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’60 Minutes’ Exposes AMCs

June 18th, 2012 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Opportunities for American Appraisers

While many U.S. appraisers are busy at present, projections of fewer appraisals needed for mortgage lending purposes are cause for concern.  AppraiserNews.com has preached diversification of appraisal practices for several years and one growth area will be in working with buyers of real estate from other nations.

On June 12th, the Wall Street Journal’s Nick Timaraos wrote an article with the title “Foreigners Snap Up Properties in the U.S.”.  Mr. Timiraos noted how the combination of the six year decline in U.S. housing prices in combination with the weakness of the dollar was leading to a “…property-buying binge by Asians, Canadians, Europeans and Latin Americans eager to own a piece of America”.  While many Americans are concerned about investing in real estate in their own country, Mr. Timaraos writes that to many foreigners “U.S. housing has never seemed a smarter investment”.

Rule of Five:  The Wall Street Journal article cites a survey released last week by the National Association of Realtors which showed that about 55% of all foreign buyers came from 5 countries (Canada, China, Mexico, India and the United Kingdom) and that 5 states (Florida, California, Texas, Arizona and New York) accounted for approximately 55% of all sales.  A link to the National Association of Realtors report “A Profile of International Home Buying Activity” is found here: Profile of International Home Buying Activity

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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.


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60 Minutes Drops In On Two AMCs

AppraiserNews.com has received excerpts of the transcript from an upcoming 60 Minutes report in which two of their investigative journalists drop in (unannounced) on two AMCs.  Here is a transcript of this report, which is expected to air in September:

Scott Pelley: On June 4th, our correspondents visited the offices of two Appraisal Management Companies, or AMCs as they are commonly known by those in the appraisal and financial communities.  Most Americans outside of these two professions know nothing about AMCs and a Wikipedia search yielded the result “The page ‘appraisal management companies’ does not exist.  You can ask for it to be created”.

During the course of our investigation, we discovered that AMCs do, in fact, exist.  We also discovered that appraisers were not the ones asking for them to be created.  In actuality, most appraisers rue the day that AMCs came into their lives, stealing from them the fruits of their labor and leaving them with drastically reduced earnings along with additional workloads and petty annoyances.

We begin our report with Steve Kroft, who is visiting the offices of Opague Capital in Miami, Florida.

Steve Kroft: Good evening Scott.  In my 23 years as a 60 Minutes correspondent, I have never seen financial arrogance such as what is displayed within the offices of Opague Capital, not even during last year’s investigation of Congressional members using non-public information to benefit their market trading.

Arriving at the offices of Opague, at Noon after the holiday weekend, I managed to slip in through a side entrance.  Apparently my appearance in a suit and tie led several young employees to assume I was a member of management (who reportedly rarely leave the beach to come to the office).

Inside:  five young people were monitoring computer screens programmed to send out requests for appraisals which require instantaneous responses from the recipient appraisers throughout the country.  One of the employees commented to me about how amazing it was that we were able to get three appraisers to immediately agree to accept an appraisal assignment for $225 which involved a 20,000 square foot mansion on a ten acre waterfront property in the Hamptons on Long Island.  I nodded my head while I was trying to assimilate this information.  The young man took this as approval and laughing asked me how much our client was paying us to “manage” this job and appraiser.  I answered that I did not know and asked him if I could speak with the person in charge.

“John”, the young man, told me he figured he was in charge since he had seniority (six months with the company, after having been fired as a cook for “BeachBurger”).  He also became quite guarded at this point as he realized I was not part of the firm’s management.

While John was attempting to usher me out the door, I overheard another employee laughing about their phone system, which had one line which nobody ever answered or made outgoing calls from.  Apparently the business model that Opague Capital followed did not provide for any direct conversation with the appraisers who subcontracted to perform appraisals: all contact was by e-mail and through Opague’s website which apparently frequently crashed.

Scott Pelley:  Thank you Steve, this is a disturbing report.  We’re going to leave you now to speak with Lara Logan who is at the Los Angeles headquarters of a different AMC.

Lara Logan:  Hello Scott.  I’m not sure if I am actually at the headquarters of OutSource Appraisal Management since the address on the firm’s website is a Mail Boxes Etc. facility…

The difficult situation that appraisers find themselves in due to the arrogance and business practices of many AMCs is worthy of a 60 minutes report, but the above is merely a spoof. Let’s hope that 60 minutes will take a look at this and see that not only is it a terrible situation, but also a newsworthy one. Any appraisers who might like to contact 60 Minutes can do so by going to their website and making their ideas known: 60 Minutes Website

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Navigate the Minefield of AMCs With the Assistance of Appraiser Help’s Newly Released 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.

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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How Many Appraisers Are In The U.S.?

We have seen and heard a number of rumors in recent weeks but as of our last check with the Appraisal Subcommittee, there were 104,705 (36.4% Certified General Appraisers; 51.4% Certified Residential Appraisers; and 12.2% Licensed Appraisers).  As we have reported in the past, a significant number of appraisers are inactive, part-time or semi-retired.  A link to the Appraisal Subcommittee’s state by state breakdown is found here: Active Appraisal Credentials – ASC – Appraisal Subcommittee

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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!


Recent Real Estate Reports

The Wall Street Journal’s Matthew Strozier along with infographic producer Column Five summarize a lot of data in their recent posting.  Click the following link to see their Home-Price Scorecard and sign up for more information. The Wall Street Journal Infographic: Home-Price Scorecard  

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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!


Rates & Dates

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

On June 14th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose from 3.67% last week to 3.71%.  They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was at 4.50%. 

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released June 13th for the week ending June 8th, reported that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) rose from 3.87% to 3.88%.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) decreased from 4.13% to 4.12%.  At the same time, the average rates for FHA backed mortgages rose from 3.70% to 3.71%.

In their press release of June 13th, the MBA reported a jump of 18% in mortgage applications to the highest level since May of 2009.  Refinance applications increased from 78% to 79% of all applications.

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 would like to congratulate our most recent winner, Nanci Stone-Hayes, a Certified General Appraiser with Yankee Appraisals in North Conway, New Hampshire. Nanci has won this contest before.  When she is not winning contests she is an appraiser in portions of northeastern New Hampshire.

Nanci knew that the quote “We are the flies that have captured the flypaper” is attributed to John Steinbeck and James Reston; Deepak Chopra said that “All great changes are preceded by chaos”; and Tony Robbins is the author of the quote “By changing nothing, nothing changes”.  Today’s questions:

1. Who said: "Anyone who watches golf on television would enjoy watching the grass grow on the greens."

a) Andy Rooney
b) Arnold Palmer
c) Michael Weakland

d) Jerry Seinfeld
e) None of the above

2. Who said: "Taxes are important. President Bush’s tax proposals leave no rich person behind. Voters approve of President Bush helping the kind of people they wish they were one of. "

a) Warren Buffet
b) Andy Rooney
c) Nancy Pelosi
d) Sarah Palin
e) None of the above

3. Who said: "I didn’t get old on purpose, it just happened. If you’re lucky, it could happen to you."

a) Zsa Zsa Gabor
b) Phyllis Diller
c) Andy Rooney
d) Jeanne Calment
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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