Revisiting The Green Hornet
By George Opelka, ACI
Introducing Form #17-PRA
In the late 1950s, my Dad (Gregory Opelka) taught real estate appraisal courses in the evenings at the Savings and Loan Institute in downtown Chicago. Through his teaching ventures, he was invited to serve as an appraisal consultant to the U.S. League of Savings and Loan Associations. Additionally, he wrote a monthly appraisal column for publication in the Savings and Loan News, a trade magazine-a division of the U.S. League. As a result of an early consulting-writing assignment with the U.S. League, my Dad created appraisal form “#17-PRA” in 1962.
The appraisal report form was presented to the Appraisal Committee of the U.S. League for review and consideration for adoption and use by savings and loan associations across the United States. The form was initially presented on green paper with green ink strictly for marketing spin. The form was approved for nationwide members’ use by the U.S. League’s Appraisal Committee and was numbered form #17-PRA, Professional Residential Appraisal by the U.S. League staff. Form #17-PRA was then printed and sold by the Accounting Division of the U.S. League. Remember, this occurred in 1962 (pre-ACI), so the completion of this form was intended to be a handwritten field report, and submitted accordingly.
It wasn’t until after the form was released and in production when the appraisal staff of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Indianapolis submitted a report critiquing the new form. This critique was published in a monthly professional trade magazine of the Society of Residential Appraisers. Of historical note, it was this local Indianapolis S&L appraisal committee that affectionately dubbed the new form “The Green Hornet”! Ironically, the name stuck and even today, almost fifty years later, the Green Hornet continues to charm and identify with the residential appraisal process.
The URAR ERA
In 1984, twenty-two years after the birth of the Green Hornet, a new initiative to create a standard appraisal form was spearheaded by the Society of Real Estate Appraisers. A committee was formed out of this initiative, wherein the Society of Real Estate Appraisers appointed F. Gregory Opelka, MAI, SREA, SRA, as Chairman of a new Uniform Appraisal Form committee. He was directed by the SREA to select and work with appraisal representatives from the Appraisal Institute and several various government agencies. Howard Sears, acting President of the SREA called for the development of a new common form. Aside from the SREA, the Institute, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and the VA, there were a few other government agencies, and all were actively involved in the development of this new form.
The advent of the personal computer provided better tools to develop the successor to the Green Hornet-an appraisal form using spreadsheet-like software. Initially, my Dad designed the new form in Visi-Calc and then shifted to developing it in Lotus 1-2-3.
My comment: I wonder what would have happened if a standard lending form was never developed? I remember when every relocation company had a different form. What a hassle!! I don’t even want to think about what if every lender had a different form….