I’ve been appraising for years with my husband, and we’ve seen busy times, slow times, moderate pressure, high pressure, but we’ve never experienced the whirlwind changes that have rocked the appraisal world in just the past few months. The industry has been drastically changed, and in most cases not for the better.
But unfortunately, the new regulations and heightened scrutiny is not without some merit. Our work has seen an increase (from none) in appraisal reviews, and what we have seen is shocking. Some appraisals were legitimate and accurate, some were pushing the limits a little, but then there were some that were blatant fraud. PMI companies that have been left holding the bag on the scams enabled through inflated appraisals are refusing to pay claims….and rightly so. We’ve seen houses that should have been appraised for about $450,000, given the stamp of approval for a 100% loan for $900,000 (you can guess how long the payments were made on that). We’ve even seen over 100 condos in one development get appraised by an out of town individual for $75,000 too much….EACH! They’re all in foreclosure right now.
The banks are taking losses in the millions, and all of those loans were enabled by APPRAISERS. Now, I am an appraiser. Appraisers are not to blame for all that has happened, but unfortunately, some very bad appraisers are responsible for a lot of losses and fraud. And those people, many whom have left their licenses behind, have ruined it for those of us who are responsible and ethical.
Those of us trying to continue making an honest living are left with outrageous scrutiny, lower fees, tighter deadlines, and some really frustrating work. We get questions like, “Why did you use that comp?”, to which I want to scream, “Because there are a limited number of comps, you keep asking for more (without more pay), and this is all there is, you %$#*&@#!” We’ll include narrative regarding the subject being on a busy street and make appropriate adjustments to comps, only to have the report sent back with, “The subject appears to be on a busy street, but Comp #2 was not adjusted and appears to be on a busy street, please elaborate.” WHAT!?!?!? If I said it’s on a busy street and made no adjustment, then IT’S ON A BUSY STREET! Read the report!!!!
I do understand a certain amount of pressure AMC’s are under to keep big clients happy, however, considering the new rules regarding FHA appraisals and tighter regulations on licensing, they may also want to keep some experienced appraisers happy as well. And I understand the suspicions of the banks…appraisers rubber-stamped bad deals, and banks are distrustful. But there has to be some middle gound. They need to loosen their wallets (now fat from the government) and allow appraisers to do their jobs. Most of us are hard-working, ethical, and really enjoy our work. I hope it gets more enjoyable soon!
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