Brokers frustrated by appraisal middlemen

by |
Fewer lenders are allowing brokers to choose their own appraisers, and players are once again airing frustration about the appraisal process; a process one appraiser refers to as “a total racket."

“What really they are is a glorified call centre and they swear to the bank that they’re going to send the appraisal to the best fit per job based on approved lists … what they really do is they send it out to the [lowest bidder],” Derek Dupuis, an appraiser with S. Rayner and Associates told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “They send it out to the appraisal companies that they have managed to sign contracts with for low, low rates. Like rates that we charged in 1992.”

It’s a system brokers have had to deal with for years, but fewer lenders than ever are allowing brokers to deal directly with appraisers and are, instead, forcing them to go through appraisal ordering companies that appoint appraisers using a bidding system.

Brokers complain that this extra step costs the client more money (by $50-$70, according to one broker estimate), slows down the home buying process, and often results in an inferior appraisal; added steps and costs with no added benefit of more oversight.

And with one of his preferred lenders recently moving to disallow broker-appointed appraisers, Sean Binkley of Dominion Lending Centres Alliance believes those few lenders who stick to the old system will have a competitive advantage.


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  • Brian on 2015-04-01 11:42:27 AM

    Agreed I just lost a deal as the appraisal had to be ordered through Solidifi on a property that was just appraised by a RBC appointed appraiser at $750k in January 2015. Client comes to me, I get a commitment from a Lender appraisal gets ordered through Solidifi and it comes in at $625K???? How does this happen!

  • Jake Abramowicz on 2015-04-01 11:44:41 AM

    This is a good article. Thanks for bringing this issue to light. The few bad apples in our industry ruin things for all.

    Lucky some lenders still do allow for ordering via direct which makes life easier.

  • Steve on 2015-04-01 11:47:57 AM

    I don't think i have had one that didn't have an extra fee after the original payment has been authorized. Its not easy to explain to a client after they have paid the original amount. Makes us all look bad. Just my 2 cents or 3 if i put additional fee on it lol

  • B Lender Appraiser in GTA on 2015-04-01 11:50:26 AM

    Management Companies? Its a joke. When I had my mortgage renewed with a Major Bank, they said they had to use an (AMC) appraisal management company. Even though its supposed to be completely independent, the underwriter at the bank called up the appraisal firm and guided the whole process. Appraiser actually asked me "HOW MUCH YOU NEED?" LOL, this appraiser didn't know me, being the owner of the house, have actually been appraising for 27+ years.

  • Ross Taylor on 2015-04-01 11:51:43 AM

    I'm okay with the approach in theory, but it's hit and miss if appraisals are sent direct to the lenders; and heaven forbid if you need a letter of transmittal or they failed to check a box on the report. Service levels could be better.

  • Rod on 2015-04-01 11:52:44 AM

    Dealing with Solidifi on one now, they quoted a fee on the site, 360 plus hst. 3 days later I get a request for a fee increase to 520.00. Client says no way and asks me to find another appraiser. Solidifi wants to charge the client 50.00 bucks for me to cancel it and change appraisers. I complain and they say they will make the change don't receive any emails updating me and I have to log into their system only to see they sent it to another appraiser and screwed up the address (wrong town, 50 miles from where property is).
    Funny thing is I could order it direct from the same appraiser and have it sent directly to the underwriter and save my client about 75 bucks

  • Nick Bachusky- MortgageInOttawa.com on 2015-04-01 11:54:02 AM

    I had an appraisal come in recently on target which was fine but had to fight with the lender to even look at it and share it with the clients. They felt all I was going to do was share it with other lenders. For $282.50, are the expecting the clients just to fork over money for an imaginary report? Also, the low calibre appraiser put in that there was a 3rd level bedroom when there was no third level in the place. What can we do when situations like this arise and they under appraise the home?

  • Mike on 2015-04-01 11:59:49 AM

    What really is annoying is back in the old days we would do the appraisal first so we know the value then we would send it to the lender and get a letter of undertaking so that lender could use it. To me this made sense, lender could see the appraisal up front and know the value. But with all the restrictions and the requirement that the appraisals go direct and be addressed to the lender this cannot be done any more. Just seems inefficient to me.

  • Michael Rice on 2015-04-01 12:00:09 PM

    I love that line, "I need $X to make the deal work" That's exactly why this process has come into play and why the federal and provincial regulators have moved towards a 3rd party approach when ordering appraisals. BTW this isn't just a Broker problem, Lenders are just as guilty. I agree there are flaws in the system particularly with the comment/perception of the low bid appraisers. If this is apparent the financial institution must insist on selecting their own appraisers and not appraisers in business to churn out as many appraisals as possible. Its not only a detriment to the Broker/customer/Lender its a potential risk to the financial institution as well. Financial institutions must understand why they are going into a third party approach. Third party appraisal systems can work but only if the financial institution understands the broker/lender needs, an appraisal done in a reasonable amount of time, by a quality appraiser, at a fair price. Financial Institutions must realize these simple rules have to be meet when signing the contract or they will get headaches like the ones mentioned in the article. Its also imperative that the fi uses the feedback from brokers/lenders to shape the model into a system that works for everybody

  • Old Appraiser on 2015-04-01 12:09:37 PM

    I was in the appraisal business for years and now broker mortgages. I'm sure you guys understand the value an appraiser comes up with is based on actual sales and not listings or what the realtor would like everyone to believe. I have seen appraisers overvalue just to keep a client. That's a bad appraisal. If the client overpaid based on a realtors bad advice so be it. Sorry guys but that's the real world.

  • Pete on 2015-04-01 12:15:43 PM

    Totally agree with the uselessness of the appraisal management companies. I would say 90 to 95% of my appraisal requests get screwed up somehow (they are very inventive as to how this can be done) and why is there a problem with the client paying for the appraisal? When I order directly from an appraiser, it takes less than 2 minutes & they arrange to collect their receivable. The appraisal "management" firms either want us to pay for it or have the client pay ahead of time via credit card. Since I do a lot of B business, sometimes if the appraisal comes in low, I'm now out of pocket the appraisal fee. Sorry, but their customer service levels are extremely poor however the banks like them because they now are happy that the brokers are not conspiring with the appraisers to inflate the values on every home appraisal. Have the banks not heard of professionalism & integrity? If they are concerned about inflated home values, then they should institute internal oversight measures, not establish a whole new level of bureaucracy. As an aside, I try to only use lenders that allow me to order my appraisals directly.

  • Derrick on 2015-04-01 12:18:57 PM

    We have had issues with one in particular, solidify, to a point where we have actually changed lenders on a deal to ensure we either find an alternate provider or can order the report directly.
    These agencies carry no E&O insurance and readily admit they simply forward the information, in most cases, to the appraisers we already use.
    In more than one instance the provider has called me to garner my assistance to expedite the file as they don't seem to be able to find the client.
    Strangely enough with the first call to the client everything is arranged.
    Solidify tacks on fees, sometimes in excess of $100 and for what amounts to forwarding an email.
    I agree that the lenders want to ensure control of the process but since only the appraiser and broker carry E & O Insurance what accountability does the appraisal service company have to ensure a timely process, follow up and accuracy of the end product.....none.
    So my question is why do we need them?

  • Suzanne on 2015-04-01 12:28:45 PM

    I needed an appraisal in 3 days so Solidifi charged a rush appraisal fee for a standard deal of $429 plus taxes. I advised the appraiser of the cost and it turns out she only received $200 plus tax, Solidifi never pays the rush fee out to the appraiser ! Bit of a joke if you ask me. AND, I agree with some of the comments above. Never heard of some of the appraisers they send out.
    On another deal - I searched the appraiser only to find out that they had no website, were not in google, and when we did call the appraisal institute, we found out they were brand new. (no wonder they came in $140k below PURCHASE price)

  • Busy Broker Agent on 2015-04-01 12:36:09 PM

    Its not just the broker agents frustrated with this system. Recently an appraiser of whom I am acquainted received one of my orders through NAS. I had cancelled the order as soon as NAS disclosed what they were charging the client. It was a ridiculous amount, over $500 due to travel time but planed on only paying the appraiser $125 keeping an enormous profit for themselves. They failed to inform the appraiser of the cancellation who ended up completing the appraisal. NAS refunded the client but kept a $60+ cancellation fee for themselves and gave the appraiser nothing. These services are a joke at best.

  • Dawn on 2015-04-01 12:39:57 PM

    With all the report quality, service and lack of communication with these middle companies considered as many of you have mentioned. I detest the fact that a candidate is doing my reports from another town, the primary appraiser is not seeing the property or our market. It is a matter of time before this process is challenged at court for a inflated value or comparable used from 125KM away- which we have seen, the order companies have a waiver that they are not responsible for the report but yet pick out the pictures from the appraisal report to use for their own cover sheets which is proprietary information provided by the appraiser. It will be interesting when the court dates start coming. Aside from that, they offer bonus gift cards to appraisers from certain lenders...I know that our clients pay more in the end too.

  • Kevin R on 2015-04-01 12:46:36 PM

    Thank Christ I have lenders that dont force this 3rd party appraisal ordering. Being in the business for years, most of my stuff is conventional & lenders that force this 3rd party appraisals dont see much of my business. Appraisers here in Alberta are regulated through RECA, just like Mortgage Brokers & Realtors. This 3rd party stuff is garbage & creates a middle man who gouges & drives the costs up. I pay for my appraisals for my clients, so I dont lose deals over this but my tolerance levels are much lower when it comes out of my pocket.

    Personally, if the Lender or "Investors" have an issue, then do your due diligence before signing up & allowing an appraiser to prepare a report for your institution. We all know who the appraisers are in our markets, it's a small industry & appraisers as a whole care about their reputation.

  • Michael Rice on 2015-04-01 12:47:38 PM

    Upcharging of fees is a big issue. Insist the fi enter into a one fee for all deals. It eliminates the nickel and diming effect from the appraisal companies. Also Solidify and NAS both offer a member pay option. Brokers and fi's should not be left holding the bag. When the app is submitted the broker enters the member's e-mail address and the payment request is sent to the member to pay via credit card via secure server. Ordering process stops until member pays. Way less hassle, also ensures nobody is left holding the bag. If these services aren't available, insist on them because both NAS and Solidfy offer them....

  • curtis glenn on 2015-04-01 12:49:03 PM

    Simple solution . I have let all my lenders know I will not deal with them if I have to use an appraisal ordering system. I have managed to get exemptions from 4 lenders that insist on NAS, Solidify, ect.... I have told the lenders I will go some where else with the file. I after 21 years as a broker if they do not trust me then I wont use them. If every broker said no,,, then they will go away.

  • Karen on 2015-04-01 12:56:33 PM

    Just went through that process and had to go through an appraisal service. (Solidify) paid for the service, then 2 days later received an email from solidify that the appraiser wants to charge more. solidify said i could change appraisers!!! LOL that's a joke when you've got a purchase. Couldn't communicate to the appraiser at all. Didn't know who it was until i read the report. The whole thing took 2 full days longer than it would have if i called the appraiser directly myself. Have had trouble with all appraisal services. It's a money grab as far as i'm concerned. They don't offer any value to the lenders, brokers and especially clients.

  • Doug on 2015-04-01 1:08:26 PM

    Third party appraisal management companies are slow, cumbersome, and confused. I dread the deal when I have to work with Solidify. Part of my lender selection criteria includes avoiding middle appraisal management if possible.

  • Nikki Taddeo on 2015-04-01 1:13:35 PM

    I totally agree with article..... Fortunately there are still some lenders that do allow us to order appraisals directly, and not have to go through call centres.... Once we develop a relationship with an appraiser, we can rely on them to do an appraisal on a rush basis, and sometimes don't charge us much extra. Relationship is everything.... and it works in the appraisal ordering as well!

  • JIM on 2015-04-01 1:13:37 PM

    As an appraiser we are not thrilled with the Management companies either. They exist primarily because they were able to sell the collusion issues associated to the Appraiser broker relationship and the risks associated with it to the lenders. Brokers could do themselves a huge service by looking at the information provided within a report and taking the time to read it. I have brokers complain all the time for a value appeal because the other house sold for more (It was Bigger, & Better) without looking at the variances and utilizing a tiny bit of common sense. Not hitting the Target you want does not make for a bad appraisal, its the quality of the information that would determine the difference between good and bad. Appraiser offer a security to the lender and do not exist to support Broker commissions. Too much time is spent bashing good appraisers for qualifying the realities you don't want to hear. Management companies are a pain for all of us and if you want to qualify the difference between good and bad appraisals, take a course or 2 so you can understand what the Appraisal Report provides. Good and bad Brokers out there also with some asking for $500K on a property that is selling for $300K and then want to argue that the appraisal is crap for not hitting the 500. All The Time!!! Instead of kicking the appraisers, maybe some self reflection and some cleaning of your own back yards should be considered first. Crappy target shooting appraisers exist because of Brokers they are trying to support, and I think both need to be eliminated.

  • Ron Butler on 2015-04-01 1:13:53 PM

    There are many valid points raised here. The posts moaning about lower values are just a waste of type but others are quite valid. Here's an abuse of client story: I never knew that a $450K home outside of Barrie ON. was an "Executive Home" and required a $150.00 upcharge. I mean SERIOUSLY, such a bad lie for gouging the client, at least try a good lie: "outside our market area need more mileage charges" or "unique property, unusual location, multiple structures on property" something sensible but calling a $450K home "Executive" to manufacture an additional fee: that's just abusing the client.

  • Barry Parsons on 2015-04-01 1:14:14 PM

    I agree. The client goes in and pays the cost of the appraisal. Only to receive a second call or email requesting more funds to cover appraiser travel expenses etc. The client feels like they are being shafted and ends up paying more for the cost of the appraisal.

  • James on 2015-04-01 1:42:14 PM

    SOLIDIFI is a joke and a waste of time. There is no value provided to the lender, the client, or the broker.

    It is an added layer of inefficiency to benefit the owners of Solidifi and nothing else.

    If a lender has an issue with an Appraisal company that is consistent and proven; cut them off.

  • EX-BANKER (20+ yrs), 13yr. Mtge. Agent on 2015-04-01 2:09:51 PM

    Every time I've had to use NAS; SOLIDIFY - nothing but issues. Late appraisals, cost issues, no communication, never made it to the lender, etc. Frustrated clients. Even lost deals over it.
    I much preferred the lender providing an approved appraisal list to choose from. And trusting the BROKER !!! You know the good from the bad. So show us some respect.

  • Sue on 2015-04-01 2:16:32 PM

    And don't forget, if the client goes into a bank branch, they use their own tried and true appraisers AND pay for it. Yet the broker needs to go through a 3rd party....hmmmmm......

  • Ross Taylor on 2015-04-01 2:16:56 PM

    I hope our lenders are listening.....

  • Calgary Appraiser on 2015-04-01 2:21:47 PM

    As previously alluded, appraisers are not happy with the AMC process either. Little, if any, information about the assignment is forwarded to us. Wrong or incomplete addresses, no purchase prices, no purchase contracts, etc. etc. It makes our job more like a wild goose chase than an appraisal assignment. Further, every assignment is different. A flat fee makes no sense. Should I spend 3 days working on a file for which there are few if any comparables, challenges on every front because the house is a three storey in a bungalow neighborhood, for the same fee as we would charge for a cookie cutter which I can complete in a few hours?

    Time is money!. Having said that, the AMC's do make millions, most of it from the appraisers. Downwards appraisal price pressure is a reality. Is it any wonder why you see decreasing appraisal quality. After all, you get what you pay for. Find the best appraisers, they will not be the cheapest!

  • JG on 2015-04-01 2:25:38 PM

    NAS, SOLIDIFY, etc... are "Rackets"...poor customer service, slow, and expensive... and get this, they are slow to pay the appraiser after all is said and done!! Another middle man "taking a cut"... sucks to be a client dealing with a broker!!

  • Jame on 2015-04-01 2:27:10 PM

    NAS, SOLIDIFY, etc... are "Rackets"...poor customer service, slow, and expensive... and get this, they are slow to pay the appraiser after all is said and done!! Another middle man "taking a cut"... sucks to be a client dealing with a broker!!

  • Pete on 2015-04-01 2:33:30 PM

    Just finished reading all the comments after my own. So, if the only organizations that want the appraisal management companies are the banks, how can we as brokers get this information to our representatives and how can appraisers get this information to their representatives? Wouldn't it be interesting if all brokers refused to use the appraisal management companies and all the appraisers agreed not to use them as well?

  • Pete on 2015-04-01 2:33:40 PM

    Just finished reading all the comments after my own. So, if the only organizations that want the appraisal management companies are the banks, how can we as brokers get this information to our representatives and how can appraisers get this information to their representatives? Wouldn't it be interesting if all brokers refused to use the appraisal management companies and all the appraisers agreed not to use them as well?

  • Jake Abramowicz on 2015-04-01 2:34:20 PM

    it would be interesting but it'll never happen.

  • Derrick on 2015-04-01 2:42:31 PM

    The one thing that makes this sad is that they have no accountability for their actions (services) and the lenders are loosing business because we divert our clients to a lender (not necessarily the best deal), just to avoid these companies.
    At the end no one benefits.

  • Tracey Latimer on 2015-04-01 2:42:47 PM

    Wonderful and timely article.
    Agree with Sean Binkley completely.
    No one benefits except the lender who has for some reason swallowed the whole fear-mongering presentation done by these Appraisal Management firms, who now might feel they are getting a more 'pure' appraisal, at extra cost and headache to everyone concerned, because these firms simply don't respect financing condition deadlines. Of course the other benefactors are the appraisers who are willing to work for cheap - so must be new, inexperienced, or incompetent and this where they get the bulk of their business. They charge the client $347 and pay the appraiser $200 and had wanted to just pay $165 ( as an appraiser told me- you can't start your car for that) and if a transmittal letter is needed because you have to change lenders- again the client is gouged and the appraiser gets paid peanuts, - and that would be 30 days after the firm got paid off the credit card.

  • Calgary Appraiser on 2015-04-01 2:43:22 PM

    Let us make it so!

  • James on 2015-04-01 4:24:22 PM

    The ONLY way for things to change is IF brokers take a stand on this issue.

    SOLIDIFI et al has done a great job putting the fear in Gawd and selling the lenders the bells and whistles of their racket.

    Brokers and appraisers do not benefit from this. I would also logical surmise that lenders do not derive a meaningful benefit from this aside from a false sense of security.

    I've told some BDMs that I will be more than happy to order from your list of approved appraisers but I refuse to order it from these useless companies.

    If you have a chance to be at a round table discussion with your monoline of choice, tell them about it.

  • Michael Rice on 2015-04-01 4:51:20 PM

    I agree that wholesale appraisal firms charging lower than market fees with high volumes should be weeded out, but as a Lender I take comfort dealing with a company that the broker doesn't know who the deal is going to. Hello USA housing collapse, how quickly we forget. Regulators like 3rd party appraisal firms so until that changes they will remain. And to Justin who wrote the article, appraisers don't base the value on "I need the value to come in at $X", there's a little more to the process than that. Just saying......

  • Brian Coventry on 2015-04-01 4:56:45 PM

    I had a deal where the client ordered an Appraisal from an Appraiser approved by the Bank in Question and even paid for the Appraisal. The Bank wouldn't accept it and ordered an aPpraisal from Solidify. Solidify came in at $365k / the other original appraiser at $378k. A week later the local Municipal Appraisal came in at $385k. Go figure. Going Solidify slowed down the closing by 2 weeks...almost lost the deal...

  • Calgary Appraiser on 2015-04-01 5:08:52 PM

    Michael, the US housing collapse was not caused by appraisers. Neither was the Savings and Loans Crisis in the 80's. However, appraisers were made the scapegoats These collapses were caused by lender and political policies such as 125% loan to value ratios..

  • Calgary Appraiser (2) on 2015-04-01 5:15:03 PM

    Well isn't this an interesting topic. As an appraiser, I can say that I am not in favor of AMC's (Appraisal Management Companies). They are not helping the process at all and in fact they are hindering it. Gone are the days of picking up the phone to discuss with the client what issues the appraiser is having and solving it in a timely manner. Now, we must attempt to communicate through the AMC,s and in most cases it is hours and in lots of instances 24 hrs or more. How is that productive? Now about fees..... All AMC's make all appraiser using their service sign a contract and requires that a base fees for services for select property types be provided prior to being able to receive work from then. This is ludicrous. There is no such thing as a one fee fits all. The fee is determined by the scope of work determined by the appraiser by doing research on the property prior to accepting the order. Some key aspects that should be looked at are location, comparable availability, highest and best use of the land, size of the dwelling to be measured by the appraiser, and travel time. When receiving an order through an AMC we first have to make sure that we accept within 30 minutes(select AMC"S) or else they are sent to another appraiser, which makes the scope of work determination some times impossible to do because we are with a client, in the field, updating the AMC's on other files, etc.. Once the order is accepted then we start with the development process such as subject data from sources such as MLS, City records, Land titles, etc. This is where we might pick up on an atypical features. Here is an example: the order is of a 1200 sq.ft. bungalow which seems straight forward so you accept the assignment at a base cost of $300. Upon developing your appraisal you uncover that the parcel's highest and best use is a two family dwelling not to mention that it is the only lot on the street that offers city views oh and did we forget to tell you that its under renovations.. The point being is that the appraiser do not know the entire story until we get out to the property. We try or best to get the correct information information up front but is not so easy through the AMC's. This lead to appraiser regularly adjusting the scope of work and therefore the fee. I have also heard from many mortgage rep's with the big banks who are also frustrated and annoyed at having to use a AMC's and not allowed to speed the process up by phoning an appraiser directly. I am with Pete in not providing any work to these companies but I believe the sacrifice to brokers and appraiser not to mention the organization to do such a thing would be a challenge but one I would be DEFINITELY WILLING TO DO TO LOSE THESE AMC'S AND GET PRODUCTIVE AGAIN.

  • Michael Rice on 2015-04-01 5:58:38 PM

    Don't fool yourself CA. Appraisers were just as much part of the problem for the US housing collapse as the Lenders/Brokers/rating agencies etc etc. Garbage in garbage out. Most of the communication wouldn't be necessary if the person input the correct info in the first place. The brokers need to make an effort to understand the system. The brokers and lenders that take the time have far less issues. Sorry there is an option for one fee fit all. NAS and Solidify have it, but the Lenders need to push that with them.

  • Appraiser on 2015-04-01 9:28:41 PM

    Guys, you cant blame appraisers. Think about this. As an appraiser, they spend 3 hours on a deal and make $200. As a mtge broker, we spend 1 hour and make 1% which can be $4000. Would you as an appraiser really care for $200. You get what you pay for.

  • Appraiser on 2015-04-01 9:28:41 PM

    Guys, you cant blame appraisers. Think about this. As an appraiser, they spend 3 hours on a deal and make $200. As a mtge broker, we spend 1 hour and make 1% which can be $4000. Would you as an appraiser really care for $200. You get what you pay for.

  • Wayne Campbell, Prince George on 2015-04-02 2:22:29 AM

    We don't like 'em either!

    And if every broker refused to use them, they would disappear.

  • Wayne Campbell, Prince George on 2015-04-02 2:24:11 AM

    We don't like 'em either!

    And if every broker refused to use them, they would disappear.

  • Wayne Campbell, Prince George on 2015-04-02 2:25:03 AM

    We don't like 'em either!

    And if every broker refused to use them, they would disappear.

  • Wayne Campbell, Prince George on 2015-04-02 2:26:16 AM

    We don't like 'em either!

    And if every broker refused to use them, they would disappear.

  • Jesse D on 2015-04-02 8:11:03 AM

    So, we all pick 1 major lender who uses NAS or Solidify and stop sending them business until they change it. Then, we choose another lender. Maybe the lenders should do what TD and RBC, etc. do and cover the cost of the appraisal or take it out of the proceeds. Invoice the client if they cancel the deal. Like many said, we're going thru more hassle due to these 2 firms and there is no fairness to the client. Albeit, thanks to those crooked brokers who paid off appraisers to get higher values...you ruined it for everyone.

  • Sean Binkley on 2015-04-02 8:21:30 AM

    I'm hoping that as Broker's and Appraisers we can change this farce that exists right now. Both of our professions carry E/O insurance and are licensed professionals. What's wrong with a professional releationship directly with an appraiser? Believe me there's no "undue influence" involved. It would be interesting to see the appraisal ordering services expense reports and how much money they are spending on entertaining the banks and mortgage companies... Merix (my person top lender) recently disallowed direct appraisal ordering. The last deal I ordered through NAS brought up a list of appraisers (3 which I could choose from). One was 122kms away in Ottawa, really, Ottawa... I've been told of "appraisal-sweat-shops" operating and signing up with these companies to offer the lowest cost to them and the AMS companies still charge the same to the broker/consumer. These "sweat-shops" are "supervised" by one licensed appraiser, but everyone doing the visits and reports are non-licensed. I guess that woudl be like me hiring a bunch of un-licensed mortgage agents to take applications, input deals, come up with a recommendation and that being ok because I took 10 seconds to look at the deal before it's submitted.

    I've also been told that appraisers are never called by the AMS companies to explain their reports. There is absolutely zero quality control (unless I'm missing something here).

    I'm the stupid one for not coming up with this "website" idea myself. I can hear the boys in the bar discussing their idea now... "Hey, I got a good one... let's come up with a Website to order appraisals from because no one knows how to use a phone to call their appraiser anymore, but we'll market it as a company that promises quality control, great service and turn around for appraisals, and complete appraisal risk-management/mitigation for Canadian lenders. We can drive the fear of losses into the hearts of big banks and lenders while we buy them steak dinners. LOL, pass be another beer...

    OK, seriously, how do we change it. Boycott the lenders that will not allow direct ordering. So much for trusting licensed professionals...

    Thanks all and Happy Easter!

  • Sean Binkley on 2015-04-02 8:25:19 AM

    Oh, BTW @ronbutler, agree the comments on reports coming in lower than needed is irrelevant to this discussion.

  • Tracey Latimer on 2015-04-02 9:01:21 AM

    In response to " thanks to those crooked brokers who paid off appraisers to get higher values...you ruined it for everyone." ,...they are not the ones who decided to solve the problem by signing up with Appraisal Management firms. There have always been crooked brokers, crooked appraisers, lawyers etc. ,...the problem is how the lenders have dealt with it, or not dealt with it. Instead of a common sense approach, the solution of the day is let someone else deal with it- let's 'outsource ' the solution, or let's ask for 'uber' documentation from every imaginable source and configuration, and format...but this has gone on for a few years - no one taking responsibility, and the wrong 'solution' to the perceived problem from the government downward....Too much consumer debt?.....OK, let's mess with every mortgage rule we can possibly think of on a regular basis, and in the case of Jim Flaherty ( bless his soul), let's call up Bank of Montreal and suggest what they do with their interest rates ???? In a free world, capitalist country ?... seriously?.....when things were good lenders turned a 'blind eye' to things and now they over-react,...the solutions were simple and in front of their eyes, but the responsibility is also on the broker 'to call them on it' and how many of us bother? A few years ago I called a lender to report they had just funded a deal for a Toronto broker, with a 'doctored' NOA for an Ottawa cab driver, who didn't make nearly as much as the NOA said. They thanked me and said they had been watching this broker and had their suspicions,...this wasn't 'rocket science' when a Toronto broker starts doing a bunch of quick close purchases for 'wealthy' cabbies in another city, with recent inquiries on the CB from other brokers in Ottawa - you know exactly what is up or should ! I bet they put more deals like this on their books after my call.
    Agreed, wherever possible boycott lenders who insist on using 'Appraisal Management Firms' , report things that seem wrong, and where possible boycott other 'stupidity',...'uber documentation' overkill, BDMs who refuse to talk directly to a broker, and maybe slowly we can curb some of the 'insanity' that has taken hold of this industry lately.

  • DeJong on 2015-04-02 9:54:03 AM

    @Calgary Appraiser

    You said:
    "no purchase prices, no purchase contracts, etc. etc."

    Why in the world does an appraiser need to know the purchase price to determine fair market value? Isn't the whole point of the appraisal process to come up with a completely independent judgement of value? That's a very strange comment to make.

  • Brian Coventry on 2015-04-02 10:14:40 AM

    Don't need follow up comments Thank you

  • Calgary Appraiser on 2015-04-02 10:54:40 AM

    In response to Dejong: As per our Standards, the appraiser is required to analyze all listings, offers, conditional sales and sales in the 3 years immediately proceeding the effective date of the appraisal. There are several reasons for this, most of them quite practical. Is there an incentive incorporated in the purchase agreement such as a trip to Mexico, free upgrades, cash back etc. If so the appraiser needs to know. Adjustments will be required. Secondly, suppose the actual purchase price is $450k. The appraiser is not provided with the sale price, purchase agreement etc. The appraiser undertakes the assignment, has an adjusted range from $440 to $452. Mathematically, it appears that the most probable price is $448,000 and concludes that amount. Oops trouble later on for the broker, the lender, mortgage insurer etc. and the deal is not funded and dies. Now the pressure comes. Broker phones appraiser and says what are you doing? Change your report (which we cant) and the emotion escalates. How does this benefit the consumer, or for that matter anyone?

  • Astrid on 2015-04-02 11:21:38 AM

    I am an appraiser and I have said from the beginning that we should have TWO appraisals. One the broker/borrower pays for, where they can get their own appraiser and pay the fee that is deemed reasonable by that appraiser, and a second appraisal that the lender gets any which way they see fit (AMC or no AMC) to protect their interest and estimate their risk and THE BANK pays whatever they see fit as reasonable. This cost is part of their cost to do business. Then take the two appraisal reports and put them side by side and if they are way off then agree to hire a review appraiser to find the middle ground. I was offered $175 for a full appraisal this morning. C&R fee would be $375 for this property. They probably charged the borrower $450. I declined the assignment and guess who is going to take it, the new appraisers or the appraisers who can't get work otherwise and then they do a crappy job and then you end up with comments from broker like the ones noted in this string. If an appraiser knows that their work is always compared to a second report from a peer appraiser, and they got paid a fair fee for their work, I doubt you will see as many inflated or deflated reports as you do now. BTW, it takes longer than 3 hours to put together a good quality report. 8-10 hours is reasonable between all the pre-work, inspection and report with reconciliation where every adjustment is calculated and supported by research evidence, not just made up from your gut. With CU a lot of the lousy appraiser will get eliminated because they do unsupported reports.

  • Sandra McDonald on 2015-04-02 1:52:00 PM

    As of yesterday I am officially done with this business. After 16 years of appraising I have come to realize that only fast and cheap will get the job, and since I am neither fast or cheap, its time to move along. What has happened to this industry is truly tragic and the bottom line is that nobody cares about the quality of an appraisal anymore, they only care about the number, whether it works for them and how fast and cheap they can get the report.... the banks don't care, FannieMae doesn't care [although they pretend to] and apparently many state boards don't care... I know in Montana our board has been absent from the compliance problem allowing shoddy appraisers to continue their "fast and cheap" appraisals. So much for "protecting the public", at least here in Montana they are more concerned with protecting the appraiser. Bye, bye appraisal world.... I'm off to better things!

  • Cathy Trewin on 2015-04-06 4:57:59 PM

    Being in the mortgage industry for almost 30 years I have dealt with a lot of our local appraisers that are all reputable but they lose money dealing with solidify and nas...they charge the clients more and pay the appraisers less....I find that the clients original quote is always increased that pisses off the clients and reflects on us and they never seem to send the copy of the report directly to the lender...with lenders taking the control away from us it feels as though they think that we have some kind of way of getting our appraisers to increase the value because of our relationship which is ridiculous...it makes the process more time consuming and I don't feel that a lot of the appraisers they use have a lot of experience...when I refinanced my mortgage last year I used a reputable appraiser locally but Scotia bank would not let me use that appraisal...they ordered from nas who sent a commercial appraiser from 60 miles away to do my residential appraisal and came in 60,000 less than the appraisal that I had don't a week before....I am now at a point that I will not use a lender that forces me to use this appraisal process

  • Mmmmm on 2015-08-19 7:10:46 PM

    I just had an apprasier recommend to the Lender to not allow purchase to go through because he believed the building to not last 25 years. It's absolutely insaine that there is no discussion with the client when doing it as to their intent with the property.

  • Vejai Etwaroo on 2015-08-21 11:22:32 AM

    Why is it the clients have to pay for the appraisal upfront when they go through a broker and they do not pay with the bank or even if the bank charges them that is done when the deal is funded and deducted from the funds. If an deal goes south with the Bank they do not charge the client the appraisal fees when the client go directly with the bank; it is only if the deal is funded. Why can it be one standard. Charge the fees when deal is funded and charge fees at a standard rate. IIFoe example, A client go directly with TD and TD order appraisal; Client don't pay. Broker get a Mortgage commitment from TD Client has to get appraisal, Client pays for appraisal. Why is this.

  • Steve W on 2015-09-29 9:02:10 PM

    I just got an appraisal that was 50,000 less than i could have sold our freshly renovated home for, by someone sent by Solidifi. I had to pay 361.60 in advance on my credit card online, which is something I usually avoid doing. The money was advanced August 25. I just opened my credit card bill and discovered that someone had bought an 1141.91 watch on the same credit card. I can't prove it was them, but haven't bought anything else online recently with this card. Luckily the bank took care of it. I hope I never have to use this company again.

  • Calgary Appraiser 2 on 2015-10-08 6:00:04 PM

    As a appraiser I am very frustrated with the AMCs. I have been appraising for 15 years and this is the worst I've ever seen it. Everyone is correct: You do get what you pay for. With the downward pressure on appraisal fees, all the good appraisers are soon to be leaving the industry as they can not spend the required amount of time of an appraisal as they should, in order to make a good living.

    The banks do not appear to care about appraisal standards or quality - if a deal goes south, the bank will just sue the appraiser and utilize their insurance. If any change is to come from this industry then it needs to be changed at the lender level.

  • Lenin-McCarthy on 2016-03-16 7:57:40 PM

    As a real estate appraiser I am to frustrated with AMCs. The AMCs are the middlemen to conventional lenders. The problem with AMCs is that they provide downward pressure to keep our fees low. Over the 15 years I have been in this business, I have seen costs of doing business increase while appraisal fees decrease. AMCs have kept appraisal fees low in our industry. Like anything else, you get what you pay for.

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