11th March 2016

Is the Appraisal Industry Suffering from Barriers of Entry?

Author: Xhevrije West

appraisalThere a seismic change happening in the appraisal industry. Appraisers are diminishing in the housing market and the trend is showing no sign of reversal anytime soonunless something changes.

Scott Pickell, VP and Chief Appraiser atLRES explains to MReport what is happening to appraisers in the mortgage industry, challenges they face, and how the problem can be solved.

MReport: The appraisal industry has seen some dwindling numbers according to recent reports for a number of reasons. Why do you think this industry is struggling to bring in new hires? What challenges do appraisers face in today’s market?

Pickell: This has been an ongoing issue for a couple of years; it’s something that the industry is aware of. The appraisal industry has created significant barriers to entry for new appraisers coming into the industry. It’s a double-edged sword. The industry wanted to become more professionally related. For example, one of the requirements to become an appraiser is a degree, whereas before, appraisers did not need a degree to be licensed and certified as an appraiser. Instead, they needed experience, take a few classes, and take the test to become an appraiser. This is one barrier to entry. Individuals graduating college are looking at potential jobs they can do.  They have to take many units in appraisals, have their degree, and then they must find someone who will train them. This is another barrier to entry. Typically, if these new graduates do not have someone in their family that will train them, they need to find someone who will for almost two years. You can imagine how difficult that can be.

In this industry volumes are very fiscal so if you are lucky to find an individual to train you, when they are busy, they may not want to take the time to do it. When they are really slow, they may not have enough business to actually train you.

Appraising is considered a “family business.” It’s very difficult for someone without those family ties to find someone who will train them. The training period is about 2500 hours. This is after they have gotten their degree and taken the state test. That’s a pretty significant time frame for anybody in any industry. The industry is aging. The average age of appraisers is approaching 60 years, according to one of our studies. This means that there are a lot of appraisers that are well-above 60-years-old.

These are the issues that the appraisal industry is facing. Frankly, it needs to be seriously considered on what can be done to attract new appraisers to the industry.

MReport: How can the industry bolster up their appraiser numbers?

Pickell: I don’t have a crystal ball, but as more and more appraisers retire and get out of the industry, there will be a shortage of appraisers. We are already seeing that right now in the last couple years. We were getting to a point where appraisers were quoting four to six weeks of turnaround time to get one report done for us in certain markets. What will happen is that as the number of appraisers reduces, the ones that remain in business will begin to charge more money, so all of sudden appraising will become a very lucrative profession in the future. That will probably attract new individuals. So money will be a big factor in attracting new appraisers into the industry.

Some clients say that we will not accept an appraisal from a trainee signing the report. Because of that rule, we typically don’t recruit trainee appraisers. Even though the supervisor may sign the report stating that they did inspect the property with the trainee, many lenders will still not accept those reports. Somehow, there needs to be some legislation that requires lenders to accept reports done by trainee appraisers. That’s part of the double-edged sword. If the industry does attract more appraisers, they can’t do appraisals because no one will accept their work. I am not an advocate of more legislation, but because we do have these levels in the industry, there needs to be some rules and regs surrounding trainee’s appraisals with supervisory guidance and approval.

MReport:  Let’s talk about the homeowner vs appraiser opinion gap that Quicken Loans reports on every month. This gap, while it has gotten smaller over 2015, still persists. Homeowners are valuing their homes more than appraisers. Why is this? Will there ever be a point where the gap closes completely? Should the paradigm ever change to where appraisers’ opinions are higher?

Pickell: We think we have had the internet forever but we really haven’t. In the last 10 or 15 years, the internet has probably had the largest impact on a lot of people. With that, companies like Zillow and some others that provide valuations on homes. This is not an appraisal; this is number crunching and regression analysis. There is a big difference between appraised value and that value or price that these websites and companies are giving these homeowners. It creates a false sense of confidence from the homeowner who says, “Zillow says my house is worth $850,000.” Meanwhile, the appraiser says, “No, based on the comps and adjustments I made, your home is worth $825,000.” You have to use the information wisely. Valuation has always been and will probably always be a subjective value because it’s not a science. It’s an art. You have a difference of definitions going on. Appraisers have a specific, defined market value (Fannie Mae Form 1004). These websites are not concerned about that, while for an appraiser, that is what they are analyzing, so therefore, they will exclude comparables in an area where these other websites will include them in their analysis. This can skew the numbers.

MReport: With slow growth expected in the housing market in 2016, how can the appraisal industry prepare, prosper, and increase business?

Pickell: Companies and individuals that have been in this industry for a long time expect this slow growth period. If you are doing origination loans, you are a victim to the interest rates. When interest rates are low, you are very busy, but when interest rates are tweaking up, business can be slow. Appraisers that understand that model, they are diversifying themselves and preparing for this slow period when it’s really busy.  They are preparing by always providing excellent customer service. When it’s busy and appraisers are doing everything they can to keep their heads above water, they still have to provide exceptional customer service to clients. Knowing that the industry will slow down soon, these clients will know who to turn to. This comes by turning around files quickly, providing the highest quality appraisal, and accuracy is always important. The companies that are just now realizing that 2016 will slow, will struggle this year and beyond.

Since 2008, with the advent of HVCC, Dodd-Frank, and other regulations, that’s when the AMC really started to explode. It’s been on an explosion pace since then; there has not been much of a slowdown. If 2016 brings a slowdown, there may be some consolidation in the AMC market, where there will be mergers and acquisitions taking place.

MReport:  What is your outlook for the appraisal sector in 2016 and beyond?

Pickell: This industry is very interest rate sensitive. The appraisal industry is very niche oriented and there are a lot of opportunities for appraisers and AMCs. Diversity is key. It’s all about diversifying your client base, not just focusing on originations. There is still a lot of business among defaults, short sales, and REOs. Finding that business and niches will help companies do very well. I have been in this business for 30 years now and nothing surprises me. When you’re in the middle of a slowdown and all of sudden the work stops coming in, appraisers will start to leave the business and pursue other opportunities. With the aging appraisal industry and the slowdown, it will accelerate people leaving the industry.

From an AMC perspective, compliance is such an important part of this industry. That is something that will probably cause other AMCs to close their doors or consolidate and merge with other companies. The cost of compliance is a barrier of entry for AMCs entering the industry.

Original Article

…continue reading the rest of this post: Is the Appraisal Industry Suffering from Barriers of Entry?

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19th January 2016

Fannie Mae’s Collateral Underwriter Version (CU) 3.1 is here

This webinar was very good and provided the best explanation of the Q & C ratings that I have seen so far. – Jason Fischman, ASA, IFA

Fannie Mae’s Collateral Underwriter Version (CU) 3.1 is here, promising new red flags and warning messages appraisers need to be prepared for. Come see firsthand the warning letters some appraisers are receiving and learn how to avoid trouble in 2016!

Persistent Appraisal Failures – CU 3.1
Date: Jan. 22nd, 10 – 11:30 a.m. PST (This Friday!)
Presenter: Richard Hagar, SRA

In this webinar, Richard Hagar, SRA and national authority on lending and appraisal guidelines, takes appraisers step-by-step through the new warning letters that appraisers have been receiving due to the new changes to CU, and offers solutions and advice. …continue reading the rest of this post: Fannie Mae’s Collateral Underwriter Version (CU) 3.1 is here

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5th January 2016

CoreLogic snaps up FNC for $475 million

CoreLogicCoreLogic, a property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, announced Thursday that it plans to acquire FNC, Inc., a provider of real estate collateral information technology and solutions that automate property appraisal ordering, tracking, documentation and review for lender compliance with government regulations.

The acquisition will mark CoreLogic’s second substantial acquisition in the field of property valuation in 2015. Earlier this year, CoreLogic purchased LandSafe Appraisal Services, an appraisal management company, from Bank of America for $122 million.The purchase price for FNC is far beyond the price for LandSafe.

According to an announcement from CoreLogic, the company will acquire FNC for $475 million.

In its announcement, CoreLogic said that FNC “delivers deep expertise in appraisal compliance, workflow best practices, and process efficiency to mortgage lenders and servicers, appraisal management companies, secondary and capital markets firms as well as property and casualty insurance companies.”

Additionally, FNC’s platforms are included in the workflow systems of 18 of the 20 largest U.S. banks, CoreLogic said.

According to CoreLogic, FNC platforms provide “broad connectivity” to approximately 80,000 appraisal, title and inspection vendors, and FNC’s solutions allow industry participants to automate the collateral valuation and diligence process, monitor and optimize vendor performance and facilitate compliance with regulatory and internal risk management policies.

In a statement, Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s president and chief executive officer, said that along with the acquisition of LandSafe, the deal for FNC signals that the company views property valuation as a “significant” area of growth in the future.

“We are very pleased to add the FNC management and staff to the CoreLogic family,” Nallathambi said.

“FNC is a pioneer in developing unique collateral information and technology platforms for the U.S. lending ecosystem,” Nallathambi continued. “Its business has been built around recurring, high-margin revenue streams.  The acquisition of FNC is an important step in our development of a world-class property valuation solutions capability.”

In its announcement, CoreLogic said that acquisition of FNC will help the company create a “scaled, integrated property valuation solution provider” that can provide a “broad suite” of fulfillment, platform, data and analytics capabilities and assets.

“FNC’s platforms, together with our existing valuation-related assets and our recent acquisition of LandSafe Appraisal Services, allow us to gain operational scale and expand the value proposition of our Valuations Solutions Group,” Nallathambi said. “We expect property valuation to be an area of significant future domestic and international growth.”

According to CoreLogic, the transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of 2016.

Additionally, CoreLogic said the transaction is expected to be accretive to its 2016 financial results excluding one-time reductions from transaction-related fees and transitional accounting items.

CoreLogic said that the deal will be funded using cash on hand and debt.

Once the deal is closed, FNC’s operations will be consolidated within the CoreLogic’s Valuations Solutions Group, CoreLogic said.

“CoreLogic’s VSG will be the conduit through which we will seamlessly deploy our broad suite of property valuation capabilities,” CoreLogic Chief Operating and Financial Officer Frank Martell said.

“The VSG will offer best-in-class content, analytics and workflow platforms which employ our Gen2 technology and mobility capabilities,” Martell said. “Improving the quality and economics of property valuation is a major imperative for the real estate industry. Through the VSG, CoreLogic will be well positioned to bring comprehensive and compelling solutions to the marketplace.”

repost from: http://www.housingwire.com/articles/35854-corelogic-snaps-up-fnc-for-475-million


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6th December 2015

N0 MORE MIDDLEMEN – non-amc directory and marketing guide

No More Middlemen

Have you noticed a significant decline of lender work over the past few months? Do you want to learn how to get more appraisal orders and finally get off the Appraisal Management Company roller coaster ride for good?

Like many appraisers I have seen a very significant decline in AMC orders over the past few months. I have been kicking myself in the butt for not getting started on my marketing to Attorneys, bail bond companies and credit unions prior to the interest rates going up.

Luckily I have a steady stream of attorney work that keeps me busy due to having a good contact management system in place and a steady client base of bail bond companies that refer their customers to me.

In this book I have detailed the steps that I take to create an inexpensive mailer to get more work from credit unions, attorneys and bail bond companies as well as the systems I use to continually get more referral work from all my past clients.

This is an incredible resource to those appraisers that are really looking to learn how do market your appraisal company and build up your client base so you don’t have to deal with seasonal and economic slow downs. This kind of work never goes away!

Possibly one of the most valuable aspects of this book is the spreadsheets that include:

2500+ Credit Unions
550+ Bail Bond Companies
300+ Direct Lenders


Chapters Include:

  • How To Use the Spreadsheets Included With This Book
  • Will Rising Interest Rates Affect Your Appraisal Business?
  • Getting Off The Appraisal Management Company Roller Coaster Ride for Good
  • How to Market to Attorneys, Bail Bond Companies, Direct Lenders and Credit Unions
  • Step-by-Step Instructions to Make a Postcard Mailer From Card Design to Mailing
  • How To Get Low Cost Mailing Lists Made Targeting Local Divorce and Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • Tested Methods on How To Get More Referral Work From Past and Existing Clients
  • How to get a FREE Local Listing in Google and Optimize it for Best Results

You are going to especially love the Bail Bond marketing information. These orders are amazing and I have been focusing a lot of my efforts to getting more of their referrals. Why?

When I am referred a customer, I quote 3 fees. I base my first fee off of complexity of the appraisal. Lets say it is a standard tract home in San Diego. I quote them $400 and will inspect within 2 working days and have the appraisal report back to them within 2 days. The second fee is to inspect within 24 hours and have back within 24 hours for $800, and finally a same day inspection and deliver of the appraisal is $1200.

Which one do you think the client wants when they are trying to get a loved one out of jail? 75% of the time it is the $1200 fee for a simple tract home appraisal.

But you do have to follow up to keep these clients, and I have listed all the techniques I use to stay in contact with these clients so the work doesn’t go away.

This resource is jammed packed with information and the spreadsheets are 100% sortable by state to make it easy to create your postcard and do your mailing as noted in Chapter 5: Step-by-Step Instructions to Make a Postcard Mailer From Card Design to Mailing

The next chapter lays out the steps I use to get a massive list of Attorneys in my market area by an inexpensive virtual assistant.

Take the time today to order my New Book & Directory – No More Middlemen – Full Fee & Appraisal Managment Free : 2014 Appraiser Marketing Guide and List of 3400+ Direct Lenders, Credit Unions and Bail Bond Companies and finally get off the crappy appraisal management company roller coaster ride for good!

Click Here To Order

Bryan Knowlton
Appraiser Income

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4th December 2015

The Appraisal Foundation Brings Standards and Guidance to Appraisal Software Programs

 The Appraisal Foundation partners with technology providers to create software programs for appraisers
that feature the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)

Washington DC – The Appraisal Foundation, the nation’s foremost authority on the valuation profession, announced today that USPAP guidance will be accessible in appraisal software programs in the near future.  ACI, Bradford Technologies and Centric Technology Solutions will release new programs that offer USPAP and accompanying guidance as an added resource for real property appraisers.

David S. Bunton, Foundation President said of the new initiative, “This announcement ushers in a new day for the Foundation and appraisal technology.  Appraisal professionals will now have USPAP and the Foundation’s related guidance at their fingertips for reference during every step of the process.  Digitizing USPAP and including it in the appraiser’s toolset is the best way to ensure compliance and ultimately build public trust in the work of appraisers.”

The Appraisal Foundation selected three companies for the initial launch, each committed to providing appraisers with the tools to perform quality appraisals through their respective software programs. These new software programs will assist in saving appraisers time and will equip them with the resources to help ensure compliance with USPAP, ultimately benefiting both lenders and consumers.

ACI will incorporate USPAP and related guidance into ACI Sky™, a new web-based appraisal platform. ACI Sky empowers the valuation professional to create full reports on the web with tools for sketching, data collection, review, MISMO® XML delivery, location and flood mapping. For Bradford Technologies, the partnership with the Foundation offers an opportunity to further the company’s focus on helping move the appraisal profession, and in particular residential appraisers, away from tedious form-filling and towards computer-aided appraising Redstone technology. Centric plans to fully integrate USPAP and related guidance into its dialogue-based solution for report creation and quality review by the end of 2015.  Centric’s end-to-end, web-based platform integrates the functionality and communication needs of appraisers, AMCs, and lenders.

About The Appraisal Foundation
The Appraisal Foundation is the nation’s foremost authority on the valuation profession. The organization sets the Congressionally-authorized standards and qualifications for real estate appraisers, and provides voluntary guidance on recognized valuation methods and techniques for all valuation professionals. This work advances the profession by ensuring appraisals are independent, consistent, and objective. More information on The Appraisal Foundation is available at www.appraisalfoundation.org.

About ACI
Headquartered in Palm Coast, Florida, ACI is a member of the First American family of companies. The ACI client base is comprised of thousands of real estate appraisers, many of North America’s premier lenders and national appraisal companies. ACI and its representatives have been friends of The Appraisal Foundation for years, serving as trusted advisors on the Industry Advisory Council. Read more about ACIhere.

About Bradford Technologies
Bradford Technologies has been serving the appraisal industry for the last 28 years providing services and products to assist appraisers in producing appraisal reports quickly and efficiently. During the last six years, the company has focused on assisting appraisers in producing better valuations and eliminating the tedious form-filling aspect of appraisals. Bradford is currently on its fifth iteration of Computer-Aided Appraising technology with a new product called Redstone. Read more about Bradford Technologies here.

About Centric Technology Solutions
Centric has been in the valuation technology business for over 20 years, as a provider of collateral valuation solutions.  The CentricCVP™ (Collateral Valuation Platform) is the first and only software platform and set of tools that allows visibility and control throughout the entire appraisal process, for lenders, AMCs, and appraisers. Embedded guidance, validation, and review features support the highest and best output quality from report development to data collection and analysis, to quality review. Read more about Centric here.

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30th November 2015

CFPB’s new tool to help you plan for retirement

Every year more than 2 million Americans make one of the most important financial decisions of their lives: choosing when to begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits. Today, we are releasing Planning for Retirement, an interactive tool to help consumers make this important decision.

Check out our new online tool at www.consumerfinance.gov/retirement/.

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26th November 2015

Newly Revamped Appraiser’s Club

I made it way easier to find all the information you need about getting more non-lender work with the help of the Appraiser’s Club.  Visit http://appraisersclub.com for all the details.  

We will show you:

-> How to make your appraisal business STAND OUT!Appraiser's Club
-> The best appraisal management companies to work with
-> How to do marketing for non-lender work
-> How to be found in your local area online… and why that’s so important
-> Websites: How to set yours up so you can get found in the search engines
-> The right way to build your list and do follow-up (and how to automate a huge percentage of it!)
-> How to build relationships that will send you an endless stream of leads
-> How to use direct mail effectively (i.e. without losing money!)
-> The fastest and easiest way to get #1 rankings in Google (just wait until you see what we were able to accomplish for other appraisers!)
-> One way to reach your list within minutes… and all but guarantee they see your message
-> How you doing LESS work can actually grow your business 10x faster
-> And much, much more!

I hope to see you there!

Bryan Knowlton


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20th November 2015

Gap Between Homeowner and Appraiser Value Opinions Continues to Narrow

This has got to be a good thing!

reposted from:


  • by Kevin Graham

Homeowners continue to overestimate the value of their homes, according to the results of a survey released today by Quicken Loans. The good news is the gap between homeowner and appraiser opinion got smaller for the second straight month.

Looking at values, they increased more than 1% in October after being close to flat in September.

Home Price Perception Index (HPPI)

Gap Between Homeowner and Appraiser Value Opinions Continues to Narrow - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Homeowners still think their homes are worth more than appraiser estimates, but the gap is narrowing. It’s down to 1.98% from 2% in September. This is heading in the right direction.

Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters said the move toward price agreement is good news for those looking to get a mortgage.

“It’s too early to call it a trend, but it is encouraging to see the gap between the estimates homeowners provide and the appraised values starting to narrow,” said Walters. “The more homeowners are in line with appraisers, the easier it will be to refinance their mortgage and easier for those looking to buy a home. If the two are aligned, it eliminates one of the top stumbling blocks in the mortgage process.”

Taking a look at regional data, estimates are the most out of whack in the Northeast where homeowners think their homes are worth 2.17% more than appraisers do. This is followed by the Midwest with a difference of 2.16%, and the South, where the gap is 1.92%. The West is closest to par with homeowners overestimating their property value by 1.74%.

Finally, we have metropolitan data. Homeowners in San Diego are in total agreement with appraisers in terms of home prices. Meanwhile, homeowners in San Jose, CA, continue to drastically undervalue their homes, with appraiser estimates coming in 5.10% higher. Homes in Philadelphia are the most overvalued by their owners with a 3.63% difference.

Home Value Index (HVI)

Gap Between Homeowner and Appraiser Value Opinions Continues to Narrow - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Speaking of those home values, they were up 1.07% in October. In addition, values are at 4.01% since the same time last year.

Walters said value increases could mean more homes become available on the market.

“Home values continue to make steady, healthy growth,” said Walters. “Equity gains increase homeowner faith and enthusiasm in the housing market. There are still many Americans underwater, but with every bump in equity more homeowners who have been waiting to list their home are able to sell or more easily refinance – which takes pressure off of those homeowners and provides housing inventory for first time homebuyers.”

Much of the home value increase occurred in the Northeast where the value was up 1.94%. The Midwest was next, gaining 0.92% in value, followed by the South, which gained 0.55%. The West brought up the rear with an increase of 0.49%.

The Quicken Loans Home Price Perception and Home Value Indexes are released on the second Tuesday of each month on the Quicken Loans Press Room.




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18th November 2015

Holiday Slowdown?

Hey Fellow Appraisers!

2015 Appraisal Management Company DirectoryDon’t let the slow holiday season get you down, the directory is updated for 2015 and I also updated and added a new chapter on how to use the AMC Directory to sign up only to companies listed in your state. That should save you a bunch of time when applying to the appraisal management companies.

And finally, this list not only includes the top companies that I recommend all appraisers to sign up to due to pay, turn around time or other factors, but for more than 99% of the companies listed, I have already done the research and found the direct link to their online applications. You won’t believe how much time that is going to save you in the registration process.

This isn’t just a list of appraisal management companies with phone numbers and maybe a website listing. I spend the time to get the contact information for each of the companies, find their online applications and more. If they don’t have an online application, they don’t get on my list. If they appear to be another appraiser looking to sign up other appraisers for a fee split, I don’t add them to my list either. If they are known not to pay their appraisers or have had problems paying appraisers in the past, they definitely don’t make it on my list. I have even tried to note as much as possible which companies state they have commercial work as well. I have registered with most of the companies in my directory except for some of the latest entries and when they have good work, they get moved up to the top of the list.

With interest rates still at an all time low and talks of softening lending practices, 2015 could possibly be your best year ever working with the appraisal management companies. But you won’t get ANY work from them if you don’t sign up to them.

Buy the 2015 AMC Directory and start signing up today. I have been completely swamped with AMC work for years now, giving me the ability to cherry pick the best work available from a variety of companies and never get paid less than my customary and reasonable fees. I average over $450 per order, the lowest fee I have accepted in the past year was $325 and the highest $2000. Get your copy today.

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13th November 2015

Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

I thought this was kinda hilarious, but it looks like there might be 2 good points in the article.  If the service gives you the ability to avoid multiple background checks for the AMC’s for a small $$$ per year, that is a good deal.  The other idea I liked is how a San Diego appraiser made his own badge years ago because it makes people feel better.  That is a good idea as well.

reposted from: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/nov/06/appraiser-id-system-california/

I.D. plan for appraisers gets mixed response

By Phillip Molnar | 5:10 p.m. Nov. 6, 2015

Usually once or twice in a person’s lifetime, they nervously let an appraiser into their home to photograph each room and take notes to assess just how much their nest egg is worth.

Appraisers are not required to provide identification, even a driver’s license, when they come to a house, do not always look the part and can cause alarm if not expected. One Orange County company says that is a problem.

Six months ago, Mission Viejo-based Comergence rolled out something the appraisal industry has never had — shiny ID badges.

By looking at a badge with an appraisers’ Comergence number and photo, home and business owners can verify who appraisers are through Comergence’s online system, which may end up being its major benefit.

But, does anyone actually need a badge? …continue reading the rest of this post: Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

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