The Greatest Recession

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Frederick E Rossiter
Latest posts by Frederick E Rossiter (see all)

The Greatest Recession - The Hesitance to Accept Modified Appraisals

The Greatest Recession is now spreading across the US. The investor’s hesitance to accept modified appraisals without interior inspections will prevent the real estate market from leading this country out of “The Greatest Recession” now spreading across the US…

Appraisers provide an essential financial service according to the verbiage I’ve read from The Department of Homeland Security and various sources. We are exempt from “stay at home” orders. The State of Colorado has defined appraisal services and appraisers as providing an essential financial and professional service. Colorado says that appraisers are exempt from stay at home orders.

An abundance of caution:

During the Vietnam War, I enlisted in the Army Reserves. The Army sent me to Basic Training at Fort Polk in Louisiana and taught me how to kill people. Then they sent me to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas and taught me how to save people. I was trained first as a soldier, then as a medic and finally as an operating room technician. I was a “scrub nurse” and assigned to the 5502; a MASH unit stationed at Fitzsimons Hospital in Aurora. Those two schools and my experience while stationed to Fitzsimons taught me how to create and maintain a sterile field free from contamination.

To protect myself and my family from the coronavirus over the last several weeks, I have used those skills, experience, and the knowledge that l learned long ago. Before the coronavirus really started ramping up, I did two appraisals that required the typical interior inspection, photos, and floor plan sketch. Out of an abundance of caution, I purchased shoe coverings, a mask, and rubber gloves. I had a “coronavirus talk” with the listing agents of both homes. I asked them both to have their sellers vacate their homes and take their dogs with them prior to the inspection. I asked the listing agents to turn on all the lights and open all the doors … even the fence gates to the rear yard. I advised the agents that they and their sellers and dogs could sit in their cars at the curb and watch me enter and then exit their homes. I explained that I was going to float into and through the home and not touch any interior surfaces except the floors I walked on.

Needless to say, the listing agents and sellers were quite amused by my silly request and by the procedures I used as they watched me from their cars, with my booties, mask and gloves enter and then exit their homes. Thankfully, they complied with my requests albeit with a smirk on their faces. At the time, I suspect, they thought this was all ridiculous … a scene out of some science fiction movie.

And so, I inspected the homes and when I came out the front door, I felt as though I had just come out of an operation. I used sterile technique to remove my booties, and gloves and disposed of them into a paper sack which I sealed and later put into the trash.

I soon concluded that all this was absolutely nuts! To continue appraising, even using these semi sterile procedures and technique, was crazy and I was not going to continue to do it. The risks to myself, my wife, the Realtors and homeowners I came into contact with was simply not worth the risk. I surmised that sooner or later, I would become contaminated and likely infect someone else.

Jeff Bradford, one of our valuation industry giants said it best when he questioned the wisdom of allowing 40,000 active appraisers in this country to go from home to home contaminating everybody with the coronavirus like bees pollinating flowers.

The Alarming Predictions:

Recent predictions of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from this virus should cause everyone to gasp and reevaluate their risks. Now do you believe “it’s not just the flu? I’ve read that 20,000 coronaviruses’ can fit on the head of a pin, that they can suspend in the air even after an infected patient leaves the room, and that they can survive on a surface for hours or days. It only takes one to kill you.

Given these risks, and understanding that asymptomatic carriers of the virus are now living and working among us, I no longer accept orders for appraisals that require me to physically inspect the interior of a home. I will shelter myself in my home or car. I do accept appraisal assignments that can be completed with a Desktop or Exterior Only appraisal that does not require me to enter into a home. Pre-listing, divorce, and estate appraisals can be accomplished using these types of appraisals.

An abundance of intelligence:

Slowly at first and now in increasing numbers, appraisers across the country are becoming educated to the risks and are refusing assignments that require an interior inspection. An abundance of intelligence is emerging. Homeowners likewise are calling their lenders and stating that they do not want appraisers coming into their homes. Appraisers are realizing that the risks of an interior inspection are not worth the reward. Bear in mind that the population of active appraisers has aged. Many appraisers are over the age of 60 and many of them have compromised health conditions. Informed appraisers just are not willing to “die in the trenches” for lenders, investors, sellers or Realtors.

The real estate markets are slowing:

The real estate market is slowing and becoming gridlocked. FHFA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA and FHA are aware of this problem and the issues appraisers face. All of them have just recently offered to accept modified appraisal reports that allow appraisers to complete their assignments without an interior inspection. Technological solutions are rapidly becoming available that allow “appraiser assisted” homeowners to conduct an inspection of the interior and exterior of their homes using their smartphones. Apple’s FaceTime is being used to facilitate interior inspections. More technological solutions and methodologies are coming.

Investors are hesitant to embrace these temporary measures:

The big fly in the ointment is the investor’s reluctance to accept appraisals without the time honored interior inspection. Investors are concerned about the potential for fraud. They are worried that homeowners will not photograph instances of mold, structural defect, physical and functional obsolescence.

The Greatest Recession is now spreading across the US:

I’ve dubbed it The Greatest Recession because I fear it may surpass the devastating effects of The Great Recession of 2008. Until most investors agree to accept these temporary modifications and technological solutions, or we conquer this disease, I fear the real estate markets will grind to a halt. The investor’s hesitance to accept modified appraisals without interior inspections will prevent the real estate market from leading this country out of “The Greatest Recession” now spreading across the US.

We must embrace the science and change if we are to save the world and humankind.

Image credit flickr - Christopher Michel
Frederick E Rossiter

Frederick E Rossiter

Fred Rossiter has spent the last 46 years of his life in the real estate industry as a State Certified Appraiser and Licensed Real Estate Broker, a custom home builder, investor and homeowner. Fred served as a Special Magistrate for the Lee County Value Adjustment Board for 6 years and is a Certified Collateral Valuation Specialist. He is a commercially licensed, instrument rated pilot and a USCG licensed Captain. Fred has served as a President and Director of two homeowner associations, built a community park and saved 40 acres of land from development for use as a wildlife preserve. Fred loves people, his family, real estate and the outdoors.

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar cjk says:

    I have also completed my first and last interior inspection during this virus. Some occupants and sad to say some appraisers act as it it is no big deal. I do not know these people so why should I trust my health to them if they cannot even follower basic instructions. I have 3 major clients, 2 of them only order 1004 interiors (investor says) the other one will do the 2055 exterior.

    They are all working from home but it appears that they truly view the appraiser as expendable (they want us to chance it). Fortunately my house has been paid off for 15 years, I have no debt and plenty of money in the bank, so I can ride it out. If the investors (Wells/Chase) do not care what VA/FHA/FNMA have said, will these same investors jump on board with the hybrid appraisals down the road?

    Does Jamie Dimon CEO of JPMorgan Chase work from home? Dimon’s compensation package includes $1.5 million in salary and $30 million in performance-based incentives. Of the $30 million in incentives, $5 million will be delivered in cash and $25 million will come in stock compensation. Mr Dimon are you following the guidelines and staying at home to protect yourself and others. When your company wants the appraisers to go into other peoples homes.

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  2. Josh Johnson on Facebook Josh Johnson on Facebook says:

    I’m not trying to be doom and gloom but be ready for anything. This might get real bad come fall.

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  3. Timothy L. Burks on Facebook Timothy L. Burks on Facebook says:

    We are not in a recession, a recession is a specific defined term.

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  4. Avatar Julio E. Sune Jr. says:

    Investors want interior inspections….Then those who agree to do those should be PAID Combat Pay per appraisal….Say $150 EXTRA per appraisal

    Combat pay is not open only to combat soldiers. Any person enrolled in a branch of the U.S. military who is assigned to a designated hazardous area is eligible to receive combat pay. Spending as little as one hour on duty in a hazardous zone qualifies for an entire month’s combat pay.

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    • Baggins Baggins says:

      That’s great Julio. Many regular grocery and retail workers are getting a ‘hero bonus’.

      I gave myself a permanent raise 3 or 4 years back by simply refusing to work for amc’s.

      Several agents have told me stories of appraisers whom actually ditched out, multiple re assignment rounds, until the request landed with me and finally fulfilled. A few of the orders I fielded had been through assignment rounds for well over a month.

      I went to the grocery store and total beverage without a mask on. Guess what happened. Nothing. I’m fine. We ate brownies, bacon and eggs, grilled rib eyes. Last night I whipped out my famous over the top 2 pounder hot pepper burgers and finished with my favorite beer and whiskey. Those puppies are so big, they take 2 of the long toothpicks to hold them together. “It is not length of life, but depth of life.” Emmerson. With the supposed fear of death right around the corner, I’m not going to stop living. Rather, I turned up the volume.

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  5. Avatar Rick Mayberry says:

    This is not true at all in Pennsylvania. It is temporarily illegal to perform interior inspections and are explicitly named as non-essential by the Governor.

    Please see this from our State Board Website:
    https://www.dos.pa.gov/ProfessionalLicensing/BoardsCommissions/CertifiedRealEstateAppraisers/Documents/Special%20Notices/Limited%20Guidance%20for%20Appraisers,%20Notaries,%20Title%20Companies,%20and%20Home%20Inspectors.pdf

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    • Avatar Pat Turner says:

      Rick,

      Please refer to Gramm-Leach-Bliley. I believe appraisers are classified as “financial institutions” therefore MAY be exempt from the governors order. Just thinking.

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      • Avatar Marion says:

        Not allowed in PA or Indiana.

        But heck, go ahead and explain how “market value”is found in the “open and competitive market” that would result in a “fair sale”, when everyone else is ordered to stay home, and even the appraiser is afraid to go into the house.

        Sure, re-read all those things “implicit” in the URAR pre-printed definition of market value.

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        • Baggins Baggins says:

          The other side of the coin is people could give a hoot what the government is telling them to do, they’re going out there into the world and pursuing their own interests anyways. First timers are rushing the actives, older people are staying in place. Volume of listings is down but interested younger buyers are feverish and present in high quantities. Multiple offers are flooding in. When a person calls a mortgage lender, that mortgage lender still answers their phone. Price will be effected and perhaps price will come down into better alignment with realistic value. Regular people with regular jobs should be able to afford regular houses.

          People who are not ‘worthy worker’ types, will simply rush into a qualified profession. Everyone is going to be a part time realty sales person, volunteer food bank person, medical care provider, guess who just got into the buds and alcohol business! The government is going to force people into a state of criminality and fraud to retain their liberties. This is the cruel choice when law is no longer based on morality.

          The roads are full, parks busy, people are shopping wherever shopping is open. They’re acting like mind controlled zombies wearing gas masks to the grocery store, then boldly walking out with those cans and bags of food they took from the contaminated locations, bravely taking them into their homes where they take those masks off! They went mad all at once but one at a time, we’re going to get them back, show them reason, and remind them that liberty is too big to fail.

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  6. Avatar Ron Maloney says:

    Thanks for your informative article and for your service to our country.

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  7. Avatar Cotton says:

    The only positive i can see coming is the fact the GSEs will have to rethink their position on the scamming bifurcation, desk appraisals and waivers that they have been scamming the investor into believing have any credibility. These properties which sold with a waiver will most likely be the first to go into foreclosure as the borrowers over paid and will need to take a loss. Then the bifurcation products will start to show their true worth once the investors start reviewing them when the property goes into default. Should there be jail time for those at the GSEs and AMCs who have been pushing these flawed products? Will lenders sue companies like Valunet once they find out the products they sell are garbage with zero credibility? Will the tax payers be on the hook again for the scams the GSEs and amcs pushed on the American public with these alternative products? Appraisers get ready there will be a serious amount of litigation work coming our way! Once investors start to take on major loss they will begin to sue the hell out of Fannie Mae for allowing these alternative appraisal products to be utilized. I thank god my signature isn’t on any of those worthless bifurcation or hybrid appraisals. Good luck to the appraisers who did support this behavior! I hope the $50 you made on those hybrids is worth a day in court! Stay safe everyone!

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  8. Avatar Pat Turner says:

    A Recession is when your neighbor loses his/her job.
    A Depression is when you lose your job!!!

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  9. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    Try convincing the millions of elderly trapped in nursing that it’s not all gloom and doom guys. Try convincing the 100,000+ who died alone and were carted off to be buried alone. Try convincing tens of thousands of physicians and nurses who are suffering from extreme PTSD yet report to work (Hell on earth) each morning. This song was written for a documentary about a different disease but you would never know it wasn’t written in response to our current situation.

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  10. Baggins Baggins says:

    “What happens when everyone needs a bailout at the same time”.

    Since when do I need the government’s permission to have liberty? I’m not staying at home. I’m not living in fear of a germ. I’m not going to be getting any vaccines or sacrificing my liberties. The root cause of our economic woes, audit the fed. This is discrimination based on employment type. This is unconstitutional restrictions of liberties imposed by authoritarians. Examined the daily birth and daily death rate normally, there has not been any significant changes to the avg daily death rates except from within a few limited groups of susceptible persons. Even then the shift is rather unremarkable in the bigger picture of total populace. Now to try and continuate this illusion, everyone who dies of anything, if they happened to have Covid-19 (TM), are written up as a Covid-19 (TM) death. Fall off a building even if you were A-symptomatic; Covid-19 (TM) death!

    The very last place we turn to for health advice is the government. They’ve lied and rubber stamped everything for so long, the mechanisms of government health protection have long since been broken. We did not trust them when they said these things were safe; gmo tech, pesticides in food, poisons in water, unrestricted pollution, dangerous household chemicals, toxic adjuvants in vaccines and medicines, addictive substances sanctioned by big pharma, high frequency radiation, and the list is really endless. We are not turning to government for advice or guidance on this new strain of the coronavirus-19 (TM) flue either.

    You’ve all had coronavirus before. If you’ve had the flu, you’ve already had one of the multitude of coronavirus strains. Be careful what you wish for and who you trust or you’ll be living under authoritarian new world order rule tomorrow. And how convenient that after 10 solid years of dedicated activism which was reforming the foods, the medicines, the corporations, the pollution and fuel systems, the news sources, the monetary systems, suddenly all that can be wiped away, big corps can take control again, and the people will once more trust government exclusively? A windfall of renewed profiteering is on the horizon, everyone is tuning back in, small competition is being shut down, and people are literally begging for the government to step in and impose new authoritarian rules to save them from themselves.

    Talk about who’s profiting from Covid-19 (TM). We could all lose everything if we allow our liberties to be restricted. This ends when we demand it ends. Stop living in fear and get back out there. “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?”

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  11. Loved all your background info and suggestions.

    Conversely, respectfully I am exceptionally offended by the “Dubbed Great Recession” and associated speculation. FACT is you don’t know what will happen. I think we all need to be extremely careful not to be a cause of panic.

    Some appraisers are seeing a decline; others are seeing huge volume. The federal government and GSEs are doing what they can to keep the RE market functioning. Solutions to problems after take more than a day or two. Be patient.

    Cash out refinances and purchases require interior inspections in most cases. Rate and term refinance does not. One represents new funding and exposure to GSE investors. The other reflects seasoned existing loans and borrowers simply looking for better rates. Generally on performing loans. The risks are very different.

    Many appraisers are willing to continue property inspections. I would do so if I did any UAD work at all anymore. I will continue to do commercial and industrial and legal consultation whether it requires interior inspection or not. Taking reasonable precautions; although it is also possible I have already had covid. Cant tell for sure until antibody testing becomes more widespread.

    I don’t downplay the risk at all. Nor do I urge others to take the same approach I do. Their family vulnerabilities and concerns are certainly different than my own. Whatever choice appraisers make just be safe.

    PLEASE though, let’s not create our own self-fulfilling prophecy where irresponsible media may pick up posts and translate & report them as “America’s Appraisers Warn of Imminent RE Market Collapse.”

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The Greatest Recession

by Frederick E Rossiter time to read: 5 min
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