On your journey to becoming the most successful appraiser you can be, you’ve probably asked yourself at least once, “should I work with an AMC?” AMCs (Appraisal Management Companies) aren’t everyone’s favorite, but they can be helpful to your success. It’s all about doing your research and finding what works best for you personally. 

Working with AMCs

In order to be successful in working with an AMC, it is important that you know how to operate within that space. Here are some factors to consider when working with an AMC:

Finding the right company: Research the company. Make sure it is a company that cares about the quality of the appraisals you’ll be doing and the competency of their staff. Utilize websites, like Glass Door or online discussion boards, and your connections to vet any AMC you’re interested in. An AMC that hires unqualified personnel probably does not care enough to treat qualified appraisers fairly. This could also hurt you if the company gets a bad rap and goes downhill, dragging you down with it.

Fees: Do not work for less than is traditional. Some AMCs may try to pay their appraisers less than is deserved of the job. Do not work with these companies, or if you do, try to negotiate your fees.

Quantity: Signing on with a few AMCs will be more beneficial to you than just one. There is more opportunity for an appraisal request to come to you. You could get a request once a week from one AMC, or you could get a request a week from three AMCs. Another good thing about being with more than one AMC is if one starts to show issues, negative changes, or closes, you still have others to fall back on. Not that you need to rely completely on work from AMCs, but if you do decide to work with them this is a good strategy. 

Independent Appraising

Working as an independent appraiser is a bit different than AMC work. You are more in control of your work as an independent. You can be more selective of your clients, choose your own fee rates, and pick what hours you work. Some drawbacks are:

  • You’re not guaranteed steady work as client requests may fluctuate 
  • Clients may move on and work with someone else, without notice or good reason
  • If you’re uninsured without appraisers errors & omissions insurance and a client sues over your appraisals, you could lose a ton of money, your license, and your business.

Even if you are an independent, you can still also do AMC work too. Unless you are part of a firm or company as a staff appraiser, with salary, then you have the freedom to work in whatever style suits you best.  

Nothing is without risk. Some appraisers are even leaving the life of AMC and independent work behind to become a staff appraiser at other companies. Even those jobs hold risks as well.  There are benefits to both as well as drawbacks. Realistically you should choose something that matches your work pace and comfort level. Just be sure to do your research with each option to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you.