Appraisal News and Business Tips


Facing AMC License Denial, Coester Sues Virginia Board


Facing AMC License Denial, Coester Sues Virginia Board
by Isaac Peck, Editor, WorkingRE
Facing denial of its license to operate an appraisal management company (AMC) in the state of Virginia, the AMC Coester VMS has filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Real Estate Appraiser Board alleging that the Board is engaged in “a conspiracy to restrain and monopolize trade” and is operating in violation of federal antitrust laws.
The suit follows Virginia’s recently passed AMC licensing laws, which set an August 18 deadline for applicants to obtain AMC licensure or cease operations in the state. The Board has issued dozens of AMC licenses but selected Coester for closer examination. On July 15, Coester attended an informal fact-finding conference and addressed several of the Board’s concerns, including Coester’s history of consent orders and settlement agreements in five other states, for alleged violations of state laws: Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Minnesota. The allegations against Coester in these states include: unlicensed AMC activity, false advertising, failure to pay appraisers on time, failure to pay customary and reasonable fees, failure to respond to requests within the time period specified, failure to submit biannual certification, as well as USPAP violations committed by Brian Coester himself.
Read lots more, and get links to the docouments at:
For lots more info on Coester, just google Coester AMC or brian coester appraiser
My comment: Looks like various state appraisal boards are looking closer at AMCs. Coester recently got into a tiff with the Louisiana State Board, which was resolved. I am so glad California has never had an appraisal board!! (Gov.  Schwartzenegger wanted to cut costs back then.) Too many possible conflicts of interest… The issues seems to be mostly about fees. I am also not comfortable about appraisal state boards regulating appraisal fees. They should focus on what is important – USPAP.

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Posted in: AMCs, appraisal management company, lender appraisals

FHA new manual 9/15/15 – no changes or USPAP problems?

FHA says no significant changes from previous requirements
My comment: I have heard from knowledgeable appraisers and instructors that there are few changes from the old handbook.
Recent posting by Coleen Morrison on a Facebook group
I heard back from my contact at HUD, and here is what she said: “Ms. Conde [the author of the article] (Ed note: see below) and I have had multiple conversations. FHA has not changed any of its requirements regarding the items that she discusses. If an FHA appraiser was compliant prior to September 14, the appraiser is going to be compliant after. The language has changed a bit, mostly for clarity and format, but the requirements are the same.”
I have written back and asked specifically about their thoughts regarding the Competency Rule. I have been saying the same thing … that nothing has really changed… but I never thought about the Competency Rule. It seems very contradictory when the HUD manual states the appraisal is not to be considered a home inspection;
The handbook states: “FHA appraisals are not a guarantee that the property is free from defects. The appraisal establishes the value of the property for mortgage insurance purposes only. Buyers need to secure their own home inspections through the services of a qualified inspector and satisfy themselves about the condition of the property.”
Adding the statement from the manual into your appraisals, and referencing Assumption and Limiting Condition #5 are 2 steps you can take to help protect yourself. I don’t know how much of a fight we can have against HUD, so if you choose to do FHA appraisals, and you were not doing the extent of inspection which is very clear in the 4001 now, you will need to step it up; add what the HUD manual states above in big bold letters to your report; or choose not to do FHA appraisals. The ultimate choice is yours.
My comment: I quit doing FHA appraisals in 1988, after 2 years on the roster. Too many requirements as compared with conventional. Plus… our local property values had skyrocketed way above the FHA limits… not much work.
FHA vs USPAP – Appraisers Caught in Catch 22
By Joanne Conde
The new FHA Handbook will become effective on September 14, 2015. There has been much discussion of the implications of changing “should” to “must” in thousands of examples in the Handbook. As a Board member of the Arizona Association of Real Estate Appraisers as well as being on the FHA Roster, I have taken a good hard look at these requirements and then, it hit me as I was teaching the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) which is the basis of appraisal standards for every appraiser in the United States. The FHA assignment conditions, whether under “should” to “must” force appraisers into a Catch 22 or turn down the FHA appraisal assignments. FHA is essentially making it a condition of employment that appraisers violate the Competency Rule. Why did I not see this before? I guess because the two never converged in my mind at the same time and I expect that is what has also happened to other appraisers.
It is an FHA assignment condition that appraisers make the following statement within the report: “The utilities were on and functioning at the time of inspection and the home meets 4150.2 & 4905.1 HUD Requirements,” and “Other intended users[of the report] are HUD/FHA.”
Click here to read more and read appraisers’ comments
Posted in: appraisal, FHA

Are you or your firm planning on any hiring trainees within the next 5 years?

Are you or your firm planning on any hiring trainees within the next 5 years?


My comment: I wonder what the response would be if lenders allowed trainees to sign on their own… remember the mortgage broker days? I sure wish there was a survey on trainee commercial appraisers as I see lots of them where I am. I am hearing that it is back to the “old days” when fee appraisers only hired relatives (because most appraisers were staff appraisers at lenders).


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Posted in: AMCs, appraisal management company, lender appraisals

21 Reasons Why Corner Lots Are For Suckers

To keep up on what is happening in appraisal businesses, mortgage lending, USPAP, etc. , Plus humor and strange homes, sign up for my FREE weekly appraisal email newsletter, sent since June 1994. Go to Home on the left side of the menu at the top of this page or go to
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1. Noise, noise, noise. Double street and sidewalk frontage means double the noise from pedestrian and car traffic. Pull up a chair and crack open a cold one; I’m just gettin’ started.

2. Unconventional configurations. For example, the front yard of a home on a corner lot is usually bigger than the back, and the garage may be located around the corner.

My comment: I have always wondered why there was a checkbox on the 1004 for corner lot… a mystery to me;> Maybe it was a factor in the 1960s/1970s, when the first forms were developed and used. Maybe it has been taken off some of the forms…

Click here to see the other 19 reasons!!


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Posted in: appraisal

Revised FHA Handbook 4000.1 effective 9/14/15. Are you ready for the changes? Get the facts!!

 What you need to know and which FHA documents you need to read!! 
Available in my paid August Appraisal Today August newsletter!!

Many appraisers say they will quit doing FHA appraisals. 
This means less competition for you!!

There is lots of confusion and mis-information about the changes. Some say there is too much required and others say there have not been many changes. What about attic, crawl space, and appliance inspections?

The author, Doug Smith, SRA, interviewed an FHA executive to find out what is really happening.

There are different FHA documents you need to read, not just Handbook 4000.1. It is very confusing, but Doug tells you what information you need and where to get it. He includes:

  • Which guide to use for what, and links to the reference material, including FAQs, Webinars, and SF Housing Appraisal Report and Data Delivery Guide
  • How to keep updated on changes
  • Attic, crawl space, and appliance inspections
  • Energy efficient items contributory value
  • Highest and best use – when all 4 criteria are required
  • FHA – UAD and Fannie guidelines

And lots more information.

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Posted in: appraisal, Appraisal fees, FHA, lender appraisals

FHA appraisal fees going up after 9/14/15?

Another great survey from !!

7-9-15 fha fees poll.png

My comments: Whether or not there will be increased time (and possible liability issues) required is controversial. Some say there are more requirements, others say not much has changed. My favorite response to the poll is “What changes?” ;>

In the May 2015 paid Appraisal Today June newsletter, Doug Smith’s article discussed the changes: “What’s Up with FHA’s New Manual 4000.1? More Scope Creep? The pluses and minuses of the changes in the manual”. One of the hot topics is about inspecting attic and crawl spaces. For more info on the paid newsletter, click the banner ad below.

FHA Single Family Housing Policy
Handbook (HUD Handbook 4000.1
Information Page Link:

New FHA Appraisal Report and Delivery Guide
It goes step-by-step through the URAR and states what is expected in each section
Be sure that any FHA classes you take include this new Guide!!

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Posted in: Appraisal fees, FHA, lender appraisals


I was interviewed on the Appraiser Coach/Dustin Harris Podcast, published July 3.

The topics were: Trainees inspecting, C&R fees, and Celebrity homes.

We  debated on a Facebook discussion of whether or not an appraiser can disclose the owner’s name when appraising celebrity homes. Unfortunately, I did not read the Facebook discussion since it seemed sorta lame (big mistake) and it was removed. The issue is USPAP confidentiality requirements. Dustin said you could not reveal the name and address and I said it was ok and referenced an appraiser’s web page that had the names of all the celebrities whose homes he had appraised in Southern CA.

While discussing it, I mentioned one of my favorite terms, “USPAP Nazi”. I’m sure you know what I mean. USPAP is very gray but some appraisers have very strict interpretations that they make. Do something they don’t agree with and lose your license and/or Go To Jail. No big deal, except when they are teaching USPAP classes and you disagree. But, Very, Very important when they are on state boards.

I taught USPAP for many years, until the Appraisal Foundation mandated what materials and topics had to be used. I loved teaching USPAP and related it to practical, day to day, issues that appraisers have. Not “Do what USPAP says (how I interpret it) or you will lose your license and/or go to jail!

I am sooo glad we have never had a state board in California!! When licensing started, Governor Schwarteneger did not want any additional expenses, including state appraisal boards. Licensed appraisers, that are employees of the state of California, are used for investigations in California. Appraising can be a very small world, particularly in smaller states. Who wants a competitor or personality conflicts affecting decisions on your appraisal license?


Where to listen to the Podcast #27 – Trainees inspecting, C&R fees, Celebrity Homes with Ann O’Rourke

– Android –
– iTunes – Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any! I am a subscriber.
– Website –

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Posted in: lender appraisals, USPAP

AMC/lender now accepts trainees signing on appraisal reports

Be sure to check your state’s requirements, as they vary widely among the states.

This is the first one I know of. Maybe they have been reading my free emails where I suggest this is the only solution to the appraiser shortage, now and in the future, that can start immediately. FYI, Red Sky is owned/affilated with U.S. Bank

Excerpts from an email (Appraiser Partner News) sent to appraisers on its panel June 11, 2015


Supervisory Appraiser Change

Upon review, Red Sky Risk Services, LLC has refined its expectations regarding the involvement of appraiser trainees. Important to note, the following change DOES NOT override specific state statute(s) or appraiser training requirements.

Effective immediately, Red Sky is no longer requiring supervisory appraisers to be physically present with trainee appraisers at all subject property inspections and driving comparable sales.

My comment: There is a short additional list of specific requirements. But, they are nothing new – Supervisor to review report, responsible for report, etc.


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Posted in: AMCs, appraisal management company, lender appraisals

Are You a Tier 1 or Tier 2 Appraiser?

by Richard Hagar, SRA


Nordstrom or Walmart? Mercedes or Yugo? Are you a Tier 1 or Tier 2 appraiser? Appraisers have two different business models to choose from.

I have seen that many lenders classify appraisers into two or three different tiers based on their perception of the quality of your product. Which tier are you? The amount of business you have and the amount you are paid is very likely based on how lenders classify you.

There is a lot of appraisal business right now and lenders are begging for high-quality appraisals. Many firms are buried in business, quoting three-plus weeks out in turn time, with high fees; here in the Northwest we are earning $550 for a standard home. If your company is not busy or you are making far less than this, here are some tips.

My comment: Appraiser tiers have been around for a long time. They were used when I started my appraisal business in 1986. In the past, they were referred to as “preferred” or “private banking”, etc. Prior to HVCC they were often used for high dollar properties. After HVCC, lenders placed the appraisal orders directly, not through AMCs they used.

Read the full article. Worth reading!!


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Posted in: AMCs, appraisal management company, lender appraisals

AQB issues Q&A on Background checks, effective 1/1/17


Issued June, 2015


Section VI(C) of the Criteria states:

An applicant shall not be eligible for a real property appraiser credential if, during at least the five(5) year period preceding the date of the application for licensing or certification, the applicant has been convicted of, or plead guilty or nolocontender to a crime that would call into question the applicant’s fitness for licensure.

It is impractical, and likely impossible, to compile a list of every specific circumstance where an applicant must be denied a credential. Section VI(C) is intended to provide states with the ability to deny a credential based on “public trust.” States have latitude to determine, based on their own guidelines, whether or not an applicant falls into this category and should be denied a credential.

My comment: California required background checks on all applicants when licensing first started around 20 years ago. There was a lot of discussion on what disqualified you. I didn’t hear about many license denials for experienced appraisers. I suspect this is because appraisers don’t do much criminal activity (except a few being involved in mortgage fraud). But, some had felonies in the past. For example, a felony for sale of marijuana in the 1960s – many years before the 1990s. For states which have never done background checks it is easier today. They can ask the other states what they did regarding background checks. Every state is different. Check with your state if it will be implementing background checks for the first time.

Link to Q&As

Exposure Draft, Guide Note 9 Issued January 17, 2015


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Posted in: Appraisal Qualifications Board