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

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

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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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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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)

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

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

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.


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….


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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When will the residential lender appraisal business pick up?

Loan applications have been declining sharply since April, 2013

How do I know? Loan applications peaked in April 2013 and have been declining since then. Appraisals are ordered after loan applications so loan origination data tells you the future. The Mortgage Bankers Association has published a weekly index of loan applications since 1990. I have included a graph in every issue of my paid Appraisal Today newsletter since 1992. I also periodically include a copy of the MBA’s weekly data in these free email newsletters. Also, of course every economist has been forecasting substantial declines in loans.

About a month ago I started getting the inevitable calls from appraisers when they finally figured out their lender business has slowed down. I enjoy talking with appraisers, but it seemed better to tell my almost 14,000 email subscribers.

What are the main questions from appraisers?
How do I get non-lender work?
Do I think business will pick up soon?
How can I find out the names of good AMCs?

What appraisers are not asking is:
– Which AMCs will be going out of business?
– Are AMC fees dropping?

When will business pick up?
We are in a decline in lender work because rates are up. It is just another inevitable cycle of boom and bust mortgage lending that started in the 70s when Fannie and Freddie securitized lenders’ loans so they could sell them and get more loans. The volume is driven by refis. Prior to that time it was driven by real estate sales. I have no idea when it will pick up, but rates are forecast to increase. I don’t know when they were this low in the past, going back to the 1930s. They may have been lower prior to the 1930s but there is not enough data to know. There are some people who can’t refi because they don’t have enough equity, couldn’t qualify for a loan, or just never got around to refinancing, etc.

How to get non-lender work?
Many post-licensing appraisers have only worked for lenders. Some even use current lending form reports in court when testifying in court. I have been writing about non-lender work since 1992 in my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. In the October issue of the paid Appraisal Today I will have an article “Quick start for non-lender work”. I also have special reports on Estate, Legal and tax related, and Relocation appraisals ($10 for paid subscribers. $15 for non-subscribers). Or, subscribe and get over 2 years of back issues FREE which cover these topics plus Free Special Reports. See ad below.

Get answers to many of your AMC questions by signing up at
For unknown reasons appraisers seem to think it is expensive or “too good to be true”. They are wrong. I wrote an article about the company earlier this year for my paid Appraisal Today newsletter. www.AppraisalAdvisor.com  is free until the end of this year. After that fees are based on how many reviews you contribute. The more reviews, the lower your annual fee. They advertised in my email last week in an ad sent separate from this email. Few appraisers opened their ad. Pathetic. I guess appraisers spend all their time online reading postings from other appraisers, a complete waste of time for getting AMC information. Or, just assume nothing is changing or it will pick back up soon.

Don’t even get me started on appraisers who lost money when AMCs went into bankuptcy because they didn’t know it was coming. There were hints online for months before they tanked. Appraisaladvisor.com lets you know what is coming.

On the plus side, you made it though the worst appraisal business collapse ever – HVCC in 5/09 when appraisers lost almost all their mortgage broker clients and had to work for AMCs. Many just quit appraising. Today’s slowdown is nothing compared with that time.

To understand AMCs better (beyond the data), purchase my AMC Special Report for $20. Free to paid subscribers.

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Fewer appraisers in the future – fees and turn time?

In last week’s email I reported these results:

www.appraisalport.com  poll

With few new people currently entering the appraisal profession, do you foresee a shortage of appraisers at some point?

Yes, in the next few years. 2,705 votes 47%

Yes, but it=s probably years down the road. 1,603 votes 28%

No, I don=t think we will see a chronic shortage. 1,137 votes 20%

Not sure. 253 votes 4%

Total votes: 4,818


This is a followup to that poll

As a follow up, do you think the future shortage of appraisers will affect fees and turn times?

Yes, at some point it will. 3403 vote (70.6%)

No, I don’t think it will have much effect. 663 votes (13.8%)

No, I don’t think we will see a chronic shortage. 528 votes (11%)

Not sure. 224 votes (4.6%)

Total Votes: 4,818

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Will there be an appraisal shortage in the future?

www.appraisalport.com poll

With few new people currently entering the appraisal profession, do you foresee a shortage of appraisers at some point?

Yes, in the next few years. 2,705 votes 47%
Yes, but it’s probably years down the road. 1,603 votes 28%
No, I don’t think we will see a chronic shortage. 1,137 votes 20%
Not sure. 253 votes 4%

Total Votes: 5,698

Until appraiser licensing 20 years ago, most residential appraisers worked for lenders. When it was busy they hired armies of trainees. When work slowed down many were laid off. With the cyclical fees in AMC work and many lenders not allowing trainees to sign appraisals, it is not financially feasible for fee appraisers to train.

I assume that lenders will allow trainees to sign at some time as the inevitable cycle of weak vs. strong regulations shift. I have no idea when this will happen. This is the easiest way to fix the problem. Low AMC fees when business is slow is more complicated as it reduces the financial incentive for fee appraisers to hire trainees and give them part of the fee.

New Fannie Mae Guidelines 7-30-13

New Fannie Mae Guidelines – 7/30/13


Selling guide

Many thanks to Montana appraiser Doug Smith for this info. Here’s what Doug says:
“Not much new but lenders have to put in QC steps that may increase the review situation. Fannie Mae stated that they have a right to exclude appraisers from appraisals sold to them. I think this is the first time they have put this in writing.”

My comment: It is always good to refer to the most recent version of th Fannie Mae Guidelines. The Announcement has a summary of the changes. I remember back in the “Stone Age” prior to HVCC in 5/09 when all we had to worry about was Fannie Mae Guidelines. Now, every lender seems to have lots of changing requirements that dramatically extend what appraisers have to do.

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Do your appraisal fees reflect the value of your work product?

www.appraisalport.com survey

Do you think the fees you currently accept are indicative of what your work product is actually worth?

Yes, at least in most cases. (15.2%) 826 votes
Not yet, but they seem to be headed in the right direction. (33.6%) 1,821 votes
No, they would have to increase dramatically to meet the current scope of work. (51.2%) 2,774 votes

Total Votes: 5,421

My comment: My fees have always been too low and I don’t even do any AMC work! I just can’t seem to get my billings up to my $100 per hour minimum. Darn!!!

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