From the Publisher
At an industry gathering last fall speaker after speaker seemed to delight in detailing and documenting the dumbest of appraiser mistakes- from carelessness and stupidity all the way to recklessness, incompetence and fraud. The speakers, many of whom are lifetime appraisers working for lenders or AMCs, earned plenty of chuckles and approving nods from the audience of, well, mostly fellow appraisers. Admittedly, some of the slides are funny. But one wonders whether speakers place as much consistent emphasis on the shortcomings of their peers at conferences for attorneys, doctors, bankers, accountants and yes, real estate agents and brokers. It’s doubtful. And it isn’t just at conferences and not only by the staff of AMCs, lenders and regulators- check out any appraiser forum or blog to find appraiser on appraiser bashing in full force. Is this profession filled with more incompetents than others? It is bereft of competent, dedicated professionals with integrity, compared to other professions? This is doubtful too but you wouldn’t know it by what is said at professional gathering and in online forums.
Here is another pattern I’ve noticed for 20 years at these gatherings: speaker after speaker admonishing appraisers to be better listeners, better communicators, to provide better and more thorough analysis, to utilize cutting edge analytical tools and technology, to obtain more education, more training, to act more professionally, even to be better groomed and better dressed! And above all, to uphold the integrity of the assignment, no matter what pressures they endure. The onus is always on the appraiser to do the right thing no matter what they have to endure to do it. Oh, and be pleasant too. Yet, hardly (or no) mention from the dais of the other, darker side of the coin that most appraisers say are the daily facts of life: a process mired by inept questions from unqualified AMC personnel, excessive (some would say ridiculous) stipulations, scope creep, requests for items already in a report, pressure to make a deal work under the guise of “two more comps,” continued blacklisting, and the bottom line issue facing the profession according to the rank and file: that at the end of the day what matters most to many lenders and their agents, despite all the lip service, is fast and cheap. And until that changes, many veteran appraisers say, nothing changes.