A national coalition of appraisal trade groups has called on the government to fill a key appraisal post, while two associations have issued publications with detailed information about the appraisal process. In other activity -- appraisal management companies, management software providers and valuation technology firms are touting how they can help mortgage businesses improve their real estate valuation processes while maintaining compliance with government lending requirements.
Four appraiser organizations -- the American Society of Appraisers, American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, Appraisal Institute and National Association of Independent Fee Appraisers -- are calling for the U.S. Department of the Interior to take its own inspector general's advice and choose a chief appraiser. The coalition, which represents around 35,000 real estate appraisers, is asking that a strong and competent appraiser be chosen to provide empowered leadership and a single point of contact that can offer sound judgment and have final decision authority on appraisal matters.
Helping to keep everyone on the same page, the Appraisal Institute last month released an updated version of The Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal, fifth edition -- which includes a new online version that offers electronic access to more than 5,000 definitions and terms and seven specialized glossaries.
And the Title/Appraisal Vendor Management Association published Standards of Good Practices in Appraisal Management, which outlines appraisal industry best practices for appraisal management companies and appraisers. TAVMA said the standards were developed with input from its members, lenders and appraisers. It considers the needs of all stakeholders as well as federal interagency guidance, the new Home Valuation Code of Conduct and other federal and state statutes.
Appraisal Institute President Leslie Miller was quoted in a Jan. 11 USA TODAY article as saying third-party companies tend to hire the cheapest appraisers they can find, often leading to less qualified and lower value assessments and pushing seasoned appraisers out of the business. But former TAVMA president Don Blanchard refuted the claims against AMCs -- reportedly saying it was a mistake to blame management companies and pointing to the market as the culprit for lower home values.
AppraiserLoft, an AMC that supports TAVMA's standards, announced a new quality control process that it claims improves the speed and quality of appraisals. The San Diego, Calif.-based company said it created a self-imposed standard, "Fanatical Quality Appraisals," which incorporates multiple quality control reviews, uses proprietary technology and provides a quality control staff available from 6 a.m. to midnight on Sunday through Friday.
Service 1st Valuation and Settlement Services Inc. announced it has chosen ValuAmerica's ValueNet Platform to collect data and automatically select and assign vendors. The company said it will also offer hosting from two data centers that provides "full disaster recovery and redundant back-up to ensure a fully compliant software."
Service 1st said earlier this month it maintains compliance with HVCC and FHA using technology from ValuAmerica and Ellie Mae. The Pittsburgh, Penn.-based company also mandates compliance training and continued education for its staff and offers continued engagement and education seminars to clients.
DartAppraisal.com announced a partnership with eMerchant Inc. to streamline its online payment solutions. The Troy, Mich.-based appraisal service said it released an updated version of its DartExpress system in November to ensure compliance with new FHA regulations.
Loan-Score Decisioning Systems, a pricing and automated underwriting technology provider, late last month announced its integration with Global DMS, an Lansdale, Penn.-based appraisal process management solution provider and a MortgageDaily.com advertiser. Loan-Score said the HVCC-compliant process is now integrated in one centralized application within its broker portal.
JMAC Lending announced it has signed on as a customer of Lincoln Appraisal & Settlement Services. Also joining as a customer of the Providence, R.I.-based AMC this month was reverse mortgage wholesaler Generation Mortgage Co. Lincoln said it was recently chosen to become an approved broker-price-opinion provider and appraisal-business partner with Res.Net, a workflow management system that allows access to property portfolios online.
Another Providence-based firm, Equity National, said it has developed a predictive valuation tool that combines data and human analysis to obtain a more accurate measurement of a distressed property's true market value.