Why appraisals are an issue right now

June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm 1 comment

- from one of our favorite mortgage voices, David Reed, CD Reed Mortgage Bankers, Austin

THE HOME VALUATION CODE OF CONDUCT…. APPRAISAL HORROR STORIES?…

If you haven’t had the experience lately of an appraisal coming in bad (or wrong) hold onto your seats because sooner or later you may find yourself in similar situations.

The Home Valuation Code of Conduct, or HVCC, is the newest tool in the shed to fight fraud in the mortgage industry.  As a result of an investigation by New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo into practices by Fannie and Freddie this code of conduct was adapted nationally on May 1,  The problem with this new tool is that it was never sharpened before being put into use.

Briefly, the HVCC prohibits a loan officer from ordering the appraisal directly from the appraiser.  A mortgage bank can order the appraisal on behalf of the loan officer but the mortgage bank must either use an appraisal management company (AMC) or use a randomly selected system that rotates the orders to appraisers as they arise.  Who cares?

Well, you might if you have an appraisal problem and you can’t talk to the appraiser about it.  See, loan officers aren’t even supposed to talk to appraisers, either.

AMCs sign up appraisers from all over the country to be a part of their service.  When an appraisal order comes in. whomever is next in line for an appraisal gets the order.  AMCs also require the appraisers to take a reduced fee for their appraisals if they want to be on “the list.”

A relationship between a loan officer and an appraiser is a crucial one.  Personally, I want only the best for my clients and that’s why I’ve pretty much used the same appraiser for my Austin deals over the past several years.  I’ll go ahead and give him a plug, his name is Brett Framel of Framel Valuation Services.  (I wonder if I just broke some kind of HVCC law just then?)

If there were every any appraisal issues I would simply review them with Brett and we’ve move on.  But just in the past week I’ve experienced these two issues with appraisals ordered and received from an AMC.

______________________________

1:  Story number one.  Home sale here in Austin area.  This guy has at least three legs on it.  If the first sale doesn’t go through, it kills two more deals down the road.  Enough said.

Appraisal ordered and contract sent to AMC.  Appraisal was an “Exterior Only” or a “drive-by.”  Sales price $225,000….appraised value?  Try $221,000.  Honestly, why even bother?  But the kicker is the comment the appraiser made in the adjustment section that stated “Interior Below Average” when compared to comps so he adjusted the the value by $4,000. 

Did you catch that?  An “exterior only” appraisal means you don’t go in the house.  So how could the appraiser determine that the interior was below average?  The fact is that he couldn’t have.

By the way, he also said there was no fence or sprinkler system which there indeed were and failed to mention that the house backed up to a greenbelt.  Just that alone would be enough to make up for the $4,000.

The loan officer couldn’t call the appraiser and point out these errors so he could only call the AMC and complain.  Nothing happened for a couple of days so the Realtor called him but the appraiser never called him back, either.

The loan officer then ordered a full appraisal from the same AMC, the AMC ordered the appraisal and of course, the value came in at $225,000.  This lost valuable time and very nearly either killed three deals.

2:  Number two:  Sales price $595,000 in Westlake.  Appraisal ordered by AMC and came back labeled “Declining Market.”

The value came in at $595,000 allright but when the appraiser checked off “Declining Market” box new lending rules mean the loan-to-value is reduced by 5 percent.  That meant the buyer had to come in with another $30,000 to close the deal.  He fortunately had the money and decided to put another 5 percent down but what if he didn’t or couldn’t?

My take on this is, where in Westlake is there a Declining Market?  Sales may have slowed but median prices have remained relatively solid and certainly nothing to warrant labeling 8W as “declining.”

Goodness gracious.

© Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Reatly, 2008-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Realty with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. M  |  February 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Why order a drive by on such an important financial undertaking? Why have an appraisal floating around out there based solely on what the appraiser could view only from the street, ON A PURCHASE? How would he know there was a sprinkler system if he wasn’t allowed to inspect the property or speak with the seller. Maybe the comparables only supported $221,000. Who says, just because an offer is made, that that number is the correct number? Maybe the appraiser has an MLS sheet with photos which shows the condition of the interior. Too many “what ifs.” But as always, the appraiser is made to look like the bad guy when a deal gets, or almost gets killed. Case number 1 is an argument against doing drive-by appraisals, not an argument against the HVCC.

    Reply

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© Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Reatly, 2008-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Julie Nelson and The Nelson Project at Keller Williams Realty with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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