Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all the best for this Holiday Season from the Sunshine City in the Sunshine State.


Just in case you might believe all my time is spent at the beach, the clipboard has a list of 12 sales and listings in St. Pete Beach. After 5 minutes on the beach to take a few photos for my northern US friends, it was back to work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Appraisal Management Companies - Background Checks

In the past week a reporter for my local paper, the St. Petersburg Times, wrote an  article about applicants for real estate licenses with criminal convictions. Marc Puente described how some folks with what appear to be convictions for serious crimes find that is not an impediment to getting a Florida Real Estate License.

As a former member of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB), I found the article interesting and informative. Although the "character" requirements for real estate licensees and real estate appraisers are similar, on more than one occasion the FREAB denied an applicant the Florida Real Estate Commission found acceptable. After reading the article I took at look at the agenda for the December meeting of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board. Their meeting is December 8th and 9th, 2011.

An item on the agenda is labeled "Summary of Applicants". The individuals named fall in to one or both of two categories:
  • Their application disclosed a criminal history record, or disciplinary action against a professional license.
  • Their application did not disclose a criminal history record, but the check of fingerprints by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation revealed a conviction.
Florida appraiser and appraisal management company applicants are required to disclose any criminal history and actions against any professional license in Florida or any other state.

Do you all find it interesting that of 11 names on the list of Summary of Applicants, 8 are with Appraisal Management Companies?

Knowing that folks with dubious backgrounds have started Appraisal Management Companies, and that a well known AMC recently folded and left a reported $3,000,000 in unpaid appraisal invoices, I expect the members of the FREAB will give these folks the scrutiny the law demands

Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board - New Rule to Regulate Signatures

Effective as of December 20, 2011, there is a new Rule that updates signature requirements on an appraisal report and certification. This new rule, 61J1-7.0065 Signatures on Appraisal Report and Certification, was adopted by the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB) to comply with a recent amendment to Chapter 475, Part II. The amendment, adding 475.614(2) requires the FREAB to adopt to include requirements for protecting the security of an appraiser’s signature and prohibiting practices that may discredit the use of an appraiser’s signature to authenticate the work performed by the appraiser.

Here's the way it reads:

61J1-7.0065 Signatures on Appraisal Report and Certification.



(1) Each appraiser signing a certification of an appraisal report must sign the certification with the name that the licensee has registered with the Department. A signature may be represented by a handwritten mark or a digitized image controlled by a personal identification number, password, or other security feature. A facsimile signature may be either affixed by hand or electronically by computer software. An appraiser shall at all times maintain direct control of the appraiser’s signature.

(2) An appraiser shall develop and maintain a written method by which his or her signature shall be affixed, for its security protection and the prohibition of practices that might discredit its use.

(3) An appraiser shall not grant blanket authority to another to affix the appraiser’s signature to an appraisal report or other work performed by the appraiser. Any grant of permission to another to affix an appraiser’s signature to an appraisal report or other work performed by the appraiser shall meet the following requirements:

(a) Be in writing;

(b) Extend only to one specific appraisal report; and

(c) Be maintained in the appraiser’s work file.

Rulemaking Authority 475.614 FS. Law Implemented 475.613(2), 475.614 FS. History–New 12-4-06, Amended 12-20-11.
It might be wise to keep this rule in mind and ready for quick reference when some folks (like those mentioned in THIS post) attempt to require you to upload a copy of your digital signature.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Appraisals: What You Absolutely Need to Know

This morning, November 12, 2011, along with several other speakers, I will be participating in a panel discussion as part of the National Association of REALTORS Annual Conference and Expo. Given the number of headlines, news stories and blog posts about appraisals in today's market, the topic and title is appropriate: Appraisals: What You Absolutely Need to Know.

If you're here in Anaheim attending the Conference, please stop by. The program starts at 9:00 A.M and runs until 10:30. We'll be in the Anaheim Convention Center, Ballroom A.

They're bound to put a hook on me if I talk too long, but I plan to reference the Continuing Education Course I wrote for the Bert Rodgers School to help folks get a better understanding of the appraisal process. Follow the link to he free pdf of the Bert Rodgers book, and take a look at the course starting on page 79. For you non-appraisers, I hope it helps you understand why things are the way they are. If you have a Florida real estate license, you just might like to use this course for your continuing education.

Note: I do not get a royalty on the number of courses taken; I just believe it might be informative.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Valuation Support Services (VSS) - Appraiser Panel Agreement

As long as we're talking about AMC Appraiser Indemnification, here is a copy of the Valuation Support Services (VSS) Standards & Approval Documentation Requirements and their Appraiser Panel Agreement. This gem has some interesting twists and language. The full copy is available after the jump, but here are a couple of clauses I find interesting:

Page 4:

The intent of this Agreement between Valuation Support Services (VSS) and Appraiser is to outline the roles, responsibilities, commitments and escalations of the parties.

Conviction of Crimes: VSS is unable to enter into associations with individuals, who have been convicted of or plead guilty to any crime involving dishonesty or breach of trust, or have been convicted of or plead guilty to any felony or misdemeanor. Appraiser warrants he/she has truthfully and accurately answered the "Additional Information" questions on the VSS Appraiser Application, has provided full disclosure through letter(s) of explanation for all questions answered affirmatively. Appraiser acknowledges and agrees he/she will be directly involved in providing services in accordance with this Agreement and has met this standard.

Fees: VSS Reserves the right to charge fees for appraisal panel services rendered to Appraiser, such as systems access, technology and website applications utilized by Appraiser, and/or allocate the cost of state or federal appraiser/panel registration and similar fees. Advance notice, as practical, shall be provided to Appraiser along with a description of the fees to be charged. Appraiser agrees to pay VSS promptly per the payment terms specified in the notice provided. (Red Added for Emphasis) (It's RED in their agreement)

Page 6:

3. Appraiser will not accept orders directly from VSS' clients. Appraiser agrees that all orders must be received from Valuation Support Services (VSS) electronically.

4. VSS clients Appraiser may service include, but are not limited to: CoreLogic Appraisal Services, Prime Valuation Services, and RelsValuation.

Page 7:

17. Revisions to Sales Contracts: Appraiser acknowledges that in connection with his/her appraisals, he/she may receive revised sales contracts that change the purchase price due to alterations of the improvements. Upon receipt of a revised sales contract that modifies the purchase price due to alterations of the improvements, Appraiser will analyze the change(s) and make appropriate revisions to the appraisal report. The revisions to the report include changing the terms of the contract for sale in the contract section, adjusting the comparable sales as needed, and if the opinion of value is changed, providing a detailed explanation for the change in value.

(Hmmm. I wonder what a state regulatory board would have to say about this provision?)

Of course, on Page 9:

Indemnification: Appraiser will indemnify and hold harmless VSS, a division of RELS, LLC, and each VSS entity for any liability arising out of Appraiser's work product or for the release of any appraisals without VSS' permission. Appraiser is liable for payment of any legal fees, claims, damages, losses and liabilities resulting from Appraiser's work product or non-performance of the duties and obligations identified herein.

One of the best, however, is the requirement on Page 2:

Appraiser (signature)(Requires Digital Signature to be uploaded.):

All very interesting. Also interesting is the number of Florida Appraisers asked to send in a copy of a digital signature to OK this agreement, given the fact that VSS is NOT currently registered as an Appraisal Management Company with the Division of Real Estate or the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board. The MyFloridaLicense site does not show an application in process either. Does this outfit look like a Management Company for Appraisal Management Companies?

Agreement in full is after the jump.

AMC Indemnification Clauses - Comments From Peter Christensen

Back in August, Appraiser Active posted about NAR President, Ron Phipps'  letter to the heads of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, Veteran's Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency encouraging the bar of indemnification clauses used by Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs).  Robert  Freedman provided some context in a later post on the Speaking of Real Estate blog.

Needless to say, the issue is has not yet been resolved. In the November issue of REALTOR Magazine, there is a piece written by Peter Christensen about indemnification clauses. Follow this link to his post on the Appraiser Law Blog. Peter links to the REALTOR Magazine article too.

Among many other things, indemnification clauses and appraiser independence are on the agenda for the NAR Appraisal Committee meeting next week during the NAR Annual Conference in Anaheim, California. The NAR Appraisal Committee meets Friday, November 11, 2011 from 2:00 - 4:00 P.M. at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel in Grand Ballroom F. See you there!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

REALTOR®, Appraiser, or Both?

If I was paid a nickel for every time someone asks if they "can be frank with me", I would have a better computer. If a nickel was paid every time someone tells me, "you're not a REALTOR®, you're an appraiser", my house would be paid off.

Clearly, there is some confusion about the term "REALTOR®" and what it means. The common misconception is to equate the term REALTOR® with home seller, agent, or broker. The fact of the matter is the term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

Membership in the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of  REALTORS® is available to individuals engaged in the "real estate business." "Real estate business" as defined in the bylaws of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® includes real estate brokerage, management, appraising, land development or building. An Official Interpretation of the bylaws of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® states:


"It is not an inequitable limitation on membership for a Board of REALTORS® to require that applicants for REALTOR® Membership who are principals in a real estate firm must maintain a real estate broker's or salesperson's license or must be licensed or certified by an appropriate state regulatory agency to engage in the appraisal of real property."

To be clear, the term REALTOR® may include individuals involved in real estate brokerage, but does not eliminate individuals involved in other specialties included in the definition of "real estate business."

As an appraiser, and member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS®, all the benefits of membership are available, including some of particular interest to my Appraisal specialty. These include:
  • The NAR Appraisal Designation Program and Fast Track Program to Designation
  • NAR involvement and participation in The Appraisal Foundation
    • Representation on The Appraisal Foundation Board of Trustees (sponsor)
    • Representation on The Appraisal Foundation Advisory Council (TAFAC)
  • The NAR Library and Information Central
  • Access to the Multiple Listing Service
  • Networking opportunities with other real estate professionals
    • Increased business (over half my assignments are referred to me by real estate brokers)
    • Using brokerage contacts as source for market information, transaction specifics and confirmation
  • Legislative and advocacy efforts
There are many reasons I belong to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS®. Being confused with the good folks involved in real estate brokerage is not one of them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mayhem - Protect Yourself - UPDATED

NOTE: LiveValuation Magazine went south, and the links below no longer lead to the article. Use this link, or read the full article after the jump below.

In addition to being entertaining, the "Mayhem" series of commercials offer a message important to any of us in business; protect yourself. My recent article in LiveValuation Magazine, "Maintaining Your Workfile" was intended to convey the idea an appraiser's best protection from Mayhem is their workfile.

The article was prompted by examination of hundreds of workfiles from appraisers of all stripes from every corner of the State of Florida. Workfiles were provided with nearly every case considered by the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board during my eight years of service. After completing my two terms as a member of the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board, another hundred or so workfiles have been examined as part of my continuing responsibility as a member of the FREAB Probable Cause Panel, and as an expert engaged by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and lawyers representing appraisers.

Unfortunately, many, if not most of the workfiles maintained by appraisers fall short of the bare minimum requirements outlined in the Record Keeping Section of the Ethics Rule of Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Even if  USPAP did not require the appraiser to keep a record of their work, data, information, and documentation to support their opinions and conclusions, it appears many appraisers fail to grasp the concept that maintenance of the workfile is for THEIR benefit and will protect them from MAYHEM.

The real prompt for the article was an appraisal review assignment accepted from an attorney representing an appraiser who was the subject of an Administrative Complaint filed against him by the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board. The complainant, made by a well known national lender, included allegations that  the opinion of value was inflated, the selection of comparable sales was poor, comparable sales were not similar to the subject property, some of the comparable sales were from outside the immediate competitive market area, and the appraiser failed to recognize and report declining prices and values.

The appraiser responded to the complaint and cooperated with the investigation. Part of the process was providing the investigator with a copy of his workfile, or what he thought was his workfile. At the time of my engagement, the attorney provided me with a copy of the complaint, the state's investigative report (including the appraiser provided workfile), and correspondence between the parties. My engagement included a review of the subject appraisal. In the process of developing my Scope of Work for the assignment, it became clear an interview of the subject appraiser was necessary, along with an examination of his actual, original workfile.

Expanding the Scope of Work to include the interview and examination of original documents was clearly the right decision. When the subject appraiser put the workfile in my hands, it was clear relevant information had not been included in the "workfile" he submitted to the state investigator. The file folder holding the loose pages was filled with notes, all related to the assignment. Within the folder were handwritten memos of conversations with the loan originator. Among these was a request that additional comparable sales be included in the appraisal report to support the appraiser's opinion of value.

My interview with the appraiser revealed that as of the effective date of the appraisal, the lender had strict guidelines for the selection of comparable sales. Highest in the lender's priority was proximity to the subject property and date of sale. Of secondary importance to the lender was similarity to the subject in physical features and size. Unfortunately, there was no reference to the lender guidelines or instructions in the appraisal report or the workfile.

To make a long story short, by reconstructing the subject appraiser's actions and thought process in developing the appraisal and writing the report, it was clear the selection of comparable sales was limited by the lender's own guidelines and instructions. As a result the most recent and proximate sales were included in the report, rather than more similar sales that happened to be distant (the subject property is a waterfront residence in a barrier island community).

Although the original appraisal report was not pretty, a review revealed the opinion of value was credible and not overstated, and the market as of the effective date was stable, rather than declining. It's too bad the appraiser failed to recognize the importance of the ALL of the information in his file, and neglected to provide the state investigator with the lender guidelines he attempted to follow. This complaint hung over his head for about 3 years and cost thousands to defend.

Proper creation and maintenance of his workfile could protect him from MAYHEM!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remember

It's not only on this day I remember.

Post from March 15, 2010 - Personal Note

Friday, September 2, 2011

LiveValuation Magazine: Neutral Valuation

The September issue of LiveValuation Magazine was released online yesterday. There are several articles, but the most worthwhile is a piece written by Jonathan Miller, author of the Matrix blog.

In his opinion piece, Neutral Valuation, Miller summarizes the ordeals we have all experienced as appraisers, and makes the case for appraiser neutrality. There is much to like in this article, but I have a couple of favorite sections:

Over the past decade the global credit boom ultimately forced most experienced appraisers to choose between feeding their families or changing their business models and even their careers. The refrain “always hit the number” would get you more work. After the credit crunch, the refrain was modified to “occasionally hit the number” and you get more work. The sheer critical mass of the moral flexibility of many in our profession during the go-go credit era nurtured a whole new class of appraiser: the form filler that dominates the profession to this day. They work well with the gum-chewing 19-year-old appraisal processors who call every day on the status of an assignment, having no idea what an appraiser actually does and only cares when the report will be delivered.
and...

Following the credit crunch, the valuation bias is now in the opposite direction. In fact many of the morally flexible appraisers that were biased toward higher valuations for mortgage brokers during the boom, are the same appraisers biased toward lower valuations for appraisal management companies the in post-boom world. These appraisers are rewarded for performing high-volume work at low fees and conservative values. And these values aren’t just low by a few percentage points. We have observed values from a nationally well-known appraisal management company as much as 50 percent below current market value for a property with multiple bidders, largely because the appraisers they use have no local market knowledge.
and....

Since the beginning of my career, I’ve always held out hope that most of my clients actually wanted me to provide “the number” that represented market value. Some clearly did.

I’ve found the concept of neutral valuation to be intoxicating and powerful in my business. As a result of shifting our practice toward clients that actually want to know “the number,” we have remained at our most profitable level in our 25-year history.

Fire your retail banking clients and stop burning calories for clients that don’t want your expertise and will only pay for a form filler. If you don’t they are going to fire you eventually and your practice will die a slow death.

It is better to serve and expand on clients that actually want to know what “the number” really is. You’ll be surprised at how your quality of life improves and how much more business you are able to get.
Great work, Jonathan!

Read the whole thing.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

American Banker: Appraisal Management Companies Create More Problems

Here'a an opinion piece from American Banker - Appraisal Management Companies Create More Problems Than They Solve. Sure, a couple of the details about the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), and lenders being required to place their appraisal orders with Appraisal Management Companies are not quite right, but it's hard to argue with this comment:

When the final chapter on this housing crisis is written, I hope that I am still around to see those who were responsible for its cause and the feeble attempts to fix it held responsible.

One of the worst fixes is the Home Valuation Code of Conduct. Enacted in 2009, HVCC was spearheaded by then New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. His objective was to rein in appraisal abuses by the lenders sending loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
The author, Richard Booth, fails to point out the HVCC was negated by Dodd-Frank, but let's face it, the replacement has the same effect on appraisers and consumers.

Today many of these AMCs are directly or partially owned by mortgage wholesalers and large national banks. They hide behind the firewall of an independent company, but if they own that company, either in whole or a piece, who are they kidding?

Imagine needing a medical doctor and having to go through an intermediary who will decide which doctor you may visit, and that doctor is chosen primarily on his fee charged, not expertise.

Consumers are paying more for residential appraisals. The appraisers who are doing the work are receiving a fraction of what they once earned. Unfortunately this structure has chased away many good appraisers who are unwilling to do more work for much less money

and
Since the HVCC was enacted I have seen a steady decline in the quality of residential appraisal reports. I have witnessed appraisers who are traveling from out-of-state and without any basic knowledge of the subject community. Understanding the area in which you have accepted an assignment is a basic rule of appraising.
Appraisers are under pressure from their new bosses at the AMCs. An extremely knowledgeable appraiser confided in me that he is forced to produce more comparables within a specific time period, judge the future value of a home in a declining market and most recently provide aerial photographs for the subject property.



Read the entire article HERE.
.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Indemnification Clauses - UPDATE

A few days ago Appraiser Active posted about a from NAR President, Ron Phipps, to federal agency heads encouraging the bar of indemnification clauses used by Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs). Brian Davis, from Appraisal Scoop, was kind enough to spread the word, and many others read the letter on the NAR Appraisal Insight blog.

Now, Peter Christensen, from the Appraiser Law blog, has a very informative new post: "What's Wrong with Most Indemnification Clauses in AMC Contractor Agreements?"

Peter echos several points that were expressed as concerns in the NAR letter. For example:

5. The clauses negatively affect the quality of an AMC's appraiser panel. All things being equal, a rational lender should have less interest in retaining an AMC that uses an unreasonable vendor agreement. I believe that unreasonable contract language results in an overall lowering of the quality of an AMC's appraiser panel because, on average, fewer appraisers who are better trained, economically stable, and careful about reading legal verbiage choose to work for AMCs with the worst agreements.

7.  The bottom line.  Perhaps the bottom line is that a $200-$400 appraisal can't and shouldn’t be relied on to guaranty repayment of a $1 million loan if someone later deems the appraisal “faulty.”  Every appraiser performing valuations will have appraisals that can be deemed "faulty."  Good appraisers should be selected and used because they are trusted as competent, reliable and honest and render opinions of value that are on average accurate and reliable and within a range of acceptable errors.  They should not be employed as financial guarantors of value -- unless AMCs or lenders are willing to pay for the price of shifting that risk.
 Head on over to the Appraiser Law blog to read the full post. Spread the word!

Appraisal Events - Florida Realtors® 2011 Convention

From August 24 - 28, 2011, Florida Realtors host their Annual Convention & Trade Expo in Orlando. The event will be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida.

In addition to the regular business meetings for committees and the Florida Realtors Board of Directors, a number of education sessions will be offered on a variety of topics. There are two specific offerings available for attendees:

On Friday, August 26, 2011, the Florida Appraisal Council will meet from 1:00 - 2:30 P.M. If you are an appraiser and belong to a local association of Realtors, you are welcome to attend. The new AMC Registration laws and rules will be discussed, along with the Fast Track Application for NAR Appraisal Designations. Educational opportunities to assist in completing 2012 Continuing Education will also be planned. Your thoughts, ideas and suggestions are welcomed.

On Saturday, August 27, 2011, Rick Baumgardner, Chairman of the Appraisal Foundation Appraiser Qualifications Board, will present "What's Happening With Appraiser Qualifications?" This will be a discussion of the 4th Exposure Draft of Proposed Revisions to the Real Property Appraiser Qualification Criteria. Among other things, Rick will discuss trainee and supervisor qualifications, background checks and education.

Take a ride over to Orlando and stop by!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

NAR Encourages Bar of AMC Indemnification Clauses - UPDATED

UPDATED - August 15, 2011

In a letter to the heads of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, Veteran's Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, NAR President, Ron Phipps, encourages the bar of indemnification clauses used by Appraisal Management Companies (AMCs).

Appraiser Active last mentioned indemnification clauses in a post about the LandSafe Appraisal Services Agreement. The folks over at the Appraiser Law Blog have written extensively about the danger to appraisers stemming from agreeing to indemnification.

A pdf of the full NAR letter is posted after the jump, but here's a preview:


Appraisers provide an independent and impartial analysis of the market, and acredible opinion of the value of real property. This analysis is a critical component of the mortgage transaction and, in recent months, has become thesubject of unnecessary pressure. The mounting use of indemnification clauses by AMCs may be interfering with the appraiser’s independence and objectivity. In many cases, appraisers are asked to sign contracts that include language to indemnify and hold harmless the AMC against any suit, threat, or claim on any work product or service provided as part of the contract agreement. In some instances, the appraiser is even required to indemnify the lender and the AMC for amounts equal to their costs in repurchasing a mortgage loan, regardless of any proof of culpability on the part of the appraiser.
Let's see if these government agencies respond to the challenge.

UPDATE - August 15, 2011: The Appraiser Law Blog has a review of the LSI Appraisal Independent Contractor Agreement. Here's an excerpt.

"LSI’s agreement itself is only three pages and does not contain many of the unreasonable provisions found in other AMC contractor agreements. However, like most AMC agreements, it does contain an indemnification provision. While the indemnification clause is not as extreme as found in some other AMC agreements, the provision in LSI’s agreement is still. . ."


"Also, we do have concerns stemming from the FDIC’s civil complaint for negligence and breach contract against LSI Appraisal relating to appraisals performed for WaMu in 2006-2008. The FDIC has specifically alleged in that case that appraisals supplied by LSI from approximately 200 of its panel appraisers were deficient and has suggested that many additional appraisals beyond the ones specifically identified may become part of the lawsuit. We will update our appraisers here on readimember.org if we begin to see LSI attempt to shift liability to individual appraisers in that case."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New GAO Report Released - Residential Appraisals

The GAO has released their latest study of the Real Estate Appraisal Profession and the appraisal regulatory structure. This full title of the report is RESIDENTIAL APPRAISAL - Opportunities to Enhance Oversight of an Evolving Industry. It's just out, and I've not had a chance to read it all, or very closely, but it looks like the Evolving Industry referred to is Appraisal Management.

Here's a LINK to the GAO site for the document. The full document is also posted vai SCRIBD after the jump. Let me know what you think in the comments. Here are a couple of interesting excerpts:
In contrast with appraisals, BPOs do not have standard requirements and are generally not considered a credible valuation method for mortgage originations. According to some mortgage industry participants, a key disadvantage of BPOs is that real estate brokers and agents who perform them are not required to obtain training or professional credentials in property valuation, and the BPO industry lacks uniform standards. At least one industry group has developed standards of practice for BPOs, which are reportedly used by some BPO providers, but adherence to these standards is voluntary. Similarly, the industry has not adopted standardized BPO forms, resulting in differences in the content and quality of BPO reports, according to some mortgage industry participants. Additionally, BPOs provide somewhat different information than appraisals—a sales price or listing price rather than the property’s market value. The enterprises do not permit lenders to use BPOs for mortgage originations, and guidelines from federal banking regulators state that BPOs do not meet the standards for an evaluation and cannot be used as the primary basis for determining property values for mortgages originated by regulated institutions.

In the section with observations about AMCs, you'll find this:

  • Selecting appraisers. Appraiser groups said that some AMCs select appraisers based on who will accept the lowest fee and complete the appraisal report the fastest rather than on who is the most qualified, has the appropriate experience, and is familiar with the relevant neighborhood. They said that, with many experienced appraisers departing from the industry, less experienced appraisers, who are often willing to accept lower fees, are left to perform most of the work.
  • Reviewing appraisal reports. According to some appraisal industry groups, some AMCs’ appraisal reviews overemphasize how close the appraiser’s value conclusion is to an expected value generated by an AVM, at the expense of other important elements of the appraisal, such as the appropriateness of the comparable sales. One group noted instances in which AMCs told appraisers which comparable sales to use when the appraisers’ original value conclusions were not consistent with AVM-generated values.
  • Establishing qualifications for appraisal reviewers. Representatives of an appraisal industry group told us that some AMC reviewers may lack the expertise necessary to identify problems with quality. They noted that in some states appraiser licensing and certification requirements do not address qualifications for appraisal reviewers.
Read and Comment!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

U.S. House Committee on Financial Services - Hearing, July 13, 2011 - UPDATED

UPDATED - VIDEO LINK ADDED

Tomorrow, July 13, 2011, the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity, will hold a hearing at 2:00 PM in 2128 Rayburn House Office Building.

The get together, entitled “Mortgage Origination: The Impact of Recent Changes on Homeowners and Businesses” has two panels of "witnesses" representing a wide array of government agencies and interest groups. These include the Federal Reserve, HUD, the Appraisal Subcommittee on the side of the government.

Interest groups to be represented include appraisers, mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, Realtors, appraisal management companies and Hispanics. As is the custom, most of the witnesses have submitted written testimony in advance of the hearing. Some of it is interesting, some thoughtful. Portions are pandering, and some will infuriate. Most likely, you don't have time to read it all, but here are a couple of interesting excerpts:

Sara W. Stephens, MAI, CRE, representing the Appraisal Institute, includes these thoughts about Reasonable and Customary Fees:

Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve Board issued a rule that fails to implement the plain language and public policy intent of defining reasonable and customary fees as those not involving appraisal management companies – a retail fee, if you will. In our view, the reason Congress included this provision in the Dodd-Frank Act is to help ensure that appraisers receive adequate compensation for the education, experience, and time necessary to prepare credible appraisal reports. While the price of any service will always be a factor, quality and competency and transparency to the consumer should come first. Business models that helped fuel the fundamentally unsound run-up of the past decade placed far too much emphasis on pricing and bundling of services and focused scant attention on appraisal quality. Congress got it right; unfortunately, the Federal Reserve got it wrong.

National Association of Realtors representative, Steve Brown, has this to say about appraisals:

REALTORS® support and encourage credible, independent appraisals and valuations of real property, which are critical to the health of the overall real estate industry. A trustworthy valuation of real property 1) ensures the real property value is sufficient to collateralize the mortgage, 2) protects the homebuyer, 3) allows secondary markets to have confidence in the mortgage products and mortgage backed securities, and 4) builds public trust in the real estate profession. Professionally developed valuations provide an independent, objective analysis of real property. Valuations that are not credible or not independent harm communities and result in unintended consequences. The purchase of a home is the largest investment most people make. A valuation that does not properly reflect the owner’s equity and may require the owner to pay increased fees or inject unneeded additional liquidity into a collateralized loan to meet higher lending requirements. Valuations of real property that are too high give a false sense of security to homeowners seeking access to the equity in their homes and to lenders making a determination as to the security of their loan. Valuations that are too low may create a downward cycle of economic deterioration for neighborhoods and communities and cause increased cash requirements on lenders.
 and, Don Kelly, speaking for both the Real Estate Valuation Advocacy Association (REVAA), on behalf of REVAA and the Coalition to Facilitate Appraisal Integrity Reform provides some views of the landscape from the perspective of AMCs: 
Fair is a coalition of five of the nation's largest AMCs, which operate networks of individual appraisers and appraisal firms for the completion of appraisal reports (These five AMCs include: 1. LSI, a division of Lender Processing Services, Inc; 2. ServiceLink Valuation Solutions, LLC, a Fidelity Natioinal Financial, Inc. company; 3. Valuation Information Technology, LLC d/b/a Rels Valuation; 4. CoreLogic, Inc.; and 5. PCV/Murcor. Rels Valuation is an affiliate of CoreLogic, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank).

There are significant benefits for both an appraiser and a lender when they work with an AMC......
That's as much as I can take on that one. You'll have to follow the LINK to read the rest of Don's comments.

If there ever was a time to contact your member of Congress, this is it.

UPDATE - VIDEO LINK ADDED

It's a long hearing, almost 3 hours. To save time, check Marc Savitt at 1:35, Sarah Stephens at 1:40 and her discussion of appraisal fees at 1:42. Don Kelly talks at 1:46 and tries to justify the AMC support of unreasonable fees at 2:46.

Monday, July 4, 2011

AMC Independence Clipped in Florida - July, 2011

Despite the efforts of the Florida Legislature and Appraisal Management Companies, the regulation of Appraisal Management Companies became effective July 1, 2011. The Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board posted the following on their site:

Regulation of Appraisal Management Companies – Effective July 1, 2011


On July 21, 2010 President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Act requires State regulatory agencies to regulate Appraisal Management Companies (AMC). Florida’s regulatory program for AMCs was created in 2010 when House Bill 303 was signed into law. It became Chapter 2010-84 and amends Section 475, Part II, Florida Statutes..
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation has added information about the registration and regulation of Appraisal Management Companies to their FAQ site.

FS 475.6235 states in part, A person may not engage in appraisal management services for compensation in this state advertise or represent herself or himself as an appraisal management company, or use the titles appraisal management company, appraiser cooperative,appraiser portal, or mortgage technology company, or any abbreviation or words to that effect, unless the person is registered with the department as an appraisal management company under this section. However, an employee of an appraisal management company is not required to obtain a separate registration.
Additional guidance answers the question: Should I close my business while waiting for my license to be issued?


As of July 1, 2011, it is essential for an appraisal management company to immediately file an application to register with the Department; however, you can continue to operate while the Department and/or the board is considering your application for approval. Once approved, you will receive your license in the mail. An application that is denied must comply with the terms of the Final Order issued by the board.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate, and the Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board continue to develop the program to meet the needs of our customers. Please refer to the FAQs for AMCs and check back for more information weekly.
As of today online registration is not available. A printable application is available HERE.

There's bound to be some growing pains, but the regulation of AMCs is great for Florida consumers and real estate appraisers. Thanks to the Director of the Division of Real Estate, Juana Watkins, and her staff for putting in the extra hours to make sure the information and applications were available on the effective date of the law. Great Job!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Annual Indy 500 Post

NOTE: This is a reposting from last year. My workload precluded a trip to this years 500, but Fran and I are celebrating our 1st Anniversary. We'll be watching the race at home. Video of the ceremony in Turn 3 at this LINK.

 


If there is one thing that captures my attention more than real estate valuation, it's racing. If it involves anything with four wheels and an internal combustion engine, I'm interested. Formula 1, American LeMans, NASCAR, NHRA, Grand-Am, Sports Car, Land Speed Record, you've got my attention.



It started when I was in 2nd grade when my Dad would pile the family into the Country Squire Station Wagon for a short drive up the road to the local 1/4 mile track, Sunshine Speedway. They ran jalopies, modifieds and stocks. It was LOUD. The cars were FAST. The action was AWESOME! We would be picking rubber off our arms and out of our hair all the way home.



I followed NASCAR religiously from the time I was 7 years old. My early favorite drivers included Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, Fred Lorenzen, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough. In 1963, I got hooked on the Indy 500. That was the first year Jimmy Clark ran the race in a rear engined, Ford Powered Lotus. I devoured the newspaper for stories about anything related to the race, particularly that rear engined Lotus.

Of course, Jimmy did not win in 1963, but he did finish the race. He took the pole in 1964, but didn't win until 1965. Although no driver has commanded my attention as much as Clark, the race continues to be a rite of spring for me and my family. So, isn't it amazing that my two oldest children ended up living and working in Indianapolis! I fulfilled a long time dream and attended my first 500 back in 2005; watched it from the infield! We were able to make it back to the rain shortened 2007 race, but missed 2008.

For this years' Indianapolis 500, we will be among several hundred thousand race fans, enjoying all the antics and activites of the infield. Look for us in Turn 3. Something special will happen just before the race.




Saturday, May 7, 2011

HB 5007 -Delay in Florida AMC Regulation - DOWN IN FLAMES!!

Since the beginning of this years' Florida Legislative Session, Appraiser Active has posted about the disaster that was HB 5007, "Reducing and Streamlining Regulations".

Well, yesterday was the last day of the 2011 session. HB 5007 had passed the House. It's companion, SB 1824, had passed the Senate. Both, however, had been amended several times in their respective chambers, and several differences had developed. The differences were significant enough for a Conference Committee to be appointed to iron them out.

The Conference report was adopted by the House, but late last night, my email inbox received this message:

H 5007 (2011) - Reducing and Streamlining Regulations - SENATE - Failed to pass as amended by Conference Committee Report; YEAS 18 NAYS 21.

LINK!!

NAR Statement on Appraiser Independence

Next week, the National Association of Realtors meets in Washington, D.C. for their Mid-Year governance meetings. The NAR Appraisal Committee will meet on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 8:00 A.M. We will meet in the Virginia Suite A and B in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

The agenda is full, and it will be a challenge to cover it all in the 2 hours allotted, but we will do our best. One item, not on the agenda, but sure to be a topic of discussion, is the recently released Statement on Appraiser Independence.

NAR Statement on Appraiser Independence


April 2011

"In recent months interference in the appraisal process has unnecessarily put at risk a sustainable housing recovery. Our member appraisers are dealing with changes in the real estate market due to economic conditions in the country, their long time business relationships with market participants have been destroyed and their business models have been shattered. The latest blow is their enduring the consequences of the implementation of aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Appraisers are being asked to include distressed transactions as comparable sales, to complete the appraisal in an unreasonable and unrealistic short time span, and to comply with a scope of work not justified by the fee being offered. In some situations appraisers are required to provide as many as eight comparable sales and/or listings. NAR believes this is interference in appraiser independence, causing harm to the real estate recovery, and harmful to consumers.

This month, compliance with the Federal Reserve's interim final rule amending Regulation Z (Truth in Lending) became mandatory. Early reports indicate that some appraisal management companies may be misinterpreting the reasonable and customary fee requirements of the statute and the interim rule. Although NAR has not commented on the customary and reasonable fee language of the statute or the interim rule, we are concerned that unfair treatment of our member appraisers will further erode their businesses and impact the quality of appraisal reports, adding risk for consumers and lenders.

NAR 2010 President Ron Phipps said "asking for up to 10 comps, reducing turnaround times, and expanding the scope of the assignment without appropriately adjusting the fee is adding unnecessary risk to an already fragile mortgage market system. We must maintain an environment where our independent appraisers are treated fairly as they are the lynchpin of the mortgage transaction." NAR has long advocated for an independent appraisal process and enhanced education requirements to promote public trust in the appraisal profession. NAR wants to ensure the consumer is provided the service bargained for along with a well-supported, credible opinion of value."
Much more will be discussed. If you are a member of the National Association of Realtors, and happen to be attending the meetings, or are in the DC area, stop by. We encourage your participation.

LandSafe Appraisal Services Agreement

This LandSafe Appraisal Services Agreement made its debut within the past couple of weeks. It has prompted heated discussion on appraiser bulletin boards and facebook groups. For those of you not familiar with the name, LandSafe, Inc., established in 1994, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America. Along with a wide variety of real estate closing services, LandSafe operates LandSafe Appraisal Services, Inc., an Appraisal Management Company.

A copy of the agreement is available at the link above, or below the fold. As an appraiser, it's your decision to become a party to the agreement or not, but you should take a long hard look at the obligations imposed on you.

For instance:

13.11 One aspect of the determination of Appraiser compliance with LandSafe Security Requirements is a review of Appraiser Security Controls. As a condition precedent to performance under this Agreement, Appraiser agrees to satisfy the following validation requirements: (a) participation in LandSafe’s Appraiser assessment process including the completion of online or on-site assessment(s), as appropriate, and remediation of any findings; (b) periodic discussions between LandSafe personnel and Appraiser Information Technology security personnel to review Appraiser Security Controls; and (c) if requested delivery to LandSafe of network diagrams depicting Appraiser perimeter controls and security policies and processes relevant to the protection of Confidential Information. Examples of these policies include, but are not limited to, access control, physical security, patch management, password standards, encryption standards, and change control.

and

14.1 Appraiser shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless LandSafe and its Representatives, successors and permitted assigns from and against any and all claims or legal actions of whatever kind or nature that are made or threatened by any third party and all related losses, expenses, damages, costs and liabilities, including reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses incurred in investigation, defense or settlement ("Damages"), which arise out of, are alleged to arise out of, or relate to the following: (a) any negligent act or omission or willful misconduct by Appraiser or its Representatives engaged by Appraiser in the performance of Appraiser’s obligations under this Agreement; or (b) any breach in a representation, covenant or obligation of Appraiser contained in this Agreement.


17.1 Appraiser shall maintain at no additional cost to LandSafe, in a reasonably accessible location, all Records pertaining to its Services provided to LandSafe under this Agreement for a period of ten (10) years, and if such Records are used in a judicial (or other dispute resolution) proceeding related to an Appraisal Order(s), Appraiser shall retain them for ten (10) years following the disposition of the proceeding. Such Appraiser Records referenced above may be inspected, audited and copied by LandSafe, its Representatives or by federal or state agencies having jurisdiction over LandSafe, during normal business hours and at such reasonable times as LandSafe and Appraiser may determine. Records available for review shall exclude any records pertaining to Appraiser’s other customers deemed proprietary and confidential and Appraiser confidential and proprietary records not associated with the Services provided under the Agreement. Appraiser will give prior notice to LandSafe of requests by federal or state authorities to examine Appraiser’s LandSafe Records. At LandSafe’s written request, Appraiser shall reasonably cooperate with LandSafe in seeking a protective order with respect to such Records.


17.2 During regular business hours but no more frequently than once a year, LandSafe may, at its sole expense, perform a confidential audit of Appraiser’s operations as they pertain to the Services provided under this Agreement. Such audits shall be conducted on a mutually agreed upon date (which shall be no more than ten (10) Business Days after LandSafe’s written notice of time, location and duration), subject to reasonable postponement by Appraiser upon Appraiser’s reasonable request, provided, however, that no such postponement shall exceed twenty (20) Business Days. LandSafe will provide Appraiser a summary of the findings from each report prepared in connection with any such audit and discuss results, including any remediation plans. If audit results find Appraiser is not in substantial compliance with the requirements of this Agreement, then LandSafe shall be entitled, at Appraiser’s expense, to perform up to two (2) additional such audits in that year in accordance with the procedure set forth in this Section. Appraiser agrees to promptly take action at its expense to correct those matters or items identified in any such audit that require correction. Failure to correct such matters shall be considered a material breach of this Agreement.

Of course, there's more. Take a look at the assessment of the agreement at the Appraiser Law Blog, and their sister site, READI.
 
A complete copy of the LandSafe Appraisal Services Agreement is below the fold.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Florida Legislature Committees: Delay AMC Registration Until 2014 - UPDATED

SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE

Last year, Florida real estate brokers and appraisers expended a tremendous amount of energy, effort and human capital to ensure HB 303 passed the Florida Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. It was clear that Appraisal Management Companies were endangering the public, improperly influencing appraisers, utilizing appraisers lacking the necessary competence, and jeopardizing transactions. As part of the negotiations, sponsors agreed to an implementation date of July 1, 2011.

The United States’ Congress recognized the same potential for danger to the public, and included a requirement for states to regulate Appraisal Management Companies in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The minimum requirements in the Dodd-Frank Act are virtually identical to those in the Florida law passed last year.

Unfortunately, the Florida Legislature, in their quest to avoid what they view to be unnecessary regulation, has several bills that seek to delay implementation of Appraisal Management Company registration until July 1, 2014. Of course, this is not explicitly stated in the several bills under consideration, and making their way through the committee process. Among them is CS/HB 5007. The language to delay implementation looks like this:


Section 58. (1) Effective upon this act becoming a law, section 10 of chapter 2010-84, Laws of Florida, is amended to read:



Section 10. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014 2011.


(2) If this act becomes a law after June 30, 2011, this section shall operate retroactively to June 30, 2011.


The rationale provided in staff analysis is that it is wise for Florida to wait until the affected Federal Agencies adopt their rules and regulations for the states to follow. I believe this is faulty reasoning for several reasons. Among them are:

• Florida is a leader, and should not be waiting for Federal Agencies to tell us how to protect our citizens, conduct our business, or toe their line.

• There is no significant conflict between the language of HB 303 and what is required by Dodd-Frank.

• All the reasons the Florida Legislature and their committees cited in support of the law are true now; in some cases even more so.

• Delay in implementation will assist Appraisal Management Companies in transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars from Florida to other states.

• Delay in implementation will allow unscrupulous individuals with criminal records and administrative sanctions to continue to operate appraisal management companies in our state.

If real estate brokers and appraisers are serious about the immediate need to regulate appraisal management companies, it’s time to do something about it.

UPDATE - Bills to delay implementation of AMC Registration until July, 2014 are moving in both the House and the Senate.

House - CS/HB 5007

Senate - CS/CS/SB 1824

....and in the meantime, Appraisal Management Companies are routinely interfering with appraiser independence.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Appraiser Blacklists

Along with discussions of Customary and Reasonable Fees, the subject of Appraiser Blacklists is most likely near the top of the list of concerns for real property appraisers. Appraiser Active has discussed them previously, and those posts are some of the most widely read on this site.

The folks at Live Valuation Magazine asked me for some comments about blacklists from an appraiser's perspective for their April issue. It's been published and delivered, and is available online. My comments are included at THIS LINK.

Ken Verrett also provided comments from an appraiser's perspective. In addition, the views of a lender and appraisal management company are presented.

I've got a few more things to say on the subject, but would like to hear what you think about the articles and the topic first. You comments are encouraged.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A New Spin on Short Sale Fraud

This is a couple of weeks old, but is certainly timely. The podcast is about 18 minutes long, but you can listen while you search the interwebs for the perfect comparable sales.

Courtesy of the National Association of REALTORS.

Freddie Mac Investigator Robert Hagberg in a podcast from NAR Legal Affairs discusses some of the recent short-sale payoff fraud schemes, such as "flopping," that he’s seeing. He also discusses the various ways—good and bad—that real estate professionals are involved.


HERE is the LINK.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Florida Legislature - Major Fail

Appraiser Active has already posted about CS/HB 5007. The bill is making its way through the legislative committee process. The bill, originally with the title, "Reducing and Streamlining Regulations" includes amendments to statutes regulating several professions. Among them are real estate brokers and real estate appraisers. Two sections related to real estate with the potential to weaken consumer protection.

In addition, the legislature appears to be making an attempt to solve a problem related to how the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice is interpreted by some Administrative Law Judges as a result of a Florida Appellate Court ruling. See pages13 and 14 of the Staff Analysis for the explanation.

Below is the language proposed. Other specific references to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice in Chapter 475 Part I and Part II are removed. I'm not sure if the amendments will do what is intended because the section below, from page 19 of the bill, is a major FAIL.


Section 19. Section 475.628, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:


475.628 Professional standards for appraisers registered, licensed, or certified under this part. The board shall adopt rules establishing standards of professional practice that meet or exceed nationally recognized standards of appraisal practice, including those standards adopted by the Appraiser Qualifications Board of the Appraisal Foundation. Each appraiser registered, licensed, or certified under this part must shall comply with the rules Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Statements on appraisal standards which may be issued for the purpose of clarification, interpretation, explanation, or elaboration through the Appraisal Foundation shall also be binding on any appraiser registered, licensed, or certified under this part.
 Please join me, and let your representatives know that the Appraiser Qualifications Board of the Appraisal Foundation does NOT adopt standards of appraisal practice. That would be the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation.
 
I'm anxious to see what the Appraisal Subcommittee has to say about the proposed language.
 
 

Florida Legislature: Weaken Consumer Protection, Delay AMC Regulation

As if there are not enough negative vibes surrounding the appraisal profession, the Florida Legislature seems to be hell bent on weakening consumer protections in Florida's real estate and appraiser licensing laws, and delaying implementation of Appraisal Management Company registration and regulation.

CS/HB 5007 is making its way through the legislative committee process. The bill, originally with the title, "Reducing and Streamlining Regulations" includes amendments to statutes regulating several professions. Among them are real estate brokers and real estate appraisers. Although some new, necessary language was added to the Committee Substitute bill, there are two sections related to real estate with the potential to weaken consumer protection.

Section 21 of the bill effectively eliminates criminal penalties for certain violations or Chapter 475, Part I, and Sections 22 eliminates criminal penalties for certain violations of Chapter 475, Part II. The logic(?) is spelled out in pages 8 and 9 of the Staff Analysis.

After spending 8 years as an appraisal regulator, the explanation does not wash with me.

The second problem with the bill is the DELAY in the implementation of AMC Registration and Regulation until July 1, 2014. Take a look at the logic(?) presented on page 12 of the Staff Analysis.

This delay is unwise, unnecessary and foolish. Consumers, real estate brokers, real estate appraisers have been paying the price for the lack of AMC regulation. All the reasons for AMC regulation are still valid. Why does the legislature believe folks like THIS deserve to continue operating AMCs in Florida?

Alert the media, and let your representatives know that delay of AMC registration and regulation will hurt consumers.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Harold Huggins Realty, et al v. FNC, Inc. - Going to Trial - UPDATED

Scroll for UPDATE

Although Appraiser Active has not posted about this, we have been following the case for a while. A quick synopsis is provided on the Valuation Review blog.

In Harold H. Huggins Realt, Inc., P.E. Turner & Company, LTD., Residential Appraisal and Consulting, Inc. and Alfonoso V. Torres doing business as Front Door Appraisals vs. FNC, Inc., a trio of appraisers filed a federal class action lawsuit against the technology firm seeking damages for negligent misrepresentation, misappropriation, breach of implied contract and other charges.
A copy of the complaint against FNC, Inc. and their AppraisalPort service was posted over on WorkingRE way back when.

As with any complex litigation, particularly a class action suit, the clock and calendar have gone around several times while parties make and argue motions, and the defendant seeks to have the action dismissed. The latest action was the plaintiff's appeal of the district court’s order granting the defendant's (FNC, Inc.)  motion to dismiss the case under Federal rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b)(6). (NOTE: I will not even pretend to know what that means.)

An audio of the oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans, Louisina) is available at this LINK. It takes a while to listen to the entire proceeding, but it's WORTH IT!

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals rendered their decision in favor of the plaintiffs. The Appeals Court reversed the decision to dismiss and remanded the case back for further proceedings.

Here is the Court of Appeals' decision:
FNC Case - Opinion 24Feb2011

UPDATE - March 30, 2011

The Letter of the Law page on Realtor.org has been updated with a synopsis of the case and an informative explanation of the decision.

A federal appellate court has considered whether to reinstate a possible class action lawsuit against a vendor that had allegedly promised its appraiser clients that information submitted through its system would be confidential but the vendor actually collected the information and offered it for resale.

Four real estate appraisal firms (collectively, “Appraisers”) brought a lawsuit against FNC, Inc. (“Company”). The lawsuit sought class action status for other similarly-situated appraisers and alleged that the Company had violated the Lanham Act (“Act”) by informing the Appraisers that their appraisals submitted through the Company’s AppraisalPort would be confidential when the Company was actually repackaging the data for resale.
Here is a link to the full article.