NAR Testifies Before House Subcommittee on Appraisal Issues

On June 28, 2012, Frank Gregoire testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity on behalf of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Mr. Gregoire is an appraiser member of NAR and two-time Chair of the Appraisal Committee (now the Real Property Valuation Committee). The hearing was focused on appraisal oversight and the regulatory impact on consumers and businesses. The Appraisal Subcommittee, the Association of Appraisal Regulatory Officials (AARO), and the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified on the first panel. The second panel was made up of appraisal industry trade associations including NAR, the Real Estate Valuation Advocacy Association (REVAA), the Appraisal Institute (AI), the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), the Appraisal Foundation (TAF). You can find all witness testimonies here.

NAR testified on concerns with the appraisal profession, particularly the role being played by appraisal management companies (AMCs). Other issues include the credible valuation of real property, including appraiser competency and local market knowledge and challenges in accurately estimating market value in stabilizing markets. Developing and reporting property values more accurately is critical to improving market performance, reducing risk and strengthening the housing finance system. Mr. Gregoire said “REALTORS® know that an accurate appraisal is an important part of the home buying process and that a strong and independent appraisal industry is critical to restoring faith in the mortgage origination process.”

NAR has long been proactive in ensuring credible valuation of real property for our industry and embrace an all-encompassing approach.  Appraisals are the gold standard for mortgage origination but there is an important role for broker price opinions (BPOs), comparative market analyses (CMAs) and automated valuation models (AVMs). Through our subsidiary, REALTORS® Property Resource (RPR), and our Valuation Committee, NAR is able to provide  comprehensive sets of data and tools for determining credible home values.

  1. The new rules where the basement is rated much lower than above when finished, especially when home owner uses high quality materials and workmanship is a big issue. Now, in homes built on hillsides and Lakeview or front, basement integral to the living space, three walls exposed, do not “count” as a value to the home. Many homes on the hillside or mountain side have walk out lower levels have bedrooms, family rooms etc on that level. The market supports this as viable and valued but the banks have decided otherwise. Local banks who use quicken loans etc have their hands tied. If a loan provider wants to serve an area, the underwriters kneed to be educated about them, especially rural, lake areas, mountain, communities. There cannot be the same guidelines as with cities and suburban areas.

  2. Larry Yaseen

    As far as I’m concerned there are very few ethic when it comes to appraising. Our home was appraised this last December for $920,000 and that appraisal expired due to the mortgage company losing all our docs. Expirian then sends a new appraiser in April who is not even from our county and he writes an appraisal for $675000 using a short sale as one of the comparisons. Needless to say, our refinance did not go thru. I have filed a complaint with the Illinois Realestate Commission, Director of Apprraisals. It will be a year before they issue any judgement, which is not enforceable by law. Two appraisals, two fees, two totally different opinions (by 27%) and who is left holding the bag—-the consumer. Now who is going to help us? Not you, not the politicians, not the banks. The industry is a joke.

  3. Back in the day, appraisal line item adjustments for comps were designed to put a scientific method to value property. No subjective opinions. Appraisals are suppose to be a science not an art. Now we have gone too far. All homes are appraised as vanilla boxes regardless of what the buyer will pay for the beautiful masonry work, upgraded cabinetry, custom made carved front doors. It is very difficult explaining this to sellers. Too bad your home is beautiful. They are all just vanilla boxes in the eyes of the banks and appraisers.

  4. John Holm

    I’m not sure what new rules you are refering to Gina. I have been appraising for nearly 25 years and the appraisal forms have separated above grade and below grade area since I have been appraising. Additionally the above grade and below grade areas are separated but there is no requirement that I know of that one be valued lower than the other. The market does typically support a higher value for above grade area which is why I assume they are separated and not lumped together as total area or total finished area.