There is an increasing amount of opposition to the new home appraisal rules as many mortgage brokers and real estate agents are serving up criticism that the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) guidelines adopted in 2009 are resulting in inaccurate and low-ball appraisals.
The main argument amongst critics is that the new rules have undesirable affects where appraisers are now being overextended, underpaid and forced to churn out appraisals in a hurried fashion. Conversely, many mortgage lenders, including J.P. Morgan and CitiGroup, have vested interests in the appraisal management companies that now play the role of divvying up appraisal assignments, so they naturally are against revamping the current appraisal guidelines.
Implemented last spring by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Code of Conduct bans mortgage brokers and loan officers from selecting appraisers to valuate homes in the deals which they are brokering. The purpose is to prevent the inflated and sometimes fraudulent appraisals which were partly responsible for an artificial surge in home prices during the past decade.
According to a recent article by Jessica Holzer in the Wall Street Journal , realtors and mortgage brokers have succeeded in inserting language into a House-passed financial-regulation bill that would end the new protocols. The measure would direct federal regulators to come up with an improved set of rules.
Under the new system, appraisal management companies now solicit out appraisal assignments for a fraction of the cost of what the work used to pay – in some cases less than half of the industry’s former compensation rate. As a result, many appraisals end up in the hands of the lowest bidder, and the work is being done by appraisers who have limited industry experience or are lacking of knowledge as it pertains to a specific real estate market and neighborhoods.
“More and more people are leaving the appraisal business than ever before because appraisals are now going out to the lowest bidders, commanding lower pay and fees,” says Bill Schettler, Vice President of Sales at Total Mortage Services, LLC.
Mr. Schettler, who worked six years as an appraiser himself, added, “Unfortunately, because of what the appraisal management companies are paying, many people are no longer able to make a living in the industry and there are more inexperienced people now doing the job. What is happening now is that appraisers have to travel further and further to cover more territory, so they can’t be as familiar with the homes as they were before”
National Association of Mortgage Brokers CEO Roy DeLoach told the Journal that out-of-town appraisers hired by vendors are diminishing homeowner equity through home valuations that aren’t credible: “It’s basically hollowing out the equity in communities whether you intend to sell or not.”