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Appraisers Vote For Change

November 4th, 2013 by Bill Collins Leave a reply »


**Election Day! Go Out and Vote!**

Reader Comments Regarding Recent Newsletters

Falmouth, Maine appraiser Fred Conti writes:

“I have been an appraiser for only 12 years and I usually need, at a minimum, one and one-half days to complete a URAR 1004 that is accurate, honest and USPAP compliant. For this I am compensated, at a minimum, $400. I will not and cannot deliver a URAR 1004 that meets my standards for less than that fee. Herein lies the problem. Appraisers have led the lenders, AMCs, and mortgage companies to believe that they can deliver an accurate, honest and USPAP compliant appraisal report for an unrealistic fee. Those appraisers have shot themselves in the foot and cannot recover. Sadly, most of those appraisers have been in the business too long and do not value their time, knowledge and experience. New blood is needed in the appraisal profession (and I use the term profession, lightly) to awaken the dinosaurs.”

Florida appraiser Joe Johnson writes:

“…After a number of heart attacks that I did not recognize as such, I underwent bypass and valve replacement Friday the 13th 1998.  Still at it turning out reports every day despite the added stress of the new appraisal world. 

AMC’s are what they are.  Like it or not they have supplied us with a steady and reliable income stream. Not what it used to be but we get paid all the time.   No more chasing bad debt.  We certainly enjoy the higher paying efforts, but the bottom line is overhead keeps going up.  We need the extra volume to cover expenses.

This is the new world of independent appraisal business…Seems like work harder and longer for less and less is the American way today…”

Charles Hamilton, another Florida appraiser, writes:

“Several appraiser friends and I have discussed a nationwide appraisal union to negotiate fees with major lenders, etc.  Any thoughts anybody?”

Oregon appraiser Steve Bucknum writes:

“Responding to the questions regarding whether Real Estate Appraisal is an industry or a profession:
A profession is an undertaking involving an agreed to body of knowledge, a means for transmitting that body of knowledge to new practitioners, a set of ethical standards, and one or more organizations that provide oversight and monitoring of the practice of the profession.

Clearly Real Estate Appraisal is a profession.   But, it is an abused profession.

My first career was in social services, dealing with delinquent youth, alcoholism and addiction, and homelessness…Recently, I had a small event that triggered me to compare and contrast my past and current professions.

One of the larger AMC’s sent out a memo stating that all Appraisers needed to know that when doing a plans and specifications appraisal, the UAD required the Appraiser to estimate the projected property taxes for when the house was built…Upon emailing back to this AMC, I was told, ‘this is a little known and rarely followed regulation that has been there all along.  When anything is on the form (1004/2055) and in Fannie Mae, the Appraiser is responsible for it.’  The point was (and the tone was) that as an Appraiser this was just another failing and evidence that we just didn’t know how to do our jobs.

This sounded familiar to me, but from my old profession.  I went on the Internet and pulled up a link about “Spousal Abuse”… 

Spousal Abuse is when one partner attempts to dominate the other with fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation that can be physical, verbal, or emotional.

The signs that you might be abused include feeling like you are walking on eggshells, you have to closely watch what you do or say, your partner belittles or humiliates you, you have feelings of helplessness, you are frequently criticized or put down, your opinions are ignored, you are blamed for the abuse, and your partner constantly checks up on you…

In other words, a typical day of updating the AMC’s website with appointment dates and completed inspections, answering questions you already answered in your initial report, being pressured for quicker turn times and lower fees, and getting missives from the AMC’s about “regulations you should know and follow” that you learned 15 years ago; in fact has many elements of abuse…

The problem isn’t that Real Estate Appraisal is not a profession (it is), it is that the partners in the Real Estate Industry including AMC’s, Government, Lenders, Builders, and Real Estate Brokers have no or little respect for the profession.  Each one of our "partners" has an agenda to change us, dominate us, and make us fall in line with their perceived needs.  Unfortunately, since they don’t agree on what we ‘should be’ doing, we will forever be the whipping boy of the industry.

And this is the core reason that when people ask me about being a Real Estate Appraiser, I tell them with kindness in my heart that they would be better off doing anything else.”

Al Ballard, Executive Vice President of Operations for Appraisal Nation, LLC writes:

“I really do enjoy your AppraiserNews emails.  It is excellent for a company like mine to hear what appraisers in the field have to say.  Honest and unbiased opinions from appraisers (much like an appraisal).  As a former appraiser trainee who completed 200+/- appraisals in the field I agree that appraisers are treated unfairly and underpaid.  We take pride in treating the appraisers we utilize fairly and paying them a customary and reasonable fee for their hard work.”

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Correction From Last Newsletter

The Mobile, Alabama appraiser quoted in our last newsletter was Charles Shaw, please accept our apologies for the proofreading error.

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A Reminder for Commercial Appraisers

Check out Commercial Express from Narrative1. During these busy times, the need for short format commercial appraisal formats (which allow for quick data input, analysis and report generation) is great and we suggest checking out this new product from the number one commercial appraisal software company.

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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.

Narrative 1 Commercial Express

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Recent Real Estate Reports

On October 28th, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that pending home sales declined in September for the fourth consecutive month.  Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, noted in the release that September’s figure represented the first time in 29 months that pending hoe sales weren’t above the figure from one year prior.  He also said that “This tells us to expect lower home sales for the fourth quarter, with a flat trend going into 2014.”  A link to the NAR news release is found here:

Pending Home Sales Continue Slide in September

Last Tuesday, the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the 2nd Quarter reported that nationally home prices were 16% above the 4th Quarter of 2011 but still 24% below the 1st Quarter 2006 peak.  Price appreciation is projected to slow, however, to 5.4% by early 2014.  A link to their news release, including regional breakdowns, is found here:

CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes Reveal Continued Price Recovery in Nearly 90 Percent of U.S. Metros During Second Quarter of 2013

One day later on October 31st, CoreLogic reported that 51,000 foreclosures were completed in September, down from 84,000 in September of 2012.  CoreLogic also reported that foreclosure inventory was down by 33% from one year earlier.  The five states with the highest number of completed foreclosures were Florida, California, Texas, Michigan and Georgia.  Regarding foreclosure inventory, the five states with the highest foreclosure inventory as a percentage of all mortgaged homes were Florida (7.4%), New Jersey (6.5%), New York (4.8%), Maine (4.0%) and Connecticut (3.7%).   

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Navigate the Minefield of AMCs With the Assistance of Appraiser Help’s 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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Rates & Dates

Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends all reported declining mortgage interest rates in their most recent surveys. 

On October 31st, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to 4.10% from the previous week’s rate of 4.13%. They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was at 3.39%. 

Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for Freddie Mac is quoted in the release as saying:

“The Fed saw improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions since it began its asset purchase program, but noted the recovery in the housing market slowed somewhat in recent months and unemployment remains elevated. As a result, there was no policy change which should help sustain low mortgage rates in the near future."

The MBA in its most recent Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey released October 30th for the week ending October 25th, reported that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,500 or less) dropped to 4.33% from 4.39% during the previous week.   The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,500) declined to 4.36% from last week’s 4.43%.  Rates for FHA backed mortgages fell to 4.06% from 4.15% the previous week. 

In their press release of October 30th, the MBA reported an increase of 6.4% in mortgage applications with refinance applications rising to 67% of all applications from 65% the previous week.    

All three mortgage interest rates reported were the lowest since June and the percentage of refinance mortgage applications was also the largest since June.

One day later, David H. Stevens, president and CEO of the MBA, testified before the Senate Banking Committee at a hearing titled, “Housing Finance Reform: Essential Elements of a Government Guarantee for Mortgage-Backed Securities”.  Mr. Stevens, former FHA Commissioner, discussed the three elements he considers essential to a “stable and successful” system:

“~An explicit government guarantee for mortgage securities backed by a well-defined class of high quality mortgages; 

~Protection for taxpayers through deep credit enhancement that puts private capital in a first loss position, with no institution too big to fail; and

~Fair and transparent guarantee fees to create an FDIC-like federal insurance fund in the event of catastrophic losses”.

A link to a copy of Mr. Stevens’ testimony is found here:
MBA’s Stevens Testifies on Housing Finance Reform

On November 1st, HSH Market Trends reported that 30-year mortgage rates dropped to 4.27% from 4.32% the previous week. Rates for FHA-backed mortgages declined by 2 basis points from the previous week to 3.91%.

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

Additional information from HSH can be found by going to: HSH.Com

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Ask Angie

We would first like to congratulate our most recent winner: New Milford, New Jersey Certified General Appraiser Kirsten Safarian.  Kirsten performs residential and commercial appraisals for Santander Bank.  Along with her New Jersey license, Kirsten is also a Certified General Appraiser in New York State.  She was the first to answer correctly that Andrew Jackson was the author of the quote “I have always been afraid of banks”; Yoko Ono said “Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance”; and Rodney Dangerfield quipped "On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.  Today’s Questions:

Today’s questions:

1. Who said: “Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent for appointment by the corrupt few."

a) George Bernard Shaw
b) H.L. Mencken
c) Oscar Wilde
d) Thomas Jefferson
e) None of the above

2. Who said: "Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods."

a) George Bernard Shaw
b) H.L. Mencken
c) Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
d) Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich
e) None of the above

3. Who said: "Win or lose, we go shopping after the election."

a) Sarah Palin
b) Paris Hilton
c) Imelda Marcos
d) Nancy Regan
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 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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