sit at my computer and “fish” for an advertised order to come across the screen. I have appreciated the opportunity to have work, especially when other lenders were slow. However, I have not seen Landsafe fees increased to the customary and reasonable fee schedule that other lenders are paying in my area. The fact that the Engagement Letter shows that one third of what the borrowers pay for goes to Landsafe is proof that the associated appraisal fees that borrowers pay for is not what the appraisers are getting paid. I do carry E& O insurance that has had adequate limits and I do have anti-virus protection for my computer, which I will gladly certify to. However, as a sub-contractor with no benefits or legal protection or guarantee of work afforded by Landsafe, your right to access my office and computer will not be allowed unless ordered by a court of law for a legal proceeding. At my e & o renewal date, I will consider raising my limit, but only if Landsafe has complied with the federal mandate of the Dodd-Frank legislation which says that appraisers must be paid a customary and reasonable fee for work, that specifically excludes AMC’s such as Landsafe in calculation of those fees. Unless Landsafe raises their fees to the appraiser to those appropriate levels, they will be in violation of the statutory standard set forth by the Federal Reserve Board.
Allison Appraisals, Inc.
DELETE FORWARDS – YOU ARE MAXING EMAIL ACCOUNTS – CUT THE CRAP !!……
COMPLAINING TO EACH OTHER ACCOMPLISHES EXACTLY NOTHING.
NEXT on the AMC Factory: Grease Stained T-Shirt, Flip-Flop Wearing Appraisers Of High End Property.