CoesterVMS has implemented its flat fee model for residential appraisals. Under the flat fee model, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2013, all conventional appraisals are priced at $450 while FHA appraisals are $475. Appraisal management companies (AMCs) generallyutilize a tiered fee structure, whereby prices are determined based on the property type or the state in which the property is located. In addition to providing the convenience of a consistent, reliable pricing structure, the company’s flat fee model enables lenders to better comply with guidelines under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) concerning how loan costs are disclosed to borrowers. “RESPA guidelines mandate new disclosures to be sent to borrowers when the difference between quoted fees and actual fees is 10 percent or more,” said Brian Coester, CEO of CoesterVMS. "With tiered appraisal fee structures, there tends to be a lot of add-on fees, which can easily put the lender at risk of a RESPA violation. On the other hand, there’s nothing safer than a fixed fee." CoesterVMS implemented its flat fee structure after several months of successful testing. Previously, clients would be required to submit a certain number of orders to qualify for the flat fee. As of Jan. 1, the flat fee became available to all CoesterVMS clients regardless of order volume. The change does not affect current CoesterVMS clients with negotiated contractual arrangements.