Monthly Archive: December 2013

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What You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You

Does this sound familiar? If so, I hope it’s because you watch a lot of shows like Law & Oder on television and not for any other reason. If this doesn’t sound familiar, it is one part of the Miranda warning police must give to criminal suspects before questioning them. How does that apply to you? Well, it can have equally negative consequences in a civil case (insurance claim) also. To see if you need to read any further, take this short quiz. If you answer “yes” to any one of these questions, you’d better read it all. Do you...

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Appraisal Reviews and the Golden Rule

I believe in the Golden Rule when it comes to field and desk reviews. As I have mentioned before, when I was going through my Trainee years, my Supervisor was actually located in another state.  It was a different world back then.  Though my Trainer was geographically competent in the area I worked, he was not physically ‘there’ most of the time.  Fortunately, I was able to find a local—and seasoned—appraiser who lived 20 minutes from my office.  Though he was technically my ‘competition,’ this grandfatherly man was always happy to sit down for a soda and a visit whenever...

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Simplicity is Genius

As the title states, simplicity is genius. Every once in a while I read reports where the appraiser wishes to blazon their diction; demonstrating their professional expertise and industry knowledge to such a degree that absolutely no one can understand their findings or opinions of value. It is at those times that I remember a very simple, humble man who taught me to appraise and to live and enjoy my life. He would say to me, ”Never look too sharp, or speak too wise.” Also what he said was “Simplicity is Genius”. In other words, never speak in a way...

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Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against BPO and AMC Firms for Allegedly Unpaid Fees

Unpaid BPO Fees Class Action On December 2, 2013, three law firms in Florida, Washington and Colorado teamed together to file a class action complaint on behalf of real estate agents and others allegedly owed unpaid fees for broker price opinions ordered by BrokerPriceOpinion.com. The complaint also names three-related companies First Valuation, LLC, First Valuation Services, LLC, and First Valuation Technology, LLC as defendants on the basis that they are “alter egos” of BrokerPriceOpinion.com and do not have true corporate separateness in their operation. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Colorado, where the defendants are based. The named plaintiff in...

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Appraiser Confidentiality vs Common Courtesy

When reviewing complaints submitted to the Division, or when taking calls from people who are upset about an appraisal, I often observe that a good portion of the concern expressed is from a lack of response from the appraiser.   Specifically, this occurs when the appraiser will not address “issues” the person has with the appraisal and/or appraiser. Having a third party call to discuss an appraisal report creates a difficult dilemma for an appraiser. Under USPAP’s Ethics Rule – Confidentiality, the part relevant to this discussion states “[a]n appraiser must not disclose: (1) Confidential information; or (2) assignment results to...

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Subpoenas and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night

First, it is gratifying to know you are actually reading what we write and release. We know this is true because a little over a year ago, we received very few questions about subpoenas and today, after writing a little warning piece on the now infamous FDIC subpoenas being issued to appraisers by a private law firm, we get lots of questions. In fact, we get so many we decided to put together a short follow-up piece on different kinds of subpoenas and how to handle them. These are presented in ascending order of concern with the final one being...

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Mortgage Fraud – Trends and Schemes

In last month’s edition of the AppraisalPort newsletter, I covered some of the appraisal guidelines that were discussed at the National AI Connect Conference in Indianapolis, July 23-25, 2013. This month, I want to discuss another session that dealt with mortgage fraud. I learned a lot about how people are trying to get rich through fraud in this very interesting breakout session. The session, “Residential Mortgage Fraud Enforcement: Trends and Identifying Schemes,” included presentations from Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Special Agent Eric Mascari, Interthinx’s Ann Fulmer, and Gary Crabtree, SRA, owner of Affiliated Appraisers. The session focused on the...

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