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My appraiser E&O story

I always advise appraisers to contact their E&O insurance company when they have questions. Many are worried that if they call their insurance will be cancelled. I don’t know how often this happens. Probably not very often.

I had not worried much in the past. But now, I really worry about losing my state appraiser license. I don’t need my professional designations to do appraising but I need my state license, even though I don’t do any work for lenders. If you’re not licensed, you can’t get appraisal work.

I have only called my E&O company, Liability Insurance Administrator (LIA) twice. I have been with them for over 20 years. The first time was many years ago when I took interior photos of a property occupied by an attorney who had not paid rent for a long time. The appraisal was for legal purposes. I forget the details. The attorney demanded that I return the photos and the negatives. I called and they told me what to do.

The second time was last month. I appraised a 10 unit apartment building for an estate. The executor had called me a few months previously but decided to go with an appraiser who had a significantly lower fee. She wasn’t happy with the appraisal and decided to get another one from me. She was comparing my appraisal with the other appraisal. It got very awkward for me as the other appraiser did not appear to have much experience appraising apartments. She kept calling me with questions as she was trying to reconcile the two appraisals. She was nice and not aggressive but was a math major in college and didn’t understand why there would be differences. I was getting very uncomfortable. I decided to return the fee.

I had returned fees a few times over the years because of a non-lender appraisal that got too weird (crazy people mostly). But, I wanted to be sure I did it legally correct. I called Liability Insurance Administrators and spoke immediately with one of their attorneys who sent me a form letter asking for a signed release of the appraisal and that it would not be used. The client sent back half the fee and said it was for consulting as I did help her understand about appraisals.

What’s the business lesson for me? I now know to screen out anyone who is getting a “second appraisal” because they did not “like” the other appraisal. In a strange coincidence, a few weeks ago another executor called me for the same reason. I told her I was too backed up. I had never had anything like that happen before. Always something new. Appraising would be great except for those darn clients!!

What does this mean for you? Shopping for appraisers’ E&O insurance is not like shopping for car insurance. Don’t choose it only because it is the lowest cost. It is not worth risking your license. I know that appraisers get into into awkward situations regularly when doing lender work. Who will you call?

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Posted in: appraisers, E&O

Appraiser Survival Plan?

What is your plan to survive this period of slowed loan originations and appraisal volumes?
9/13/13 www.appraisalport.com poll

Nothing different – I’ll be OK. 2,925 votes 51%
Rely on spouse/relatives for any shortfall. 235 votes 4%
Take on some extra work outside of appraising. 593 votes 10%
Leave the appraisal profession for a different occupation. 558 votes 10%
Not sure yet. 1,438 votes 25%

Total Votes: 5,749

My comment: Somewhat encouraging. Of course, lender work goes up and down regularly!! Could be different results in a few months. Always too much or not enough work since I started my appraisal business in 1986. I have just the right amount of work for a couple of hours or maybe a day ;>

Go to www.appraisalport.com and vote on the current poll!!

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Posted in: appraisal, appraisers

Appraisers Paradise – music parody

Appraisers Paradise – music parody

Posted on the Internet by a Tennesee appraiser.

Funny! Check it out at:
http://www.reverbnation.com/alf7/song/18681768-appraisers-paradise-parody?133641075 5

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Posted in: AMCs, appraisers, humor, lender appraisals

Statute of limitations for appraisals

Statute of limitations for appraisals
Why You Should Keep Your Workfile for 7 to 8 Years
By Peter Christensen, Liability Insurance Administrators, www.liability.com

Excerpt:

In 2013, many lawsuits against both residential and commercial appraisers continue to relate to appraisals performed years ago at the peak of the real estate price bubble, 2005 to mid-2008. These lawsuits are filed by borrowers, lenders, investors or the FDIC and typically allege that an appraiser’s inflated value resulted in the plaintiff borrowing, paying or loaning too much money.  The plaintiff blames its loss on the appraiser and sues for damages.

When reporting a claim like this to our office, one of the most common questions a defendant appraiser will ask us is about the applicable statute of limitations. The question is usually something like: “I did the appraisal in 2005, more than five years ago. I threw out the workfile because USPAP only requires me to keep files for five years. Won’t the lawsuit be dismissed based on the statute of limitations?” The answer to that question is almost always “probably not.”

The purpose of this Claim Alert is to clear up misconceptions that appraisers read and hear regarding statutes of limitations and to advise appraisers about the importance of retaining workfiles well beyond USPAP’s bare minimum recordkeeping requirement.  A good workfile is the appraiser’s defense tool kit when a claim comes in.  Without that workfile in hand, the appraiser’s defense counsel will usually be hampered in his or her ability to defend a claim.  Our advice on this issue is simple: keep your workfile for seven to eight years (unless a longer period is required under USPAP’s special requirement for assignments where the appraiser has provided testimony).  The discussion that follows should help you understand why.

My comment: Worth reading. You can be sued at any time, for anything, by anybody. Be careful out there. Have I always kept my files for over 5 years? No. Three years ago I significantly downsized my office at got rid of a lot of appraisal files  over 5 years old. Mistake!!!

http://www.liability.com/claim_alerts/statute-of-limitations-for-a-claim-against-an-appraiser.aspx

Posted in: appraisal, appraisers

Alternative Valuation Products and USPAP

Appraisal Foundation issues Draft White Paper – Alternative Valuation Products and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice

Excerpts:
“At the request of its Industry Advisory Council, The Appraisal Foundation has drafted the attached white paper on Alternative Valuation Products and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).“

“The white paper is intended to provide information to assist appraisers, users of appraisal services, and others, with a greater understanding of Alternative Valuation Products and their use in the marketplace. The paper also attempts to view these products in light of an appraiser’s USPAP obligations.“

“All interested parties are encouraged to comment in writing before the deadline of December 31, 2013. Respondents should be assured that each comment will be thoroughly read and considered.“

Included are BPOs, AVMs, CMAs,
– Appraiser Price Opinions (APOs)
– Reconciliation Review Non-Standard Desktop Valuations/Field – – Reviews Full inspection proprietary appraisal form (non-GSE form)

My comment: lenders have been looking for an alternative to an appraisal report for a long, long time. For many fee appraisers, the issue is a low fee, even if it is uspap compliant. FYI, the Industry Advisory Council is composed of representatives from lenders, AMCs, etc. Of course, it is not the total fee, but the per hour billing, that is most important. If you get $400 for a report and spend 8 hours (including travel time, stips, etc.) you make $50 per hour. If you spend 4 hours for a $250 appraisal fee, you also make $62.50 per hour. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on the total fee.

Click here to read the 36-page document. The first 13 pages is the main section. The remainder is mostly excerpts from state laws.
https://appraisalfoundation.sharefile.com/download.aspx?id=sf61dc8e04054957a#

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Posted in: appraisal, Appraisal Foundation, appraisers, lender appraisals, USPAP

Why are Appraisers Furious at Fraud by their Peers while Corporate Lawyers are Complacent?

Thanks to appraiser Joe Lynch for posting this link online!!

Excerpts:
I have done a series of articles about the efforts of honest appraisers (which began in 2000) and loan brokers to alert the lenders, the markets, and the government to the twin fraud epidemics (appraisals and “liar’s” loans) committed by lenders’ controlling officers that drove the financial crisis.

Honest appraisers could have profited greatly by becoming dishonest appraisers who would be given the lucrative assignments by fraudulent lenders’ controlling officers and their agents.  Instead, honest appraisers suffered serious losses of income because they refused to succumb to the extortion efforts of the fraudulent lenders and their agents.

I have spoken to several groups of professionals who audit and many board members.  I always ask:  “who were the heroes?”  Which members of their profession stood up and put their careers on the line to prevent the crisis?  They have not been able to come up with a hero from their professions.

What about corporate lawyers?  I get the same answer about heroes when I speak to legal groups made up of professionals who represent corporations

Why are Appraisers Furious at Fraud by their Peers while Corporate Lawyers are Complacent?

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Posted in: appraisers, Fraud

Whose responsibility is it to bring new appraisers into the appraisal business?

www.appraisalport.com  Poll Results

Lenders and/or AMC’s 80 votes 1.5%
Fee appraisers 378 votes 7.4%
Appraiser Organizations 153 votes 9%
All of the above 520 votes 10%
No one specifically – market demand will drive it like any other profession. 3,882 votes 76%
Other 114 votes 2%

Total Votes: 5,127

My comment: my favorite choice was left off – lenders! They trained most of the appraisers prior to licensing.

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Posted in: appraisers, new appraisers

Mortgage forecast – loans predicted to drop 30% in 2014

Mortgage forecast – loans predicted to drop 30% in 2014
Mortgage Bankers Association, September 2013

Commentary (9/24/13)

Excerpt:
We expect housing starts and home sales to continue to
increase, as home prices continue their recovery. Rising rates have already caused refinance activity to drop significantly, but home buyers who are able to and need to purchase a home will likely adjust accordingly in the current rate environment to complete their purchase. The Fed’s delay in tapering asset purchases has pushed rates down slightly, but we expect
that this is just a pause and rates should continue to increase in the coming months.

Our forecast is for mortgage originations to total $1.6 trillion in 2013, with $989 billion in refinances and $616 billion in purchases. Originations will drop to $1.1 trillion in 2014 as refinances drop to $388 billion, while purchase originations should continue to increase to $703 billion.

2013 actuals and forecast – mortgage loans – in billions
Q1       Q2      Q3       Q4
482     494     369     260

2014 forecast
Q1       Q2    Q3    Q4
251     283     290     267

Interest rates – in percent
2013 actuals and forecast
Q1      Q2    Q3    Q4
3.5     3.7     4.6     4.8
2014 forecast
Q1      Q2    Q3    Q4
4.8     4.9     5.0     5.1

For the full MBA finance commentary, go to
http://mbaa.org/NewsandMedia/PressCenter/85717.htm

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Posted in: appraisal, appraisers, forecast, future, lender appraisals

The "Green Hornet" – first lender appraisal form from 1962

Revisiting The Green Hornet
By George Opelka, ACI

Excerpts:

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….

http://appraisalbuzz.com/buzz/features/revisiting-the-green-hornet

Posted in: appraisal, appraisers

Business down 25% or more for over half of appraisers

Has the recent drop in loan originations had a direct impact on your appraisal business?
www.appraisalport.com poll results

Yes, my volume is down over 50% 1,889 votes – 31%
Yes, my volume is down between 26%-50% 1,590 votes – 26%
Yes, my volume is down between 1% – 25% 1,247 votes – 21%
No, but I anticipate it slowing down soon 411 votes – 7%
No, my volume is about the same and I don’t see it changing soon 669 votes – 11%
Not sure yet 229 votes – 4%

Total Votes: 6,035

FYI, appraisal port is a portal for lender appraisals, so this is a good indicator of changes in  lender appraisal business

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Posted in: appraisers, forecast