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Archive for February, 2016

Appraiser News: Latest News on Appraiser Lawsuits

February 23rd, 2016

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2016

Update on Llano’s Lawsuits Against Appraisers.

We’d like to thank Brian L. Trotier, JD, EVP & COO, Foundation of Real Estate Associates (FREA) for this important update which was released last Thursday.

“Most of you already know the background on Llano and its wave of appraiser litigation so we won’t spend a lot of time repeating past details here. Let’s just say that karma appears to be alive and well in 2016. For those of you who are not aware of what Llano has been doing, we’d recommend you go to www.frea.com and search past blog posts for information on Heritage Pacific, Savant Claims Management, Llano, and the Ganter brothers. It won’t take time for you to get up to speed.

Here are some of the latest developments relating to Llano:

1.      A growing number of lawyers who initially filed cases for Llano have withdrawn from representation with many cases then being dismissed or put into limbo.

2.      An attorney representing Llano sent a cease and desist letter to us demanding that we stop reporting on the Llano litigation and alleging our reports are not factually correct. This is a blatant attempt to stifle our 1st Amendment rights and will not work.

3.      In one somewhat unique case, an appraiser sued by Llano filed a counterclaim (with the support of his E&O carrier) asking the court to order Llano to pay all of the fees and costs incurred in defending the lawsuit in the first place. If he wins this request, the tides will shift dramatically.

4.      We remain unaware of any cases decided on the merits going in favor of Llano and thus far almost every one of the carriers involved in defending these cases is not settling. If anyone reading this knows of a case that Llano or any of the other entities related to the Ganters either took to trial and won or won on a motion on the merits, please let us know.

5.      We have been in contact with the general counsel for Impac Mortgage Holdings, the company that allegedly assigned the right to file these lawsuits to an entity related to the Ganters that in turn assigned the rights to Llano. Not surprisingly, it appears Impac may have had no idea who they were getting in bed with.

6.      Finally, some recent decisions handed down by several different courts seem to indicate the courts believed the cases in question were without merit from the outset and never should have been filed. We believe the correct legal term for cases like these is “frivolous”.

7.      We also learned one attorney representing Llano had been suspended from practicing law for 3 years for fraudulently signing documents that were submitted to the court and then lying about it when first asked.

8.      Last, but not least, the word on the street is that one of the Ganter brothers had to file personal bankruptcy recently and claimed to be so broke that he wanted permission to pay his filing fees in installments. A quick review of court records reveals that this is not the first bankruptcy filing for the brothers and/or companies they own or control.

In spite of all of this good news, as recently as last month, Llano was still filing lawsuits in new states like California. Now is the time to stay aware and alert. Until Llano pulls the plug and disappears the battle is not won. By working together on behalf of the entire appraisal profession, we can win this and put an end to vulture lawsuits like these. Remember, if you are involved in a Llano case (whether you have insurance coverage or not) have your attorney send an email to briant@frea.com so we can pass along what we know that might help either reduce the cost or improve the odds of winning your case or both”.

Brian L. Trotier, JD, is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of FREA and a former practicing attorney with more than 30 years experience in real estate and risk management.

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Recent Real Estate Reports.

Earlier today, it was announced that the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Composite increased 5.7 percent from the same last year.  David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement that “While home prices continue to rise, the pace is slowing a bit”.  He noted that “Seasonally adjusted, Miami had lower prices this month than last and 10 other cities saw smaller increases than last month”.  The biggest increases year over year were seen in Portland (Oregon), San Francisco and Denver.

Also earlier today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that existing home sales increased by 0.4% in January from the downwardly revised figure for December.  This figure was 11.0% higher than that for January of 2016.  The median price was up 8.2% year over year.  Housing inventory increased by 3.4% in January.

The NAR reported that first time buyers made up 32% of sales, up from 28% last January.  All cash sales made up 26% of transactions (down from 27% last January) and individual investors accounted for 17% of sales.

Distressed sales made up 9% (7% foreclosures, 2% short sales) of the market in January, down from 11% last January.  The NAR reports that foreclosures sold for a “discount” of 13% below market value while short sales were discounted 12%.

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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AnchorRates & Dates

Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Brokers Association (MBA) and HSH Market Trends reported mixed results related to mortgage interest rates last week.

In their survey on February 18th, Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed-rate mortgages remained unchanged at 3.65%.  They also noted that last year at this time the 30-year rate was at 3.76%.

The MBA reported on February 17th (for the week ending February 12th) that 30-year rates with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) moved downward, from 3.91% to 3.83%.   The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) decreased from 3.76% to 3.74% while rates for FHA backed mortgages also fell, from 3.72% to 3.67%.

Mortgage applications increased by 8.2% from the previous period.  Refinance applications as a percentage of all applications rose from 61.2% to 64.3%. The FHA share of applications fell from 12.3% to 11.5% and the VA share rose from 11.1% to 11.7%.

On February 19th, HSH.com Market Trends reported that 30-year mortgage rates increased from 3.71% to 3.75% while rates for FHA-backed mortgages also moved upward, to 3.57% from 3.56%.

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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AnchorAsk Angie

Angie would first like to provide the answers to the questions in her last contest: Albert Einstein was the author of the quote “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value; and Winston Churchill said “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

Today’s Questions:

1. Who said: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies”.
a) Groucho Marx
b) Ted Cruz
c) Donald Trump
d) None of the above

2. Who said: “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others”.
a) Groucho Marx
b) Hillary Clinton
c) Donald Trump
d) None of the above

3. Who said: “I’ve got the brain of a four year old. I’ll bet he was glad to be rid of it”.

a) Groucho Marx
b) Ben Carson
c) Donald Trump
d) None of the above

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One Free Regular Listing on AppraiserHelp.com

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AnchorTell 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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AnchorWe 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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