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.