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.

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26th September 2015

Sources say Bank of America sold LandSafe to CoreLogic

Bank of America (BAC) sold its appraisal management company LandSafe to CoreLogic (CLGX) for $70 million, according to industry sources. LandSafe employees were notified this week about the sale.
The sale answers industry rumors that first broke out in May, with top names like Solutionstar, Fidelity andSolidifi in the running to buy the company.
LandSafe Closing Services companies are affiliated with Bank of America to provide closing services, including appraisal, credit report and verification. Only the appraisal company of LandSafe was sold.
In the wake of the financial meltdown, the government sought to reform the appraisal process with the adoption of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct and by introducing appraisal management companies to ensure “arms-length” transactions.
[Read more about the industry in the February 2015 HousingWire Magazine in-depth feature “Appraisal Disruption.”]
On LandSafe’s website, it emphasizes that the issue of appraiser independence is taken very seriously at the company.
“As a company, we are firmly committed to ensuring our operational environment enables you to make an independent judgment of value for every property you are assigned to appraise, absent undue influence,” the site said.
AMCs provide appraisal management services to lenders, underwriters or other principles in the secondary mortgage markets, including contracting with licensed and certified appraisers to perform appraisal assignments.
Bank of America did not comment at the time of publication. CoreLogic declined to comment

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1st July 2015

2015 AMC Directory – get it here

Hey Fellow Appraisers! The newly updated 2015 AMC Directory is now available! After spending months editing the last update from July 2014, I have added over 30 new AMCs, removed some of the bad ones or the companies that have gone out of business and reformatted the top of the list to include the top 40 AMCs that are currently my best clients.

2015 Appraisal Management Company DirectoryI 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 new 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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22nd May 2015

2015 Appraisal Management Company Directory Now Available

Hey Fellow Appraisers! The newly updated 2015 AMC Directory is now available! After spending months editing the last update from July 2014, I have added over 30 new AMCs, removed some of the bad ones or the companies that have gone out of business and reformatted the top of the list to include the top 40 AMCs that are currently my best clients.

2015 Appraisal Management Company DirectoryI 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 new 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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4th December 2014

TSI Appraisal is Hiring Appraisers

TSI Appraisal Management Company

I totally stand behind TSI appraisal and would recommend any appraiser looking to become an employee of one of the good AMCs out there to find out more about TSI Appraisal.

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:

  • Austin, TX
  • Brownsville, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • Detroit, MI
  • El Paso, TX
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • McAllen, TX
  • San Antonio, TX

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 over 500,000 appraisals annually. We utilize industry best practices, advanced data analytic tools and employ and unparalleled commitment to customer service. The company was named as a Detroit Free Press Top 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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11th September 2014

Appraisal Management Company Fined For Late Payments

Editor’s Note: Getting paid- more evidence that meaningful AMC legislation at the state level is an appraiser’s best friend.

Appraisal Board Sanctions AMC for Late Payments
By Isaac Peck, Associate Editor – WorkingRE.com

Getting paid by appraisal management companies (AMCs) in a timely fashion has long been a challenge for appraisers, who, in many cases, have been forced to wait months for their money. While several state boards have adopted “prompt pay” provisions into their appraisal regulations, it is rare for AMCs to face formal sanctions over late payments. In what many will view as a win for rank and file appraisers, the North Carolina Appraisal Board (NCAB) recently assessed a civil penalty against an AMC, Residential RealEstate Review, Inc., for its failure to comply with North Carolina regulations which require AMCs to pay appraisers within 30 days of the submission of the appraisal (N.C.G.S. 93E-2-4[d]).

The Investigation
The civil penalty originated from a complaint filed in December 2013 by an appraiser who claimed the AMC failed to pay within 30 days. After receiving the complaint, NCAB requested an audit of the AMC’s payments to North Carolina appraisers for the calendar year 2013. After examining the payment schedules of the AMC, Residential RealEstate Review, NCAB discovered that out of 1,277 appraisal assignments in North Carolina that year, 74 of those payments were late- received later than the 30 day deadline.

On August 12, 2014, Residential RealEstate Review signed a Consent Order admitting to violating the North Carolina Appraiser’s Act by its failure to pay appraisers within 30 days and agreeing to pay a $1,000 fine. The penalty for subsequent violations can be as much as $25,000.

…continue reading the rest of this post: Appraisal Management Company Fined For Late Payments

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24th July 2014

Zaio Announces Acquisition of Axis Appraisal Management Solutions

CALGARY, July 23, 2014 /CNW/ – Zaio Corporation (TSX-V:ZAO), (“Zaio” or “the Company”), is pleased to announce that, as the result of a successful due diligence process, it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of Axis Appraisal Management Solutions Inc. (“Axis”) with Axis and shareholders holding 97% of the issued share capital of Axis. Zaio and Axis expect that the remaining shareholders will sign the definitive agreement by the end of the week, however, in any event the shares of any minority dissenting shareholders will be acquired pursuant to the dissent procedures under applicable legislation. …continue reading the rest of this post: Zaio Announces Acquisition of Axis Appraisal Management Solutions

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24th July 2014

2014 AMC Directory – Updated 07/01/2014

I thought I would make a little video to promote the new 2014 AMC Directory.  I have noticed work picking up and I am getting more work from the appraisal management companies over the past few months.

Still working on updating the appraisal management companies with all my current e&o information and such, I guess I got dropped from a lot of the panels because I did not keep my information updated.

It is always a good idea to go through your list of past Appraisal management companies that you don’t mind getting orders from and keep your information updated.  A lot of their systems don’t automatically send out reminders when information needs to be updated and you just won’t get any more offers.

Good luck out there! Happy appraising!

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11th April 2014

2014 Appraisal Management Company Directory Now Available!

I just wanted to let everyone know the new 2014 AMC Directory is now available! You can find it inside of the store.

On this last update, I went through the entire list of appraisal management companies and removed any of the companies that have had problems paying appraisers, those that have gone out of business as well as adding a bunch of new companies to the list. They are all clickable links on the electronic version and a printed version is also available for those that want to write their usernames and passwords directly in to the book.

With the incredible slowdown that has been experienced recently, it is a great time to update all of your information with the AMCs and sign up to a bunch of new companies. The list has over 275 companies with the top 47 on the list are the companies that sent me the most work in the past year. There is still a lot of work out there.

2014 AMC DirectoryWhy are you not getting the appraisal orders?

There are a lot of reasons why you might not be getting a ton of work from the appraisal management companies. Topping the list of reasons is due to document updating when you get a new license or e&o insurance. You can also reach out to all the appraisal management companies by phone to speak with the vendor managers. AMCs like to work with appraisers that reach out to them and you might even get on their preferred list of appraisers.

Of course fees vary from one company to the next. I have not accepted less than customary and reasonable fees for many years now and I am not about to get started. A lot of these AMCs still work with the fees with appraisers as long as you explain the situation.

 

Well, I just wanted to let everyone know the new directory is available and you can order your copy today. Thanks again for being a valued subscriber to Appraiser Income! http://appraiserincome.com/shop/catalogue.php

Wishing you success in 2014,
Sincerely,
Bryan Knowlton
http://www.appraiserincome.com

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5th June 2013

“Checkbox Chimps” and Review Appraisals

by David Brauner and Isaac Peck – WorkingRE.com

Appraisers are coining a new term for certain appraisal management company (AMC) staff – “Checkbox Chimps.” These are the personnel who are “reviewing” appraisals, and no matter how solid they may be, are instructing appraisers to change their reports.

Are they really providing an “appraisal review” or are they just checking boxes on a form?

Are these personnel allowed to issue instructions to appraisers? Are their demands crossing the line from standard requests for additional information to subtle attempts at illegal influence and improper intrusion into the process?

Appraisers are being inundated by irrelevant requests like – instructions to re-label photographs, additional alternative street scenes or explaining the obvious – for instance, asking whether a porch is covered.

AMCs defend their quality control requests, arguing that if appraisers did their jobs correctly the first time… but appraisers ask, what does a covered porch have to do with quality control?

What bothers many appraisers these days- even more than low fees- is the constant and what seems like “unnecessary” challenges to their reports by AMC staff, who in many instances, appear to be less than qualified or competent than they are. Most appraisers know firsthand the extent to which this bogs down the process and negatively affects their efficiency and profitability. Not to mention delaying or killing deals. Few understand that some of this behavior may be at odds with state and federal regulation.

There are differences between what is proper and what is in violation of state and federal laws, according to expert Richard Hagar, SRA, as per the OREP/Working RE Webinar Appraisal Review and the Law.

Reviewing for “Completeness”
According to Hagar, employees of an AMC are permitted to “review” a report for completeness. They can ask questions to verify all required information is included- photographs, sketches, maps, flood numbers, certifications, signatures, etc.: Is the address correct; the homeowner’s name spelled correctly?

AMC staff is allowed to ask for additional information and clarifications that help the client understand the report. They are also allowed, in limited circumstances, to ask the appraiser to consider additional information that might not have been considered in the original appraisal. However, as Hagar states, there are limits on what is considered “additional information.” “In most of the instances that I’ve reviewed, the original appraiser already considered the ‘additional information’ that the AMC is asking about,” said Hagar. “So it appears that the AMC did not read the entire report, or failed to comprehend what they read.”

Review Appraising
While any AMC staff person is allowed to look at an appraisal and verify that it’s complete, only a state certified or licensed appraiser is permitted, by various state and federal laws, to challenge the appraiser on value or criticize the adequacy of the appraisal.

AMCs are trying to ignore or find wiggle room in how laws define “appraisal review” or what constitutes a challenge to an appraiser’s value or methodology. To most appraisers, this question is black and white.

According to Hagar, no one is allowed to have an opinion regarding the value of a property or the quality of an appraisal except a licensed/certified (review) appraiser. “Are AMC staff just reading the report and ensuring that it is complete? Or are they critiquing the quality of the report? Once someone starts questioning the quality of your comparables, or offering an opinion on the quality of a report, they have to be a licensed/certified appraiser, or they’re in violation of state law in most cases,” Hagar says. “If you go on to have an opinion regarding the report’s USPAP compliance, you have to be trained in USPAP.”

Hagar says to look at some of the lawsuits launched by the federal government against LandSafe and Bank of America. The suits contend that “reviewers” inside LandSafe were not just geographically incompetent and lacked proper training- in some instances they were not even licensed or certified. Yet these people were “reviewing appraisals” and telling good appraisers how to do their jobs!

So, it’s one thing to correct a typo and quite another to criticize an appraiser’s approach to value or comp selection. The line is crossed when “requesting clarification” turns into passing judgment on an appraisal, Hagar says.

Chapter and Verse
There are at least 32 states that have already approved AMC regulation legislation-these laws have not only mandated that any appraisal review be done by a licensed appraiser in that state, but they define a “review appraiser” and an “appraisal review,” effectively establishing guidelines on who is allowed to offer an “opinion” on the adequacy of an appraisal or make certain requests of an appraiser. For instance, the Arizona AMC Law states:

32-3601. Definitions
5. “Appraisal review” means the act of reviewing of the report that follows a review of an appraisal assignment or appraisal report in which a real estate appraiser forms an opinion as to the adequacy and appropriateness of the report being reviewed.
18. “Review appraiser” means a person who engages in the activity of reviewing and evaluating the appraisal work of others from the perspective of an appraiser, generally for compensation as a separate skill. This includes the function of reviewing an appraisal report or a file memorandum setting forth the results of the review process.

32-3603. License or certificate use; exception
A. All real estate appraisals and appraisal reviews performed on real property in this state shall be performed only by individuals licensed or certified in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.

According to Hagar, it’s not just state law, but there are also clauses in Dodd-Frank, FIRREA, and the Inter-Agency Guidelines that reinforce state laws and what they say about who can pass judgment on an appraisal. He also cites language from the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) in the webinar, which mandates appraisal reviews be completed by appraisers certified and licensed in the state in which the subject property is located.

Quoting Hagar from the webinar (Appraisal Review and the Law), he says: “Reviewing is no place for an amateur. Only the unaware, the misleading, the foolish, or the people who are attempting quick, simple and, cheap are trying to get around the laws.”

His advice: Do the job right and according to the law and we will all be better off.

If you would like a copy of the lawsuit against Landsafe and Bank of America, regarding their alleged use of uncertified appraisers, send a request to Isaac at issac@orep.org.

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