AI Dumbing Down Appraiser Licensing

Dumbing Down Appraiser Licensing does NOT Protect the Public TrustOver the past month, I have been writing about SB-70, a California Law that allows appraisers to get a pass and do evaluations on the cheap and not have to verify anything in their appraisals. After all, what MAI or SRA doesn’t want to do an appraisal on the cheap so they can compete with dog-walkers, pool-cleaners, and TV-repairmen? It is what every residential appraiser wants to do because obviously, they can do it better than a septic tank-cleaner or ditch-digger who does evaluations on the side. Appraisersblogs posted my thoughts on this from an earlier Appraisersville post I wrote and, the comments began to fly.

Passions ran high on the blog after Charles Baker, SRA, AI-RRS, and SCCAI Chapter President 2018 criticized me for essentially being uninformed about the law. Here’s a snippet of the “compliment followed by an insult” observation on his part:

Jonathan – While I applaud your passion on this and many other issues affecting our profession, your breathless excitations merely affirm your personal animus towards the Appraisal Institute. A dispassionate reasoned reader can easily see through these headline grabbing histrionics.

One of the problems with a small select group of these individuals is that they don’t seem to understand that they represent residential appraisers and commercial real estate appraisers. As a trade group they have never shared (at least during Grubbe’s reign as CEO through today) any insights about what drives their policies. Their leadership and those who are on the path to leadership have work within a corporate cult. You need to comply, or you will never be on the inside. And people like Charles, who I am sure is a nice person and good appraiser (he also said so), get so far embedded into the corrosive culture that they believe what they are saying. The rest of us have no idea what they are thinking, and membership has long enjoyed zero input. The problem with this type of management is that it teaches those in the inner circle a certain amount of disdain by the organization to its members – that they are morons who don’t get it and who can be bypassed so all those first class flights with their spouses to far away boondoggles can be continued.

I have a broader theory on the impetus for pushing so irrationally hard for evaluations that causes their leadership to misstate and mislead out of context, and it has nothing to do with residential appraising. It has everything to do with commercial appraising. After this bizarre law in California and the repeated efforts to bypass appraiser boards in many other states like Florida, Montana, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, North Dakota, Wisconsin and I’m sure many others, this is about generating income for leadership’s appraisal practices. For example in financial reporting, commercial appraisers are losing out to accountants and others in reporting for various reasons for large corporations. I assume that USPAP stops them from doing what they see as lucrative reports. With leadership in a bubble, they have no idea how the masses feel and clearly don’t care. They want that business for themselves.

The logic Charles (in this post), Scott Dibiasio, Bill Garber and others bring to the table has never been agreed to by the masses. Why? Because they really aren’t telling us why. In a one on one conversation, none of these characters have ever been able to convey credible rationale for their efforts, because they aren’t defensible but they scratch their heads and wonder why most appraisers outside their bubble are so damn pissed.

But I digress.

Here are some key points of this SB-70 tragedy that the Appraisal Institute heaped on hard-working appraisers:

AI Leadership in CA hides what they are doing: Charles does a lot of fogging in his responses. Remember that presidents of the California chapters send people to Sacramento to lobby for SB-70 without informing their own membership on what they are lobbying for, so I’ve been told by insiders. Why? That reflects a culture that views membership opinions with disdain. In his response you can see he comes from the perspective of “Well I’m from the Appraisal Institute, that’s why” which is not a reason. The greatest illustration of this, which Charles couldn’t step back and see when he says:

Members of the Appraisal Institute CA GRC sent out invitations to every other appraisal organization in California to meet with us in the fall of 2017 in Irvine at a very lovely hotel. We even offered to pay for lunch. The aim was to solicit feedback from other stakeholders. We called and emailed weeks in advance and not a single person showed up.

The reason no one showed up, aside from too much salt in the beef stew special, was that the Appraisal Institute is no longer a leader in our industry. They have built a reputation of arrogance in their behavior. I was at TAFAC when we voted to throw them out after wasting everyone’s time with a constant parade of temper tantrums and in the end, they would not agree to the goal of the organization.

What is a level playing field?

As you well know, there are thousands of unlicensed valuation professionals performing valuation-related work today . . . to a different standard, or perhaps to no standard whatsoever. State licensed appraisers in California are unable to compete on a level playing field given, among other things, the requirement to produce restricted-use reports for one intended user only. No one could possibly argue that the public in California is better protected by ceding this work to unlicensed practitioners in New York or India.

This is an absolute abomination of logic and I am aghast at how dumb this is. Why do you want a level playing field? The public trust is served by a licensing mechanism. Just give up your license and do the work you so badly want at all costs and not destroy the public trust for what an appraiser actually is.

As a licensed practicing appraiser, you are likely better at valuation than a TV repairman doing an evaluation. But when you demand to remove your license restraints to do this work, OF COURSE, you will do a better job but it destroys the impression of your worth when you are doing a real valuation. Ironically, the value of an appraiser is already damaged by this because Charles and his colleagues can’t do the branding math.

Here is an example in reverse. In the North Dakota request for a statewide waiver of appraisers because they are too hard to find in rural areas. But so are doctors! How about waiving medical licenses for medical practitioners to serve the public!

There is no enforcement when you do evaluations. So dumbing down appraiser licensing does NOT protect the public trust.

That’s all I have time for today, but my goodness, there is a lot more to talk about with SB-70 in next week’s Housing Notes. Lots.

Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller

Jonathan Miller is President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986. He is a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut, performing court testimony as an expert witness in various local, state and federal courts.

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31 Responses

  1. Avatar Annemieke Roell says:

    I don’t think that appraisal waivers mean “dumbing down” of licenses. It means no appraisal at all. I also am of the opinion that there are valuation experts out there who no longer maintain their license, yet keep up with the industry and are just as good, if not better in many cases, than licences and certified appraisers. Other than these two points I am in complete agreement with you

  2. Avatar Greg Burkhart says:

    AI has proven its worthlessness. Why would any appraiser in their right mind support these clowns. Let’s look at the bigger picture this is nothing more than a money grab at the expense of the borrower and appraiser. The AMCs get to charge the borrower a ridiculous amount for a garbage hybrid appraisal. The leadership at AI also has leadership positions in the AMCs. That’s who this benefits! The consumer and the appraiser both get screwed in the end. So damn sad!

  3. Avatar John Logan says:

    I can’t believe that AI has any interest in protecting the Residential Appraiser. This is all about money in the pockets of everyone but the person most qualified. Remove the appraiser, pay less for unqualified individuals and provide a crap product. That’s exactly whats going on here. The bottom line is AMCs profit and The consumer suffers.

  4. Avatar Michael S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

    I know Charles – he is a nice guy and, as demonstrated by his uninformed rant above, smarter than Mr. Miller. I’ve also recently met Mr. Miller at this joke of a “conference” in San Antonio – which is basically the “alt-Left” or “lunatic fringe” version of the appraisal world. Seriously, anyone that calls a guy like Mike Ford an appraisal industry “leader” is smoking something.

    What is really going on here? Uninformed, less serious appraisers are generally jealous of people with AI designations. Why? They are the hardest designations to get. It’s like people working at McDonalds complaining about those “arrogant” people that graduate from Harvard. How many recent AI chapter or national meetings has Mr. Miller been to?  No AI chapter owes you anything- their only responsibility is to their MEMBERS who put the work in for their expertise. I am a daily, in the trenches working residential appraisers and my AI certifications allow me to be taken SERIOUSLY by clients I want (not AMCs). I didn’t get them to be part of a “club”. I get calls each month because of my expertise, not because I paid $399 or just place fake, meaningless “designation” letters after my name like Mike Ford.

    The fact that he is “proud” that they “threw the AI out” of TAF should tell all. A quasi-government entity attempted to block the FREE SPEECH of a private business group (while simultaneously exceeding its mandate to compete with the private organization on education) and Miller has the gall to talk about AI making people “toe the line”?  Pot? Kettle?  Really?  I’m happy AI is not a part of TAF anymore. Frankly, TAF just needs to go away not exist. They attract an uninformed, leftist militant form of “appraiser” – people like Paul Welcome, who was recently slapped down after he tried to upend the economy and state budget of Kansas by inventing new appraisal methodologies on hundreds of millions of dollars of retail property he was “assessing”.

    The AI is made up of real people who work in the industry every day right beside you. I didn’t suddenly become a completely different person once I put three to six letters after my name, but I get treated differently by the “hillbilly chattering class” of appraiser now. If you don’t like the AI – THEN DON’T JOIN. We don’t get together at AI meetings and go “boy, the ‘NON-DESIGNATEDs are at it again…”  It’s further hilarious to characterize the AI as some type of “country club” when, just yesterday Mr. Miller explained live about online trolls by stating “you know when you are at a cocktail party and something says something rude…”   Sorry Mr. Miller, maybe that’s your world in New York, but here in the real world in Kansas we don’t all go to “cocktail parties” every week. I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to one.  It was helpful to understand his feelings about responding to “trolls” however (which to him is anyone with a contrary opinion or calls out his nonsense) so I know how he will respond to this – which is likely to ignore it.

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      When close to 3 out of 4 appraisers choose not to belong to the AI, I think we all know who has the problem. The AI and you with your designations Mr. Elliott represent the fringe elements of this profession, and in my opinion, without bringing along the big chunk in the middle (50 – 75% of appraisers), we can ALL say goodbye to our carers. In judging the current health of the hefty middle, the AI has failed. But I guess by being smarter than all of use, you already know that Michael.

      Seek the truth.

      • Avatar Michael S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

        Yes, Because what people without a substantive argument do is invoke envy, jealously and attacks. I’m happy that the majority of appraisers do not “belong” to AI. And that very statement demonstrates how little you know about the organization. It is not a trade organization. It is not a Union. It is a society of appraisers that confers designations on those who have proven that they have put in the extra work and education to be above and beyond. If everyone were to “join” it would be no different than state licensing. And how many of those 75% of appraisers that you quote are not working appraisers or don’t do work eligible for an AI designation? But since you’re going to tell me how smart you are, what does designation should I get to communicate to my clients that I have expertise above state licensing? A GAA from NAR like the esteemed Mike Ford? I never think of myself as a particularly smart or full of myself guy until I meet a non-AI appraiser, like people in this group, that make personal assumptions about people based on their membership. This is how I know that Miller is speaking out of the wrong orifice. In his previous article he went on a long diatribe about how people and leadership positions at the AI have to toe the line and fit in with the powers that be. I was once a chapter officer and vice president and I must have missed that meeting because the only thing I remember was a dear friend of mine asking me if I would serve my fellow colleagues and set up education and meetings to increase our knowledge of the industry and market. Maybe they drugged me so I don’t remember the meeting about being part of their secret cabal. Or maybe Miller has never been a part of the organization and is just making up a story because he doesn’t personally like them. No, not maybe, that’s exactly what happened. If you don’t wanna join them, don’t. But you look like a bunch of conspiracy theory idiots every time you trot out the crap and it’s why someone like me, who is generally a little rebellious and would be inclined to agree with some of the substantive, industry arguments, will never take people like you or Miller seriously.

    • Mike, I let my peers decide what I am. Nuisance or a benefit to the profession, it is purely up to them. Period.

      Perhaps you should contact NAR and tell them that you have thought it over and decided to declare their appraisal (GAA & RAA) & membership (Realtor) designations meaningless. Not unlike the AI-RRS. Many disagree with you.

      As for the Member, AGA designation we have a different metric. Our designation is based primarily on a requirement for integrity. We believe that the AQB criteria established by TAF at the direction of Congress are sufficient tests of technical and professional skill sets. Otherwise, there are serious deficiencies in that testing process nationally. We recognize the half day and full day tests that each licensee or certified appraiser passes as valid representations of the appraiser’s skills.

      We are more concerned about integrity. I doubt there is an experienced General Certified appraiser in the country with over 15 or 20 years experience that has not had the dubious pleasure of reviewing or reading at least one  ‘Made As Instructed’ report, where authors relied on formerly highly regarded credentials and pretty report formatting in lieu of USPAP compliance and fundamental honesty. The brand is tarnished.

      AGA is a new designation. It’s acceptance in the profession will become what we make of it. We won’t trade our integrity or our members goals to prop it up falsely. We’ll take highly trained, honest licensed and certified appraisers that continue to learn, over those that ‘claim to know it all by virtue of AI designations’ any day. Unlike AI, IF one of our members knowingly demonstrates a lack of integrity, we will remove them from membership. We defend against false claims or legitimate errors – not dishonesty.

      • Avatar Michael S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

        Mr. Ford, if RAA and GAA are so “worthy”, why do you feel the need to mislead the public and pretend the abbreviation for “state certified general real estate appraiser” is some type of “professional designation”? Because it make the list of your designations appear longer? Unlike that, I actually had to demonstrate knowledge, INTEGRITY, education and proper review reports for my AI-RRS. I get review clients due to it. Working on a report now thanks to it. In 30 years I’ve never once had anyone ask me “do you have the appraiser designation from NAR?”  Someone designated by an organization (NAR) that spends a great deal of time trying to put us out of business- now that’s funny.

        I wish you well with the AGA designation. Perhaps in time we can come up with clever, derisive acronyms for the AGA they way you do with the MAI (“A Grumbling Appraiser?” perhaps?  “Appraiser Gets Aggravated”?  “Anybody Gets Approved”?).  In the meantime, I’m happy and proud (or “elitist” in your book) to have my AI designations that I had to spend YEARS working hard for and thus were a meaningful accomplishment.

        • Pretend? Mislead? Apparently, you are unaware that California specifically authorizes the use of SCREA or SCGREA. My license actually says “State of California General Certified Real Estate Appraiser.”

          Count the letters Mike. 5 or 6 versus ‘State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser.’ SCREA or SCGREA isn’t for the public’s benefit so much as other appraisers, OR lenders that like to see soup after a name. Is he residential certified or general certified? Misleading? Quite the contrary. It’s pretty specific about what I am and what I am not. No pretense.

          By contrast, one could read your letters and not tell what level your official state credentials are. Who is misleading?

          Years ago SRA meant an expert in residential appraisal. It was enough. Most of us knew that included the ability to review residential appraisal work. A skill most of us also learned our second or third year in the business.

          Truth is AI needed the money and (some) insecure SRA’s thought they needed more alphabet. What’s next? How about AI-RMS (residential measuring specialist)? Or perhaps AI-RPS (photography specialist). Maybe an AI designation for being a keyboard specialist? Mike, some things are simply expected in a residential appraiser expert’s repertoire of skills. Even without letters.

          In “demosntrating integrity and knowledge for your AI-RRS did you also cite your published view of believing highest and best use for an sfr in a subdivision* isn’t required?” Knowledge? Give me a break Mike. An expert would know exactly why highest and best use is required for sfr’s in subdivisions.

          A review of your articles/ comments shows recurring reliance on disparaging commentary for anyone you disagree with. Whether its TAF; other appraisers, Appraiserfest, Johnathon Miller,  myself, other organizations, USPAP standards you don’t agree with, etc. It’s always the other guy that is wrong. Everyone except Mike Elliott.

          Mike when you advance your limited experience 20-year career knowledge to a point when you can pass a general certification exam, be sure to let me know. I may take you more seriously. When you obtain your MAI (or just pass a general cert license level), then maybe your critiques of Tim Andersen and others with similar experience will be more credible.

          (*WorkingRE OREP comments by Mr. Elliott in response to Tim Andersen MAI comments)

          By the way Mike, anyone with even minimal knowledge of the Marine Corps would know ‘junkyard dog’ is as much a compliment as teufelhund. It’s hardly the insult you intended. It’s possibly the highest compliment you could offer to me. Thank you.

          • Avatar Michael S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

            I don’t have to “disagree” and “think” that I am right when you are factually, provable wrong. Let’s take a sample:

            “Mike when you advance your limited experience 20-year career knowledge to a point when you can pass a general certification exam, be sure to let me know.”

            Well, EXPERT – a simple check of my state or the ASC would show that I am, in fact, General Certified in Kansas and Missouri. So guess what, WRONG. Mr. Ford.

            Letters after a name? For all other appraiser professionals, those are DESIGNATIONS, not STATE LICENSES OR CERTIFICATIONS. A state license or certification is not a professional designation.

            Again – Mr. Ford – “By contrast, one could read your letters and not tell what level your official state credentials are”  Easy – because the designation after my name isn’t my state certification level. But guess what Mr. Ford, on every appraisal document in Kansas that I sign – I must put MY STATE LICENSE NUMBER – which starts with “G” – for “General”. Residential Certification starts with R and Licensed with “L”.  Again, WRONG, FALSE.

            Your quote about highest and best use above is also WRONG and FALSE. I never said any such thing. I indicated USPAP does not specifically quote a requirement for ALL THREE HBUs- as vacant, as improved and “ideal improvement”. If you can quote otherwise, please point me to the page and line number in USPAP Standards Rule 2 that requires reporting of the IDEAL IMPROVEMENT for such an assignment. You can’t. So, again, the reason, I disagree with you, IS THAT YOU ARE WRONG as well as intentionally misquoting me.

            How exactly would you know what is required for an SRA or an AI-RRS? Have you ever had to demonstrate your knowledge to anyone except the State of California? Of course not.

            So, go ahead, respond to this. Each time you do you just prove how clueless you are again and again. You prove that you don’t really want to work with the AI – you deep down despise them and all associated with them which is why, although I didn’t really care before I attended that sham political rally known as “Appraiser Fest” I will oppose you and your organization at every turn. I will certainly never claim to the be the world’s smartest appraiser. I was trained, thankfully, by many smart people. There are many appraisers in this world that know much more than me – you sir, are not one of them however, of that I am very certain.

  5. Avatar Certresidential says:

    Lobbying Spending Database – Appraisal Institute, 2018

    2016 Total Lobbying Expenditures: $140,000
       Subtotal for Parent Appraisal Institute: $140,000

    2017 Total Lobbying Expenditures: $140,000
       Subtotal for Parent Appraisal Institute: $140,000

    2014 Total Lobbying Expenditures: $160,000
       Subtotal for Parent Appraisal Institute: $160,00

    did membership get any accountability of what was causes were lobbied

  6. Avatar Michael Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

    The institute is not a Union, a Guild, or a trade organization. It is there to provide a professional society, superior education and designations that actually mean something besides letters after your name. That’s actually a pittance when it comes to lobbying. I’m actually surprised that it’s that small of a number. I don’t look to the appraisal institute to be an organizer of appraiser uprisings. I looked at them to do exactly what their charter says they are going to do.

    • Avatar Certresidential says:

      Ok. Not a Union, not a Guild or Trade Organization. All of which would be expected to lobby.

      AI’S primary function is as an educational provider offering designations to Appraisers

      On what premise or pretense (cause) and on whose behalf does it allocate membership dues to hire professional lobbying firm of Rich Feuer Anderson to lobby (one way or another) for SB 2155 which became law or for that matter, any legislative action.

      As a member designated were you polled or lobbied by the Ivory Tower regarding your position on that particular Bill?

      • Avatar Michael Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

        It lobbies for the things that affect its members. If you’re terribly concerned about it, join a local chapter which votes on regional representatives which in turn vote on the national leadership that spends this money. And after that if you don’t really like them then guess what, this is a free country, don’t join them. Go find an organization that fits your needs. I find it amazing all the people that don’t belong to the institute that are so concerned with exactly how it is advocating for the industry, along with people who belong to the organization that don’t actively do anything to make the changes that they rail about. No, they don’t send out a letter every 10 minutes to some agency barking like a uninformed junkyard dog like the AGA, but they do enough for their role. Besides, the last time they took a strong opinion, that providing classes was outside the TAFs scope, the TAF threw a hissy fit and tossed them out. You can’t simultaneously rail about the institute not doing enough for the industry while half the industry is trying to get rid of it.

        • Avatar Certresidential says:

          So basically, (speaking for yourself) you’re admitting that whatever sword the AI leadership falls on is one with which you concur….because…as your leaders they must know what’s best  for everyone holding a membership.

          The AI lobbies for “things” – What things ?

          Would you care to expound on how SB 2155 affects or benefits you and AI members?

          • Avatar Michael Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

            First, you can find out what “things” they are lobbying for by going to the AI’s website under “Advocacy” – it’s not a big secret.

            Yes, I was “polled” by the “ivory Tower” as you put it – each year I get the opportunity to vote on local/regional representatives that in turn vote on national leaders that take action. That’s how representative democracy versus “direct democracy” works. I also have the opportunity via e-mail and letter to make my views knows to national leadership. Now, do you think the organization would be more effective if they waited for a “member poll” before they took a position on every legislative issue? I’d love to hear that argument.

            As for SB 2155, this may be news to you, but as appraisers we have to work WITHIN a system. We are a tiny, tiny niche special interest group that will NEVER EVER get Congress’ full attention. Sorry, welcome to reality. That said, from my reading the AI took neither a “for” or “against” position on the bill, but a “we’d like better, but it’s not as bad as it could be” approach. Bill Garber quoted in media about it:

            “And what is the Appraisal Institute’s position on the exemption?

            “It is not something that we support obviously. We don’t support turning away from appraisals. We have tried to make sort of a bad situation better, and I think we have done that. I would say at the outset, at least it involves appraisal. It is not an outright exemption. You had people who were calling for an outright rural-appraisal exemption at $400,000. I am calling it an allowance.” End quote.

            So, if you have another organization that thinks it can pursue this more aggressively and you feel passionately about it – then leave the AI (if you are a member, which doesn’t sound like you are since you seem uninformed about how it operates) and join another of the other ones that are so much more effective than the AI at changing legislation. Oh, wait, is there one? Yeah, exactly.

            As for “member dues” – realize that most of their political activities are funded via the PAC which is a separate,voluntary contribution. The portion of my dues related to lobbying is around $40/year. I’ve probably wasted more than that just taking the time to respond to you so it’s not exactly keeping me up at night.

            And yes, to be clear, I am speaking for myself. I have no current or prospective leadership role or inside knowledge of the organization other than what any other member has.

            Am I “happy” with the AI? Couldn’t really care what they do on lobbying. I’m glad they try – but neither they, the ASA, the AGA or other tiny, niche appraisal organizations are going to meaningfully change the situation. I’d rather spend my time increasing my value to clients and finding new clients than crying about how we’re all getting “screwed by the government”. At least I’m clear “CertResidential” what my real name is and what organization I belong or don’t belong to.

            • The advocacy on the website is mostly generic gobblygook. It literally is busy work. Instead, follow the work of Scott Dibiasio in his dogged pursuit to devalue the meaning of an appraisal by advocating evaluations, yet can’t provide a reason why. It’s madness and infers a healthy dose of self-serving behavior by leadership.

            • Mike, we respectfully disagree. BOTH ASA and AGA have already made changes. ASA and AGA stopped AB624 dead in its tracks (2015).

              This year AGA was able to get OCC to convince BofA and their AMC Corelogic to reconsider (change) their policy on encountering pot growing operations at appraisals, to conform with USPAP and federal law. We have assisted over 103 members in; reinstatements or removal from blacklists, recovering back fees owed and in defending themselves against false claims against them with their boards in the past year alone.

              The combined efforts of State coalitions, trade organizations such as ASA that care about their members, and the American Guild of Appraisers can precipitate change. We may not succeed in all the areas we try, but the fact is we TRY. We will have some successes and some shortcomings. That’s inevitable.

              There is one thing that is absolutely certain. If no one tries, then nothing will get done. For much less than the $40 per month of your dues that go to lobbying (for and AGAINST appraisers); our members can get personal, direct assistance on any appraisal issue they face, with a simple phone call and a few emails.

              If you believe AI is all you need, and that they are properly representing all appraisers then congratulations. Seriously. That AI feels threatened by the proliferation of coalitions, and ASA and AGA suggest that not all your fellow Institute Members agree with you.

              Mike, Coalitions, ASA and AGA all have AI members in our ranks. We don’t pretend to be a replacement for AI at all. We are a supplement to it. At other times we are an alternative to it.

        • Mike it was AI that claimed, in public before TAF meetings in Redondo Beach, CA and Phoenix, AZ that THEY spoke for all appraisers. Further, they made the blatantly false claim that they put the interests of all other appraisers before their own interests.

          For that, the junkyard dog called them on their egregious lie in public, before the TAF – twice. By the time the Torrance, CA TAF meeting rolled around, their reps were no longer spouting that lie. WE reached out to Garber to see how sincere AI was about working with other organizations. He offered to meet, though our perception was that some additional groundwork needed to be undertaken before that takes place. The fact remains that we have serious opposition to some (not all) AI policies.

          Why not call the split AI and TAF had what it is instead of a “hissy fit”? AI VIOLATED the tenants and code of ethics of TAF. Pure and simple. The seeds of their disputes were legitimate issues. Perhaps they could have been resolved. Then again, it appears to outsiders that the AI attitude and willingness to resolve issues took the same tone your own comments take. Confrontational and insulting, rather than cooperatively and honestly seeking to resolve differences.

          There probably was a “hissy fit,” but I don’t think it was on TAFs part. By the way, I’m no fan of TAF either. Then again, I have not signed an agreement not to disparage them as part of any sponsorship with them. I personally think they need to be dissolved or at least lose their special status with ASC. Not because they compete with AI educational offerings, but because after 25+ years they still haven’t gotten USPAP right, OR preserved the Public Trust.

          We don’t mind being a junkyard dog, Mike. It’s long past time for someone to stand up and ‘bark’ for appraisers. AI certainly isn’t doing it. Uninformed? I let my peers make that call.

          • Avatar Michael. S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

            See, that last statement, which you also made last week, is what makes you uninformed. They “haven’t gotten USPAP right in 25 years”.  Yes, there are annoying, legalistic changes to USPAP from year to year. I agree.  But to pretend a document crafted 30 years ago would just be completely unchanged when it governs an every-changing industry is just silly.  What were the nature of AVMs, electronic signatures and on and on in the late 80’s? or the 90’s? Technology, processes, needs of clients and for that matter the properties themselves (i.e. green technology) have changed over 30 years. Yes, the “we inserted the word ‘as’ in Standards Rule 4” changes are annoying but making blanket statements suggesting we can achieve a “right” and “unchangeable” version of USPAP is absurd.

    • It is a trade organization – good grief. Its mission was supposed to be to enhance professionalism and opportunities for its members just like others in related industries such as NAR and MBA and ABA. The fact is that the organization forgot about residential appraisers and its leadership culture has become toxic over the past decade. I’m not against the organization conceptually at all, but I am against the self-interest of its elitist leadership.  Membership is declining yet the number of national credentials is not. The lack of transparency has allowed leadership to do many things without accountability. Those that push back against AI National are only seeking to neutralize the damage they cause to their residential membership, not put them out of business. Over the last few years, the proliferation of state coalitions and more outward criticism is evidence of AI National’s lack of meaningful action. I hope they change their ways, but with a CEO and former 2x president pulling in $400K along with executives flying first class all over the world, I fear its a lost cause.

  7. Avatar Michael S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

    Jonathan Miller – your comments would be funny if not so sad. So let me get this straight – you, who are NOT a member of AI, know more about the “inner workings” of it because you, let’s see, receive and vote on organization changes, regularly attend location and national AI meetings, participate in the organization…. oh wait – NONE of those. You “hear” things, right? Rumor? Innuendo?

    And “G5 Johathan” who, just a week ago was bragging about how he wasted his client’s money with ridiculous retainers and flying you all over the country, wants to nitpick the travel arrangements of an organization he DOESN’T BELONG TO OR PAY DUES TO. I don’t know what they call that at the cocktail parties you bragged about last week, but here in flyover country, we tend to call that “talking out of your ass”. I’m sure it’s impressive to your loudmouth New York friends, but not so much to the rest of us.

    How exactly would you know what “transparency” is in an organization you don’t belong to? Why don’t you stick to railing about things you actually know about, because for those of us in the organization, you just look ridiculous talking about this.

    But the bigger question – WHY DO YOU CARE? I mean, I don’t belong to the AGA (I almost did, until I dug deeper). I could write paragraphs about what a horrific, unprofessional organization they are. A website designed by a 12 year old, affiliated with a socialist labor movement that is antithetical to everything I believe in, etc. etc. But I don’t spend my days worrying trying to “investigate” the AGA. I don’t care – they are just someone else’s nonsense. I suppose I could go on a one-man campaign and talk about the inner workings of unions I know nothing about and maybe I can be as popular and relevant as Mr. Miller (because, after all, that’s what it boils down to, right Johnathan? “relevance”)

    So, let’s recap – loudmouth New Yorker who thinks he has it all figured out knows more about the inner workings and value or an organization to residential appraisers than an ACTUAL long-time member of said organization who holds both residential designations. Perhaps we should use USPAP’s definition of “credible” – that is “worthy of belief” – which your comments are not.

    • Avatar Bill Johnson says:

      Here’s what I know Michael, 3 out of 4 appraisers say NO to joining the Appraisal Institute. I would hope with the letters behind your name (SRA / Someone Really Arrogant), that even you could figure out most don’t support your organization. Are you guys still supporting HVCC, or are you waiting to see how it all works out?

      Seek the truth.

      • Avatar Michael S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

        Great stat Bill.  What is the membership number for the AGA or the real property portion of the ASA? Does that mean that more than half of the appraisers in the country have said no to those organizations? Here’s the thing, I have a successful business and my designation is respected by those I do work for. It has no bearing on what cutesy little acronyms you can come up with. Thankfully I did not join my organization to be part of some political movement. I considered joining the ASA as well to increase my knowledge of another discipline of appraisal practice, however the extraordinarily unprofessional manner that their representatives displayed at the conference last week has led me to rethink that decision. Have a wonderful and irrelevant life. I have some work to do now that doesn’t involve Internet forums.

        • ASA unprofessional? Now that is something I have never seen or heard associated with them. In fact, in most professional appraisal circles the ASA designation carries at least as much weight and respect as the MAI does. In fact, it’s why so many MAI’s ALSO carry the ASA designation.

          • Avatar Michael Elliott says:

            Mr. Ford, prior to last week I would have agreed with your comments about the ASA and one of the reasons I went to San Antonio was to learn more about them. I have worked with several ASA appraisers in my career that would be consistent with your assessment. But the “performance” on stage of their two representatives in San Antonio was ridiculous and unprofessional. I can only guess that they feel, since the NAIFA merger that the only way to get ahead as an organization is to bash the AI to appeal to a certain segment of the appraisal industry. What a shame.

    • I’m sorry you hate New Yorkers! As far as being a loudmouth, I admit  I do talk a lot but I’m not loud! You’re one of the best trolls I’ve ever met in person so you officially have the win in this thread! kudos! It’s also great content for my newsletter! All my family in Ohio and Michigan and my college friends in flyover country and people I know from the years I lived in a Chicago would expect nothing less! And my friends in KC are amazingly polite! Actually they live in Olathe on the Kansas side!

      • Avatar Michael S. Elliott, SRA, AI-RRS says:

        You see Mr. Miller, this is why everything you say is BS. Please quote the above post where it says the words “hate” and “New Yorkers” in the same sentence. I said YOU, sir, are a loudmouth New Yorker. I love New York. It’s a great city. Unfortunately in a city that size you get tolerance of a great number of self-important loudmouths like yourself who like to twist words, twist truth and are so accustomed to their own BS they don’t even recognize it when it comes out of their mouth. Nice try on proving midwest relevance. It’s like when white racists say “but it’s ok if I say that because I have friends who are black…”. So Mr. Miller says “all my friends from the midwest think I’m fine…” You have a nice life hating the AI because you were unable to get your MAI. Me, on the other hand, I will continue to increase my skills and knowledge from reputable sources, NOT fly to assignments in a G5 and steer clear of the lunatic fringe of the appraisal world. As the flight attendants on regular air travel say – “Bu-bye!”

        • Mr. Elliot, please be respectful of the opinions of others and do not attack someone for having an opinion that differs from your own; if you disagree with someone, please express yourself respectfully. Snide or rude comments are not constructive and certainly not helpful. We count on your cooperation and appreciate your support!

  8. Avatar certresidential says:

    I for one would not want a pet poodle guarding my interests. Gimme the junkyard dog ANY day of the week. 🙂


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AI Dumbing Down Appraiser Licensing

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 5 min