Bifurcated Appraisals, a Controversial Topic

Bifurcated Appraisals, a Controversial Topic - Call to Action!As most of you know, hybrid or bifurcated appraisals are a very controversial topic currently. Virginia statutes and regulations have language which gives many of us pause on the compliance of hybrid appraisals as they are being presented in the industry. The Board has published a proposed guidance document in the hopes to clarify the language in our laws. Unfortunately, the proposed guidance document falls short of providing any meaningful guidance or clarification.

Per Virginia statute, the document has been published on Virginia Legislative Town Hall for public comments. At the end of the comment period, it is our understanding the Virginia Real Estate Appraisal Board will have an opportunity to revise the document prior to it being adopted by the Board for publication.

VaCAP has posted the comments below as an organization, however, we encourages each of you to add your own comments about the proposed hybrid guidance document as well. Take the time to really analyze the statutes and regulations that are impacted and make sure any doubt of compliance is addressed in your comments.

Public trust is at the forefront and consumer input is imperative. Please have a conversation with your friends and neighbors about hybrid or bifurcated appraisals. Ask them to comment. Not one consumer we are aware of has thought a hybrid of bifurcated appraisal was a good idea!

The comments are limited to 3,000 characters and the comment period ends on June 26, 2019. You can access the Proposed Guidance Document and comment here.

…Appraisers have already heard stories from agents that the person coming to observe the property identities themselves as the appraiser. Allowing unlicensed, uninsured, unregulated individuals into a consumer’s home; walking through each and every room, poses a risk of safety to the consumer. What recourse does a consumer have if something goes awry?


VaCAP Board
Image credit flickr - Eli Christman
VaCAP Board

VaCAP Board

Coalition of individual appraisers working together to unite, promote and protect the collective interests of all appraisal professionals in Virginia; to promote needed changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies and standards affecting all appraisers in Virginia; to observe and report the actions of regulatory, legislative, oversight, and standards-setting entities of the Commonwealth.

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5 Responses

  1. David Samnick on Facebook David Samnick on Facebook says:

    It’s time for all appraisers to push back. We can not allow a RUNNER to provide us with information. Once your signature is on the report you are verifying that all the information within the report is accurate. How do you know it is? Did you measure the home yourself? Do you photograph the home? Did you get a real feel for the street, neighborhood, market? Can we just accept that an unlicensed professional will provide us this data including but not limited to condition and quality. I can’t. There is only one signature on the report. YOURS. It’s you who will go before the board if the unlicensed person makes a mistake. FYI these unlicensed independent contractors DO NOT have to carry E&O. Let that sink in as well. We are screwed if we don’t take a stand.

  2. At their core, ALL hybrids are misleading, deceitful restricted appraisals that are being presented to the public and reckless users of substandard appraisals, to help defraud their own investors. There are no exceptions.

    Hybrids did not pop up overnight. First American R.E. Services first promoted them as their egregiously defective Pace Pro Product. That attempt was so bad even the Feds had to become involved behind the scenes to stop it.

    The Appraisal Foundation has been a willing partner in facilitating the fraud. They replaced the departure rule with the scope of work rule. No longer did the appraisers have to identify their specific departure from USPAP (while complying with the rest of it). NOW all that is necessary is to employ a ridiculously limited scope of work and argue that anything beyond that was simply not an assignment requirement.

    That wasn’t a fatal error while we still distinguished between Appraisal Reports; Summary Appraisal Reports, and Restricted Appraisal Reports. Users of abbreviated work and reporting were not misled into thinking they were getting anything other than cursory or superficial work to begin with. The reports very clearly stated they were restricted, and why.

    In full disclosure, no one actually wants full disclosure.

    The fly by night “investment companies” and even bigger but ethically challenged major investors and securities bundlers certainly didn’t. THEIR investors wanted real appraisals, but they (the bundlers) wanted them at prices and turn around times that simply weren’t possible for ‘real appraisals’. Preferably at prices where they could charge borrowers for full appraisals, while only paying appraisers for abbreviated, restricted analyses and reports. That way, there’s a little something extra in it for them above and beyond any other inherent loan profits. Think of it as their ‘bonus.’

    Oh yeah! They also don’t want ‘restrictions on the use anymore. Why can’t these deceptive products be called the same as any other appraisal? That way the hoodwinked investors get to feel all warm and fuzzy that they have ‘real appraisals’, and can reuse the Appraisal Reports for all kinds of unauthorized secondary purposes. Wouldn’t it also be nice if deal killing property issues were able to simply disappear?

    Elimination of intermediary summary appraisal reports that required explanations of what the differences were between various report types was only a stepping stone. The real objective was the elimination of the wording ‘summary’ or ‘summarize’. The by-product is there is no longer a need to distinguish between stated conclusions and summarized or fully explained, self-contained explanations. We naively believed the above changes were just TAF engaging in their usual frivolous & unnecessary bi-annual USPAP wordsmithing. We missed the bigger picture.

    TAF had already been stressing to appraisers that they could prepare substandard (Restricted) work products while still complying with USPAP. It wasn’t enough.

    What was really needed was a desktop product that cost next to nothing, had no appointment scheduling delays or property condition issues to hold up deals, and even better could be driven by the customers own AVM value opinions and preselected data without anybody even mentioning Dodd-Frank Appraiser Independence requirements.

    Enter the parasites. Software whores, AMC pimps, and a few niche lenders whose loan officers and management were ethically better suited for work as used car or door to door encyclopedia; and aluminum siding sales or dancing on tabletops. They found sources willing and able to steal appraiser data for years, and to then market the concept of infallible “BIG DATA.” Mix in equal parts of ‘leveraging and / or harmonizing’.

    Why heck, truth be told there really is no need for pesky SUBJECTIVE or objective professional appraiser opinions at all anymore! AVMS are the ticket. At least that was FHFA’s official position despite their own white paper suggesting regression based AVMs had accuracy issues.

    In the face of overwhelming evidence that NO AVM is consistently able to produce credibly reliable accurate market value conclusions anywhere in America, came the reluctant (but very quiet) admission appraisers were still needed to analyze specific individual properties. Opportunity was knocking.

    The same highly regarded appraisers that used to specialize in analyzing America’s premier commercial properties; high rises, hospitals or mega-malls realized the parasite-plantation-players would also pay them big bucks to use their credentials to manage or represent national appraisal factories pumping out limited scope products. Surely no one would or even could challenge them.

    So finally, private industry in the form of companies like Clarocity, (whatever DID happen to them?) or Clear Capital, Muller & a few others issued their own proprietary, extremely deficient form & online processes for bifurcated hybrid products. Products where one of the above-mentioned tabletop dancers; or 17 year old students, functioning alcoholics, drug users, handymen, ex convicts, rapists, gamblers, undocumented workers, or anyone else with a car and a camera and pencil could go out and gather “factual” non subjective property data for use by real appraisers.

    The argument is that anyone can report a fact. Like a neighborhood’s boundaries are always facts. Or property condition is always a fact. As is ownership interest. Hardly ever affected by physical conditions at the site-like encroachments, shared drives, easements, etc.. ‘Facts’ like the estimated remaining economic or physical improvement life. Roof condition, noise influence, lead paint, mold, mildew, settlement etc..

    Somewhere a false myth was propagated by the parasites, that appraisers do what we do best only behind desks. A falsehood that everything we do & analyze in the field can be done by trained monkeys. Perhaps even some of the very AMC employees and lender underwriters that will also be replaced by not too distant automation.

    The truth is that there is nothing about the concept of bifurcated appraisals and appraisal factory produced “less than” type appraisals reports that is honest including the newly promoted idea that ‘they are really no different than appraisers have been doing for decades when we used to send our trainees out to inspect.’

    Yes, they are. WE used to train our trainees to USPAP and accompany them for as many inspections it took for them to become proficient. We used to review their work in the field on a spot check basis to let them know if bad or unacceptable practices were showing up. We consulted in person as respected colleagues with them in the office after they did their inspections. The bifurcated frauds of today are nothing like what we used to do.

    • Avatar Jack Rowland says:

      Well done, my friend!

      Hybrid, or bifur-anything, products are contradictions as, by definition, lack dedicated identity to any process, method or group.

      But, once again, this watered-down valuation (sic) alternative will ultimately pave way for a foreclosure glut reprise by-way-of poor risk management decisions via misrepresented collateral. And, guess what? Somehow appraisers will ultimately enjoy brunt of the blame for widely practiced/accepted industry deficiencies. They will miss us when we’re gone.

  3. VaCAP Board VaCAP Board says:

    Please comment on the Legislative Town Hall. You do not need to be a resident of Virginia to comment.

    If Virginia takes a hard line on this, it will be much easier for other states to follow.


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Bifurcated Appraisals, a Controversial Topic

by VaCAP Board time to read: 1 min