July 24th, 2006
Working Real Estate is a magazine devoted to real estate appraisal and home inspection. They publish a traditional paper magazine, and also an email version. They recently published an article about me, with a reference to a complaint that has been posted on this Website since (about) December 2005.
Below are the comments I received.
My comment: Everyone has their own point of view. If you take the time to read all the comments, it gives some insight on the way things are. (Nearly) Everyone agrees there is a problem. Very few are willing to do anything about it.
I just read about the complain that you filed on an appraisal that (I assume ) you reviewed as a review assignment.
I am sooo glad to hear that someone is actually acting and not just talking.
I have wanted to do this myself several times but have always been afraid to because I wasn't sure of how to work the complaint properly so that the DOC would understand it fully and would (hopefully) act upon it.
If more appraisers would follow your example I believe we would be able to get this industry back to being seen as being professional and unbiased.
If you could give me any added advise as to how to put together a complaint I would love any advise you can give. Now at least I have somewhat of a model in which to look at if and when I feel the need to file a complaint on any future "bad" reports I review.
Good for you Phil!! I am also sick of crooked/incompetent apprasiers. I have a complaint out against a firm I worked for for one week and it has taken the state 2 months just to decide to pursue it. I know it will not be fun (they were decidedly fraudulent), but I could not let it go.
I'm glad other appraisers are doing the same thing. if we don't, they'll just keep getting away with it.
Should an appraiser give a negative adjustment for concessions/credit etc. on the grid to the sales comparables and the subject's property?
The concessions are a cost to sell property? Roof repair, plumbing, general upkeep, closing cost etc...
In reference to an article in Working RE Magazine.
I've turned in 12 appraisers in the last 3 months for bogus reports that generally error due to omission of fact. The worst being a "typical" home for area being within 65' of a 400' long manufacturing facility, the only residentially zoned property within a 1/4 mile and on a four lane state highway. Comparables were all in off street areas adjacent to other similar homes.
Keep the faith, get a CCW and watch your behind. This type of profession clearing will make you a better appraiser. You have to be sure that your work product is impecable or you will open yourself to nit-pickin by those you nailed.
Randall R. Davis SRPA/SRA
I just read the case that you present. The quick question that comes to mind is did you verify the MLS information prior to filing a complaint? I know from my experience that by relying on information inputted by realtors on MLS can be the kiss of death. Also, were you privy to the P&S? It is possible that the P&S had no seller concession and that what was reported on MLS was a sales tactic. I agree that the appraiser should have disclosed what was on MLS in the report so as to not be misleading.
As the article is written though, it appears there is a heavy reliance on secondary data versus primary.
Dear Mr. Rice:
I read the article about the negligent appraisal. I commend you for your efforts. I am also very sick and tired of fraudulent appraisers and fraudulent lenders who think that engaging in these types of practices is "understood".
The example given in the article is a mild infraction compared to what I see on a regular basis. I have seen $150 per SF credited to replacement cost in the Cost Approach and only $5 per SF applied to adjustments in the Sales Comparison Approach where, of course, only larger homes were used as comps! All to hit a target value quite naturally.
I have a question I was hoping you could answer. While appraiser behavior is really bad, I feel it is the lenders which are really dictating this bad behavior. I cannot tell you how many appraisal assignments I have to turn back because the lender wants a valuation prior to my going out to the property!. Are there any laws regulating lenders that pertain to how appraisal request have to be made? I would be happy to turn in some of these lenders if such laws exist.
I have actually had lenders tell me that when they assign appraisals, that a verbal request is made to the appraiser who follows up with submission of a short form which gives a suggested value. All this prior to the actual assignment of the appraisal assignment! I am really sick of this kind of stuff and many other games which lenders play.
Additionally, I have no sympathies for appraisers who play along with these games and pay the consequences in the form of disciplinary actions. Fraudulent appraisers make honest appraisers look bad because the values we obtain appear low by comparison. It really is time for a change.
I just read the article from Working RE magazine. I, too, am a certified residential appraiser that is fighting the same issue in my area. I have appraisers coming into my rural area from 150 miles away to hit the number and they are charging much higher fees than I do. Lenders will pay high fees to get the loan and with the loan fees $3,000-to-$5,000 and up, what is an extra $200-to-$300 appraisal fee? I keep thinking it will work itself out but it won't as long as there is no penalty on the lenders as well as the appraisers. They simply say I don't know what it is worth, I was depending on the appraiser and leave the appraiser to hang out to dry. The appraiser gets punished, they get the loan and commission, and the borrower is upside down on his house.
I just visited your web site. WOW – thank you for your diligence. Are you a review appraiser or are you watching these transactions from MLS, Public Records, or ???
What you are doing is great! I try to perform high quality appraisals and am always glad when I see an appraiser that is caught trying to cut corners.
Keep up the good work! If I can help in any way, do not hesitate to call.
I read your account of the complaint in RE.
As a member of the MO Real Estate Appraiser Commission, I want to thank you for steeping up and making the complaint. I like many other appraisers am sick and tired of loosing business to the MAKE THE NUMBER APPRAISERS. WE all know who the MAKE THE NUMBERS appraisers are, but only a hand full of appraisers will step take the time to make the complaint.
I teach for a local education provider and one national education provider, everywhere I teach in my home state some appraiser always ask me WHY the commission has not taken some appraisers license away, because everyone knows that appraiser is DIRTY. When I tell them to make the complaint if they KNOW I get the same response, IT AINT MY JOB its YOURS as a commission member.
SO my hat is off to you THANKS for helping clean up our profession. YES PROFESSION but for the most part I think the MAKE THE NUMBERS to gain work will turn us back into an industry.
THE MO commission just completed disciplinary action against an appraiser that started 4 years ago. YEP the attorneys kept the case going for 4+ years. SO THE BAD appraiser worked another 4 years, I only wonder how many FRAUD type reports he completed during the past 4 years??????
BUT it is a start.
I have turned in several appraisers in MO so I no longer am ask to provide REVIEW appraisals. It is my opinion that I am obligated to submit FRAUDULENT appraisals to the regulatory agency.
Glennon R. Polete, IFAS
I was just alerted as to your site http://www.mkgappraisal.com/Site_Map.htm. I’m tied up for the next few days but perhaps there is a good time for you and me to chat on the phone – are there any days/times that work best for you?
We’ve been tackling appraiser and regulator corruption up here in Washington and we have a website also – check us out at www.AppraiserLicensingReform.Com.
I’m thinking we need to compare notes and put our heads together on some things….
George E. Nervik
Just wanted to comment on your complaint of a fellow appraiser......
I, too, have made a complaint with our state board approximately 2 or 3 years ago. At that time, I had only been appraising approx. 4 years. However, the appraisal was blatantly misleading in my opinion, and I was advised to proceed with the complaint.
It took approximately 4 - 6 months to be resolved and in the end, the appraiser was not reprimanded as the information for which I was referring to, mysteriously "disappeared" from our local MLS (even though I sent a copy from a previous file). Apparently he had no knowledge subject property was recently listed prior to his report for approximately $30,000 LESS than his opinion of value?! Because I was familiar with the property, and was asked to review his report, was the only reason I "caught" the flaw......the appraiser was also located approximately 3 1/2 hours from Central Oregon and in my view, was not competent to complete the report. The comparables that were used, in my opinion, were not most meaningful for our marketplace, hence the over inflated value.
At any rate, I commend you for "being the bad guy", as I'm sure some of us would view you. However, it is frustrating when these appraiser's aren't reprimanded for simple due diligence, let alone ethical practices, etc. There will always be good and bad appraisers but with our help, maybe a few less?
Have a terrific Friday!
Gail L. Wood
My name is Ed Jones and I am an appraiser in Louisiana and like you I have become fed up with appraisers that don't have integrity. I read your story in Working RE magazine and it brought to mind the first case I sent to our state. The report that I turned in had fraud in all three comp's that was as clear cut as it gets. I had completed a field review and provided the state with all supporting information so that there really was nothing for them to do but punish the appraiser. You complained that it was taking almost a year in your case, well it took the state of Louisiana 23 months before they took this individual's license away for 5 years and fined him $5,000. The process is slow, but just have patience and keep reporting these unethical appraisers to the state.
Comment date: 07/06/06
Your complaint as outlined in the Working RE mag is a common everyday occurance as you most assuredly know in our area. Now we are reaping the decline in values which is primarily a decline due to the concessions, and my foreclosure business is on the rise.
I've started checking a declining market in many areas of the Front Range. And, I put the blame squarely on the appraisers since there is no real penalty for the few times they get "caught." Concessions - kickbacks - incentives -- whatever you want to call them are wrecking our market.
My practice is primarily reviews - I do not do mortgage broker work, but would sure like to find a way to suspend these appraisers for the first offense since it is apparent they are negligent, not necessairly incompetent.
Comment dated 07/12/06
I read your article in RE. I am a Florida St. Cert. Res. appraiser. Thought I'd share a situation with you and get your thoughts.
First, I was mentored by an MAI and obtained my cert. March 2006. I opened my own practice March 14. My integrity is everything to me. I love the honor of our profession. I have worked diligently to establish my reputation in my community as a professional and a person of integrity. So it simply kills me when I review reports or talk w/ others about fraud, competency, etc.
Earlier this year when I was a trainee and still employed by my mentor, I received a phone call from the principal of an appraisal management company who subsequently put enormous pressure on me to over state the value. He even said, "You better get it right because there's the way it should be and the way it is. The client must be satisfied, etc." Naturally I quoted USPAP which sent him into the atmosphere. I hung up on him and he called my mentor who, much to my disappointment, stated that he was right, I was just a trainee and shouldn't be quoting USPAP to him. He did admit what the guy did was wrong but didn't want to take any action.
The more I thought about it the angrier I got. I did write up a complaint and began to call agencies to see where to file it. As of this date, I cannot get a clear answer. I did end up filing with the federal fraud dept. in Pensacola but if they were moving any slower they'd be in reverse. The feedback I get is that this situation is uncharted territory. How do you file against the appraisal management company? They were not identified in the report as the client.
The principal is a St. Cert. Res. in 4 or 5 states. Not Florida but in the NE. He also sent a general email stating that all must do a cost approach at no charge for the clients since, "We all know that a cost approach only takes 8 seconds." I found this statement extremely offensive. This guy is a runaway train and is damaging our profession and more importantly not fulfilling the Preamble of USPAP...i.e. the Public Trust.
Robert D. Mims IV
"You cannot have a little Integrity or a lot of Integrity. There is no sliding scale for Integrity. You either have it or you don't."
Good for you! Unfortunately, I have not been that lucky. My state (Ohio) seems to not care if an appraiser complains about another appraiser. From what I have heard the board treats it as sour grapes. I have turned in an appraiser twice but nothing ever happens. And I have lost a few clients over the years because I do not always "hit the number" that they want.
You would not believe this appraiser. He did an appraisal on a golf course which was about 12 pages including certifications, etc. I cited every standard (which there were about a dozen) which he violated but he still is out there appraising. Maybe I should move to your state.
I just read the item about your complaint in WorkingRE. Thank you for taking a stand!
Here in Washington, the Department of Licensing now has the complaint to resolution time frame down close to a year; we were averaging 3 years not long ago. Our problem here is getting the Director of DOL to take action at the end of the process. There is at least one case where the final process, the Administrative Law Hearing, found against the appraiser and recommended a one year suspension, but the Director has not acted. At least a fine and some required classes might wake the individual up.
The first complaint I ever filed took 3 years to resolve. I was making the 75 mile drive to Olympia to testify at the Administrative Law Hearing when I was paged and told that the appraiser had decided to surrender his license. He had used trainees to vastly over value several properties. At that time the state had no control over trainees, but we finally got trainee registration into effect this Spring.
Again, thanks for getting involved.
Barry C Wilson
Sorry to hear about your frustrations - but I do understand!
Richard Hagar, SRA, here in the Seattle area teaches a mortgage fraud class and is building a new website: http://www.fraudproblem.com/
He has managed to piss off most of the mortgage brokers that have taken his class, but they cannot deny that most of the fraud gets started by them (or their independent contrator loan originators.)
Mortgage brokers in Washington have been licensed for several years, but only the company owners. The legislature just enacted loan originator licensing this year, to be effective Jan 1, 2007, and the Mortgage Broker Commission is in the process of writing the rules to implement the law. Representatives from the Appraisers Coalition of Washington have been attending the work sessions and we are trying to get more complete descriptions of "lender pressure" included in their prohibited practices section. Our next step will be to work toward licensing of loan originators for Consumer Lenders. The state Department of Financial Institutions has no control over federally chartered banks, credit unions or S & L's, but most of the problems have been coming from the brokers and consumer lenders.
Barry C Wilson
Comment date is 07/17/06
Copyright 2005-2006, Philip G Rice and MKG Appraisal, all rights reserved