The Shady Real Estate Industry: Misleading Appraisals

Shadow Man

The real estate industry is shady. From shady appraisers to stubbornly high commissions even after huge improvements online. The good thing about a shady industry, however, is that you can deploy various tactics to get yourself a better deal.

The appraiser came out to my rental the other weekend and spent a total of 3 minutes assessing the place before he said, “See ya! I got everything I need!

Oh really? I thought to myself as I saw him run to his double parked BMW X5 in the tow-away bus zone.  Why do real estate agents and appraisers always drive fancy cars anyway?

I got the appraisal report today, which came in lower than expected, but high enough to refinance. The cost?  $635.  $635 bucks for 3 minutes of work and maybe 30 minutes spent typing up the report in a template.  That's $1,200 an hour and $3 million for 50 weeks of work at 50 hours a week.  That's NUTS!

If anybody is out of work looking to make a little extra money, sign up to be a real estate appraiser.  Besides the amount you make per hour, you'll probably be tempted with bribes from mortgage officials, homeowners, and homesellers who are depending on your “expert” appraisal assessment to see whether a loan can be made, and a transaction can be closed.

There's perhaps no easier way to make a lot of money doing so little.

The Shady Real Estate Industry: Errors & Omissions

In the report he wrote, “There has been no updates in the past 15 years.” Is he kidding me?  If he just checked out one of the bedrooms, he would have noticed a brand new master bathroom! That's a nice $15,000 expenditure missed.

Digging deeper into the appraisal report, he writes, “The income approach is not completed due to lack of rental data.”  Utter crap since I specifically highlighted my Gross Rental Income, and Net Operating Income in an e-mail the day he came by for 3 minutes and he confirmed receipt.  If he used a normal cap rate of 4% on the NOI, which is 2% higher than the 10-year treasury risk-free rate of 2%, he would get a true value 20% higher than what he came up with.

If the appraiser had spent a normal 30 minutes going through everything and asked questions, I wouldn't have minded as much because his appraisal doesn't impact my ability to refinance.  I'm a busy guy too, but 3 minutes is just ludicrously short to do a thorough job.  I know what the property is worth based on its income stream and purchase offers already.

In fact, the unit right next door to my rental which has the same features but no updated bathroom just came on the market for 25% more than the appraisal amount.  Let's see where it sells, but it will likely still be at least 20% more than this appraiser's assessment.

This is a no cost refinance, but ultimately, all the costs are baked into the price, which means I'm paying for the $635 appraisal fee. Where is consumer protection for misleading appraisals when you need it?

Related: Remodel A Home With Permits Or Without

The Real Estate Industry Needs To Change

You know the times when you wait 30 minutes beyond your appointment to see the doctor and all he does is spend a couple minutes checking you out before prescribing medicine and moving on?  Those are the doctors that get sued according to author Malcolm Gladwell.  The doctors that don't get sued are the ones who put in the time and effort to hear you out.  They make you feel like you've got your money's worth.  They make you feel like they care.

Nothing much has changed in the real estate industry as everybody still wants to make as much money off you as possible. Buyers and sellers beware.  If you are a consumer, pay nothing more than you have to.  Give an inch and the real estate industry will take everything from you.

Related: How The Property Assessors Office Screws Homeowners


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57 thoughts on “The Shady Real Estate Industry: Misleading Appraisals”

  1. We recently had an appraisal for refinance that came in super low. We were going to be able to refinance to we let it ride until closing when we noticed a paper included more land than was on the appraisal. We stopped the closing to make calls. The appraisal had been updated to include an additional parcel (both lots 21000 sqft) and it reduced the entire site acreage to 6010sqft. We could not convince the lender he was wrong. I sent him tax assessor data etc., but he continued to rely on his wrong title company record.This record he sent me by mistake include valuations from 2017. We got the updated appraisal at closing with no adjustment for the 10,500sqft lot. I talked to the appraiser after and asked him did he do an updated appraisal and he said he did. I old him it was wrong. He said he did what they wanted him to do and used the paper he gave them. I want to sue. What do you think?

  2. Appraisal Fixation

    Whether this appraiser took short cuts and made errors is one thing but, your comments have a familiar echo, shared by many and based on misconceptions. Firstly, by law the loan expenses are the lender’s but, the lender can recoup it costs by collecting from borrowers. That means the borrower is not a client of the appraiser.

    Secondly, it’s only for loan purposes. Your interest appears to be personal since your transaction was not impacted by the appraisal. But the appraisal process and reporting is not done in a way to satisfy the understanding or wants of a borrower. Regulations actually prohibit an appraiser from explaining analysis and conclusions with borrowers.

    And then there’s the walk-through, homeowners are notorious for campaigning, for citing every update and feature they can think of. They are trying to influence the process based on
    their misunderstandings and which have no effect. Look at this way; would 3 minutes be long enough to recognize a bowl of chili? The appraiser only needs to get general information because that is all the is useful in valuation. But homeowners want to point out the beans as though that going to make it worth more. Now if there are twice the usual amount of beans or, meat is added, then it characteristically becomes different…but, the appraiser would have to be blind and drunk not to notice.

    ***Because something would be valuable to a buyer, doesn’t mean A) the a dollar amount can be abstracted from the market for it and B) it improves accuracy. In fact, the more the tweaking the less reliable! Appraisers spend their lives pouring over numbers and reconciling and they know what things can be proven to push value around.***

    But, people are very weird about their properties. They go into an altered state that I call “Appraisal Fixation”. They become irrepressible, controlling, can’t hear me and say nonsensical things. There seems to be some kind of drama going in their heads where their identity is wrapped up in the their property and the appraisal is going to declare their legacy to the universe! I’ll step into a bathroom and they will literally call out, “That’s a bathroom!” LOL! “Did you see the garage?” (that she saw me park in front of). Even a tenant was up on tip-toes squeezing a few more praises through the door crack as I closed it! Get over it! It’s a stupid form needed to process a loan and that’s it. If you don’t agree with it, then don’t.

    The appraiser is not talking about YOUR rental data but, that which might be available in the market. And the appraiser saw your remodeled bath. He just failed to mark it in the report He wasn’t concerned with it because it didn’t turn your chili into con carne.

    Did your $15k bath add to value? We can run a bunch of statistics and pretend it did or pretend it didn’t but, we are not searching for some ultimate truth or trying to make anyone feel good or bad about their property. We’re trying to get a loan processed. We spend our lives identifying the influences push value around and can use them to reasonably estimate value given the purpose. We don’t decide on how appraisal works, nor can we change it. All we can do is try to pacify borrowers who try to grab the wheel and steer my analysis, the one my lic. # goes on, with their misconceptions while also managing to insult my expertise. Perhaps they aren’t normally so boorish but, as I said, “Appraisal Fixation” takes over.

  3. I am an appraiser and a drive-by appraisal would only be done at the request of the client. That is the scope of the work the client is willing to pay for. The amount of time spent inspecting a property even when it is a full appraisal with an hour or more inspection, is only a tip of the iceberg of the amount of time spent completing an appraisal. There is first of all research prior to the inspection, additional research after the inspection, driving by the comparable properties to make sure they are comparable in location, etc., many times a trip to the county courthouse, and then compiling and analyzing the data, writing the actual report. Just because there is a form used to report the data and the appraiser’s analysis does not mean the form fills itself out, much research goes into locating that data. Then there is the costs the appraiser has for MLS subscriptions, software subscriptions, E & O insurance, computer and office expenses, licenses, required Continuing Education, not to mention the initial cost and time for education for licensing.

  4. You are right this industry is very shady! I have been in almost tree years and have seen a lot. Property managers, realtors, contractors, tenants, etc.. There are so many tricks and shady dealings. It’s pretty disgusting.

    I just had an appraisal come in 30% lower than expected on a refi. The appraiser used a 6 unit building that had a fire and was only partially rebuilt as a comp to my fully rented 6-unit! Some of the other comps were short sales. He made no mention of this anywhere in his report! It was like he was trying to make value as low as possible. I am going to another appraisal with a bank that uses a local city appraiser. I had to pay $850 for that other piece of crap appraisal though.

    I am filing a complaint with state licensing board for appraisers.

  5. I had a friend send me this link since she thought I might think it was interesting (since I’m an appraiser). Sorry to hear about the three-minute inspection. That’s not good at all.

    Some thoughts after reading through some of the comments:
    1) The third-party system of ordering appraisals is only for loan appraisals geared toward Fannie Mae and Freddic Mac (that’s pretty much any loan, though not hard money or some types of smaller banks). This system is exactly why I tend to focus on other avenues of appraisal business intead of loans (though I do loan work still and have some great clients).
    2) The fee split can be horrendous. You may have paid $635 and the appraiser may have seen $400 or $300 even. It depends on the company. I choose not to do business with clients that would pay like that, but they are commonplace in the industry.
    3) I recommend borrowers find a local brokerage or bank and ask them how they select their appraisers. It is definitely better to use quality local appraisers as opposed to appraisers coming from far away. I get “blast” emails from some companies who have X number of appraisers on a huge list. The MO is to send out a mass-email and the first appraiser to click “accept” gets the job. This is a terrible way to do business because the appraiser may not be competent to appraise that type of property and the company is really looking for someone who will work for the lowest fee. Don’t do business with companies like this (in my opinion).
    4) A BA degree is now a minimum requirement to be an appraiser. Once you take courses and then pass a fairly difficult test, there are then 2000 hours of apprenticeship the trainee must do under a certified real estate appraiser. After the 2000 hours, you have to do another 1000-1500 to get to the “certified” level, which is really what you need to do FHA work any quite a few different types of work these days. With the recent educational changes and the third-party ordering system for loan appraisals, it’s actually going to be a very challenging industry to break into in coming years. There are not many trainees right now in the industry for the reasons I mentioned above.
    5) I don’t have much to say about how the appraiser did his job because I have no idea whether he did a good job or not. It sounds like he missed some obvious things though like a bathroom remodel. The appraiser probably had canned statements in his template to say the Income Approach was irrelevant.
    6) I do have some articles on my blog regarding suggestions for helping prepare for an appraisal inspection and challenging a low appraisal. I would post them here, but you know, that might sound like I only commented to gain traffic (wich is not why I’m here).
    7) I wish I drove a BMW.
    8) I don’t make $3 million each year.

    Take care.

    1. Hi Ryan! Appreciate your feedback as an appraiser. The education requirements are very helpful, as is the info on the way banks and consumers choose their appraisers.

      I was being facetious on the $3 million a year give the leakage of fees to the bank etc. The point of the figure is of the income potential.


  6. I dont know if it is a CDN thing or an industry thing, but both of my parents’ appraisers were great. Since both of them work out of town, I usually had the pleasure of dealing with their rental property issues. My trick of dealing with them was having a friend, who is a real estate agent, with me every time they came to appraise properties. The fear of having their name smeared, and not finding work with local agents inspires appraisers to do their job really well.

  7. Ladies and Gentlemen;
    You are scaring me! I’m considering purchasing a new rental this year. Is there no recourse to a lousy appraiser? What about the appraisal done by the county the property is in? Anyone have any good resources on dealing with appraiser?

  8. We just refinanced and the appraiser followed the same approach – just looked from the street, didn’t even try to go to the back – my husband stopped him on hway back to his car to show him that we have a big addition in the back. Still the appraised value was way too low. Didn’t cause a problem with the refi though, and now I am thinking of making lemonade out of this lemon by getting the report and trying to bring my taxes down. They went up with all renovations we did, but maybe we can get them to reconsider the value of the renovation based on this (I am hoping the appraiser at least used comps we can refer to)

  9. It seems to me that most appraisers uses sales data to come up with their number. If the house/condo is in comparable shape, they don’t really look too closely. The guy who came out to appraise my rental did a 15 minutes job and it was enough for us to refi. We had a lot of equity though so it wasn’t a big deal.
    Our primary resident on the other hand is about underwater and I’m still a bit undecided about the refinance. The cost is just too much.

  10. I actually had the opposite experience during my recent refi. The appraiser spent at least 40 minutes walking around inside and outside the house, and he made many comments about the updates. He also confirmed roof, furnace, and central air age and other things. I was actually quite pleased, and the cost was $400.

    However, this post reminded me that I do need to get a copy of the appraisal report. I have the final number, but did not get a copy of the actual report. Maybe I will be more frustrated when I actually read what he said.

  11. I’m with you on appraisers. When trying to refinance, we got an appraisal about $100k below market value. The appraiser never came out, did it by “drive by”, and then decided. As a result, the lender wanted to decline the loan. I told them it was “BS”, and they looked on Zillow and thought something was fishy, so they sent it back. A second appraiser, who actually walked the property (no questions or anything) came back $150k higher than the previous appraiser! Crazy…

    1. Man, that’s a $250,000 SWING, and I’m assuming your property is not much more than $500,000… so that’s a 50% value swing! That is NUTS! There needs to be someone watching them and more scrutiny. Glad it worked out for you.

        1. The reason for the difference in value is how the financial institution ordered the appraisals.

          The first was an “exterior only” drive by appraisal. This is a cheaper option but the appraiser is limited to taking pictures from the street. Property information is obtained from tax records or other online sources. This type of appraisal is limited in accuracy by the information available to the appraiser.

          The second appraisal was ordered as a “full appraisal”. This is more costly for the bank but is more accurate and requires a full interior and exterior inspection of the property.

          I have been on all sides of the loan and appraisal process as an appraiser, real estate broker, banker and Investor. I spent 5 years as chief appraiser for a bank where my staff and I were responsible for handling and ordering all real estate appraisals.

          In your case; the first low value was likely caused by your bank wanting to save money rather than an incompetent appraiser.

  12. My brother works for Corcoran and although he isn’t shady I have seen some shady things go on there. By the way the banks are no better. BOA screwed us a bunch of times too.

  13. I had a recent appraisal it cost 375$ and I was not able to roll the fee into the refi (had to do this one fee out of pocket).

    Didn’t get the # I needed so have to pay PMI for 2 yrs out of the 15 yr loan. Appraisers were pretty thorough and asked questions but I still think they undervalued me which is probably the norm.

  14. Wow I can’t believe he got paid that much for such a careless, lousy job. I’ve dealt with appraisers before and tried to talk a ton so they’d slow down. All the ones I’ve dealt with are always in a hurry. You’re absolutely right we need to pay attention to their reports and follow through when they make ridiculous errors.

    1. Lexington Steele

      Appraisers are in a hurry because your staircase close you point-out doesn’t add much value -ohh, and appraisers make less than a Manager at Taco Bell. So yeah, they try to scoot and keep the focus on noting important features at inspection, then the real work analyzing your market, spending hours and hours on the computer

  15. If you really want to highlight the scammy side of the industry, don’t even get me started on title searches that cost $2000-$4000 for a stupid refi on my own house, even if I stay with the same bank. In this day and age of public records and electronic record-keeping, it really costs that much to say there’s no lien on my house? Moronic. It’s a huge it’s a gravy train to the industry while adding very little net value to the transaction.

    1. That’s totally ridiculous! It should only cost about 500-1000 for a title search, as for you guys getting screwed by the appraisers, well, call them out on it.. YOu DO need to be licensed and educated in what you are doing to be an appraiser. No, the bank cannot pick and choose, it’s randomly assigned, so the same person does not always do it, (to avoid scams) but where there is a will, theres a way. The appraiser is supposed to inspect the inside and outside, and if you get someone really good and ethical at their job, they would tell you what you need fixed or what could cost you right then and there so you can address it, sometimes they will “forget” your appointment to give you a lil time to fix the problem before they have to write their report. But shusshhh…..we are not supposed to know that….LOL

  16. If you were doing this as a business, it would be worth the time and effort to pick your appraiser. The banks need the appraisal to package their loans and just want to maintain some distance to the transaction. The appraisals are probably more conservative since the bubble too. The good news is the appraisal was sufficient for the refinance! Most people do not go through this very often and just put up with all the crap.

  17. Sunil l Entrepreneurship & Personal Finance

    a few friends do this on the side. they stopped in between but have picked right back up. when the frenzy was on, appraisers were raking in cash like crazy, especially those teaming up with banks to quickly underwrite loans as if they were working an assembly line

  18. You are probably spot on regarding 3rd party, and therefore attitude towards doing quality work.

    Based on the appraisers I meet, it seems like all one needs to do is write their name semi legibly on a piece of paper to become an appraiser. OK, maybe a test and some regulations to follow too.

  19. My inspector did a great job on my recent purchase, but I was not happy with the appraiser. I did get a good price for my loan needs, but his unprofessional (didn’t read directions) actions delayed my closing date by three days. I was in a crunch to move from the old apartment and save a month’s rent, so the three days were sorely missed.

  20. wow. I’d appeal. My mom got screwed, and then she appealed and got another appraiser, and the number came in higher. Then when I had my place appraised for a refi, I got dinged too. The guy lived like 100 miles away and didn’t know his ass from his face. He dinged me for being on a “busy street” which coincidentally is one of the most desirable streets in santa monica. Again, ass from face confusion.
    I’m sorry about your experience….I totally hear you.

    1. That sucks Kathryn. How the hell is your guy going to know anything about your property living 100 miles away?

      Seriously, this is the BEST job on earth! You don’t have to know jack and can make bank doing nothing but writing chicken scratch.

      I was just annoyed with this guy, since I ultimately had to pay for his $635 somehow. It didn’t affect my refi. It just annoyed me he didn’t do a thorough job.

  21. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

    The entire real estate industry is beyond shady. It makes me want to take a shower every time I have to deal with these people. I have to share my story on purchasing investment property #2… or should I say not purchasing it.

    This appraiser is probably the worst kind. Lots of people bought houses with problems because of half-assed appraisers like this idiot. I remember when I worked in the wholesale mortgage lending department at WAMU (another slime hole) that the appraisers had tons of files and did cursory inspections.

    But this one beats all. My brother had an inspector come out for insurance purposes. The guys said that he just needed to do an external inspection. About two weeks late my brother received an insurance cancellation notice in the mail. The reason? The inspector said that the house didn’t exist. It’s a 7 bedroom corner lot on a hill. But no, it didn’t exist.

    I wonder if the moron even drove by the house.

  22. For my rental properties my bank doesn’t even send an appraiser they use a computer to come up with the amount they will lend me. But, back when they did use an appraiser he took 1 hour dissecting my property. My only probably was he cited me for something that was incorrect and it took me a quite some time to prove he was wrong ultimately delaying the HELOC process. I think just like in any business you will have people we are good/talented and you have people who cheat the system. You ran into someone who simply cheated the system.

    1. Hmmm, I guess a 3 minute crappy job is better than a 1 hour thorough job which brought up citations which screwed up the process. But, maybe not, as in the end, he helps improve your property’s value to the max.

      Yes, hopefully I just ran into a bad apple. Seems like there are A LOT of bad apples in the industry though.

  23. I’ve dealt with apparaisers as part of my job, and there’s a lot of questionable practices in terms of how they evaluate properties. We still don’t understand the entire process and how they come to the conclusions they do. I think it’s a shame given that they’re a fairly important player in real estate and the whole crisis that’s still going on.

  24. Hmm… I wasn’t aware that they were this well-paid. What percentage of money do you think goes directly to the appraiser and what amount the company that he works for? Also, what education is needed fort that job anyway?! It doesn’t seem too onerous or specialized. Actually a background in construction might be the best prerequisite when you think about who actually has the tools to assess added value to a house.

    1. Zero education, just taking a test to show understanding. A background in construction is like getting a PhD for McDonald’s. Not necessary for being an appraiser!

      If you own your own company, I imagine you get all of the fee.

      1. Out of all the jobs the housing bubble has destroyed (loan officers, underwriters, processors, real estate agents, title officers, escrow officers, notaries, appraisers, etc.), I would say appraisers got the short end of the stick. ( I was never an appraiser, by the way). Appraisers used to be independent agents that could earn repeat business from banks or loan officers by doing a good job. If they completed their appraisals on-time, had zero problems with the underwriters, and bent over backwards to get the appraisals done (6am if they had to), they should be rewarded with repeat business.

        However due to recent legislation, all appraisers are now required to work for an Appraisal Management Company. What this does is create a barrier between the loan officer (or bank), and the appraiser. Not only that, the appraiser is now assigned jobs in a round-robin queue and forced to focus solely on volume, not quality. Because of this added barrier comes additional cost which of course is passed onto the consumer. An appraisal used to cost say, $350 and all of it would go to the appraiser. Now it costs $500 and the appraisal management company gets $350 leaving the appraiser with about $150 per deal.

        This has unfortunately led to many experienced appraisers to leave the industry or change career paths (now are real estate agents) leaving only much less experienced appraisers doing all the work. That coupled with more legislation leaving much of the liability of the appraised value on the appraisers shoulders, it’s no wonder appraisers are so tight with their values. This is why your value came in lower than you expected.

        Appraisals also take more than 30 minutes to do. They need to look at comparable sales in the area, make comments about each one, take pictures of almost every room in the house and actually drive to your disgusting home full of cat hair, dirty laundry and obama posters. (not you personally samurai, haha). Aside from that, to be a Certified Residential Appraiser, you need to complete 200 hours of education, obtain 2,500 experience hours and pass a test. This means they need a mentor for the first 2,500 hours. Thats over a full year at 40 hours per week.

        The last thing they have to deal with is borrowers and loan officers being always pissed off about the value they gave the home.

        Given all these facts, I applaud anyone who still wants to be an appraiser.

        1. Great perspective Cesar. Makes me and other realize what they’ve been through. The second cut of commission to the management company sucks. It’s caused them to charge more and do crappier work.

      2. Hi Sam. I just read through this article after seeing the link from your current blog posting on your most recent refinance. I am a fan of your blog and I do enjoy it.

        I work as a real estate appraiser in the SF Bay area where you live. So let me answer a few of the above questions. In order to become an appraiser you need to take industry specific classes and pass a state exam to become an appraiser trainee. At this license level you need to work closely with a mentor for 2000 work hours in order to become a full fledged appraiser. To upgrade your license you need more course work in different appraisal techniques. Every time you renew your license (which is every two years) you need more CE courses to stay up to date with current appraisal techniques as well as new regulations.

        Right now an AA degree is required to be an appraiser and next year the department of real estate is requiring a BS degree.

        You stated that your appraisal fee was upwards of $700. The fee depends on the bank and the complexity of your house. If your house is 3,000+ square feet, over $1 million, or unique for the area etc. can all factor into your appraisal fee. I work with hundreds of lenders and a typical fee is anywhere from $500-$600 for a cookie cutter home in the Bay area. The average few that the appraiser actually makes is anywhere from $150-$250. So that is where you have it wrong.

        Appraisals nowadays are being handled by Appraisal Management Companies that were created to act as a middle man between the brokers and appraisers. This was done so brokers could no longer pressure appraisers to hit their numbers. These AMC’s sometimes are subsidiaries of the large banks and some aren’t. They normally set up a network of appraisers called their appraiser panel. Then most will broadcast an appraisal order auction style where the lowest bidder will win the assignment. So as you can imagine the low fee appraiser will win most bids but because he is making very little mag have to cut corners to do more volume. Thus leading to more errors and quick inspections.

        But back to your appraisal. A 3 minute inspection is atypical and I can only imagine that happening if you had a recent appraisal where he or she was given the previous report and not much has changed since your previous appraisal. But even at that 3 minutes is unheard of from what I have seen. I speak to hundreds of appraisers and it typically takes anywhere from 30-90 minutes for an inspection depending on the house. Taking notes and pictures of 6-7 comps should take an additional 30 minutes on average. Typing the report and making the adjustments should take another 3-5 hours for a report that is not problematic and in an active market with recent sale comps. I have had complex assignments take weeks to complete. Most appraisers I know who are seasoned and are in good standing without any major disputes normally can complete one maybe two credible appraisal assignments a day. 6-7 a week would be a very full week for an appraiser. So to clarify, it is not “easy money” at all. If you don’t agree check the Office of Real Estate Appraisers (OREA) and you can see that the number of appraisers entering the field as trainees or renewing their current license is sharply declining. Seasoned appraisers are exiting the industry.

        The real culprit are the bad AMC’s that have a system that rewards low fee/high volume appraisers. Obviously, this only benefits the AMC’s. There are very few appraisers getting rich these days.

        Again I am a fan of your blog. But I believe you may be generalizing a bit from one bad experience.


        1. Thanks for the added color. I’m just mad because not only did this guy just spend 3 minutes, he missed a completely remodeled bathroom and undervalued my property.

          My latest appraisal cost for my primary residence is $860, and the appraiser didn’t even stop by to visit! This is an independent appraiser and wouldn’t be the same one from 7 mints ago. Easy money I say!

        2. Yes, easy money for the Appraisal Management Company. Not necessarily the appraiser. When we were completely independent of AMC’s a typical appraisal fee would be $325-$400. Now the AMC’s charge $550-$800 and the appraiser is lucky to get $250 out of that.

          Even with a 3 minute inspection. It should still take the appraiser at least 4 hours to complete the whole report. For me, the inspection is the shortest part of my day (Normally 30-45 minute inspections for an easy one, 1 hour or more for a tough one).

          As for appraiser vehicles, I drive a 2006 Honda Civic. My two close friends who are appraisers drive a 4 Door 2005 Civic and a 2000 Acura Integra. I have met countless appraisers and I have yet to meet one with a fancy car. I know real estate agents tend to drive nice cars to drive their clients around especially if they have high end clientele. But for an appraiser who is driving around different neighborhoods all day long would be foolish to drive an expensive gas guzzler that he or she will end up using and abusing. On a very popular appraiser forum there was a poll taken on what appraisers drive, and the majority drove old used beat up vehicles.

          You must have had a really extraordinary experience which is definitely a statistical outlier.

          My point here is that it is the AMC, not the appraiser getting rich. The appraiser takes on all the liability, does 99% of the work, and the AMC reaps huge profits. This is coming from an appraiser who has a network of other appraiser friends and who has been in the industry for 10 years since graduating college. In retrospect, I should have used my finance degree and went into corporate finance after my internship instead of going into real estate appraisal.

  25. Maybe it *is* a characteristic that is prevalent in the industry. Our chances of financing our second home were sunk by a drive-by appraisal. There were only three appraisers in the county, and we got the old crotchety one that decided he didn’t like the looks of the house and the outbuildings and wrote down “bad condition” on the report. This valued the buildings at less than the acreage, so the whole property wouldn’t qualify for a conventional mortgage. Our now-neighbors reported that this appraiser also didn’t bother to tour the inside of the house, which was in decent shape. $350 for a hour’s round-trip drive and perhaps another 20 minutes filling out the report. Like you said, nice work if you can get it.

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