Choosing the Right AMC: A Guide for Appraisers

Choosing the Right AMC: A Guide for AppraisersToday about 70–80% of all residential appraisals are ordered by appraisal management companies. In the 2015 National Appraiser Survey by the Allterra Group, 55% of appraisers said the majority of their work came from AMCs. With that volume of engagement, working with AMCs is almost a necessity. But 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.

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.

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.

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