We love to hate them. But with about 80% of the mortgage appraisal volume being engaged through appraisal management companies, as an appraiser, working with AMCs is almost a necessity today. As mortgage appraisal volumes are declining, one way to boost your business is by working smarter with your AMC partners. Here are ten tips designed to help you improve your appraiser score, get more assignments close to home, and earn more money working with AMCs.
1. Keep your profile up to date
This is the number one way to be successful in working with AMCs. Let them know when you’re on vacation and what your coverage areas are. Keep your vendor information, your E&O insurance, and your appraisal license up to date. Be available for every assignment in your area.
2. Update order statuses frequently
Update your statuses proactively and routinely. Make this part of your daily ritual. Maybe it’s the first thing you do in the morning before you go out to do your site visits, or maybe you hire someone who can do it for you.
3. Don’t turn down orders days after you get them
This is the worst thing you can do as an appraiser. It’s okay to not accept orders. It’s not okay to accept orders and then reject them. Most AMCs will not lower your score for turning down work, but they will lower your score if you accept an order and then turn it back several days later.
If for some reason you accept an assignment and then discover that it’s too complex, communicate that politely to the AMC. Explain that it’s too complex and that you don’t have a source to become competent in the assignment, and they will understand. If you have a good relationship, they probably won’t score you down for this.
4. Manage your workload
When it comes to work capacity, know your limits. If you are too busy to meet the timeline requested or if the assignment is outside your coverage area, just say no. It’s better to turn down an order than to take the assignment and turn it in late. Whenever your plate is full and you know you can’t accept any more assignments, manage your profile and remove yourself from the rotation, even if it’s just for a day.
5. Keep your coverage area manageable
Don’t overreach. If you make your coverage area too large, you will get work miles away, your turnaround time will suffer, and you will make less money. It’s best to keep a smaller coverage area and become the local market expert in that particular area. Your assignments will be closer together, and you’ll be able to spend more time completing appraisals.
6. Make appointments quickly
Schedule appraisal assignments as you receive them, within 24–48 hours. Many AMCs will score you on this task. If you’re working in a small area, and you get two assignments in one day that are close together, make the appointments. Get them on the books and schedule them as quickly as possible.
7. Update the AMC with any delays
Be sure to update the client if any delays or problems come up during the appraisal process. See item #2 above: Update your order statuses. This will preserve your SLAs with AMCs.
8. Complete orders quickly after inspection
After the appraisal inspection, complete your appraisal report within 24–48 hours. Many AMCs will score you on this metric.
9. Respond quickly to revision requests
You will be scored on how many revisions you receive and how quickly you address them. Do everything you can to prevent revisions. And when you get them, fix them quickly. Above all be polite, be professional, and respond appropriately.
10. Respond completely to revision requests
When you get them, fix them completely. Be sure to address all of the items, since multiple revision requests will hurt your score. Think about how to prevent those errors the next time.
To prevent appraisal revisions, proactively think about the questions that may be asked, and include the answers in your report using narrative commentary. Remember to double-check the quality of your work before delivery. Run your appraisal rules software, run spell check, and fix spelling errors. Finally, read the engagement letter. Look for client-specific requirements, and make sure you’ve included everything in the appraisal. You might consider creating templates for unique clients.
Many of these tips apply to all kinds of appraisal work, but they are especially vital when working with AMCs. Use them to keep your appraiser score high, earn more money, and keep the work coming.
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Article written by Tony Pistilli. Tony has over 25 years of real estate appraising and lending experience. He has previously worked at large national banks, mortgage companies, HUD and as a self-employed fee appraiser. He has provided compliance and regulatory assessments to financial institutions, regulatory agencies and appraisal management companies. Tony is a member of several appraisal industry organizations and was a subject matter expert for the Appraisal Foundation in the area of declining markets. Tony previously served as vice-chair of the Minnesota Real Estate Appraiser Board. Tony is an AQB certified USPAP instructor and holds a certified residential appraisers license.