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Appraiser Hunger Games, AppraiserLoft Update

March 26th, 2012 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Appraiser Hunger Games

This weekend’s release of the movie The Hunger Games, an adaptation of Suzanne Collins (no relation) novel, got us thinking about the various “games” that appraisers have had to deal with in recent years involving Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs).

Many appraisers have chosen not to work with AMCs, some limit their work with AMCs and some have quit the appraisal profession outright.  Manohla Dargis noted in a New York Times review on Friday that Ms. Collins’s novel involves the attempts by “…a teenage survivalist in a postapocalyptic…” world to beat the 1 in 24 odds in a cruel competition; does this not remind appraisers of their dealings with AMCs?

Example:  the broadcasting of an appraisal order to dozens of appraisers at a ridiculously low fee, with the first appraiser to click “Accept” awarded the job.  On several occasions, I have received such solicitations from AMCs with fees in the $200 to $275 range.  One AMC on several occasions has broadcast solicitations for appraisals of highly complex properties (i.e. a “mansion” on ten acres on Long Island’s “Gold Coast”) and continued to send out solicitations after they were informed of the nature of the property by this appraiser.  In more than one case, a week or two passed with this AMC continuing to broadcast the assignment, occasionally offering an extra $25 or $50 when the assignment request went unaccepted. 

One time, a representative of the AMC said that they had “no way” of knowing that a property was complex, which took me less than one minute to determine through public records and MLS data.  This, by the way, occurred a week after I informed them about the complexity of the property and involved an AMC that prides itself (with good reason) on a detailed home data report which they release every month.

A good friend of mine who is leaving the appraisal profession next week after three decades, told me of his recent experience contacting a different AMC to explain that the complex nature of another assignment made the offered fee unreasonable.  A representative of the AMC explained that another appraiser had already accepted the assignment, which had been sent out just minutes earlier. 

Do the lending institutions (or federal agencies, hello Fannie and Freddie) working with these AMCs have any idea about how their appraisal orders are being handled?  The fact that the “hungriest” or most desperate-for-work appraiser is accepting these assignments quite likely has a direct correlation with lower appraisal quality, particularly since from the moment the appraiser accepts the assignment he/she is on a 48-72 hour clock to complete the assignment.  Maybe lenders should put AMCs on a 48-72 hour clock to assign an appraisal to a competent appraiser at a “customary and reasonable fee”?

Admission:  I do have several AMCs with whom I work that are professional, fair and a pleasure to deal with.  I also know that many appraisers throughout the country work extensively with AMCs and have done so in a satisfactory manner for a long time. 

However, one last thought on the matter: Maybe the enactment of AMC regulations in all 50 states will eventually change the playing field and in the future we will be writing about AMC Hunger Games!

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Appraisers Approaching License Renewal: McKissock’s 7 Hour 2012-2013 USPAP Online Course is Now Available in Most States

McKissock Education, the official provider of the Appraisal Foundation’s online 2012-2013 USPAP courses, is now available in most states. Last year, the Appraisal Foundation and McKissock announced their partnership and the online course is now available in most states. See if courses are available in your area and save up to 20% on course fees by going to our Online McKissock Portal.


Start saving up to 20% off of your continuing education course fees today with McKissock and Appraiser Help! 2012-2013 USPAP Courses Now Available!


AppraiserLoft Update

On Friday, Lily Leung, the excellent real estate and business reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune discussed the new business involvement of former AppraiserLoft CEO Aman Makkar.  Ms. Leung notes that Mr. Makkar will be involved with an internet start-up known as Carzy, which allows consumers to search for new or used cars. 

What goes around comes around: During the “go-go” years prior to the collapse of the real estate market, many used car salesmen became mortgage brokers overnight.  Will we now be seeing former AMC executives/employees going back into the used car business?

A link to Ms. Leung’s report follows, please note some of the ridiculous comments after the article that seek to discredit Ms. Leung’s report, truly unbelievable (friends of Mr. Makkar, possibly?).
CEO of Defunct Appraisal Firm Now Adviser to Downtown San Diego Start-Up

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Available Now! Appraiser Help Releases March 2012 Comprehensive Up-To-Date Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies

To help appraisers evaluate which AMCs are right for them, we have compiled this directory of over 200 AMCs and National Appraisal Companies, listing complete, up-to-date contact information and other details for each listing.

If you’re looking to expand your appraisal practice, our Directory of Appraisal Management and National Appraisal Companies is a great place to start.

Download the directory today — at only $49.99, it will pay for itself with your first appraisal order! New York appraiser Deborah Urianek of Orion Appraisals had this to say about the directory:

“As an appraiser who has worked with AMCs for many years, your Directory of Appraisal Management and National Appraisal Companies is amazingly complete and comprehensive.  I thoroughly endorse it for appraisers looking to navigate the “minefield” of AMCs!”

Please visit our website now to make your purchase securely or contact us at (877) 434-2825 for more information on this exciting new directory!

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Recent (Mostly Disappointing) Real Estate Reports

On Friday, CoreLogic released a report on the “shadow” inventory of homes for January which indicated that there was an approximate six month supply, a total of 1.6 million units.  The report noted that “for every two homes available for sale, there is one in the ‘shadow’”.  Mark Fleming, the chief economist for CoreLogic, stated that: "Almost half of the shadow inventory is not yet in the foreclosure process.  Shadow inventory also remains concentrated in states impacted by sharp price declines and states with long foreclosure timelines."

A link to this report which includes several graphical illustrations is found here: Corelogic Reports Shadow Inventory as of January 2012 Remains Flat

That same day, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes declined by 1.6% in February, the second consecutive monthly decline.  This followed earlier reports by the National Association of Homebuilder’s (which indicated a leveling off of homebuilder confidence after a period of higher expectations) and by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that sales of existing homes dropped by 0.9% in February.  The NAR report also noted that the rate of contract cancellations in February was at 31%, down from 33% in January and up from 9% one year ago.  Links to reports discussing this by CNBC’s Diana Olick and Bloomberg’s Timothy R. Homan are found here:
Housing Hype: Recovery Turns to Relapse

Sales of New Houses in U.S. Fall for Second Month: Economy

ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger and NPR’s Chris Arnold closed out the week’s news with a discussion of principal reduction and how studies show it would not only keep hundreds of thousands of families in their homes but would save Fannie and Freddie money.  They quote Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, as saying that “Principal reduction works…“It saves taxpayers money and makes homeowners less likely to default”. They cite Mr. Zandi’s estimate that “principal modification could benefit 300,000 to 500,000 homeowners” with mortgages backed by Fannie or Freddie which would make a significant difference in both helping the economy and the housing market.

A link to this report is found here:
Fannie and Freddie: Slashing Mortgages is Good Business

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AppraiserNews is a FREE publication, supported by advertising and sales of products designed to help appraisers build their practices. Please consider supporting us today by seeing what we have to offer.

The All New, Fully Revised Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies is now available for download! Please visit our website to learn more. Current members of our Appraiser Directories are eligible to receive their copies FREE!


Downsizing in a Big Way

CNNMoney released a video showing an 84 square foot (plus loft area) “eco” house in Olympia, Washington, cost to build reportedly $10,000 (we did not confirm this with Marshall & Swift).  A link to this short video is found here:
Get Cozy in this 84 Square Foot Cabin

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AppraiserNews is a FREE publication, supported by advertising and sales of products designed to help appraisers support and grow their businesses. Please consider supporting us today by seeing what we and our sponsors have to offer.


Start saving up to 20% off of your continuing education course fees today with McKissock and Appraiser Help! 2012-2013 USPAP Courses Now Available!


Letters From Our Readers

A Florida appraiser offered his thoughts:
“Thank you so much for the enlightening letters, I read them as soon as they come out. And also thanks for all of the helpful links that you have attached to your letter as well.   I would like to mention something about your last letter in the article regarding ‘Church Foreclosures’.

In that article (you) stated ‘All denominations have reportedly been impacted but the largest number involve small to medium sized houses of worship.’

If you do some research you will find that there is a ‘denomination’ that has not been impacted, and that would be the Jehovah’s Witness faith. The reason is, is that if they even need to use funding they use it from within the organization. Other reasons for this is that they have less over head since they have no paid clergy class, and maintenance for their houses of worship known as "Kingdom Halls" are completed by ones in the organization that have skills in that field…This keeps the cost to a minimum. And in many cases their Kingdom Halls are erected, for the most part in one weekend, or the next. The reason that emphasis is placed on erecting their Kingdom Halls is such a short time is that all Dedicated, Baptized, Jehovah’s Witness are ministers as well that volunteer their time and assets to their preaching work…

I know this because I am a Jehovah’s Witness, and my second job is a Real Estate Appraiser…I have completed appraisal assignments for the local congregation for land and so forth that they are contemplating on purchasing for parking, building their Kingdom Halls, etc, and I have never charged for my services.  I also have been involved on many of their Kingdom Hall building projects and too, have donated an untold number of hours to new construction projects, remodels, disaster repair work, etc, so I know very well how the expenses are handled on these projects…”

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Stupid AMC Tricks

Texas appraiser Lori Walker had this question about Pennsylvania appraiser Janet Heller’s submission in the last newsletter:

“Okay, now I feel stupid!  What is a 41-handle kitchen?  Was this an underwriter’s mis-read?  What was the appraiser trying to describe, or was this question completely out of the blue?”

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Rates & Dates

Mortgage interest rates mostly rose sharply in the most recent weekly reports issued by Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

On March 22nd, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.08% from 3.92% during the previous week, the first time since last October 27 in which the rate was over 4.0%.  They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was at 4.81%. 

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released March 21st for the week ending March 16th, reported that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) rose to 4.19% from 4.06% during the previous week.   The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) increased to 4.49% from 4.39%.  At the same time, the average rates for FHA backed mortgages increased to 3.93% from 3.82%.

In their press release of March 21st, the MBA also reported a decrease of 7.4% in mortgage applications during this most recent survey.  Refinance applications declined to 73.4% which they noted was the lowest since last July.  Jay Brinkmann, the MBA’s Senior Vice President of Research and Education is quoted in the press release as saying that “With rate/term refinances falling as we go forward, HARP will be a bigger percentage of refinances but will be more concentrated in certain states”.

Additional information from Freddie Mac can be found by going to: Primary Mortgage Market Survey PMMS – Freddie Mac

Additional information from the Mortgage Bankers Association can be found by going to their site at: Research and Forecasts – Mortgage Bankers Association

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AppraiserNews is a FREE publication, supported by advertising and sales of products designed to help appraisers build their practices. Please consider supporting us today by seeing what we have to offer.

The All New, Fully Revised Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies is now available for download! Please visit our website to learn more. Current members of our Appraiser Directories are eligible to receive their copies FREE!


Ask Angie

We want to congratulate our most recent winner: Tonya J. Pippin, office manager (and appraiser in training) with Pippin Appraisal Services in NW Florida. Pippin Appraisal Services has provided commercial and residential appraisal services for several decades in the rural area of Washington, Holmes, Jackson, Bay and Walton Counties.  Tonya was the second winner from northern Florida this month and was the first to accurately report that the answers to the last contest questions were:  “Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult” (Hippocrates); “Beware the Ides of March” (Shakespeare); and “St. Patrick’s Day is an enchanted time – a day to begin transforming winter’s dreams into summer’s magic” (Adrienne Cook).

Today’s questions:

1. Who Said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going."

a) Winston Churchill
b) Mother Teresa
c) Alexis Stewart
d) Saint John Bosco
e) None of the above

2. Who said: “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much."

a) Mother Teresa
b) Winston Churchill
c) Jimmy Carter
d) Desmond Tutu
e) None of the above

3. Who said: “You always pass failure on the way to success."

a) Mickey Rooney
b) David Carr
c) Steve Jobs
d) Richard Nixon
e) None of the above

The first person to respond with the correct answers wins a choice of one of the following:

One Free Regular Listing on AppraiserHelp.com

A Free Copy of the NEWLY RELEASED 2012 Directory of AMCs and National Appraisal Companies!

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Tell us what you think!

We invite your responses to any of the issues raised in this newsletter. Please e-mail us at: bill@appraiserhelp.com with your thoughts!

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We really hope you find our newsletter to be informative!  If you have any input on future topics for discussion, please email me your questions and I will do my best to address them in the next issue.  If you want to look back at past issues you can see our archive at www.appraisernews.com

Regards,

Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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