Posted by Brent_IL on August 11, 2003 at 12:05:20:
I apologize for the ?made to order? remark. I don’t believe that MAI’s have less integrity than most, collectively or as individuals. It isn?t so much that MAI?s can be bought for a price. I believe that most professionals will seek out information that will put their clients in the best light. M.D.?s seem to be the exception.
I think this is about the expectations of their clients. Most clients expect to get what they want for their money. I?ve had MAI appraisals that were worth twice as much as I paid for them because of the information contained within. I know of one that I needed for due diligence that contained words that I had used in my cover letter verbatim and I certainly wasn?t unbiased. The MAI still signed-off.
Within his or her field of expertise, professionals will come across the same situations many times. Similar situations promote similar solutions. Especially in the financial fields, the appropriate solution is sometimes glaringly obvious to an expert within a few minutes of considering the problem. It may have taken years of advanced training and experience to make that judgment. A high skill level deserves high compensation. For example, it took one of my lawyers quite a while to understand that I was serious about paying for knowledge and not time. Many times my only questions were, ?Given this situation, can this be done, and if so, how soon,? and ?Can you do it in-house, or do you want to bring someone else on board to assist?? I?ll happily pay the same amount as I would for a 10-page qualified letter of opinion. Because he didn?t believe me at first I was delayed in getting the information I wanted. But, if another client of his was billed $1,000 for 15 minutes they would feel ripped-off. The solution is to elaborate the documentation with bells-and-whistles. It doesn?t add to the product, but it makes the client happy.
I know from my experience and interaction with SFH appraisers that your conclusion about competence is likely correct. After I took the courses, I recall thinking that aside from ethical and documentary procedures, I didn?t know any more about the art of appraising than I did when I had started. I could recognize and fill out work sheets and add and subtract numbers in a column, but I would have been a terrible appraiser. The appraisals that I am truly qualified to make could be done just as accurately by adjusting a broker?s comps by amounts for patching, paint, and carpet. In his first ?No Money Down? book, Robert Allen taught as much about the process as I learned in the required courses.
In my experience, a good SFH appraisal takes much more time and effort than those that order the appraisal are willing to pay for. I imagine that the same qualities that make a good detective would make a good appraiser.
Again, I didn?t intend to offend MAI?s; this is personal experience.