Putting Your Licence in Your Appraisals?

Why I refuse to put a full size copy of my appraisal license in reports

This story appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 14, 2012.  I have ‘clipped’ excerpts:

Durk Reese’s efforts to launch an appraisal business were nearly destroyed when his name was used without his knowledge on inflated appraisals as part of a mortgage-fraud scheme. Mark Harmon is still trying to recover from the damage to his reputation after his name was used in the scam two years ago. Both were victims of identity theft committed by Daniel J. Nichter, a former Franklin County development director and Hilliard city councilman.

Reese and Harmon told a Franklin County judge yesterday that they were blackballed in the real-estate industry when their names were linked to the questionable appraisals. “I know I lost thousands of dollars” in business, Harmon said. “It could be hundreds of thousands.” Nichter, who pleaded guilty in November to three counts of identity theft, delivered brief, unemotional apologies in court to both men yesterday. “I’m very, very sorry for my actions,” he said. Common Pleas Judge Kimberly Cocroft sentenced him to four years in prison, accepting a recommendation from the prosecution and defense through a plea agreement that dismissed 45 other counts. “It’s going to be difficult for these men to undo the damage you’ve done,” she told him before deputy sheriffs took him to jail.

Folks, the ‘copy of license’ nonsense gained traction when so many AMC’s started taking over the “management”
of appraisers.  Especially with the smaller AMC’s and the smaller lenders they serve.  The largest AMC’s in this nation DO NOT mandate that your full size license be included in reports.  Your local lender clients also do not expect this since they should already have you (and your license) in their records.

It started, and has continued, due to laziness on the part of lenders, smaller AMC’s and frankly, appraisers… who don’t realize how dangerous this practice is.  It opens you to identity theft.

Instead of verifying that you are really you on the various federal and state web sites, they succumb to the quick and silly presumption that the license image is all they need.  Unfortunately, many appraisers think that this is ‘required’ when it really is not, or that they are providing a worthwhile service to lenders.

Any 12 year old kid with computer knowledge can take your license copy and alter it very easily. If a kid can do it, so can adults … and they do.

Some will think I’m being overly dramatic. Try this: next time you get such a request, call the AMC and ask that the driver’s license of the owner and the business license be faxed or e-mailed to you.  After all, you need to verify who you are dealing with. Then stop talking… and listen for the back peddling and tongue swallowing to begin.

You will not lose business if you JUST SAY NO to putting a full size copy of your license in reports.

Dave Towne
Dave Towne

Dave Towne

AGA, MNAA, Accredited Green Appraiser - Licensed in WA State since 2003. Dave Towne on e-AppraisersDirectory.com

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3 Responses

  1. Donna Corrado via Facebook Donna Corrado via Facebook says:

    Don’t hand out your E&O like candy either. Only to the companies that are giving you business and seperate it from the report, or it will travel miles and miles…………….

  2. Avatar Di Van Tassel says:

    In March one of our lenders has started requesting that we include our insurance binder page in every report. We, of course, send them our renewed E & O binder page every spring, and it is available for them to see. We are now declining any further appraisal requests from them because we believe that once that insurance information is available to homeowners and others, that our risk of having to ‘use’ that E & O insurance greatly increases! Homeowners are angry because their property has appraised for less today than it did 5 years ago, might see that E & O Binder page as an invitation to sue us. We would rather lose a client than set ourselves up for misery. The lender HAS our information. Why would it need to be in the report itself!

  3. Baggins Baggins says:

    A largely overlooked part of this story: The amc’s or whomever assigned this person work, were obviously as unqualified as the imposter. Nobody talked real estate with the appropriate knowledge base and recognized the fraud? This is another piece of evidence against the amc open panel approach, and one in favor of the limited well vetted panel approach. Obviously no references were called, address research not performed, or some other lacking check and balance made a difference here. // This license issue is touchy though, and is a hot spot. Because so many middle management companies now manage the process, there are additional data retention and organization issues to consider. One easy cost to pass off is data management, and in one way that’s accomplished by tagging each report with a license or E&O copy. It’s a move rooted in cost savings for data management. Of course that did not happen back when local appraisers consistently worked with local lenders in an unrestrained trade environment. Oh, I’m on again about fairness in distribution which would prevent these issues, but I digress,


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Putting Your Licence in Your Appraisals?

by Dave Towne time to read: 2 min