• Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premier online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

The Two Tiers of the American Appraisal Systen

Not open for further replies.

J. Parker Graham

Freshman Member
Jan 19, 2002
In america we have a two tier appraisal system. Tier one is comprised of appraisers who work independantly and develop opions of value that are viable and are the opion of that appraiser. Tier 2 appraisers craft what appear to be appraisals but are the value opions of someone other than the appraiser.

The current popular opinion is to bash the AMC and the AVM - publicaly. The proliferation and development of these methods of doing business would have never happened without appraiser assistance. The fee's are low because there is always someone who will do them privatly be deny it publicaly.

To ask for a mentor implies that you did not pay attention during ypur appraisal classes. Don't ask some level 1 appraiser to mentor you to do level 1 conventional bank work, whan all your have dones is AMC cases by choice. To take the required classes for renewall and then go rite back to what you were doing before is wrong, dead wrong. Do you ever concern yourseld with the values you have floated on to the lenders.

Have you wondered why some of us post infrequently ? It is because we are working. Yes working even during the slow times. This site can get
very insulting when the posted view is not concurent with the view held in mass.

You are what you do, with change being very difficult. Put your head down write an honest report and don't ask me to do your thinking for you. To get more postings try to be less insulting. Try to think outside the heard. Start thinking and start doing. Consider who reads your files outside your office. And some of you wonder why there is an on going movement to get rid of real estate appraisers. Why would we need them if all are "numbers are always hit" The general public never cares about the appraisal process untill he needs one.

What level are you ? Do you appraise or just vocalize ?

Judy Whitehead (Florida)

Senior Member
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
"This site can get very insulting when the posted view is not concurrent with the view held in mass."

"Put your head down write an honest report and don't ask me to do your thinking for you."

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you here. I have been reading this forum for some time and have never observed that any view was held "in mass," with the exception that lender pressure does exist and that there are unqualified appraisers doing appraisal work - which apparently you agree with. Nor have I ever asked anyone else to do my thinking for me. Why do you think the "mass" does not write an honest report? Why, also do you assume that none of us have any business? Actually, in this area, the summer is typically a slow down time which we all look forward to. My observation is that most of the appraisers on this forum are extremely busy and perhaps do as I do - I like the forum and I usually have time for it only at night or on the weekend - like now.

If I ask for advice from the forum, which I have before, I have received helpful suggestions of many kinds and many different viewpoints. I then make my own decision in which direction to proceed. The only "herd" I belong to is the human race.


Senior Member
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
Mr Graham, I tend to agree with your assessment of the two types of appraisers. What you call the first tier is what every appraiser is or should strive to be. What you call the second tier are what many of us call “number hitters.”

What we are doing when we “bash the AMC and the AVM - publicaly” is try to make it public knowledge that the AMC’s are among the worst offenders of pressure. Their job is to make the deal work......regardless of the quality of the home or the buyer. Their marketing approach includes promising to make closing easier for the loan officers.......no where do they promise greater integrity in the financing process.

All appraisers have mentors at one point or another in their life. It is now codified that a new appraiser (trainee) must work under the supervision of an experienced certified appraiser (mentor) for two years before they can become certified themselves. Some of us remember them with fondness and gratitude, others of us are glad we are free of them. So regardless of the classes we take, mentoring is a hallowed tradition and needs to be honored. It is often the CE classes that need to be reviewed for relevance.....too many are costly social events.

As to why you post or not post, it never occurs to me to ask why. I assume that you have nothing to say. I rarely post in the professional forums simply because I work and think appraisals and real estate throughout the day.....when I chat, I like to chat with people who have references and training similar to my own......and there are few people in my everyday life like that......and I want to chat about things OTHER than appraisals. My wife is a teacher and I hate going to teacher events because the conversations concern teaching. I don’t relax talking shop. I don’t relax listening to shop talk. But I do enjoy a lively discussion with people I respect.

Your question asking “What level are you ? Do you appraise or just vocalize ?” does not make sense to me. Appraisers like Frank Gregoire, Brad Ellis, Mike Garrett, Mike Foil, Ter Shields, Pam Crawley, Judy Whitehead, Jo Ann Meyer Stratton, to mention such a very few by name, and people like Blue1, Airphoto, to mention a few by nickname are both vocal and active appraisers. They spend almost as much time working to improve the profession as they do working their profession.

Working to improve the profession is a matter of pride.....it is selfless...there is no money in it for them. Ask Frank Gregoire sometime about the retirement benefits he gets from the Florida government. But what these people and the countless others who are just as active and just as vocal are doing, is putting the good of the profession and the good of the people of this country ahead of their own well being. They sacrifice sleep and family time to take on issues that affect us all. If you participate in improving the professions, congratulations. If, on the other hand, you are one of the silent majority who cares only for your own cash flow and are unwilling to share your time with newcomers in the business, state and national issues, and your peers in the profession, then perhaps you create a third “tier”........one of apathetic indifference from people who should be doing more.



Thanks for the defense of us regular and vocal chatters. Those of you who may lurk, and certainly I hope a lot of appraisers do, can learn something. And perhaps my frequency on the site is not a good indicator of my boredom. In a way I hate what I am doing. I eat and breath appraising. Maybe I don't have a life...Type A personality, whatever.

I have bought $700 worth of appraisal books last year. This year at least 1/2 that so far. I read, study, calculate. And I work. I have appraised almost 40 poultry farms so far this year. Supervised 3 other appraisers who average 1-2 reports each per week. Appraised small commercial, ranch, and oil/gas properties, even a few new construction homes. I work some 14 - 16 hr. days. As I speak I am downloading an adobe update, and been on Ebay buying a planimeter. What's that you may ask? It is a device you can place on a map, and tracing, say a contour line, boundary, etc. can calculate the area traced, in square inches. Then you can convert to the scale of the map. I intend to use it to estimate the acres of woods on a tract, or acres of a particular soil type. The on line records from the assessors available now in all the counties I usually work, no longer show accurate acreages for soil types and woodlot. I am also ordering a complete set of High Resolution Aerial Photos that cover the areas I work. The lastest maps available thru USDA or EROS are only months old. Just to do my job better. Do I have to do it? Probably not. I can slide by with less. But I choose not to.

Yes, I bash AVMs and AMCs. What do they bring to the table? A better appraisal product? I think not. They bring a quicker compliance document. The banker wants a compliance document, something he or she can blame if the loan goes south. Cannon fodder to catch the bullet before it hits them. Some, like the AI, want to capitulate and "give 'em what they want" some quickee reduced value product that has about as much to do with appraising as bullfighting has to do with the department of agriculture.

So, let me rephrase you J. Parker. Are we Appraisers as a profession? Or, just cannon fodder preparing to fall on our sword for some banker?



Sophomore Member
Feb 4, 2002
I missed the point. Are you implying that if we just hit the number every time we'll be busy even in slow times.

Randy Beigh

Senior Member
Jan 16, 2002
Very good post, Greg.

I have found that mortgage brokers are far worse at requesting number hitting than any other possible customer. For the ones that I deal with, AMC's are the least likely to do this.

Only brokers do the "If you can't $xxxxxx, call so we can cancel" at least from my experience. Wonder if this is a state by state concern. That is, maybe in some states, it's worse than others.

Don Clark

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser

As a frequent poster and lurker I do so for several reasons, at different intervals during the day. In the early AM, sometime during the day, and in the early PM. I do so for several reasons:

1. I have seen something that piques my interest
2. I have something I wish to offer as my take on the subject
3. To expound on an idea someone else has offered
4. It is a subject I have some expertise in
5. To challenge someones idea; misconception; misunderstanding

Each of us have had mentors, and/or someone who has inspired us to get into this profession. I have had the rare privelige of teaching a CE course to the person who originally taught me my first appraisal course. he is old now, semi retired, and it made his day(or so he said) when i pointed him out for special recognition in the CE course. this man made his entire class write a narrative report on a residential property in the Community college he taught at in 1977. He was a hard task master. But, I learned something. Actually I learned a lot. My mentor was a man who had been in the business since the 1950's. He too was tough, asked me questions on every report I wrote. Made me prove every adjustment. Made me share my data with him. Now, he too is near retirement. He sits through at least 2-3 of my CE courses every 2 years. He always gets special recognition. Now, he calls me for advice(in my book, the ultimate measure of credibility). When I first started my own company, he allowed me to use his Fax, copier, and access to MLS. I did that almost a year before I could afford my own. There are few like him, and I only hope i will ever be half as good as he is.

Unlike many, I do not necessarily bash AMC's. There are good ones and there are bad ones. I tell them what my fee is, not just accept theirs. I will not call them if it looks like a property will not appraise for a certain amount. I do not get a lot of their business. But, when they need a honest opinion at an honest fee, I will do work for them.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the reason we have so many AMC's is the reluctance of some to hire trainees or new appraisers. I know i don't. However, to hire a trainee or new appraiser I would have to fire my wife or my son. Ain't gonna happen. And maybe, just maybe, the reason we have your so called tier 2 appraisers is in part this reluctance to hire trainees. Maybe, just maybe, if professional appraisers would teach more of these trainees we would only have tier 1 appraisers?

And, posting on this or any other forum is not an indication that we are not busy. I am busier now than last July. However, I probably post more when I am busy than when I am not. It is an outlet for me. It is also in part a professional obligation to use my influence to change what i see as wrong information, ideas, perspectives. Times are changing. Two years from now we may be writing about 1/2 of our business as "Appraiser price Opinions" and the other half as more traditional (or so called) reports. We will all soon discover that in this business, 1 report type does not fit all. Then you will have a choice. Curl up in a ball and suck your thumb and ===== about all the changes, or, do what you need to do to survive.

Don Clark, IFA
Not open for further replies.
Find a Real Estate Appraiser - Enter Zip Code

Copyright © 2000-, AppraisersForum.com, All Rights Reserved
AppraisersForum.com is proudly hosted by the folks at

AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks