HUD ROV Process to Address ‘Appraisal Bias’

HUD ROV Process to Address Appraisal Bias. At a recent event at the Brookings Institute, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced that HUD is creating a ROV process for people seeking FHA financing to request a review of their appraisal if they believe the results may have been skewed by racial bias. For example, a homeowner who is in the process of refinancing their home with an FHA-insured mortgage can take steps to ensure that their appraisal is fair.

HUD 20.23-011

“HUD is committed to making the appraisal process fair nationwide. We must eliminate bias in home valuations so that everyone can equally reap the benefit of wealth – and intergenerational wealth – that come along with homeownership,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “This announcement is an important step forward in rooting out appraisal bias in this country.”

Under the Reconsideration of Valuation proposal, lenders will have clear guidance regarding how to review requests from borrowers for a reconsider of value for the appraisal conducted in conjunction with their application for FHA-insured mortgage financing. It also provides guidance for obtaining a second appraisal when material deficiencies are documented, and the appraiser is unwilling to resolve them. Material deficiencies include when a Fair Housing violation has occurred, or bias has been identified on a property valuation report.

This draft proposal supports the Biden-Harris administration’s PAVE Action Plan commitments and the continued work of the Interagency Task Force. The Action Plan represents the most wide-ranging set of equity reforms to the home appraisal process since landmark financial reform thus creating greater opportunities to embed concrete strategies such as this into the homebuying process.

FHA is committed to eliminating bias in residential valuations and is taking multiple actions to enhance information, process, and documentation requirements related to this important issue. FHA is asking for stakeholder feedback to identify barriers and impediments that the draft ROV process may impose on the lending process. Any interested party is welcome to provide input. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on the Draft ML by emailing the Feedback Response Worksheet located in the Drafting Table to the FHA at sffeedback@hud.gov. The feedback period is open from January 3, 2023, to February 2, 2023.

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37 Responses

  1. Avatar Krystal S says:

    Does bias exist? Of course. Does it exist in appraising? Rarely, if ever. Not one of the publicly aired cases has shown any verifiable facts or data to prove their claims. Bias in appraising is rare and far less than in nearly all other vocations. Why? Because appraisers are and have been, for decades, already held to ‘no bias’ standards that far exceed nearly all other jobs and career positions. It is built-in to USPAP, our certifications, and ethics that we remain the unbiased link in the process. When an appraiser uses the best available comparable properties, comparables have no ethnicity; they are brick-and-mortar. All this new witch hunt will do is set yet another excuse to attack the appraiser and to make way to be bullied into hitting a higher value or threatened they will be nailed with ‘bias.’ What is the purpose of Dodd-Frank? What is the purpose of AIR/Appraiser Independence regulations? Why create AMC/Appraisal Management Companies to create that protective layer and avoid pressure to make an appraiser ‘hit value’ if just to set appraisers up for attack from anyone who wants to force a higher value? All this will do is CREATE BIAS. How does one stay unbiased if they repeatedly get sued or raked over the coals every time they do an honest, true appraisal that does not meet the expectation of untrained members of the general public who do not understand how appraisals work? Our job is not to appraise what anyone THINKS a home is worth, or get beat up on the playground and have gum put in our hair. An appraisal is typically 25-45 pages of us PROVING our opinion of value; backed with data. What anyone might THINK/estimate a home is worth, can be something quite different. Hats off to jumping on the bandwagon and further destroying the one link in the home buying process that actually protects the lenders and protects buyers from making a potentially horrible financial decision that could put them underwater in their loan for the next 10-20 years.

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  2. Avatar Ron s. says:

    Welcome to the Woke culture which has infiltrated our government and is destroying our country daily. Appraisers must stand up to the lies and propaganda being peddled by our government. My only concern for the last 20+ years of writing appraisals and providing opinion of values for my client’s is CYA, Cover Your Appraisal. I do not care who the client or borrower is and I, as well as 99% of all other appraisers do in my opinion, is to provide an opinion of value based on facts and neighborhood data. The truth will set you free! Wokeness be damned!

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  3. Avatar Kimberly DeFilippis says:

    Bias is almost impossible to prove (but easy to accuse), and more difficult to disprove once you have been accused. At this stage in today’s WOKE society, if anyone gets an appraisal where the number is not the number that will consummate the deal, the GSEs provide the individual with the perfect out ~~~~” I’ve been the victim of bias!”. They file a complaint with the licensing authority, and now apparently with FHA, and put the onus of proof on the accused. Why don’t the GSEs just come right out and say, we will give anyone, everyone a loan. Because that’s where we are headed. Don’t make enough money, BIAS. Property doesn’t appraise at or above the sale price, BIAS. Property doesn’t meet minimum property requirements, BIAS. The appraiser asked me questions, BIAS. And every accusation of BIAS requires the appraiser to defend themselves, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars in legal fees, increased E&O premiums and sometimes personal lawsuits. Is it going to stop? Likely not. I haven’t liked the direction our society is headed for a long long time and because I am a white woman, it’s probably because I’m BIAS. At least that’s going to be the accusation. So tired of the bull…

    11
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      Yep. It’s all about the sale. Whatever leads up to that point, do anything, say anything. Very few persons involved in real estate, when push comes to shove, will recommend the smart move is to terminate or re negotiate, hit the streets for a better deal, actually care about affordability factors for buyers. We’re still waiting on the answer to the question; What exactly is wrong with lower prices? I thought in times of plenty and economic prosperity, we get more for our dollar rather than less. Face it, HUD like any other government enterprise, is long since co opted by powerful corporate interests. This is the end result of having government involved in lending, insurance, health care, establishing parity pricing, etc, etc. As if the government knows a damned thing about value, while free spending other peoples money. Now that housing prices will continue to fall for some time, get ready to defend. My gas electric bill for a small ranch house was $450 dollars for this past month, despite using less gas and electricity than last year, the actual bill literally doubled. Thankfully, there is an endless stream of defaulted HUD homes for foreclosure appraisals.

      2
  4. Avatar Eric Kretz says:

    If you don’t expand your search criteria to include ‘these’ superior market areas you’ll be guilty of appraisal bias. Market area boundaries exist for a reason; physically, geographically and based on HBU. When your appraisal comes in $15k low on that re-fi the appraiser is going to have to defend a folder full of superior sales that are from non-similar and non-competing market areas. Make sure your MLS market areas are well defined, and pray this doesn’t happen, and keep your E&O on speed dial.

    6
    • Avatar Eric says:

      There is no conscious appraisal bias. Is their unconscious bias among a few? Maybe. But because it is unconscious it cannot be proved.

      All these anecdotes in the news (starting of course with the New York Times) claimed that the white spouse got a much higher value than the black spouse. But the so-called “reporters” and the so-called “editors” never bothered to have the appraisals reviewed by other appraisers. Perhaps the original appraisers who came in low were correct?

      And of course Joe Biden and the Democrats were all in on this.

      So now we have Fannie Mae’s justification for getting rid of appraisers, unless you believe that doing $75 desktops are appraisals. And a big side benefit to the AMC’s, who will rake it in.

      A pox on everyone who was in on this scam.

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      • Baggins Baggins says:

        It’s a macro vs micro defense argument. I’m thinking quarter mile and half mile heat maps sort of deal. Look, local matters and the benchmarks for value here vs here are set by the market participators, the appraiser just reports on observable verifiable data, that sort of thing. Whip out some appraisal guidance not to comp across major roadways or features, 1 mile if there is adequate local data for credible assignment results, that sort of thing. It’s important for appraisers to remember that before one may find themselves in the situation as described in this article, the appraisal must be deemed faulty for specific reasons first. Don’t play their game and take all of this on your own shoulders. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

        These people have not thought this through very well. Once the appraiser is effectively eliminated or their services diminished enough, this narrative will once again, shift back to the lending community rather than the valuation community. Typical government interference, create two new problems in an attempt to solve one.

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      • Avatar Frank Wilson says:

        Day 1 or close to it Joe Biden started a task force (PAVE) and in its opening statement it claimed that when appraisers compare a house to others in the same neighborhood it advanced segregation and redlining. We are there to appraise the property, not correct all wrongs past and present, that is the politicians job and they are pushing it on us when it is not our job and would be unethical to do so.

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      • Avatar Frank Wilson says:

        And what happens if the inspector for a hybrid is biased. AFAIK they don’t even sign their name to the report so they don’t even have pressure to not be biased like appraisers have, if anything appraisers are pressured to hi ball. I have never been pressured to lo ball someone. If an appraiser is seriously trying to lo ball people s/he will lose their clients and the problem corrects itself.

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  5. Avatar Raymond says:

    HUD’s ROV idea seems reasonable to insure appraisal reliability and accuracy. However, a ROV prevent racial bias within an appraisal report is not realistic and not likely to be successfully proven. Thus, the ROV is pretty much a waste of time, that appears to be a HUD publicity effort to show they are doing something (the wrong thing) to address racial bias. BTW, I’m a Latino that has been appraising for 42 years. When I enter the appraisal profession, I was the first and only minority in my appraisal dept. Ironically, I saw “redlining” lending being carried out by my lender employer.

    6
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      From what I can gather, a substantial portion of ROV’s being sent out there rest on the basic guidance of ‘asking the appraiser to consider new market data’. And of course that approach is the go to first try because the appraiser has not posted all market data reviewed within the report itself, taking the summary report approach rather than self contained. I’ve only dealt with an ROV like two times in about ten years, both times were matters of borrowers ignorance regarding process and appropriate comping locally. Rather than spending so much time and effort on charts graphs analysis, simply post condensed research overviews within reports. This does away with the did not consider these possible examples argument, while simultaneously presenting a clear illustration of a competent market research approach. At this point it becomes much more difficult to prove other faults within the appraisal report. Unless appraisers are dialing it in with typing services or relying on others for remote inspections and such, in which case, competent market research presented in a self contained manner may not be enough. It’s why I don’t hire anyone and complete every report myself start to finish, cya first. I’ve focused on appraisal liability for some time, consuming every regular org class I could find. Another go to look and common fault is that the appraiser stated they used this method or that method, but then fail to demonstrate this was the actual approach for the specific appraisal being reviewed. The secondary defense is don’t back yourself into a corner with pre written copied language.

      1
      • Avatar Raymond says:

        Baggins, I also decided to “focused on appraisal liability”. Thus, I decided to terminate my appraisal business for lenders/amc some 20+years ago. BTW, everyone,(lenders, realtors, sellers, buyers etc) has an opinion of value. Thus, reviews are a typically a result of someone’s opinion being discredit or unbelieved.

        2
        • Baggins Baggins says:

          Thanks Raymond. Separation from loan production is a myth. It is often appropriate to inquire of a customer what their personal opinion of home value is. That’s a standard question posed to borrowers by lenders when they apply for a mortgage loan. In fact, the application often may not even be processed until someone puts an estimated home value figure in, before the appraiser is ever even contacted.

          Outside of lending, as I’m sure you’re well aware, the very basis of many appraiser engagements start with a simple conversation about peoples personal opinion of their own homes value. What the appraiser is fishing for is not the actual number, but rather information on the situation, if people are against the wall with some pressing issue which revolves around a certain sales number, refinance number, estate distribution number, separation of marriage payout number, etc, etc, so appraisers can competently establish the client relationship and form an appropriate scope of work.

          What these task forces are missing, is the importance of the appraisers willing acceptance of and contribution to a specific scope of work formation. The PAVE task force is behaving like a bullish lender; accept our scope of work then give us the numbers we want or else deal with the awesome force of government set against you. aka; appraisal modernization and equitable appraisals.

          Newsflash to these people; hiring an appraiser does not also mean the client sets the scope of work for the appraiser. Defining scope of work is the appraisers responsibility, and ultimately, the appraisers call and nobody elses. We are required by ethical principals to form acceptable scope of work peramiters, or the appraiser is required to withdraw or decline the assignment. So they can just go on with their bad selves and try to order appraisers to engage in biased comparable selections or incompetent approach practices, but only the appraiser can agree to perform in such an incompetent manner. These bureaucrat people in the government and their illusions of authority over We The People. Liability protection starts with understanding government bureaucracy, and ends with understanding how the government really works.

          1
  6. Avatar Garth says:

    We really can’t be biased in our report writing. If we low ball anyone of any race, we get turned into the AMC, FHA, FNMA or the state appraisal board. All of these entities are a nightmare to deal with, even if we did nothing wrong. If we are low balling, we will not live long as an appraiser, especially if it is race related.We have been signing reports that state race cannot be an influence on our reports. We have already been held to a higher standard than other businesses for decades. The few complaints that have been brought against appraisers have been dismissed. When someone gets an appraisal that is lower than expected, they look for an excuse as to why the appraiser is wrong.

    3
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      It’s the appraisers whom refuse to be personable and caring, move so fast, if the appraiser even bothered to do a personal inspection in the first place, those appraisers are at much higher risk for regular borrower complaints. Most complaints originate at the customer level, answer that first, the rest is just routine bureaucratic compliance and mundane data reporting.

      When asked how one becomes an appraiser the response is simple; All one needs to be a competent appraiser is to memorize 10,000 pages of bureaucratic government guidance for the valuation services industry across approximately a dozen different sources. Ethics are what the valuation industry defends itself with, yet far too many don’t quite understand that ethic is not something formed for personal benefit, but rather is a core principal which guides civil interaction among persons co mingling in any given system, regardless of actual situation a good ethic is unflexible and rigid. First do no harm. I think many of the people running with the appraisal bias argument perhaps do not understand ethic as well as they think.

      https://www.hud.gov/sites/documents/SFH_POLI_APPR_RPT_FIN.PDF

      3
    • Avatar Frank Wilson says:

      And bias is the easiest route because it cannot be disproven. Having to show market data to disprove my reports would be quite difficult.

      0
  7. Avatar Mark Davis says:

    The new language being used in these regulations, including USPAP, that the “perception” of bias, by even the most clueless, is now sufficient to condemn the appraiser. The incentive to use this “tool” for one’s own benefit, as many above have pointed out, will overwhelm any sense of fairness remaining in the members of protected groups. The only rational response by appraisers to being unfairly accused of bias is to avoid these types of assignments. Thus, true racism will prevail such that only members of each corresponding group can appraise homes for other members of the same group. As has always been the case, government regulations designed to combat some perceived evil actually create the conditions to promote that evil. Like affirmative action hiring laws that are inherently racist, these appraisal regulations are inherently racist.

    2
    • Avatar Kimberly DeFilippis says:

      Bingo Mark. Because I’m a white woman will I now turn down every assignment where the borrower is not a white woman? Not white? Not a woman? Isn’t that inherently racist? Isn’t it inherently racist if I have to ask the AMC the race of the buyer?

      3
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Kimberly, you’re getting a hang of this newspeak thing. Remember, everyone is a protected class person, except you.

        One more time; Where does the actual money come from?

        2
        • Avatar Frank Wilson says:

          The whole notion that we should have protected classes we treat with equity instead of treating everyone with equality is sickening to me. Equality is a bad word now for our current federal government regime.

          1
    • Avatar Frank Wilson says:

      I think it will start with ethical appraisers avoiding complex assignments if there is any hint that the borrower is a protected class because of the liability. This will hurt those that these politicians claim to be helping. You can have the most credible well supported report and go through years of litigation with the federal government leaning in without even the information being presented.

      1
      • Baggins Baggins says:

        Well, yes and no Mr Wilson. It’s the lender and amc if involved whom will either guide customers to go down one avenue of relief or the other. Appraisers working with woke companies will be at the greatest risk. These issues come down to the people and their personal ethic. As we’ve learned time and time again, the woke crowd is unpredictable and at times may have no boundaries, no respect for other peoples views or objections. These radical activists seek to reframe the real estate appraiser as something akin to a social worker for home values, placing equitable responsibility for all of societies problems on the shoulders of data analysts. We’ve found success so far in simply avoiding people and companies whom virtue signal, as they are attractants to other unstable people, untenable ideologies in the long term. Our family motto is we’ve had enough change to last a lifetime and don’t want any more. We live it too, our list of companies and places we boycott is indeed ever longer. We had to pull the kids out of public school, you won’t even believe the policies there.

        These issues in the real estate sector are but symptoms and reflections of a larger societal problem. This will be much easier to navigate in appraisal though, if you have bad news for people just deliver it up front right then and there, be kind, compassionate, this will cut off a lot of potential service and result based complaints. Defend yourself with data. You see because the lender is not worried about negative results, they’ll just push it back. A wise appraiser understands the situation behind needing the engagement, before moving to numerical opinion development and property review. Everyone just needs to be kind and rewind. Pick your clients carefully. I’m like, I only want to provide services for companies I’d actually choose as a consumer myself. The wagon, is right out, no way no how. Check out this loan solicitation from a non qm, what could go wrong? Basically if you stay away from amc’s you can stay away from the most dangerous lenders, as they’re the ones whom always use amc’s. Big shot volume appraisers are going to deal with this a lot more than small shop guys.

        0
  8. Avatar Curious Appraiser says:

    What if homeowners/purchasers hired their own appraiser? Would they be better served?
    It sounds radical but hear me out – So many problems could be remedied.

    The lender as the client not the homeowner is puzzling to me – but they always ask “How do I get a copy of MY appraisal”- it is their home after all. When someone applies for a mortgage loan, it is common that you provide your proof of income and anything else requested by the lender. Why shouldn’t they also prove verification of asset value via real estate appraisal?

    1. Appraisals are not portable which prohibits consumer comparison of lenders for the best loan.

    The current loan process and “consumer protections” have just created layers of mistrust and confusion leading to equity skimming. Consumers are stuck with a particular lender because they paid for an appraisal fee, and maybe can’t afford another one, even if it’s not the best loan or lender for them. Consumers benefit from competition and shopping around.

    2. Personal Bias (perceived or otherwise) would be removed. The homeowner, who is the only one DIRECTLY impacted by the opinion of the appraiser, they would hire someone they trust is “like them” in whatever way is important to them.

    3. AMC Bias is a problem – check out this paper about value added by AMC’s written in Oct 2018
    “A straightforward comparison of AMC and non-AMC appraisals in this subset reveals that they involve a similar average degree of overvaluation and frequency of mistakes, but that AMC appraisals are more prone to contract price confirmation and extreme levels of overvaluation, despite tending to use a significantly greater number of comparable properties.”
    https://appraisersblogs.com/questioning-amcs-value-adding-claims

    4. Price gauging of consumers by AMC. AMC’s charge the same or MORE then appraisers to consumers. Don’t take my word for it, read this: https://appraisersblogs.com/appraisal-management-companies-take-a-sizable-cut-of-the-appraisal-fee

    The current loan process and “consumer protection laws” have just created layers of mistrust and confusion. These laws really only protect large investors and mortgage backed security pool’s risk.

    Thanks for reading this idea. This is certainly a huge topic to ponder but I’d love to hear any opinions or counters to this position, if you are interested.
    curiousappraiser@gmail.com

    1
    • Avatar Mark Davis says:

      The purpose of an appraisal is not to help a buyer obtain a loan but alternatively the purpose is to protect the lender from making bad loans. That is: loaning more money than the lender could sell the collateral asset for on the market after foreclosure, as well as providing an incentive to the borrower to continue making payments in order to protect their equity in the property.

      The person seeking a loan use to be the party obtaining the services of appraisers which led to borrowers shopping for the appraiser that provided the highest value. This dynamic provided incentives for appraisers to inflate values and set up lenders for bad loans where borrowers had an incentive to walk away and leave lenders with properties worth less than the loan balance. The current process of lenders hiring appraisers is much better for all parties because it promotes a more stable lending environment.

      I agree that AMCs are an unnecessary costly added layer.

      0
  9. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I am tired of playing this game. In 20+ years of appraising, I’ve not seen one case of racial bias from an appraiser. And when an alleged case of racial bias is cited, why isn’t a forensic review of that appraisal ever done?

    If an unhappy FHA borrower can hassle me with a ROV and ruin my career, why should I choose to remain on the FHA Roster? Maybe its time to reconsider whether FHA business is worth the risk.

    I am tired of the growing bias against appraisers!! Lots of allegations and no proof.

    2
    • Avatar Kimberly DeFilippis says:

      What makes you think it’s just FHA? I have a friend who works closely with the AGA and racial bias accusations run the gamut of lenders…not just FHA guaranteed loans.

      1
  10. Avatar Eric Kretz says:

    I’m sure it has been mentioned but VA just let loose with this circular:

    https://www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/documents/circulars/26-23-05.pdf

    3. Action.
    a. As of December 19, 2022, VA enhanced its oversight procedures to detect potential discriminatory bias in appraisal reports. Under the enhanced procedures, VA reviews every report submitted to VA in the home loan guaranty program. If the initial review indicates to VA a potential discriminatory bias, VA flags the file for an escalated review. If VA’s escalated review confirms a discriminatory bias, the appraiser will be subject to removal as a VA-approved appraiser; and VA will refer the case to the proper enforcement agencies for further investigation.

    And there it is….

    1
  11. Avatar Raymond says:

    Just wondering has there been ANY completed cases, where racial bias in appraisals for lending purposes was actually proven???? I have not read of any. Thus, this issue of racial basis looks like the equivalent to screaming “fire” in a theatre when there is no fire and no smoking allowed.

    1
    • Baggins Baggins says:

      According to HUD, there are new tools to combat the problem. Image attached.

      Apparently you are personally responsible for the entire history of this country and every lender and policy change from municipal to federal over several centuries which resulted in generational wealth gaps. It’s your fault.

      0
      • Avatar Raymond says:

        LOL………I have no responsibility, since I haven’t done lender work for 20+ years and I have never done HUD work. BTW, whatever happen to innocent till proven guilty.

        0
        • Avatar That Scott Guy says:

          Your state board will tell you that you are guilty until you prove your innocence.

          Your lender will do a field review on your work, and that review is SO bad you wouldn’t line your bird cage with it. But your appraisal is defective, and you are guilty until you prove your innocence.

          Now there is appraisal bias and discrimination to deal with, and how the hell can you prove your innocence? You’ll just be plain guilty…..

          0
          • Avatar Raymond says:

            Scott, yup that’s that way it basically works. It has been for decades. The AMC business model has just taken the appraisal process toto the level. I started my appraisal career, like many, doing lender work. But I decided to terminate my lender work 20+ years ago for the very reason you just described.

            0
        • Baggins Baggins says:

          Two words; Legal Prescient. Avoiding HUD will not insulate appraisers from these radical activities. You’ll be in the CE classes too, TAF is already promoting them. The accusation will automatically extend to all practices related to real property valuation and will become a defact fact. Manufactured doubt has no limitations. Look no further than the 501c non profits whom are profiting from this activity. It’s not about logic, accusations, or accountability. It’s about money. leveraging other peoples money. Taxation without representation is the new normal.

          0
          • Avatar Raymond says:

            Avoiding HUD does work. Try it, you may like it.

            0
            • Baggins Baggins says:

              Such a move has worked to insulate appraisers from a great many issues, to date. That window of relief is quickly closing. When gse policies drive changes, those changes are adopted into regulatory framework thereafter. VA appraisers no longer safe, next comes non lending work. And there won’t even be a lender or third party company to provide some insulation, it will be the allegedly biased appraiser against the borrower and their heavily funded 501c activist group, with your own political representatives on their speed dial. 501c groups have morphed into pet project funds which easily bypass legislative intent and authority. They’ve taken over school systems, lending systems, media outlets, etc. At this point effective arguments are moot and pointless, we’ll need to advocate for abolishment of non profit structures in general to stop this sweeping wave of radicalism which remove protections granted by a republic structure. These groups are not just to stop religious institutions from being taxed to death, not anymore. There is no more truth in debate, nor is there accountability based on honest principals of blind justice, only whom has stronger representation for their side advocacy. ‘The truth’ no matter how factual or apparent, is no longer deemed worthy of mainstream coverage, if it’s even acknowledged in the first place.

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  12. Avatar Raymond says:

    Scott, yup that’s that way it basically works. It has been for decades. The AMC business model has just taken the appraisal process toto the level. I started my appraisal career, like many, doing lender work. But I decided to terminate my lender work 20+ years ago for the very reason you just described.

    0
  13. Avatar Mary says:

    I’ll just say one thing. We are not in the business to provide FAIR appraisals. We report MARKET value period end of sentence.

    0

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HUD ROV Process to Address ‘Appraisal Bias’

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