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.

posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 1 Comment

21st May 2013

Best List of Appraisal Management Companies


With all the appraisers looking for real estate appraisal work, Appraiser Income has updated their 2013 Appraisal Management company Directory for all real estate appraisers looking for more work.

(Newswire.net — May 16, 2013) San Diego, CA — The Rules Have Changed – Appraisers Unable to Market Directly to Lender.

With the passing of Frank-Dodd a few years back, appraisers were no longer to market their appraisal services directly to mortgage companies and real estate brokers. Since that time the appraiser would need to contact a third-party company called an Appraisal Management Company.

The problem is that there are numerous unlicensed appraisal management companies and real estate appraisers that are signed up with AMCs that refer the work to appraisers under their license for a substantial fee cut.

Bryan Knowlton has been publishing a list of appraisal management companies since 2007 and has recently updated his AMC directory to help appraisers find more real estate orders in their area.

Appraisers Have More Option

With the release of the latest update of the Appraisal Management Company Directory, real estate appraisers that have followed the marketing and sign-up information that comes with the directory will help them get more appraisal orders.

Chapters Include:
– Maximize orders with Appraisal Management Companies
– The AMC Application Process
– Make more $$$ with an Appraisal Management Company
– Links to online applications and emails
– List of Common Errors to Avoid
– Vendor Specific AMC Requirements
– Ordered by which companies that SEND ORDERS!

Bonus Chapters Included:
– Recession Proof Your Appraisal Business for the future
– Appraisal Company Marketing and how to maximize income
– Top Revenue Generating Techniques for 2013
– Maximizing Internet Orders through a top ranking website
– FHA Checklist and common errors to avoid

If you are a real estate appraiser looking for more work in your area, you should definitely check out his most recent release which can be found at AppraiserIncome.com

posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 1 Comment

2nd April 2013

Metro West Hiring Certified Appraisers

Now Hiring Certified Residential Appraisers!

You can be a part of our team and keep the feeling of independence.

Stop wondering when you will receive your next order and allow yourself the peace of mind of having stable work. Since 1987 we have provided quality valuation products throughout the United States. We offer the appraiser more than just a job; we provide an opportunity to prosper in a valuation career.
Take shelter from the real estate industry storm and join our team!

Multiple compensation plans are available to help you reach your income goals!

As our valued team member you will enjoy the following benefits:

Non-exclusive contract
Guaranteed bi-weekly paychecks
Free ACI or a la mode software and 24/7 support team
Medical insurance benefit program
Dental insurance
Vision insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance
$15,000 life insurance policy
Flexible spending account available for health care and dependent care
Errors & Omissions insurance
Free USPAP training
Free access to tech support for home office PCs and all business software

Proactive and engaged marketing team developing new client and business relationships

Quality control appraisal advisors and status support available Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET
Free CVR certification
Corporate partnership with DataMaster
Access to top research tools from Marshall & Swift
Employer FICA match, FUTA and SUTA taxes paid by Metro-West
401(k) retirement savings plan


Two recent UAD sample appraisals (at least one 1004 w/MC form)
Coverage area

For consideration please submit to careers@metrowestappr.com:

posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 0 Comments

5th March 2013

Solutionstar Settlement Services Aquires Equifax Settlement Services

I got this email today:

Equifax Settlement Services is pleased to announce it has been acquired by Solutionstar and is no longer affiliated with Equifax Inc. Solutionstar has great plans to continue to build this business to be the best in the industry. Shortly, we will be rebranding ourselves as Solutionstar Settlement Services. We are committed to this business and look forward to working with you.

Please do not reply to this email. More information will soon follow from your dedicated Vendor Management team.

Hopefully this will mean they do not outsource their reviewers and customer service to INDIA anymore…

Bryan Knowlton

posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 0 Comments

17th January 2013

When asked not to disclose if property has CO detectors

Some appraisal management companies are asking those in California NOT TO disclose if there are or aren’t Carbon Monoxide Detectors located inside a home.

Laws were recently passed in some states requiring inspection for home inspectors.

(1) For all existing single-family dwelling units intended for
human occupancy on or before July 1, 2011.

(2) For all other existing dwelling units intended for human
occupancy on or before January 1, 2013.

(b) With respect to the number and placement of carbon monoxide
devices, an owner shall install the devices in a manner consistent
with building standards applicable to new construction for the
relevant type of occupancy or with the manufacturer’s instructions,
if it is technically feasible to do so.

(c) (1) Notwithstanding Section 17995, and except as provided in
paragraph (2), a violation of this section is an infraction
punishable by a maximum fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a property owner shall receive
a 30-day notice to correct. If an owner receiving notice fails to
correct within that time period, the owner may be assessed the fine
pursuant to paragraph (2).

(d) No transfer of title shall be invalidated on the basis of a
failure to comply with this section, and the exclusive remedy for the
failure to comply with this section is an award of actual damages
not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100), exclusive of any court
costs and attorney’s fees. This subdivision is not intended to affect
any duties, rights, or remedies otherwise available at law.

If you are asked not to report the use of CO detectors in an appraisal report, you can disclose the fact that you are not required to perform this inspection.

You can state the actual law, or bill #’s (Per WA State RCW 19.27.530 / CA State: Per CA Senate Bill – SB183: CO Alarm(s)) and disclose that the appraisal inspection does not require CO detectors to be installed. Proper CO detection unknown; testing not done.

Bryan Knowlton

posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 1 Comment

21st December 2012

Evaluation Solutions / ES Appraisal Services Goes Morally and Financially Bankrupt

Here is some more information on the latest AMC bankruptcy. How many more is it going to take to get some changes made in the industry? AppraiserLoft screwed hard working appraisers out of $3 Million in unpaid invoices.

I have a feeling Evaluation Solutions / ES Appraisal Services is going to double that figure, maybe even triple. They have been screwing appraisers for years now.

This is a letter from their bankruptcy attorney:

FROM: Stutsman Thames & Markey, P.A.

Our firm has been retained to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding for the company. Evaluation Solutions lost its major client earlier this week and was forced to shut down operations. The fact that you are receiving this email means that you are in the system and we are aware of your claim. Once the Chapter 7 case is filed, you will receive a notice and instructions on what to do. A Trustee will be appointed to handle the claims administration process.

The company is not able to make payments on any outstanding invoices at this point.

This is a very large case. It will take our firm a week or two to get the necessary paperwork together. You should be receiving notice of the bankruptcy by mid to late January.

Thank you for your patience.

Brad Markey

Bradley R. Markey
Stutsman Thames & Markey, P.A.
50 N. Laura Street, Suite 1600
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
(904) 358-4000 (904) 358-4001 (Facsimile) brm@stmlaw.net

Additional articles on Evaluation Solutions / ES Appraisal Services:

– http://appraiserincome.com/2012/12/20/evaluation-solutions-es-appraisal-services-is-ceasing-operations-another-appraisersloft-amc-story/


Sorry for the bad news so close to Christmas.

You can also try sending your CHASE invoices to: accounts.payable.research.team@jpmchase.com this is for chase only.


posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 3 Comments

20th December 2012

Evaluation Solutions, ES Appraisal Services is ceasing operations – Another AppraisersLoft AMC Story…

I wasn’t surprised when I received this email today:

Due to unforeseen circumstances Evaluation Solutions, ES Appraisal Services is ceasing operations. Any inquires should be directed to :
Bradley R. Markey
Stutsman Thames & Markey, P.A.
50 N. Laura Street, Suite 1600
Jacksonville, Florida 32202
(904) 358-4000
(904) 358-4001 (Facsimile)

I was notified not too long ago from Treasure Valley Factors were no longer factoring their invoices, so it appeared thing were getting worse.

There has been a lot of appraisers talking about problems getting paid from Evaluation Solutions, ES Appraisal services for a very long time since my initial post here:
ES Appraisal Services – Evalonline.com Not Paying Appraisers

If any appraisers have any ideas on how to get paid, please post them below.

I know contacting the original lender listed on the appraisal has worked in the past, so you might try that route as well. Make sure to contact the company listed above.

Please make comments below.

Thank you!


posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 17 Comments

11th December 2012

Nations Valuation Services is looking for Appraisers

This company contacted me the other day stating they have an immediate need for appraisers. If you have any experience with this company, please leave comments below. If you want to give them a try, please follow the link below to register.



Nations Valuation Services is a nationwide appraisal management company established in 1992. Currently, our client base is growing at a rapid rate and because of this we are looking to expand our network of panel appraisers. We’re closing out over 15,000 assignments monthly and looking to share the wealth with you. We are looking for efficient, experienced, knowledgeable appraisers.

Click here to go to our signup web site.

Please have PDF copies of your license, E&O, and 2011 W-9 ready.

posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 8 Comments

5th September 2012

Urban Lending Solutions has an immediate need for appraisers

Urban Lending Solutions has an immediate need for appraisers

Urban Lending Solutions Appraisals

Panel Appraisers Needed

Description: uls.pngUrban Lending Solutions Appraisals, LLC (“ULSA”) was formed to provide a unique experience for AMC panel appraisers. We offer weekly payment cycles and a staff with real-world appraisal experience. In fact, ULSA’s team of staff appraisers has an average of 17 years of experience in the appraisal industry. We fully understand the obstacles encountered by panel appraisers, so ULSA maintains appraiser to appraiser communication for feedback on your appraisals.

We are accepting applications for our nationwide panel, with emphasis on the service areas below for immediate expansion:

CA: All counties
CO: All counties
CT: New London; Fairfield; Hartford
FL: All counties
IL: All counties
IN: All counties
MA: All counties
MI: All counties
MO: All counties
NH: All counties
NJ: Monmouth; Mercer
NY: Kings; Wayne; Queens
OH: All counties
PA: Allegheny; Cumberland; Erie; Lycoming; York; Butler
VT: Chittenden; Bennington

We look forward to you joining our panel! Apply today by contacting us below.

Link: http://www.urban-lsa.com/for-appraisers/for-appraisers
Email: appraiserapplications@urban-ls.com
Phone: 888.996.8060

Please provide feedback on this company below and make sure they are paying reasonable and customary fees! Thanks!


posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 5 Comments

3rd August 2012

DataQuick is Hiring Staff Appraisers

Appraisers—We Want You!

Opportunity is knocking! Expand your earnings potential…grow your business…maintain a steady volume of work! DataQuick, one of the nation’s leading service providers, is hiring certified residential appraisers nationwide. Since 1978, DataQuick has been a recognized leader in the property information industry. Staff Appraisers can benefit from the following at DataQuick:


Medical, dental & vision insurance

401(k) retirement savings plan

FREE — $40K Life and AD&D policies

Tax advantage accounts—FSA & HSA options

Bi-weekly payroll cycle

FICA & FUTA payroll tax paid by the company

$250 reimbursement for continuing education costs

Dedicated Appraisal Processors and Support available

FREE — Marshall & Swift SwiftEstimator cost replacement subscription
FREE — Workers Comp insurance
FREE — E & O insurance
FREE — Short term & Long term disability insurance
FREE — License renewal reimbursement
FREE — Access to tech support for business software
Appraisal software flexibility (ACI provided upon request)
Committed team of Senior Appraisers and Chief Appraiser for technical support

Join Our Team!

For consideration please submit the following to staffappraiser@dataquick.com

1. Appraiser License
2. Resume
3. Coverage Area
4. Two recent UAD reports with MC — 1004 and Condo


posted in Appraisal Management Companies | 4 Comments

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