Good Appraisers Lived That Hell Too

Good Appraisers Lived That Hell Too... Lumped in with the Bad Appraisers

Instead, good appraisers have been lumped in with the bad appraisers who are long gone…

Although I’ve shared the following CNBC clip before, it’s worth showing again given my 15-year ago hairstyle. In 2005, I was interviewed by CNBC in the midst of the Housing Bubble and said that 75% of the appraisals being done then weren’t worth the paper they were written on (hey it was 2005 and they were done on paper, not pdf). They found me because I had just started my Matrix Blog because no one seemed to be listening to appraisers. Incidentally as of this week, Matrix is 15 years old!!!

And the October Research stats presented indicating that 55% of appraisers felt pressure to hit the value rose to 90% in the next year! The outlook was dire.

When I was interviewed, I was trying to keep it together because I assumed my business and my livelihood would be gone by 2008 if things continued. Thoughts about supporting my family of 4 sons and making my mortgage payments loomed large, but I couldn’t be morally flexible unlike many of my local peers who thrived as a result. Most lenders and mortgage brokers didn’t care about valuation quality, just hitting the numbers to make the deal. The appraisal profession became seen as one of “deal enablers” instead of neutral valuation benchmark setters. My big competitors at the time (who were part of the 75%), told me essentially: “Aw Miller, You Don’t Get It.” No, I didn’t. All my “75% competitors” during that era lost their licenses and/or went out of business after Lehman collapsed in 2008.


This is why this new documentary “THE CON” means so much to me. It tells the story that “good appraisers” like me and my firm have never been able to tell. Instead, good appraisers have been lumped in with the bad appraisers who are long gone.

Watch for my appearance along with several of my colleagues around the country in this week’s episode 2!

Think too much risk was the reason for the 2008 financial crisis? Nope. Unmitigated greed and systematic fraud are the real issues — and no one’s discussing them…. Until now. @theconseries is now available on virtual cinema: #TheCon

Beginning now, you can watch entire THE CON series, episodes 1-5 through a network of independent cinema outlets.

Watch Last week’s Episode 1

Jonathan Miller
Image credit flickr - bunny hero
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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2 Responses

  1. Avatar don says:

    The market failed in late 1958, then again in 1965, then again 1999, then again.

    Some of the months between 2003 and; 2005 were inflating at 4% per month, some of the months after 2010 were declining at 4% per month.

    Exciting times BUT that’s what the Market was doing in my territory, and I considered my work proper and legitimate.

    I remember reporting on a tract house under construction that the proposed 95% loan could be closed as a 80% loan on completion. Buyers were bidding up the prices when the builders opened.

    Then Again later foreclosures dominated, and values changed again, and then again interest rates changed the market again, and then again???

    But a bunch of us remained proud of our work, or mostly so.

  2. Scott Taylor on Facebook Scott Taylor on Facebook says:

    In 2007 Washington mutual kicked me off their list as I would not make time adjustments of 1 to 2% PER MONTH for a new construction townhouse development in Miramar FL. They said that unit sold six months ago for $200,000, it is worth $212-$215k now. That was a crazy time. Glad it is over and hope we have all learned from it. However, appraisers are still viewed as just a nuisance in the entire lending process by the vast majority of all involved.


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Good Appraisers Lived That Hell Too

by Jonathan Miller time to read: 2 min