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!