Yesterday I was contacted by an appraiser that I trained years ago. He is what I would call a stand-up guy; one of the good guys. One of his largest clients was a bank. During the haste to HVCC days, this bank transitioned to use and AMC. He was one of a few appraisers that the AMC (perhaps due to his prior competence with the bank) paid more than what the AMC would customarily pay. About 4 months back, this bank reportedly stopped working with that AMC and literally overnight, the AMC sent a letter stating that if he wanted to remain on their panel, he would have to accept lower fees – roughly 30% less. At first, my one time trainee was resistant and to some degree welcomed the slowdown. He got on some other approved lists, submitted his fee schedule and waited; but no orders came in. He got on more approved lists, submitted his fee schedule and waited; still to no avail. In desperation, he contacted his original AMC and accepted the lower fee schedule. This leads to the phone call that I alluded to earlier. My friend asked how I determine the market conditions. We talked for bit on searches, techniques, sub-markets, market segments, etc… He was well trained and knows his stuff. It’s time consuming work, but with the recent reduction in pay per report; he was trying to find some short cuts. He was recently told by this AMC that despite his findings, they would not accept the report unless he makes negative time adjustments – BASED UPON THEIR RESEARCH. He asked if they could send it him, so that he could review it. He was told No and that even Zillow and Trulia are showing this area as declining. Our conversation went on a bit. To me it was sad. At some point, one of us even commented that it is too bad that we can’t have a Scope of Work, specific to an AMC – ranging from “specific to the AMC request, data for market conditions has been derived from Zillow or Trulia”; to a perhaps more accurate “ s**t paid, s**t sent”. He then went on to say that he thinks he is going to just cite Trulia from now on. I could almost hear the gears grinding in his head as he tried to rationalize… if that complies with USPAP… if he could defend it should he be called in front of the State Board… It must be how his peers must be doing it..; and so on. I am not stating that Trulia or Zillow are wrong or that he was right in his conclusions about the condition of that market, or that the AMC was even wrong in their conclusions about the market. I am stating that taking a short cut solely for the purpose of taking less time is wrong. I am stating that paying someone so low that they cannot reasonably be expected to competently and professionally perform their job is wrong. This is a good guy or...This was a good guy? I am a vegetarian. I was once asked if I was starving, would I eat meat. God help us.