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AMC Fiscal Cliff

January 1st, 2013 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »

Evaluation Solutions: Good Riddance

Jacksonville, Florida based Evaluation Solutions (aka ES Appraisal Services), one of the worst AMCs (appraisal management companies) finally announced that it had ceased operation on December 20th.  This AMC boasted on its website that their “nationwide field network of 30,000 certified vendors includes experienced brokers and appraisers who are trained in our unique processes."

The “unique processes” of this AMC apparently related to offering appraisal assignments for complex properties with fees typically in the $225 range.  While this firm’s mantra was “rush-rush” when it came to the completion of assignments, payments to appraisers were not made for many months after the completion of assignments and only after appraisers were forced to endlessly beseech the firm for their fees. 

On June 18th of last year, published an issue (‘60 Minutes’ Exposes AMCs) which included a “spoof” in which Scott Pelley and associates investigate shoddy AMC practices.  Many of our newsletter readers emailed us about whether Evaluation Solutions was one of the thinly disguised AMCs in our piece. 

JP Morgan Chase was one of Evaluation Solutions largest accounts. has expressed its bewilderment many times regarding how much banks such as Chase understood about the shoddy practices of the AMCs they engaged such as Evaluation Solutions.  We have also been baffled as to why regulatory agencies have delayed putting a quick end to these dangerous business practices.  We also wonder why so many appraisers continued to work with companies such as Evaluation Solutions with its abusive practices and imminent demise.  We have not yet heard estimates as to how much money is outstanding to appraisers but suspect it may dwarf that of the AppraiserLoft demise less than one year ago.  Questions regarding the “clawback” of fees received by appraisers within the firms final months prior to the bankruptcy filing may also cause some appraisers to have sleepless nights. is also bewildered as to why 60 Minutes is taking so long to investigate AMCs with these abhorrent business practices.

A link to the 6/18/12 issue of including the 60 Minutes “spoof” is found here:
Appraiser News: ’60 Minutes’ Exposes AMCs

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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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Sandy’s Impact on the Northeast Housing Market

Writing in the New York Times last Friday, Sarah Maslin Nir reported that:
“The real estate market along the New York and New Jersey coastlines has been as upended by Hurricane Sandy as the houses tossed from their foundations.  In places where waterfront views once commanded substantial premiums, housing prices have tumbled amid uncertainty about the costs of rebuilding and the dangers of seaside living."

Ms. Nir discussed the negative impact on the real estate market in communities such as the City of Long Beach on Long Island as well as waterside communities in Brooklyn, New York and in New Jersey.  She quotes Mitchell L. Moss, professor of urban policy and planning at New York University:
“The question is, How long will the experience of Hurricane Sandy be in the mind of homeowners and potential buyers?”

The answer just might be longer than we have previously experienced with the vivid images of destruction not dissipating along with a multitude of concerns including the costs associated with properties near the coast and the fear that storms such as Sandy may represent the new norm rather than a once every century aberration. has assembled some of our newest pictures of the damage to the barrier beach of Fire Island, a short ferry trip from our office.  Readers can view these pictures by clicking on the following link:

Appraiser News Pinterest – Fire Island Homes Post Sandy

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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.

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Recent Real Estate Reports

On Friday, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales increased in November to the highest level since February of 2007 with the exception of several months in 2010 when the home buyer tax credit was in effect.  The NAR reported that pending sales rose 1.7% from a downwardly revised figure for October.

On December 26th, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index through October was released and it reported that home prices increased 4.3% during the previous 12 months.  While noting weaknesses in some cities, David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices stated in his summary that:
“Looking over this report, and considering other data on housing starts and sales, it is clear that the housing recovery is gathering strength. Higher year-over-year price gains plus strong performances in the southwest and California, regions that suffered during the housing bust, confirm that housing is now contributing to the
economy. Last week’s final revision to third quarter GDP growth showed that housing represented 10% of the growth while accounting for less than 3% of GDP.

One indication of the rebound is the gains from the bottom. The largest rebound is 24.2% in Detroit even though prices there are still about 20% lower than 12 years ago. San Francisco and Phoenix have also rebounded from recent lows by 22.5% and 22.1% with prices comfortably higher than 12 years ago. The
smallest recoveries are seen in Boston and New York, two cities in the northeast which suffered smaller losses in the housing bust than the Sunbelt or California.”

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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 were essentially unchanged in the final 2012 weekly reports issued by both Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA).

On December 27th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages declined from the previous week’s rate of 3.37% to 3.35%. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was 3.95%. 

Freddie Mac’s vice president and chief economist, Frank Nothaft, stated that: "Mortgage rates ended this year near record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent for 2012, the lowest annual average in at least 65 years. Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages were nearly 0.6 percentage points below that of the beginning of the year, which translates into an interest payment savings of nearly $98,600 over the life of a $200,000 loan. Moreover, opting for a 15-year fixed mortgage at today’s rates, a homeowner could save an additional $138,400 in interest payments."

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released December 19th, for the week ending December 14th, reported that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) increased to 3.50% from the previous week’s rate of 3.47%.  The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) dropped to the lowest point in the history of the survey 3.73%, from 3.77% the previous week.  Rates for FHA backed mortgages increased to 3.34% from the previous week’s rate of 3.32%. 

In their press release of December 19th, the MBA reported a decline of 12.3% in mortgage applications.  Refinance applications represented 83% of all applications, down from 84% the previous week. 

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 first like to congratulate our most recent winner: Bernie Mysior of Bernie M. Mysior Appraisals, LLC in Boulder, Colorado.  Bernie was the first to answer correctly that Louis Brandeis was the author of the quote " Most of the things worth doing in the world were said to be impossible before they were done”; Vaclev Havel said " All important events in the world–whether admirable or monstrous–are always spearheaded in the realm of words "; and Henny Youngman commented that "I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays ".

Today’s questions:

1. Who Said: "For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice."

a) Oscar Wilde
b) Leonard Bernstein
c) T.S. Eliot
d) C.S. Lewis
e) None of the above

2. Who said: "Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."

a) George Washington
b) Martha Washington
c) Benjamin Franklin
d) Thomas Jefferson
e) None of the above

3. Who said: “New Year’s Day-now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."

a) Dick Clark
b) Ryan Seacrest
c) Mark Twain
d) Kathy Griffin
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

A Free Copy of the Directory of Appraisal Management Companies (Available Now to Members of and FREE!)

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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: 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


Bill Collins, Appraiser Help Inc.

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