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.


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.


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.