In the past two years over four AMCs have closed their doors and left appraisers unpaid. Some AMCs have done this in a very deceptive manner while others closed due to legitimate cash flow issues. When an AMCs continues to order appraisals knowing that they will not be able to pay for the work completed this should be looked at as a criminal act. My firm in Chicago has experienced this misfortune multiple times. In some instances we were able to get paid by the lender that engaged the AMC and other times it was a loss for the company. It is very important to stay on top of your accounts receivable because if you don't you will be surprised to see how much a client may owe you. All of us have had a very busy year with rates being at all time low's and hopefully a very lucrative year. With this being said, I’m sure most were just trying to get production out the door and have not really paid much attention to unpaid invoices with clients. It's imperative to the success of any company to review what is owed to you at the end of every month and invoice your clients.
Appraisers need to stay in contact with other appraisers to share information. Information can be anything from best practices, to the best way to measure a house, or sharing information about clients in your area. Your colleagues may know something about a client your currently working for that would be of a great benefit for you to know. There are many resources for appraisers to utilize such as the appraisers forum, appraisal groups on LinkedIn, and Appraisal Advisor which is the newest tool for appraisers to utilize. I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Biggers co-founder of AA this week. Matt let me know that AA is growing at a very fast rate and they are getting more users and comments every day.
AA has been developed to help appraisers everywhere. You can type in your clients name and it will show you recent reviews that other appraisers across the country have had with this particular client. It will show you how long it takes a client to pay, if they are good and reasonable to work with, approximate or average fees, etc. The most important feature would be if a client is starting to slow down with payments or starting to not pay. Posting reviews will help our industry and our appraisers. In theory, the good clients will receive positive reviews while other clients will receive lesser marks and over time less people will choose to work with them.
We all need to stay on top of what is owed to us and get paid for the services that we provide. After all, this is your business, your livelihood. We cannot simply rely on technology to always work and automatically cut checks. Keep on top of your business, the extra effort will show in the end.