Readers Respond

Readers Respond

Interview: Appraiser Who Brought Down Countrywide
Thank you, Mr. Lagow, for having the courage to speak up to help society. Your efforts were NOT in vain. Although mortgage work is tempting and easy at times, these type of situations force us (appraisers) to look at who we are and what is important. Life is short. Make it count! – Lore
Thank you Mr. Lagow. I have been reading about you for several years now and you are my hero. I did not know about the cancer and pray you are, or will be cured soon. I began appraising in 1989 and have seen this fraud perpetuate throughout my entire career. I have always stayed the course and have made an average income, but lost so many clients for “killing the deal”, I can’t count them all. There are some that want to see change. I personally was involved several years ago with a FBI investigation that brought down a local appraiser and investment ring. I performed forensic reviews and consulted the agents on questions to ask the appraiser. He went to jail and I commend the FBI for their work. The problem is there are 10 more for every one of these cases, so I too feel that not much can be done. At least we can sleep at night. – Jim

AMC Fails: Appraisers Stiffed Again
This AMC cost me or nearly cost me the roof over my head, my vehicle, my credit, my personal relationship and most of all, my sanity. I am willing to do anything to help fellow appraisers get justice and get paid; and would like to see people in this often solitary, unrepresented industry become united, even if just for this cause. – Maureen M Jungers

Why You Should Check Your Online Licensing Information
You can bet your bottom dollar that licensing fees will increase dramatically to fund state compliance. After completing my taxes, I realized that it takes more than 25% of my income to pay all the expenses necessary to be an appraiser. The shortage of appraisers is already here; I just had a client raise my fee above the fee increase I implemented the first of the year. I’ve had to decline 5 or 6 requests just this week (Monday and Tuesday) because I can’t get the work done fast enough. – Jim Woodring

“Checkbox Chimps” and Review Appraisals
Your article HIT THE SPOT! Some of the AMC’S are driving me NUTS. I have been a Certified General Appraiser for over 20 years and I find it offensive to have a local AMC reviewing appraisals when they do not have even one licensed Appraiser on staff (Oklahoma law). The company in question has two reviewing appraisals. One has taken a class on standards and a Seminar on Reviewing Appraisals. The other is in the process of taking appraisal classes. He grew up and studied in Hungary. – Bernerd E. Thompson

Why Appraisers Get Sued
This article was dead-on! I’ve been appraising for over 25 years and just had a complaint filed on a 2nd home with a contract price. of $1,10,000. I didn’t appraise the home for the contract price and the disgruntled real estate agents and the mortgage company filed a complaint. The real estate agents lost a $60,600 commission and the mortgage broker lost his fees. Now I’m going through hell. Very good article; exactly what was required by the State Board. Keep a good complete work file. – JMW

Texas Fee Survey Unpacked
Appraisal fees still do not reflect of providing a property valuation. On a regular basis, I receive “broadcast” offers for appraisal assignments with fees as low as $200. These fees DO NOT reflect my cost of doing business: gas prices are up, licensing costs are up, scope of work is increasing to unreasonable levels, the parties who are to rely upon my valuation is growing. With 25 years of appraisal experience, I am now working at LEAVING THE INDUSTRY. Note to bank investors: get out now, as the liability resulting from poor valuations will be on the rise. – M. Alley
I am unaware of anyone around here making what they use to make before Dodd-Frank. – Steven Bergen, Dane County WI

Expert Witness Subpoena: How Not to Work for Free
Often times appraisers are called as a fact witness in lieu of an expert witness. This type of trickery is often successful is getting you in the hot seat to states what you did without being qualified as an expert witness. Many times if you point out to the judge your not being paid and can demonstrate your there not as an expert he/she may order your fee paid. – Bryan S. Reynolds

Survey Results: How Reasonable Are Turn Times
I find it unsettling that, according to your survey in the Winter Issue (pg. 40), 10% of the time most of the appraisers would turn in reports that are diminished in quality due to less than ideal turn around times. This type of behavior could not only get them in trouble, but could harm the market for all appraisers. If the client requests too quick of a turn-around, appraisers need to decline the assignment, as quality should not be compromised under any circumstance. – Ronald Rubinstein, MAI
I have to agree with Mr. “Smith”. I too appraise in an extremely rural area and the past few years the real estate market has practically gone to zero. There were seven appraisers in the county three years ago, now I’m the only one left and I too am looking to change professions. Mr. “Smith” has one advantage that we do not in this area and that is an MLS system. There are only two online databases we can use and the rest is old fashioned leg work. And it just can’t be done in 48 hours from time on inspection. I tell AMC’s upfront that turn time is 5 days minimum and I don’t work weekends or holidays (most of the time). Someone else here commented on a fact I’ve said for years. We make their living, not the other way around. If it were’nt for the field appraiser producing a quality product for the AMC’s they would have no business to offer their clients. – JB

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