HVCC Appraiser Talkback Survey:  What's Really Going On?

Editor’s Note: This is a reprint with permission from Working RE Magazine. Check out the latest edition of Working RE Magazine, HVCC/AMCs - Change Equals Opportunity, now mailing! If your magazine hasn’t arrived yet, you can access it online at www.WorkingRE.com. By including your mailing information on the registration form, you can opt out of future print editions in favor of online- go green!

The HVCC Appraiser Talkback Survey has been posted about two weeks and so far you’ve provided some pretty interesting results (see below).

We plan to collect survey data all year and hope you have much to share, post HVCC, about the state of the profession from your perspective. We will collect and share the data openly with you and with regulators and other interested parties. It’s a chance for appraisers to come together as a group, speak with one voice and be heard.

Our Survey Says (so far)
In our Working RE/OREP HVCC Appraiser Talkback Blog (and elsewhere), many appraisers predict that the profession cannot continue to attract competent professionals, capable of producing reliable reports, given the relentless pressure for lower fees and faster turn times from appraiser management companies (AMCs): the most competent and talented will migrate to professions that are more profitable and satisfying, goes the prediction. Do most appraisers really believe that there is no future for them in this profession? And if so, what does this portend for the future of honest lending? Just 57 percent who responded say they expect to be appraising full time five years from now. What do you say?

Questions about working with AMCs also reveal interesting results. Over 65 percent respond that they are satisfied working with appraiser management companies (AMCs) at least some of the time (35 percent respond “never” satisfied). Interpreting survey results is tricky but could this mean that those who are surviving are picking and choosing the AMCs they work with and firing the others, just like they did with mortgage brokers? Might it mean that AMCs may have to become more appraiser-friendly to compete? 

Over 79 percent of respondents report that, at least some of the time, pressure for a fast turn around time results in a product that is less reliable for the end user, compared to a report where adequate time had been allowed (only 21 percent say this never happens). What’s your experience?  Complete the survey and let us know.

Lenders, as well as the regulators who are charged with protecting the public, might be interested to know what percentage of appraisers feel that low fees and fast turn times make their reports less reliable. Discouraged appraisers might be interested to learn whether a silent majority of their colleagues have figured out how to make a profitable and satisfying living from AMC work without the hassles associated with mortgage brokers. Maybe we all can learn something from the survey and follow up stories in Working RE Magazine.

Eighty-five percent say being able to copyright or register ownership of the intellectual property contained in their appraisal reports is an important issue. Isn’t this interesting?

Coming Together
Working RE mails to the entire profession and is therefore a natural vehicle for gathering appraiser survey data nationwide. Why is it important for you to participate? First, the absence of comprehensive survey data makes it impossible for industry leaders to formulate and promote the appraiser-friendly agenda that is long overdue. Lobbyists will tell you that finding a consensus on anything among appraisers has long been a stumbling block to progress. A much stronger case can be made to regulators with hard data in hand.
The absence of feedback from colleagues also makes it impossible to assess your own experience relative to others and to learn from their mistakes and successes. Fill out the survey and we’ll bring you the stories. 

Finally, there is this: appraisers predicted the lending collapse years before it happened; those who complained about reckless lending, inflated values, lender pressure and the imprudent use of AVMs, were labeled anti-progress, shortsighted, incompetent...and worse. No one paid much attention to the “Chicken Little” appraisers, except to mock them, but this time, the sky really did fall. Here’s a chance for appraisers to come together as a group, speak with one voice and be heard. If you’ve already taken the survey, you may want to go back to weigh in on several new questions suggested by readers (Additional Questions Suggested by Survey Takers).

You can find a link to the Appraisers Talkback Survey at www.orep.org or www.workingre.com or click: www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=1drQU6WrYbQ73E4wH2vKVw_3d_3d

New: Comment on this story at Working RE’s new Appraiser Talkback blog. Also, now take the HVCC Appraiser Talkback Survey.

If you have questions, please email subscription@workingre.com.