Today a large percentage of residential appraisals are ordered by appraisal management companies, so working with AMCs is almost a necessity. According to NAR Research Group’s 2022 Appraisal Survey, 54% of surveyed appraisers reported that AMCs are among their biggest challenges in their businesses. One way to mitigate those challenges is by selecting the right AMC partner(s). How do you choose the right AMC to work with? Appraiser Tony Pistilli offers expert guidance on the matter.
If you missed Tony Pistilli’s live webinar, “Working with AMCs,” you can still access it—and other useful webinars—when you become an Unlimited Learning Member.
Step 1: Find AMCs
Start by developing a list of AMCs you could potentially work for. You can find AMCs by:
- Checking state websites
- Checking AMC directories – such as the Allterra Group AMC Directory
- Checking appraiser forums and blogs
- Talking with other appraisers
Step 2: Investigate each AMC
Next, you’ll need to dig deeper into individual AMCs. Is the AMC a quality company with an excellent reputation? Does it pay fairly based on assignment conditions? Does it have convenient payment schedules? Does it treat appraisers professionally? Does it expect a well-done, credible, USPAP compliant appraisal in return? All of these are signs of a good AMC.
For each AMC you decide to investigate, it’s a good idea to do the following:
- Ask for information – Check with your state board to see if they are properly registered, and ask about previous complaints.
- Check out their website for info on…
- Policies and procedures – Including indemnification clauses
- Payment policies – 15 days, 30 days, ACH payment?
- Appraiser program benefits – Auto-assignment, fewer emails and calls, faster payment?
- Appraisal independent hotline – Can they be reached if there is a problem?
- Appraiser bulletins and announcements – Do they help keep you informed with industry changes?
- Industry reference materials – Are they a source for information and guidance?
- Training materials – Do they help you do the right thing?
- Appraisal helpline – Do they offer assistance before submitting the assignment?
- Ask for a copy of a typical engagement letter – Determine your scope of work.
- Ask for the fee schedule in your area – Complex properties, trip fees
Step 3: Narrow your list
Finally, you’ll want to narrow your list down to just a handful of AMCs. Select five or six so that you can spread your work out. It’s better to get one to two appraisal orders per week from five or six clients vs. ten orders per week from just one AMC. Why? That way, if the AMC loses a client or bank customer and their work in your area dries up, you will still have other clients to rely on for business. You won’t have all your eggs in one basket.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on August 21, 2018 and updated in July 2023.
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 appraisal license.