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Appraisal News | AMC Directory
Appraisal industry news coverage, including stories about independence requirements, AVMs and appraiser fraud.


Appraisal Business Insider

Recent valuation and appraisal activity

Nov. 9, 2010

By COCO SALAZAR MortgageDaily.com


Two valuation firms have restructured operations, and several appraisal firms announced enhanced offerings and expanded client bases. A myriad of appraisal services being touted include some tied to reverse mortgages.

a la mode restructured its business to provide mortgage and real estate services from two separate divisions. The Real Estate Solutions Division, led by Dustin Moore as president, will focus on serving real estate agents and brokers, appraisers and inspectors. The mortgage solutions division will serve originators, compliance officers, servicers and appraisal management companies and will be led by Adam Calvery.

The move was largely influenced by the Home Valuation Code of Conduct, a la mode Chief Executive Officer Scott Kinnaird indicated in an announcement.

"After the HVCC came along and independent firewalls were required, we had to serve our appraisers by being their conduit to lenders instead of just their software provider," Kinnaird said.

The restructuring news followed Oklahoma City-based a la mode's announcement that Mercury sustained volume of 10,000 daily transactions throughout a full month. Mercury allows users to manage their entire appraisal workflow while being compliant with all appraisal independence standards and banking security regulations.

Companies that recently integrated Mercury to enable real-time compliant appraisal orders and delivery for users are Fort Worth, Texas-based valuation products firm Axios Valuation Solutions and Santa Ana, Calif.-based valuation risk management services provider Veros Real Estate Solutions, a la mode reported. In addition to integrating Mercury into its VeroSELECT platform, Veros announced it added an appraiser panel management functionality to enable lenders to electronically invite appraisers from their own approved panels to join their network and directly send appraisal orders.

"The system allows a measure of self-selection and lender control but at the same time retains vendor neutrality and regulatory compliance" with Dodd-Frank and FHA appraiser independence rules, Veros said in an announcement.

Another tool that allows lenders to build their own appraiser panels and automate their appraisal processes is the appraisal firewall of SharperLending LLC. The Spokane, Wash.-based mortgage technology provider announced it is seeing "huge" interest from mortgage-lending clients for the firewall, as Dodd-Frank significantly increases costs for AMCs.

The compliance tool reportedly provides a cost-effective solution to prove appraisals were developed in a fully independent process free of influence. Among its clients is American Capital Corp. in El Segundo, Calif., SharperLending said.

"On every loan we can see everything that happens on our appraisals and prove that no appraiser influence occurred, which helps us avoid penalties and fines associated with Dodd-Frank," American Capital said in an announcement. "We can use the technology to quickly take appropriate actions based on process control. "

InHouse Inc. announced that its Connexions appraisal workflow centralized platform gained three lending customers: California-based Bank of Manhattan N.A., Atlanta-based Terrace Mortgage and Oakbrook, Ill.-based Wintrust Mortgage. Meanwhile, eTEC Appraisal Management Solutions, a Phoenix-based AMC, added a private-label version of Connexions to its product offerings. InHouse claims Connexions technology is the first to combine analytics, data mining and workflow on one platform and that is streamlines the appraisal process and lowers the cost of monitoring appraisers, enabling lenders to maintain competitive appraisal fees.

eTEC also recently added Flood Zone Determination Certifications and real estate tax services from Florida-based Affiliated Lender Services LLC.

Castle & Cooke Mortgage, a Salt Lake City-based lender, said it adopted the valuations services of Valuation Partners.

New York-based appraisal and valuation company Kirchmeyer & Associates was selected by Multi Media Productions to be featured in a segment of its 21st Century Business television series. The show reportedly provides viewers in-depth industry solutions from top business leaders worldwide.

Kirchmeyer said it combined its valuation intelligence with sister company Real Info Inc. and Valligent to launch ParcelView, a collateral valuation product for appraising vacant residential land nationwide. The companies claim ParcelView provides the most accurate valuation and analysis on vast areas of land, versus a traditional land appraisal or broker price opinion, and can save lenders up to 50 percent when compared to traditional land appraisals. Kirchmeyer claims that ParcelView reports are produced by experienced and licensed residential appraisers, and inspections are completed by trained local analysts.

Informative Research announced that its customers now have access to four automated valuation models -- ValueSure, SiteX, CVM and CASA -- by Lender Processing Services Inc.

Valuation tools and solutions provider Bradford Technologies announced that its CompCruncher appraisal software now includes exterior property inspections in its appraisal reports. By adding the exterior condition evaluation to its Collateral Valuation Report, the San Jose, Calif.-based company is moving towards valuation alternatives that are more reliable than BPOs.

American Bankers Association members can access a collateral management platform at preferred pricing, thanks to a partnership between subsidiary Business Solutions and mortgage technology company FNC Inc. The platform, named Collateral Headquarters, is tailored for community and regional banks and automates all of their residential mortgage appraisal processes.

HomeTelos, L.P.
adopted the appraisal services of DartAppraisal.com to execute selling for its newly awarded U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development single-family residential portfolio, according to an announcement.

Valuation software provider and Mortgage Daily advertiser Global DMS announced it partnered with 10 mortgage technology firms to provide OasisOne users access to 10 "app" versions of their software solutions including loan origination solutions, pricing engines and AVM technologies. About 25 lenders are scheduled to begin beta testing the platform with apps this month.

FNC Inc. said it recently added Integrated Asset Services' BPO and appraisal technology to its collateral management systems platform. Integrated's product reportedly combines hard data with both comparative and predictive analytics to bring transparency to value estimates.

Providence, R.I.-based Lincoln Appraisal & Settlement Services reported that it is now providing appraisal management services for residential mortgage investment and banking firm Guaranteed Home Mortgage Company Inc. and First Preferred Mortgage Co. The appraisal and settlement services provider, which recently announced its continued membership with the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, also reported its title and closing services were adopted by Virginia-based reverse lender Live Well Financial and Michigan-based Sistar Mortgage.

CoesterReverse.com was launched by Coester Appraisal Group for ordering appraisals on reverse mortgage transactions. Coester noted that while credit and income are big factors in traditional lending, "the value of the property is of prime importance" in reverse mortgage transactions. The offering also provides prospective borrowers with an "approximate valuation of their home without incurring a major investment."

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Coco Salazar
has been covering the mortgage industry since 2003 for MortgageDaily.com.

e-mail: [email protected]


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