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/.

posted in Appraiser News | Comments Off on CFPB’s new tool to help you plan for retirement

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:

http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/gap-between-homeowner-and-appraiser-value-opinions-continues-to-narrow

  • 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.

posted in Appraiser Marketing | Comments Off on Holiday Slowdown?

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!

posted in Appraiser News | Comments Off on Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!

11th November 2015

Oh great – another opinion on the appraisal process

BY KENNETH HARNEY

Appraisal ‘adjustments’ can cause trouble

Whether you’re a homebuyer, seller or looking to refinance, you probably know the crucial importance of appraisals: They can limit the amount of mortgage money you’re allowed to borrow, delay your closing or even totally mess up what you thought was a done deal.

According to survey research provided by the National Association of Realtors, more than one out of five home real estate contracts gets delayed before closing because of disagreements or problems connected with the appraisal. Eleven percent of sales contracts that explode before final signing involve appraisal issues.

That’s a lot. Say you’ve found a buyer for your house who’ll pay you $400,000. Suddenly an appraiser says it’s really worth $365,000, based on analysis of “comparable” properties sold recently in the area. Now your buyer balks and threatens to pull the plug if you don’t slash the price. You and your listing agent challenge the appraisal and demand to see what sort of comparable sales and other calculations were used to come up with a value $35,000 below what a buyer was prepared to pay. …continue reading the rest of this post: Oh great – another opinion on the appraisal process

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21st October 2015

TSI Appraisal is hiring staff appraisers

This is one of the good companies to work for.  You should check it out.

 

TSI Appraisal is expanding its appraisal network across the United States. We’re seeking highly skilled candidates to fill numerous open staff appraiser positions in these areas:

$5,000 Signing Bonus:

  • Denver, CO
  • Texas (statewide)
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Washington (statewide)
$2,500 Signing Bonus:

  • Florida (statewide)
  • Massachusetts (statewide)
  • Ohio (statwide)

Check out the amazing benefits that you’ll get as a TSI Appraisal staff appraiser:

  • An award-winning benefits package including healthcare, vision and dental coverage
  • Opportunity to work with a team of appraisers dedicated to your success
  • A program built for appraisers by appraisers
  • A consistent work volume with first choice of assignments in your coverage area

TSI Appraisal, a division of Title Source, is a leading Appraisal Management Company (AMC) that provides a variety of valuation products and services nationwide. TSI Appraisal facilitates 2,000 appraisals every business day. We utilize industry best practices, advanced data analytic tools and employ an unparalleled commitment to customer service. The company was named as a Detroit Free PressTop Workplace for the last six consecutive years.

 

Find out more and complete our short appraisal evaluation at:
www.tsiappraisal.com/appraisers

 

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15th October 2015

Claims, Complaints and E&O Insurance

Note: The following is excerpted from the free insurance webinar Expert’s Corner: Claims, Complaints and E&O Insurance presented by David Brauner, Senior Insurance Broker of OREP.org.

Claims, Complaints and E&O Insurance
By David Brauner, Senior Insurance Broker OREP

E&O vs. General Liability
First some background. Errors & Omissions (E&O) is malpractice insurance for mistakes in your report- say you measure square footage incorrectly. General Liability (GL) covers property damage and bodily injury while you’re at the premises and more. Examples of GL claims are, if during a walkthrough you knock over and break a vase (property damage), or back over and injure a homeowner as you exit the driveway (bodily injury). Business Owners Packages (BOPs) typically go beyond the job site, providing coverage for losses to your own business, such as a trip and fall at your office, loss of business due to fire or theft, a data breach and other coverages, depending on the policy. The minimum premium for a BOP is about $500. With the increased liability shouldered by appraisers as a result of the new FHA requirements- like testing appliances and the various systems of a house, this coverage is being added by more and more appraisers.

Claims Made and Coverage for Prior Acts
Your E&O insurance policy is almost certainly “Claims Made.” This means that for the insurance company to respond to a claim, the claim must be reported while the policy is in force. I agree that it’s confusing and counterintuitive, but all appraiser policies work the same way, and in the end, here’s all you need to know: renew your policy before it expires. As long as the policy has not expired and there is continuous coverage going back to the appraisal in question, there should be coverage.

How does a policy expire? It expires if you don’t renew it on or before the expiration date. You can switch carriers at renewal time and keep all your back coverage, as long as you renew before the policy expires and provided the new carrier offers Prior Acts coverage. Prior Acts coverage covers all your work going back to the Inception Date of the policy. The Inception Date is referred to as the Retro Date on most policies, which again, refers to how far back your coverage goes. You’ll find your Retro Date on the Declarations Page, which is one of the first pages of your insurance policy. Check out your own Retro Date to see how far back your coverage goes.

Prior Acts Example: a claim surfaces today from an appraisal you completed four years ago; you did have E&O insurance at the time you completed the appraisal. You’ve kept your E&O policy in force (did not let it expire). That claim should be covered now and you are happy and relieved. Here’s the other scenario: you let that policy expire sometime between when you did the report four years ago and when it surfaces. In this case, that claim is not covered, even though you had insurance when you did the appraisal in question, and even though you may be covered today. This does not make anyone happy. Solution: do not let your insurance policy expire. Again, you can switch insurance companies as long as it is before your policy expires and the company you’re switching to provides prior acts (not all do provide prior acts, so ask the question). If you let your policy expire for any reason, you lose coverage for past work. If you’re quitting appraising or retiring, see below. This is the most important information to understand about your E&O insurance. And by the way, we have seen claims recently from appraisals completed as far back as 2005.

Responding to a Claim or State Board Complaint
There are several reasons why you should notify your E&O insurance company immediately of a civil claim from a private source or a complaint from your state board. First, it’s wise to let the experts handle it: many E&O providers have free, anonymous help lines and other expert assistance; some with a zero deductible. Don’t make things worse by responding on your own. If it’s found to be frivolous, chances are your premium will not be affected, or at least not by much.

The second reason to report immediately is that most policies include “duty to report” language, which means exactly what it says: you have a duty to report the claim/compliant in a timely manner. Reason three for getting the claim/complaint on the record is that it allows the insurance to do its job and protect you. Imagine this scenario: a seemingly frivolous claim surfaces which you report to your carrier, but hear nothing more about for eight months. In the interim, you let your E&O policy expire either intentionally or accidently. Because you got the claim on the record during the policy period when it first surfaced, the policy should respond to a claim that surfaces later even though the policy is no longer in force and regardless of whether you have current coverage. It is in your best interests to report a complaint or claim right away. If you do not report it and let your insurance lapse, that claim will not be covered later, even though you were covered when you did the appraisal.

Expert Help
Seek the help of experts on USPAP and the workings of your state appraisal board before responding or signing any consent decree because, chances are, it most likely will have an adverse effect on your business, no matter how harmless it may seem at first. We talk a good deal more about this in the webinar. There are numerous documented instances of appraisers being charged with “USPAP violations” by their state board, when in fact, the issues cited were not violations of USPAP at all. Get the help of a USPAP expert first. (OREP members enjoy a free consultation with Bob Keith, MNAA, IFA, Former Executive Director and Compliance Coordinator for the Oregon Appraisal Board.)

Next, respond to any claim or complaint professionally and cogently. Furnish a well-thought out, factual, courteous response. If you dash off an error-ridden, sloppy, disorganized reply, it will be assumed that you appraise the same way. If you’re dealing with a claims adjuster at an insurance company, you’ll receive expert help either way, but why alienate someone who is there to help you? Give yourself every chance for success by being pleasant and professional. This also is good advice when explaining a claim or complaint to a prospective carrier you’re shopping after the issue is closed. If you can explain the issues clearly, take responsibility where it’s merited and discuss strategies for ensuring that it does not happen again, you stand a much better chance of being offered insurance terms with multiple carriers, which gives you more choice in deciding who you want to do business with. Not everyone is a good writer but most everyone knows someone who is-reach out for help.

Try not to antagonize anyone, especially at your state board. When dealing with your board, be courteous but realize that the process is adversarial in nature. Don’t let your guard down (and seek the help of experts first). If you and your team realize after close review that you made a mistake, admit it and cite any new procedures you’ve created to prevent a reoccurrence. We discuss various strategies in the webinar but the bottom line is, don’t take a board complaint or a civil claim lightly, no matter how busy you are or how frivolous it appears- it can have long-lasting effects on your livelihood.

Little White Lies
Please disclose claims and complaints to your insurance company. We assume that no one would intentionally conceal a claim on an insurance application, especially in this era of big data. But it is possible, if you’re not careful, to conceal something inadvertently. For example: a homeowner complains to your state board that you are incompetent because his house is obviously worth more than you appraised it for, and he lost the loan. It doesn’t get any more frivolous than this. But we see it happen. Maybe the real estate agent piles on with a complaint of their own because they also are upset over the “killed” deal. You get a letter from your state board to which you respond professionally and with the help of experts. Now you hear nothing for nine months: so far so good. It’s time to renew your insurance and you decide not to mention it on your renewal application because it’s obviously gone away or, if you’re switching companies, you fail to mention it on the application for the new carrier. Even if you’re in a hurry to get the renewal drudgery over with, don’t make the mistake of not reporting it and believing that it took care of itself. It probably didn’t.

Find out the status of the complaint from your board and report it, even if it’s closed. If it’s not closed, you can expect a letter from the board eventually with possible notice that the investigation found “USPAP errors” in your workfile. Many times what they find has nothing to do with the original complaint, but they find something they don’t like and now you have a corrective order that you need to report- typically a fine and continuing education. When you report it, the insurance company is going to ask you why you failed to report it when it happened and then later on the renewal application. They will likely respond to the complaint- and any eventual claim that may arise from it, but they may cancel you for concealing the complaint. This makes it harder to get coverage from another carrier in the future (there is always a question on the application whether you have ever been denied coverage and why).

If at renewal you switched insurance companies and did not disclose the complaint to the new carrier, they may not respond to the complaint at all because you did not disclose it on the application. After all, they insured you based on a clean record. Folks, you don’t have much to lose by disclosing- chances are a frivolous complaint will not affect the cost of your insurance or the complexity of the renewal process. But the risk is great if you don’t disclose. It hurts to be punished for something you didn’t do but as they say- stuff happens. One thing you can control, however, is to not making things worse by hiding the facts. If the application asks you to report any claim or complaint in the past five years, do so, even if the complaint has been formally closed and you’ve been cleared. It should not make any difference.

Leaving Appraising/Retiring
If you are leaving appraising, consider “tail coverage” which covers your Prior Acts, or your past work, completed during the policy period on into the future. You pay for tail coverage one time to cover past work for up to three years into the future. If you’re of retirement age (65), check with your agent, you may be eligible for free tail coverage for life.

Odds and Ends
Choose $1 million in coverage when you’re setting your policy up; that is the minimum for most clients who require insurance. Third party indemnification clauses in many AMC contracts are troublesome but boil down to a business decision. The extra coverage AMCs require is available, however, usually for a modest additional premium- ask your agent. If you are an individual appraiser, purchasing an individual policy should be adequate. Individual policies are not intended to cover multiple appraisers; that’s what group policies are for. Keep your workfiles forever- it’s hard to defend yourself without it.

State of the Industry
If you have E&O insurance (95% of those who attended the free live webinar say they do), don’t worry- it’s the single best protection you can have. In the 20 years I have been selling appraiser’s E&O I have never heard of an insurance company failing to respond as they should (it’s called a duty to defend). Rates are down (slightly). The volume of claims we see is also down from the dark days following the financial collapse. While there are plenty of state board complaints, the frequency does not seem to be increasing. One in four appraisers who attended the webinar said they had had a board complaint; one in 10 said they had a claim. There are a couple of well-publicized “slip and fall” attorneys who have appraisers in their crosshairs these days, which is worrisome, but the truth is, if you have E&O insurance and get snared in one of these scams, report it to your carrier and go back to work. It won’t be pleasant but you should be covered.

You can listen to the entire free 90 minute webinar here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/9035428485556380417

posted in Appraiser News | Comments Off on Claims, Complaints and E&O Insurance

30th September 2015

Georgia Proposes AMC Fee Rule, Releases Fee Study

The Georgia Real Estate Appraisers Board on July 17 proposed a rule requiring appraisal management companies to pay appraisers customary and reasonable fees for appraisal services performed for single- to four-family residential dwellings. The Board also released the results of an appraisal fee study.
The proposed rule is the result of legislation passed during the state’s 2015 legislative session. A public hearing will be held Aug. 19 to take comments on the proposal.
If adopted, the rule would:

  • Give the Board authority to discipline AMCs for failing to comply with federal and state requirements to pay reasonable and customary fees;
  • Amend the time in which AMC payment obligations are satisfied;
  • Renumber existing rule provisions;
  • Give the Board the authority to contract with independent third parties to conduct surveys of fees previously paid to appraisers for use by AMCs electing to do so; and
  • Require AMCs to maintain certain records.

The Board also released its study of customary and reasonable fees paid in Georgia in 2014 for appraisal services being performed for single- to four-family residential dwellings. The Board commissioned the study so it could analyze non-AMC appraisal fees that the state’s lenders have paid and its appraisers have received.
Read the proposed rule and the results of the fee study.

posted in Appraisal Management Companies | Comments Off on Georgia Proposes AMC Fee Rule, Releases Fee Study



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